Skip to main content

California Citrus Industry Collection

 Collection
Identifier: H-Mss-1097

  • Staff Only

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.

Dates

  • 1891-1973

Creator

Language of Materials

Languages represented in the collection: English.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

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

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.

Extent

5.5 Linear Feet (4 records boxes, 1 document box, 2 oversized document boxes, 1 oversize folder)

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.

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.

Physical Location

Please consult repository.

Provenance / Source of Acquisition

Gift of Claremont Heritage, 2015.

Accruals

No additions to the collection are anticipated.

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/.

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.
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the 01 - Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library Repository

Contact:
800 North Dartmouth Ave
Claremont CA 91711 United States