The Wonder Man

On September 2, 1891, Joseph and Hulda Josephine (Palisch) Strubinger became the proud parents of their first child, Josephine Strubinger.  Josephine was born in Sacramento, California and lived her entire life there.  So the first thing that we notice is that since Hulda Josephine apparently went by the name Josephine, we have a Joseph marrying a Josephine having a child named Josephine.

Let’s backtrack to talk a little about Joseph.  Joseph Strubinger arrived in America in 1885 aboard the Rhein.  According to the history found in a Palisch family book that we have in our museum’s research library, Joseph first went to St. Charles, Missouri where he learned to be a baker.  He then moved across the Mississippi River to work in a bakery in East St. Louis, Illinois.  Right next door to the bakery was a saloon which was operated by Henry and Mary (Palisch) Mannle.  At about that same time, Josephine Palisch went to live with her sister, Mary.  It was there that Joseph met Josephine.  Hulda Josephine and Mary Palisch were daughters of Charles Gottlieb Palisch of East Perry County, Missouri and granddaughters of J.G. Palisch, the patriarch of that Palisch family.

Here is where the story gets a little fuzzy, but we do know that Joseph and Josephine were married at the German Lutheran Church in Sacramento, California in 1890.  Joseph must have gotten a job there in a bakery because that was his life-long occupation.  One year later, little Josephine entered their lives.

Josephine would later marry Charles Borba, who was an electrician and a World War I veteran.  Here is a photo of Charles in his military uniform along with his mother.  The child is unidentified.

Charles Borba
Charles Borba in WWI uniform

Here is a photo of the Borba family reportedly taken about 1930.

Borba Family
Borba Family c.1930

Charles is supposed to be the taller gentleman partially hidden by the lady in the flowered dress wearing a white hat toward the middle of the photo.  Josephine would be to his left, behind him.

Back to Joseph Strubinger.  Joseph was a baker for the Perfection Bread Company in Sacramento.  This company became the bakery which produced Wonder Bread for that region of the United States.  You can find some interesting photos relating to this business at  I do not have the ample permissions to copy those photos here.  If you scroll down the left side to where it says “Gallery”, you can find the photos.  I especially like #6 which shows the Wonder Bread trucks from 1929.

My memories of Wonder Bread during my childhood were connected to TV shows that advertised that bread, such as these:

The Strubingers lived at 1226 V St. in Sacramento.  The 952 square foot house is said to have been built in 1904.  It is still there, and those in the real estate business say it might set you back about $300,000 to buy it (but it’s not for sale).

1226 V St Sacramento
1226 V St., Sacramento, CA

A few side notes:

  • Wonder Bread was the first nationally distributed bread to be sold as “sliced” bread.
  • The first “sliced” bread is also connected to Missouri.  The Chillicothe Bakery made their Kleen Maid Sliced Bread in Chillicothe, Missouri, and they claim to be the first bakery to produce sliced bread.  You can find more info on this story at
  • The Wonder Bread logo of colored balloons was inspired by an International Balloon Race at the Indianapolis Speedway.



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