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The Florida Citrus Archives Story

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.

Finding Aids for our Processed Collections

The Florida Citrus Archives are now housed in the Sarah D. and L. Kirk McKay, Jr. Archives Center. We collect all materials related to the citrus industry from marketing materials like citrus crate labels, to the photographs and papers of groves and individuals involved in the industry. We preserve these materials and make them available to researchers and the public.

Finding Aids

In 2008 the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame Fellowship Program was created to provide an engaged learning opportunity for FSC students and to expose them to a part of Florida history they may know little about. When the Archives Center opened in 2009 we proudly began displaying the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame Wall of Honorees. Each year more names are added to the wall, and information about these winners is available in the archives and on the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame website. Together the archives staff and Florida Citrus Hall of Fame Fellows have scanned labels and photographs, arranged and described collections, and created digital exhibits.

What We Do in the Florida Citrus Archives

Once donations of citrus-related materials are arrive, Florida Citrus Hall of Fame Fellows inventory them. The materials are then prepared for storage in acid-free folders and boxes, described, and then made available for use by those researching the history of the Florida citrus industry.

What We Collect

We collect materials that contribute to an understanding of the history of the citrus industry in Florida: letters, newspaper clippings, documents, memos, invoices, bills of lading, letterheads, envelopes, notes, diaries, maps, newsletters, drawings, and citrus crate labels. We also collect oral histories, historical data, writings and publications, printed materials, books, periodicals, pictures, photographs, maps, graphs, films, and various other manner of citrus memorabilia of significance.

The time frame represented covers that period from early history to the present, but the great majority of our materials fall between 1920 and the present. Naturally, the more recent history is much more completely represented than that of the earlier years. We are actively looking for the records of defunct groves.

Crate Label Collection

The Fruit and Vegetable Label Collection at Florida Southern College contains digitized crate labels primarily from Thomas Mack, James Ellis, Jerry Chicone, and Anthony Whiting. Used primarily in the 1920s-1950s, these colorful labels were used for marketing the different groves and growers.

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Canning Label Collection

The Fruit and Vegetable Label Collection at Florida Southern College contains digitized canning labels from C. Howard Sweatt and Brenda Eubanks Burnette. Most of the labels date from the mid 1950's until the 1970's. 

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Florida Citrus Postcards Collection

The Florida Citrus Postcard Collection, 1900-1960, highlights postcards collected by Brenda Eubanks Burnette, Donald Ball, Jerry Chicone, and Brian and Richard Weaver. While postcards were originally intended to serve as souvenirs and keepsakes, now these postcards help depict the citrus industry's history. In addition to fruits, groves, and citrus related equipment, the postcards contain pictures of railroads, packing houses, and fruit stands.

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Florida Citrus Photographs Collection

The Florida Citrus Photographs Collection, 1900-1960, highlights photographs from the Florida Citrus Archives collections. Of especial interest are pictures of fruit, trees, groves, equipment, packing houses, workers, and fruit stands.

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McKay Archives McKay Archives