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Riverside Public Library Citrus Label Collection
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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.
The collection is 2.5 linear feet contained in two boxes 140 online items
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.