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Jay T. Last Collection of Food: Fruit and Vegetable Labels: Finding Aid
priJLC_FOOD_FtVeg  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content
  • Related materials in the Huntington Library
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Jay T. Last Collection of Food: Fruit and Vegetable Labels
    Dates (inclusive): approximately 1870-1975
    Bulk dates: 1890-1950
    Collection Number: priJLC_FOOD_FtVeg
    Collector: Last, Jay T.
    Extent: 9,120 items
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Prints and Ephemera
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The Jay T. Last Collection of Food: Fruit and Vegetable Labels contains over 9,000 printed produce labels from the 1870s to the 1970s, with the majority of items dating from 1890 to 1950. The collection is comprised mainly of color lithographs.
    Language: English.
    Note:
    Finding aid last updated on August 28, 2017.

    Access

    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item title, Call number]. Jay T. Last Collection of Food: Fruit and Vegetable Labels, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    This collection forms part of the Jay T. Last Collection of Graphic Arts and Social History, which was donated to the Huntington Library by Jay T. Last in 2005 as a gift in progress. The bulk of the fruit and vegetable labels were transferred to the Library between 2010 and 2012.

    Background

    The Jay T. Last Collection is an unparalleled archive of printed paper artifacts that documents American lithographic, social, and business history. The collection began in the early 1970s when physicist and Silicon Valley pioneer Jay Last moved to Southern California and started collecting citrus box labels he found at local flea markets and rummage sales. As his collection grew, Last realized that these labels conveyed important information about commercial printing, graphic design, and social history, and he expanded his collection to include other forms of American visual culture. Today this collection contains more than 200,000 lithographic prints, posters, and ephemera of mostly nineteenth- and early twentieth- century American origin and represents works by more than five hundred lithographic companies.

    Scope and Content

    The Jay T. Last Collection of Food: Fruit and Vegetable Labels contains over 9,000 printed produce labels from the 1870s to the 1970s, with the majority of items dating from 1890 to 1950. The collection is comprised mainly of color lithographs.
    Materials are arranged in two series: small-size items (11 x 14 inches or less) and large-size items (more than 11 x 14 inches). Small-size items are described broadly at the series level; large-size items are fully inventoried and all printers, artists, and publishers are indexed by name. The collection includes over 30 large-size product labels for produce. Small-size labels number approximately 8,350. Materials include barrel and can labels as well as multiple kinds of box labels.
    While the collection is primarily American, it does contain a small quantity of foreign produce labels. Most notably, Boxes 9-11 contain Spanish citrus labels, while other boxes and binders have fruit and vegetable labels from Australia, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand.
    Also of note are three boxes of Blue Goose brand labels produced for American Fruit Growers, Inc. Other A.F.G. labels can be found throughout the collection, but Blue Goose items were isolated by the collector to create a comprehensive look at the brand.
    PLEASE NOTE: Most California citrus labels collected by Jay T. Last are in the finding aid for the Jay T. Last Collection of Food: California Citrus Box Labels.  
    Overall the collection identifies produce growers and merchandisers, reveals advertising trends and consumption habits, and provides a resource for studying the history of American fruit and vegetable production, including the canning, packing, and shipping industries that evolved in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many labels predictably depict colorful images of fruits or vegetables, but pictures of women, children, animals, flowers, and views of farms, orchards, and vineyards also sold the product. As graphic materials, these labels offer evidence of developing techniques and trends in printmaking, and of the artists, engravers, lithographers, and publishers involved in the creative process.

    Alternative Form of Materials Available

    Visit the Huntington Digital Library: Jay T. Last Collection   to view digitized items from this collection.

    Related materials in the Huntington Library

    Arrangement

    The collection is arranged in the following 2 series:
    • Series I. Fruit and Vegetable Labels (small size)
      • Subseries A. Fruit Labels (small size)
      • Subseries B. Vegetable Labels (small size)
      • Subseries C. American Fruit Growers Inc. Blue Goose Labels (small size)
    • Series II. Fruit and Vegetable Labels (large size)
      • Subseries A. Fruit Labels (large size)
      • Subseries B. Vegetable Labels (large size)
      • Subseries C. American Fruit Growers Inc. Blue Goose Labels (large size)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Genres

    Chromolithographs.
    Ephemera.
    Ephemera -- United States -- 19th century.
    Ephemera -- United States -- 20th century.
    Fruit crate labels.
    Intaglio prints.
    Labels.
    Lithographs.
    Printed ephemera.
    Relief prints.

    Subjects

    Advertising -- Farm produce.
    Citrus fruit industry.
    Fruit -- Pictorial works.
    Vegetables -- Pictorial works.

    Printer, Publisher, Artist Index

    The following is a complete list of printers, publishers, and artists represented in the large-size items in this collection.
    A.L. Bancroft & Company.
    Dickman-Jones Co.
    F.A. Read (Firm)
    Forbes Lithograph Manufacturing Company.
    H.S. Crocker & Co.
    National Bureau of Engraving (Philadelphia, Pa.)
    Schmidt Label & Litho. Co.
    Schmidt Litho. Co.
    Simpson & Doeller Co.
    Stecher-Traung.
    W.W. Elliott & Co.