The Citrus Label Collection consists of citrus labels (mostly orange, but some lemon and grapefruit examples) mainly from
the southern California counties of Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Orange. The collection ranges from early naturalistic
labels like Gypsy Queen (1891) to a later example of commercial art, Terra Bella (1952). The subjects featured on labels in
the collection vary widely and include sports ( Athlete); animal and floral designs ( Mallard and Camellia); architectural
and natural landscapes (Mission Bridge and Yosemite); portraits of women and children (Co-Ed and Vulture ); marine scenes
(Chinook); western and other historical images ( Yellow Aster); patriotic illustration (Columbia); and several depictions
of citrus fruit and orchards. The collection also includes a number of stock labels, items that were illustrated but never
printed. These labels were used to mark inferior fruit under another brand name or as an alternative to custom labels. As
well as the wide range of subject matter, a few of the brand labels vary in size, with some noticeably smaller for 1/2-size
boxes or larger than the standard. The collection includes some citrus related materials in the form of six printed orange
wrappers and a slide collection. The citrus label collection can provide researchers with examples of the evolution of art
advertising and local business history. But the collection is not limited to these two main subjects. For example, images
of the noble savage ( Prairie Belle) and other Native American stereotypes (such as Heap Good) could also provide information
for the researcher investigating the use of American Indians in advertising. Citrus labels were created as a way of grabbing
the eye of the buyer but their images endure.
Oranges originally were grown for local consumption. But the completion of the transcontinental railroad in the 1880s changed
the marketing of the fruit. A national network of transportation and the citrus friendly California climate encouraged more
people to migrate west. This resulted in the increased need to differentiate one grower's product from another, to capture
the attention of the wholesalers and customers back east.
Due to the physical and fragile condition of the 193 labels, the collection has certain restrictions regarding access and
duplication of the materials. Please ask the local history librarian for further details.