Monday, May 27, 2013

America grows up on oranges (and on their labels)

The celebrations and observances of Memorial Day put me in mind of how the iconography of American patriotism was depicted in the colorful food labels of days gone by. Here are some samples, focused solely on ones designed for oranges. Beyond the overtly nationalistic images featuring Uncle Sam and the flag, one can see various mythologies reflected, such as transcontinental expansion and the Old West.


  1. It's a Bizarro world where the Pilgrims landed on the West Coast! (Is someone pointing a rifle at the hapless newcomers? Hard to tell...)

  2. Paul Revere, racing to the store to buy oranges? Oranges dumped into Boston harbor? And — no matter which coast they landed on — I don't imagine the Pilgrims ever saw an orange.

    Fascinating labels; thanks for this post. It brings to mind one of the classic non-fiction books of the 1960s: John McPhee's Oranges.

    1. It must've been the Earl Grey Tea Party.

      HI, RPS! Did you find out about the Nuremberg parade?

    2. Not yet. My son goes back to Germany in about three weeks.

  3. Oh my! I'm drowning in patriotism and a sea full of oranges! Apparently, artistry was more important than legibility in the Ate-Good orange ad, because it took me way too long to figure out what that said (originally thought Ate-Cod).

    Now I have a new way to request my produce -- "fancy selected"