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California Citrus Industry Collection
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Contents
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Related Materials
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: California Citrus Industry Collection
    Dates: 1891-1973
    Collection number: H.Mss.1097
    Creator: California Fruit Growers Exchange, Charter Oak Citrus Association, Claremont Lemon Association, College Heights Orange and Lemon Association, Covina Orange Growers Association, Etiwanda Citrus Fruit Association, Evans, E.E., Fruit Growers Supply Company, Glendora Fruit Exchange, Goldenwest Citrus Association, Indian Hill Citrus Union, Irwindale Citrus Association, LaVerne Orange and Lemon Association, North Whittier Heights Citrus Association, San Antonio Fruit Growers Exchange, San Gabriel Valley Fruit Exchange, San Gabriel Valley Labor Association, Sunkist Growers, Inc., Tulare County Fruit Exchange, Verity, R.H.
    Extent: 5.5 Linear Feet (4 records boxes, 1 document box, 2 oversized document boxes, 1 oversize folder)
    Contributing Institution: Claremont Colleges. Library. Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library. Claremont, CA 91711
    Abstract: This collection contains documents relating to the citrus industry from various vendors and growers associations in Southern California. It was collected by Claremont Heritage and gifted to Special Collections in the Honnold Mudd Library in 2015. Although the dates range from 1891-1973 the bulk of the collection is material from the early twentieth century pertaining to the College Heights, Etiwanda, and Covina Orange Growers Associations. Notable materials in this collection includes information about the citrus laborers such as fruit pickers, what materials the growers used, and industrial machinery blueprints and patents.
    Physical Location: Please consult repository.
    Language of Material: Languages represented in the collection: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to reproduce or to publish must be submitted in writing to Special Collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], California Citrus Industry Collection (H.Mss.1079). Special Collections, Honnold Mudd Library, Claremont University Consortium.

    Provenance / Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Claremont Heritage, 2015.


    No additions to the collection are anticipated.

    Processing Information

    Processed in the Fall of 2017 by seven graduate students in an introductory course on archival studies at Claremont Graduate University, in the Special Collections branch of the Honnold Mudd Library with assistance from Gabriele Carey, Lisa Crane and Sara Chetney. Paper clips, staples, and duplicates have been removed. Acidic material has been covered with acid free paper, citrus labels and oversize blueprints have been placed in protective mylar sleeves. The series and subseries were divided among the students for processing. Each student strove to maintain existing document titles and preserve original order of the materials when possible.

