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 Ruth Jones <I>Graves</I> Wakefield

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Ruth Jones Graves Wakefield

  • Birth 17 Jun 1903 East Walpole, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death 10 Jan 1977 Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Burial Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Plot Lot 195A Grave 2 Cypress Ave
  • Memorial ID 3065

Inventor of the Chocolate Chip Cookie and Owner of the Toll House Inn and Restaurant. Born Ruth Graves, she graduated from Framingham State Normal School (now called Framingham State College), in Massachusetts in 1924, and began work as a dietitian and food lecturer. In 1930, she and her husband, Kenneth Wakefield, purchased a Cape Cod style toll house at Whitman, Massachusetts, located halfway between Boston and the tourist town of New Bedford. Originally built in 1709 as a toll house (part inn, part restaurant, and part toll collection booth for the toll road), they turned it into a charming inn and restaurant for travelers, naming it the Toll House Inn. Ruth would cook home-made meals for guests at the inn, capitalizing on its fame as a colonial building, and decorating the inn in traditional colonial styles. Ruth also adopted several traditionally colonial meals as the feature to her restaurant. Her well made colonial meals and desserts began attracting people from across New England. In 1930, while making her popular Butter Drop Do cookies, she discovered that she had run out of powdered baker's chocolate, and substituted cut up pieces of Nestle's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar instead. She was surprised when the chocolate bar pieces did not melt into the cookie dough, but remained soft and intact. Serving them to her guests as "Chocolate Chip" cookies, they became immediately popular, and soon people were asking for her recipe. Her recipe was soon published in a Boston newspaper as Toll House Cookies, and quickly spread over New England. Sales of Nestles' Semi-Sweet Chocolate bars suddenly increased in the local area, and when Nestles' salesmen investigated, they discovered her cookies were the cause of the increased sales. Nestles' asked for permission to print the "Toll House Cookie" recipe on its packaging; in exchange, Ruth received a supply of Semi-Sweet chocolate for the rest of her life. Very quickly, her recipe made its way across the country, making both Chocolate Chip Cookies and Toll House Cookies a household name. In 1939, Nestles began marketing Semi-Sweet morsels, small chips pre-made for use in these cookies, while Ruth published a cookbook, "Ruth Wakefield's Recipes: Tried and True" (1940), which became a best seller. In 1966, Kenneth and Ruth sold the Toll House Inn and restaurant, retiring to Duxbury, Massachusetts. The new owners turned the building into a nightclub. In 1970, the Saccone family purchased the building and restored it to the original Toll House Inn and Restaurant; on New Year's Eve 1984, the Toll House Inn caught fire and burned to the ground. Prior to her death, Ruth Wakefield donated her collection of cookbooks to her former school, Framingham State College.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 13 Jun 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3065
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ruth Jones Graves Wakefield (17 Jun 1903–10 Jan 1977), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3065, citing Mayflower Cemetery, Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .