Citrus fruits are not indigenous to Florida, nor is its cultivation exclusive to the state. Domestically, California and Texas both have considerable citrus industries of their own. Brazil and China’s production both dwarf Florida’s. But no other place in the world has so closely and successfully linked its identity with the citrus industry. After a century of intense marketing and branding, Florida’s international image is synonymous with citrus and sunshine.
This exhibit explores the history of Florida's citrus industry through various materials held by University of South Florida Tampa Library’s Special Collections: post cards, sheet music, rare books, promotional materials, industry documents, and political correspondence. If Florida's identity is irrevocably entwined with the citrus industry, some of these materials served as the glue that joined them in the public's mind. For Florida boosters, it was not just a matter of marketing citrus. They sold, and still sell, a bit of Florida sunshine in every crate of citrus and carton of orange juice.