Hershey, Milton Snavely, 1857–1945, American manufacturer and philanthropist, b. near Derry Church (now Hershey), Pa. The son of Mennonite farmers, at 15 he was apprenticed to a confectioner in Lancaster, Pa.; he founded a caramel company there in 1883. A trip to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair whetted his interest in chocolate making, and he purchased a German company's machinery and established (1894) the Hershey Chocolate Company near his home. He developed a formula for milk chocolate and built (1903–5) what would be the world's largest chocolate factory along with the planned community of Hershey where his workers lived. His chocolate bars and products brought their inventor great wealth, much of which he used for philanthropy. Among the institutions he founded are the Milton Hershey School (1909) and the M. S. Hershey Foundation (1935).
See biography by M. D'Antonio (2006); J. G. Brenner, The Emperors of Chocolate (1998).