We begin in the Twenties, when Jell-O was already many decades old. The patent for powdere gelatin goes back to 1845; in 1885 it was purchased by a fellow named Peale Walt, who made cough syrup. (Which, I imagine, contained all sorts of wonderful things.) He added flavors, but couldn't make a go of the stuff: to heck with it, he says, and the neighbor agrees to buy it for $450. They lived in LeRoy, by the way - but the company would outgrow the tow in time. Jell-O caught on, and eventually the Jell-O Company would end up as part of General Food, formed in 1927 from several other firms. It's based in Tarrytown, now.
Anyway: the recipe book was one of the reasons for Jell-O's success. Advertising put right in the little lady's hands, and usually with something that tugged hard on the domestic heartstrings. Although the boy above seems less than enthusiastic: look. She ordered it again. Unbelievable.
See that girl under the title? Well . . .