American-style fudge (containing chocolate) is found in a letter written by Emelyn Battersby Hartridge, a student at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. She wrote that her schoolmate's cousin made fudge in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1886 and sold it for 40 cents a pound. Hartridge obtained the fudge recipe and, in 1888, made 30 lb (14 kg) of fudge for the Vassar College Senior Auction. This Vassar fudge recipe became quite popular at the school for years to come.
Word of this popular confectionery spread to other women's colleges. For example, Wellesley College and Smith College have their own versions of a fudge recipe dating from the late 19th or early 20th century.
In the late 19th century, shops on Mackinac Island in Michigan began to produce similar products for summer vacationers. Fudge is still produced in some of the original shops on Mackinac Island and the surrounding area. Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream, a vanilla ice cream with chunks of fudge blended in, is also very common in this region and across the United States.