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Additional Images
Primary Object
Citrus labels
Title/Object Name
Citrus labels


Artifact Descriptions
Four orange fruit labels from packinghouses in Riverside.  Three of the four have images of the Mission Inn.
Artifact Origin Map
The Collections Citrus | Citrus labels
Citrus labels

Updated: September 16, 2008

rom 1885 to the mid-1950, colorful paper labels, pasted on the wooden orange crates, were shipped all over the nation.  Each packinghouse had several different labels to promote their fruit.  The labels identified the grade and brand of the fruit.  There were over 8,000 label designs.  Among the brand names were Golden Surprise, Atlas, Pasadena Luscious, King, Sunshine, Have One, Mercury, and Orange Queen. 

A snow-capped mountain with orange groves and palm trees was a popular image.  Other images included birds and animals, landscapes, airplanes and other forms of transportation, Native Americans, Egyptian scenes, ships, sports, military figures, cowboys, women, literary figures, including Huck Finn and Cinderella, children, the California Missions, and of course, oranges. 

There were labels featuring the Mission Inn, including the Parent Tree brand, the Rain Cross brand, and the Mission Inn brand.  Pictured on the Mission Inn label were Joseph and Napoleon, the two macaws who lived at the hotel for many years.  There were at least two versions of the Parent Tree brand.  One pictured the Washington Navel tree planted by President Roosevelt in 1903 and a small boy wearing a sombrero in front of the “Old Adobe.”  The second version pictured the Companario (bell tower) in the background, but no boy. 

Over 35 printing companies (lithographers) employed artists to create the labels.  Although the artists rarely signed their work, each artist had a particular style and as a result, their work is identifiable.  In mid-1950 the packinghouses switched from wood to cardboard boxes to ship the fruit.  There was no longer a need to produce the labels. Printed directly on the boxes was the information identifying the grade or brand of fruit.
Online Links & Resources

Citrus Label Society

Special Collections - Pomona Public Library – Pomona, CA

Heritage Room – A. K. Smiley Public Library – Redlands, CA

Baird (William M.) Papers - University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections

Lug Label Collection - University of California, Davis. General Library. Dept. of Special Collections.

Orange Public Library Local History Collection

Sunkist Growers

Dr. Vince Moses, Ph.d

Dr. Douglas C. Shackman, Ph.d
University of Puget Sound

Dr. Anthea Hartig, Ph.d
Western Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

  • Gaylord, Bill. (1998). RE:CYCLING" in Riverside Orange Label Collecting on a Bike. Gaylord's Mercantile.

  • Klotz, Esther, Harry W. Lawton and Joan H. Hall. (Eds.). (1989). A History of Citrus In the Riverside Area. Riverside, CA: Riverside Museum Press.

  • McClelland, Gordon T. and Jay T. Last. (2006). California Orange Box Labels. Santa Ana, CA: Hillcrest Press, Inc.

  • McClelland, Gordon T. and Jay T. Last. (2006). Fruit Box Labels. Santa Ana, CA: Hillcrest Press, Inc.

  • Sackman, Douglas Cazaux. (2005). Orange Empire California and the Fruits of Eden. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.

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