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Leonard W. Walton collection of Milprint, Inc. records

Creation: 1920-2008 Creation: Majority of material found within 1940-1970
Accession: 2430


Leonard W. Walton (1911-2005) was a printing industry executive with Milprint, Inc., which specialized in printing packaging materials, between 1936 and 1976. His collection of Milprint records primarily consists of printing samples including candy wrappers, cigarette boxes, potato chip and bread bags and bacon boxes.


  • Creation: 1920-2008
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1940-1970



3.5 Linear Feet

Biographical Note

Leonard W. Walton (1911-2005) was a printing industry executive with Milprint, Inc., which specialized in printing packaging materials, between 1936 and 1976. Walton was born on May 14, 1911, grew up in Chicago and spent a part of his youth in China, returning to the U.S. in 1936. Through a friend, the nephew of a candy company executive, Walton obtained a job at the Milwaukee Printing Company, later Milprint, Inc., already famous as a printer of candy bar wrappers. He was transferred to the east in 1944 as assistant manager of the Philadelphia plant, and was later manager of plants at Christiana, Pennslyvania, (1947) and at Downingtown (1954). He retired in 1976 and died at Lititz, Pennslyvania on December 25, 2005.

Historical Note

Milwaukee Printing Company, later Milprint, Inc. specialized in printing packaging materials. The Milwaukee Printing Company was founded by Max T. (“M. T.” or “Popsy”) Heller (1877-1949) as a small family job shop with five employees in 1899. The following year he was joined by his younger brother William (“Billy”) Heller (1885-1962), who first worked as a typesetter and press operator but later took charge of sales. The brothers developed a method of printing on glassine paper in 1908, and this led to their specializing in printing and lithography for packaging materials. Glassine paper was first used to create the individually-wrapped nickel candy bar, and the company eventually printed 90 percent of the candy wrappers used in the United States. The Hellers were also first to develop printing on cellophane in 1919, a business that surpassed but did not supplant glassine paper after DuPont began the domestic manufacture of cellophane in the 1920s. By the middle of that decade, the company had also developed printing on aluminum foil, thereby covering the whole range of disposable packaging materials.

The Heller brothers were able to get in at the beginnings of the mass marketing and distribution of foodstuffs and other home consumer goods, when individual sealed wrappings carried the connotations of safety and purity and of being “untouched by human hands.” In 1930, they moved into eastern markets by purchasing the John M. Driver Company at Philadelphia. A Los Angeles plant followed in 1934. In line with its new national scope, the company was renamed Milprint, Inc., in 1936. The company had it own design and art staffs to assist customers in improving the packaging and sales appeal of their products. The Heller brothers also developed Trans-Vision, a system of printing on multiple layers of transparent sheets that was used to display successive slices through complex machinery or human and animal anatomy.

During World War II, Milprint produced wrappings for military rations and for airplane engines and other easily-damaged materiel on their way to the war zones. After the war, the company benefited from the growing use of convenience foods. It purchased the Nicolet Paper Corporation, long one of its suppliers of glassine paper, in 1946 and developed a means of printing on extensible polyethylene in 1947. After “Popsy’s” death in 1949, Billy Heller became president, and in 1952, chairman of the board. Billy developed a network of over twenty foreign licensees and organized the Milprint International Company and the Milprint Overseas Corporation in 1954.

In 1957, Billy Heller retired from active management and sold the company to Philip Morris Incorporated, becoming honorary chairman for life. It continued to operate under its own name as Philip Morris’s largest non-tobacco unit and was sold to the Bemis Company, Inc., in 1990. Milprint, Inc., continues in business as part of Bemis’s Banner Packaging Division.

Scope and Content

Milprint records collected by Leonard W. Walton primarily consist of printing samples including candy wrappers, cigarette boxes, potato chip and bread bags and bacon boxes. Samples include such famous brands as Marlboro, Hebrew National, Memorex, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Arnold’s bread, and Southern Comfort, while many are for now-vanished local and regional manufacturers. Examples of the Trans-Vision process are also included. Of particular note are glassine wrappers for military rations during World War II.

The remainder of the collection consists of an assortment of company correspondence, photographs of officials and company dinners, advertising, and folksy homilies sent by Billy Heller to inspire his sales force. One file describes the company’s activities during World War II. There are runs of several employee newsletters and magazines, including the Milprint Communiquė (1942-1945) carrying news of employees serving in the armed forces.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on use.

Use Restrictions

Some advertising images may be subject to copyright restrictions.

Language of Materials


Additional Description

Separated Materials

Leonard W. Walton collection of Milprint, Inc. photographs (Accession 2008.219), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Processing Note

The collection title was originally deeded as it appears now, as "Leonard W. Walton collection of Milprint, Inc. records." At some unknown point and unknown reason the collection title was briefly changed to: "Leonard W. Walton collection on printing and packaging."

The original collection title has been restored as it is more accurate and meets the professional archival description standards for collection titles outlined in "Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)."

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Leonard W. Walton collection of Milprint, Inc. records
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA