I once met Famous Amos. He was at a store in downtown Ann Arbor called Jacobsons’. It’s been out of business for ages, but that’s not important now. He was a hip black guy who had just started a business baking home-style chocolate chip cookies and was trying to find an upscale market for them. Jacobsons’ housewares and china department offered a few gourmet items. SO much was different in those days I don’t even want to try to describe it. Anyway it wasn’t long until Famous Amos sold his little start-up to a mass market baking company that’s now no doubt a food conglomerate. And now he doesn’t seem to be an actual person any more than the Keebler Elf does. (I remember asking him why he was famous, and I think he answered "because I say so.")
Fig Newmans are named after Paul Newman, and he’s a real person who just died recently. (Fig Newtons most probably are named for a town in Massachusetts, not a person, but if they were named for a person it might be Sir Isaac.) Paul Newman’s unusual food company, which started with Newman’s own salad dressing and spaghetti sauce, has gone far. The company also makes sandwich cookies – sort of a better Oreo. I wonder if he was still alive when Newmans Own began to also sell cat food. That startled me when I saw it for the first time yesterday. But it’s probably an old old product. I digress from cookies.
Just one more name: Lorna Doone. A fictional person from a novel by R.D. Blackmore. According to my search of miscellaneous google links, Nabisco execs don’t have any record of the reason for naming this cookie, first produced in 1912.