David Boulé California Orange Collection
Scope and Content of the Collection
Language of Materials
Biography / Administrative History
Citrus cultivation was first brought to Baja California in 1793 by the Spanish Jesuit missionaries, and in 1796 was carried north by Franciscan friars as they established missions throughout California. Citrus was frequently grown at the missions, including a large grove of 400 trees at Mission San Gabriel. It was from this mission that William Wolfskill, a U.S. native and naturalized Mexican citizen, borrowed seedlings in order to begin his own grove, the first commercial scale orchard in the state, in 1840. At the time of his death in 1866, Wolfskill’s property boasted 60,000 grape vines and over 4,000 orange and lemon trees. More growers quickly followed, and California became a major producer of the nation’s oranges.
This collection was developed by David Boulé, a third generation Californian, enthusiastic collector, researcher, archivist, and author. His vast and varied collection started small with the purchase of two postcards depicting the idealized fields of oranges that were so typical of the California dream’s image. Since then, his collection grew to include historic photographs, hundreds of postcards, rare advertising and marketing materials, books, phonograph records, posters, journals and personal papers, newspapers and press clippings, and many California orange-themed souvenirs and promotional items. He has lectured on the impact of California’s King Citrus, and his book, The Orange and Dream of California, was published in 2014 by Angel City Press and was first catalogued in WorldCat by Honnold/Mudd Special Collections. In its mission statement, Boulé describes this collection as “explor[ing] the California citrus empire, how it shaped the state’s image and culture, and how the orange became a symbol for California’s historic promise – as a place of beauty, abundance, and potential. In addition to materials that portray an idealized vision of California and King Citrus, the collection includes items that illuminate the significant labor, enterprise and economic aspects of the California citrus industry.”
This “significant labor” was sometimes officially depicted in an idealized sense, but a large proportion of the laborers involved were ignored in the construction of the “California dream.” People of color made up most of the industry’s workforce, yet were largely hidden from view. The Boulé collection includes rare images of the Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican workers, both men and women, who provided the majority of the labor that was so crucial for the success of large-scale citrus production in California. Other items of note include industry artifacts such as an intact wooden Sunkist packing crate, early electric juicers, and a smudge pot. Mr. Boulé generously donated the entirety of his collection to Special Collections at The Claremont Colleges Library in 2017, where it is a keystone collection and has already been featured in several exhibits.
Boule, David. The Orange and the Dream of California. Santa Monica: Angel City Press, 2013.
Reccow, Louis. The Orange County Citrus Strikes of 1935-1936: The “Forgotten People” in Revolt. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1981, © 1971.
Thompson and West. History of Los Angeles County California, with Illustrations. Berkeley: Howell-North, 1959.
Wilson, Iris Higbie. William Wolfskill 1798-1866: Frontier Trapper to California Ranchero. Glendale: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1965.
27.25 Linear Feet (2 records boxes, 1 doc box, 1 oversize doc box, 2 short doc boxes, 2 flat boxes, 2 oversize flat boxes, 2 multi-tray artifact boxes, 3 sectional artifact boxes, 2 music roll cartons, 1 stereoscope box, 4 cartons, 1 negatives box, 8 custom artifact boxes)
Organization and Arrangement
Series 1: Marketing Materials, 1882-1984
Subseries 1.1: National Orange Show Materials, 1893-1978
Subseries 1.2: Vendor Materials, 1925-1947
Series 2: Audio/Visual Materials, 1893-2010
Series 3: Business Documents, 1907-1953
Series 4: Artifacts, 1911-1966
Series 5: Research Materials, 1886-2016
Materials have been organized alphabetically by type, and chronologically within each type.
Provenance/Source of Acquisition
Items Removed from the Collection
Supplemental materials with information about objects in the collection were placed in the Boulé collection file. Please contact Special Collections staff to view this file.
- California, Southern -- History
- Citrus crate labels -- California
- Citrus fruit industry
- Citrus fruits -- Marketing
- Health education
- Los Angeles (Calif.) -- History
- National Orange Show
- Orange County (Calif.) -- History
- Orange box labels -- California
- Packing House
- Photographic postcards
- Poster stamps
- San Bernardino County (Calif.)
- Tourism California.
- David Boulé California Orange Collection
- Finding aid prepared by Sara Chetney, MA
- Language of description
- Script of description