Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Letters

The Origins of Cream Cheese

Leah Koenig (and Gil Marks whom she used as her source) have, through no fault of their own, contributed to perpetuating the myth of cream cheese’s origin and development in America. (“Deconstructing Cheesecake,” June 10th). My forthcoming article in the journal, Food, Culture and Society, puts to rest these myths. Cream cheese was not “accidentally invented by William Lawrence in 1872.” Directions for making cream cheese can be found in a Pennsylvania newspaper as early as 1769 and in scores of American books, periodicals and cookbooks in the early 1800s. William A. Lawrence, was, however, the first to manufacture large quantities of cream cheese due to the technological transformation of the dairy industry during the second half of the 1800s. He first began manufacturing Neufchatel cheese in 1872 and, after being approached by the New York grocery firm, Park & Tilford, to put a richer and more delicate cheese on the market, began by 1875 to make Neufchatel with cream added to it. He called his product “Cream Cheese.” Lawrence was aided by a NY distributor, Alvah L. Reynolds, who sold Lawrence’s product under the brand name: Philadelphia Cream Cheese. It was not C.D. Reynolds (another NY dairyman) but Alvah Reynolds who bought the Empire Cheese Factory in 1892 in order to go into production for himself. In 1903, Reynolds sold his Philadelphia brand to the Phenix Cheese Co. (who, later, merged with Kraft).

Jeffrey Marx

Santa Monica, Calif.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.