"Famous Amos" Shirt


In 1975, on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California, Wally Amos opened his first chocolate chip cookie bakery. For years, this agent for performers such as Marvin Gaye, Bobby Goldsboro, and Dionne Warwicke had loved making cookies, using his Aunt Della's recipe. The little cookies with pecans and lots of chocolate bits were favorites among Amos's Hollywood clients and friends in the entertainment industry. They convinced him to open his own cookie business, giving birth to Famous Amos Cookies.

Within a few years over two dozen Famous Amos cookie outlets had opened across the country. Retail cookie tins featured Wally Amos wearing a trademark straw hat and cotton shirt, clothing that he donated to the Smithsonian in 1980. The hat and shirt had become symbols of grass roots entrepreneurship and a mainstream African-American business.

By the mid–1980s, Famous Amos Cookies had outgrown their founder. The business went through a series of new owners before its purchase by Keebler in 1998. Years earlier Wally Amos had turned to another interest, making personal appearances as a motivational speaker and writer, using the skills he had learned in the entertainment and baking industries to inspire audiences to follow their dreams, wherever they might lead.

Date Made: ca 1980

Referenced: Amos, Wally

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: BlacksFood CultureAfrican American


See more items in: Work and Industry: Occupations, Advertising


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1980.0886.02Catalog Number: 1980.0886.02Accession Number: 1980.0886

Object Name: shirt

Physical Description: cotton (overall material)Measurements: overall: 30 in x 24 in; 76.2 cm x 60.96 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ab-6cb4-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1117387

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.