    Biographical / Historical

    In the late 1840s, gold was not the only desired commodity in southern California. California’s sudden population increase and newfound agricultural wealth led to a demand for citrus, and production of many varieties of citrus fruits took off at the turn of the twentieth century.
    The first commercial orchard was planted by William Wolfskill in 1841 near what is now the center of downtown Los Angeles. Beginning in the 1870, the citrus industry expanded quickly. The completion of the transcontinental railways greatly promoted this boom. Commercial fruit production was concentrated in the three Southern Californian counties of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego. Plantings of navel oranges, introduced in California by the USDA in 1870, contributed most to the boom. The popularity of the Valencia orange grew slowly at first, but the acreage started to increase rapidly after 1910. The lemon and grapefruit industries developed in the 1890s, with the lemon industry benefitting from low orange prices due to overproduction. In the early 20th century, the orange and lemon industries continued to grow, with Valencia oranges surpassing Navel orange acreage by the end of the 1920s. The citrus industry was centered in southern California, where 85% of the state’s citrus fruits were produced.
    Given the rapid expansion of the citrus industry, Sunkist Growers Association was formed to create a cooperative platform for various growers to produce, market and sell fruit and other citrus related products. Included in this collection are three prominent growers in southern California: Claremont College Heights, Etiwanda and Covina Orange Growers Association. In 1885 the new Southern Pacific Railroad service was opened, which led to the creation of packing houses and an increase in acres dedicated to citrus production in Claremont, Covina and Etiwanda. From then on, demand for citrus continued to increase. College Heights had “between three and four thousand acres” of lemons and oranges by 1950 and Etiwanda nearly doubled their acreage and were owners of Sunkist Co. until 1947. Unfortunately, around this same time a virus spread through the orange grove in Covina, killing the trees and ending Covina’s reign as one of the prominent citrus producers in southern California. Seeing as citrus production is such an essential part of California’s history, the Claremont Heritage Association began collecting citrus labels and other citrus related items from various vendors in southern California to document the growth of the citrus gold rush. The artificial collection was created by Claremont Heritage and deaccessioned by Claremont Heritage. It was gifted to the Honnold Mudd Library of the Claremont Colleges, who accepted the collection based on its historical significance and geographical relevance to the city of Claremont.
    Sources: Geissler, Daniel and William Horwath. “Citrus Production in California.” UC Davis, June 2016. Web. https://apps1.cdfa.ca.gov/FertilizerResearch/docs/Citrus_Production_CA.pdf
    Lee, Ching. “The History of Citrus in California.” California Bountiful. www.californiacountry.org/features/article.aspx?arID=695. 13. Dec. 2017.
    Tobey, Ronald and Charles Wetherell. “The Citrus Industry and the Revolution of Corporate Capitalism in Southern California. 1887-1944.” California History. vol. 74, no. 1, 1995. pp. 6-21. JSTOR. 13 Dec. 2017.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection contains about 5.5 cubic feet of various records from three citrus growers associations in southern California: College Heights Orange and Lemon Association, Covina Orange Growers Association, Etiwanda Citrus Fruit Association and several miscellaneous associations and vendors, from the late nineteenth to the mid twentieth century. Information about the growers associations includes: annual meeting minutes and agendas, application letters, financial records and other correspondence pertaining to administrative and financial documentation about the employees and the history of picking. In addition to administrative information, this collection provides historical insight into patent and trademark correspondence between various inventors of citrus labeling, stamping, packaging and printing machines. This includes blueprints and correspondence between the predominant inventor E.E. Evans and the Washington Patents Office. Lastly, this collection incorporates periodicals and reports related to the fruit and citrus industry from 1933 to 1972 and contains a host of other topical files ranging from citrus labels, blueprints and photographs, to legal records, audits and standard fiscal reports.

    Organization and Arrangement

    This collection has been arranged in the following series:
    Series 1: Growers Associations and Vendors, 1891-1973 and undated
    Subseries 1.1: Claremont College Heights Growers Association, 1900-1972
    Subseries 1.2: Covina Orange Growers Association, 1909-1952 and undated
    Subseries 1.3: Etiwanda Growers Association, 1927-1929
    Subseries 1.4: Miscellaneous Growers Associations and Vendors, 1891-1973
    Series 2: Labor, 1946-1954 and undated
    Series 3: Patents and Trademarks, 1911-1949 and undated
    Series 4: Periodicals and Reports, 1933-1972 and undated
    These series have been organized alphabetically. In some cases, the series have been organized chronologically.

    Related Materials

    Researchers interested in this archive may also wish to consult the following resources from the Claremont Colleges Library Special Collections:
    Oglesby Citrus Label Collection, H.MSS.1053: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/c8db857x/. Honnold Mudd Library Produce Label Collection, H.MSS.0205.
    Crookshank Grove, La Verne Orange and Lemon Association, H.MSS.0243.
    San Bernardino Chamber of Commerce and the National Orange Show Letters and Documents, H.MSS.0726.
    David Boule California Orange Collection, H.MSS.1098.
    Bogigian Fruit Receipts Collection, H.MSS.0350: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/kt0d5nd7pc/.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library’s online public access catalog.

    Subject Terms

    American Fruit Growers Incorporated of California
    California, Southern
    Citrus fruit industry
    Claremont Lemon Association
    College Heights Orange Association
    College Heights Orange and Lemon Association
    Covina Orange Growers Association
    Etiwanda Citrus Fruit Association
    Etiwanda (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.)
    Fruit Growers Supply Company
    Indian Hill Citrus Union
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- History
    Packing House
    Sunkist Growers, inc.

    Genre and Form of Materials

    Corporate minutes
    Financial statements
    Stock certificates