Florida Citrus Postcards
The Florida Citrus Postcard Collection highlights postcards collected by Brenda Eubanks Burnette, Donald Ball, Jerry Chicone and the Weaver Brothers, Brian and Richard. While postcards were originally intended to serve as souvenirs and keepsakes, now postcards help depict our history. The collection includes postcards from the early 1900s through 1960s. This collection also chronicles the arrival of the railroad in Florida, packing houses, fruit stands, and how development has impacted the citrus community throughout the past century.
We encourage feedback and are actively seeking additions to this collection.
Crate Label Collection
The Citrus Crate Label Collection at Florida Southern College contains digitized labels from the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame, primarily private collector James Ellis. These colorful labels are both artistic and useful as a tool in the citrus industry. Lithography for citrus crate labels began in the late 1880s in California and migrated to Florida soon after. The unique artwork, drawn by popular artists of the time but not identified, was used for advertising for a particular grower or shipper. The labels were glued to the end of the wooden shipping crate prior to going to market. The peak years for crate labels were between 1920 and 1950 after which time the use of cardboard shipping cartons became prevalent. The label’s color also denotes the grade of fruit and registration with the Florida Citrus Commission.
Oral History Project
Ever wish you could pick the brains of the citrus old timers? Or listen to stories from times gone by? Now you can! Check out our oral history collection and listen to hours of living citrus icons tell stories from the good old days. From harvesting practices, to freezes, to “that’s how we use to do it,” you’ll laugh and cry, but mostly, you’ll be amazed at the hard work and dedication that built the foundation of the Florida Citrus Industry.
Citrus Trail Tour
There’s a new way to experience central Florida’s rich citrus history. The Citrus Label Tour of Polk County is a unique driving experience featuring enlarged and reproduced citrus labels on various buildings around Polk. The Citrus Label Tour driving experience explores part of the historic marketing portion of citrus through the artistic labels that once adorned the old wooden crates used to ship the fresh fruit off to northern markets in the early 1900s.
Buy The Book!
The Florida Citrus Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the availability of a 108-page book filled with over 180 images of Florida citrus crate labels from the collections of Jerry Chicone, Jr. and Jim Ellis, as well as various photos, ads and postcards depicting images of fresh citrus production in the early years. This magnificent volume by Jerry Chicone, Jr. and Brenda Eubanks Burnette documents the story of “Florida’s first billboards” and is certain to become a collector’s item.
Miss Florida Citrus
Dating back to 1924, the Florida Citrus Growers sponsored the Florida Citrus Queen Program, devoted to the promotion of the Florida citrus industry. Each year they carefully selected a young woman to serve as a goodwill ambassador throughout the state, the nation, and the world.
The Florida Citrus Hall of Fame Fellowship Program was created in 2008 at Florida Southern College (FSC), in Lakeland, to help describe, preserve, and digitize citrus documents while creating an engaged learning environment for students.
Florida Citrus Archives
The archival materials related to citrus have grown slowly but steadily over the years at Florida Southern College. Faculty and students moved to Lakeland in 1922, to the site of a citrus grove. Professor Thomas B. Mack began teaching at the college in 1951 and brought his interest in all things citrus, as well as his burgeoning collection. In 1988, the inclusion of a special room to house the collection in the Jack Berry Citrus Building brought about more rapid growth. On May 4th, 2001, the State of Florida declared the Thomas B. Mack Citrus Archives collection to be the official archives of the Florida citrus industry.
With Florida Southern College located since 1922 on the site of a former orange grove, the connection to the citrus industry has provided a strong presence on campus. The relationship was further strengthened with the formation of the FSC Citrus Institute in 1947, which provided training and education to future leaders in the field. FSC at one time was the only private school in the nation with a citrus curriculum.