Elsie the Cow
Elsie the Cow is a cartoon cow developed as a mascot for the Borden Dairy Company in 1936 to symbolize the "perfect dairy product". Since the demise of Borden in the mid-1990s the character has continued to be used in the same capacity for the company's partial successor, Eagle Brand, owned by The J.M. Smucker Company.
The first living Elsie was a registered Jersey heifer selected while participating in Borden's 1939 New York World's Fair "Rotolactor" exhibit (demonstrating the company's invention, the rotary milking parlor). The most alert cow at the demonstration, she was born at Elm Hill Farm in Brookfield, Massachusetts and named "You'll Do, Lobelia". After being purchased from her owners, family farmers from Connecticut, she spent the rest of the season on display twice each day dressed in an embroidered green blanket.
The fictional Elsie’s cartoon mate, Elmer the Bull, was created later and lent to Borden's then chemical division as mascot for Elmer's Glue. The pair was given offspring Beulah and Beauregard in 1948, and twins Larabee and Lobelia in 1957.
For a time in the mid-1940s when the cartoon Elsie was voiced by Hope Emerson she was better known than some human celebrities. Elsie and her cartoon calves were featured in Elsie's Boudoir at Freedomland U.S.A., a theme park depicting America's history located in the Bronx, from 1960 to 1963. A live cow representing Elsie appeared on stage at the Borden's exhibit in the Better Living Pavilion at the 1964–1965 New York World's Fair, in a musical revue with a score by the Broadway composer Kay Swift.
Elsie has been bestowed such tongue-in-cheek honorary university degrees as Doctor of Bovinity, Doctor of Human Kindness, and Doctor of Ecownomics. In Wisconsin, home of the Dairy Princess, Elsie was named Queen of Dairyland. The Seneca Indian Tribe named her an honorary chief, and the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut, presented her with their P.T. Barnum Award of Showmanship.
- Borden Dairy
- Elsie and Borden dairy products
- Obituary of David William Reid, advertising marketer and creator of Elsie and Elmer
- Article on "You'll Do Lobelia," one of the live Elsies, from her hometown, Brookfield, Massachusetts
- Article on Elsie's grave in Plainsboro, New Jersey