It is believed that jimmies are named for Jimmy Bartholomew, a man who worked for the Just Born company where ice cream sprinkles were invented. An urban legend circulates from time to time that the topping's name is short for Jim Crow and refers to brown ice cream sprinkles.
Most agree that jimmies is the name for all ice cream sprinkles, regardless of color. The name is commonly used for ice cream sprinkles in the New England region of the United States, particularly Boston.
Jimmy Bartholomew was the man who worked the machine that made the sprinkles in 1930. However, some slang dictionaries have traced the use of jimmies back to the 1920s, before Bartholomew became an employee at Just Born.