Fudge originated in the US during the late 19th century. Recipes were printed in many periodicals and advertisements during the 1880s. Its popularity was partly due to the decreasing cost of refined white sugar, and partly due to the ability to make it at home without special equipment. Its inexpensive, unrefined qualities made it popular among people looking for a candy alternative that fell in between expensive, fancy candies and the cheapest sweets.
In a letter written by Emelyn Battersby Hartridge, she recounts the purchasing of a box of fudge for 40 cents a pound in 1886 in Baltimore, Maryland. Fudge shops in tourist places such as Mackinac Island in Michigan began opening in 1887.
Fudge-making was popular at women’s colleges. A student at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, claimed to have introduced it there in 1888 by selling her own 30 lb (14 kg) batch. The diary of another student mentions making “fudges” in 1892. An 1893 letter from another Vassar College student describes “fudges” as containing sugar, chocolate, milk, and butter. A recipe for “Fudges at Vassar” was printed in The Sun in 1895. Despite describing the confections as “Vassar chocolates”, the recipe given comprises sugar, milk, butter, and vanilla extract. Wellesley College and Smith College have their own versions of a fudge recipe dating from the late 19th or early 20th century.
~Above Information from Wikipedia