Heirloom Fruits of America features 100 full-color illustrations selected from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection, an archive of 7,584 paintings, lithographs, and line drawings created from 1886 to 1942 by about sixty-five commissioned artists. These images served as de facto trademarks in the highly competitive and fraud-plagued American fruit industry in a time before patent protection extended to living organisms. They are also meticulously and beautifully rendered, uncovering a cache of botanical diversity in turn-of-the-century American agriculture. Yale historian Daniel J. Kevles’s introduction deepens viewers’ appreciation of these plates by placing these images in their historical context.
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