LA as Subject

Collectively preserving, archiving and sharing the rich history and culture of Los Angeles

David Boulé - California and the Orange Collection

Torrance, CA

Contact: David Boulé

Institution Type: Archive, Private Collection

Archives and Collections

California entered history as a myth, named by the Spanish for a fabled tribe of Amazons under the command of Queen Calafia. The orange, too, has been cloaked in mystery since migrating from its origins in China, becoming the fruit of gods, the food of emperors, a token of gratitude and a symbol of health, wealth and love. Together, California and the orange have influenced each other for five hundred years, conjuring visions Eden.

The promotion of California as a unique agrarian paradise, a place of unlimited possibility and where personal reinvention was possible, has been cultivated by governments and song writers, politicians and poets, marketers and philosophers. The orange continues to be a symbol – a logo, even – for this California dream. And the romantic, idealized vision of those beautiful trees, golden fruit and immaculate farms is still a powerful perception held in popular consciousness. As a California citrus grower said in the 1870s, “People tell large stories about oranges…but the truth is big enough.”

My collection and research explores this unique relationship between a place and a thing, and includes photographs, postcards, periodicals, brochures, books, posters, educational materials, advertising and marketing materials, souvenirs, pins, badges and objects from the California citrus industry. My book, "The Orange and the Dream of California" was published in 2014 by Angel City Press ( ).

Regions Covered: Southern California, California

Type of Materials: Audio Recordings, Books, Cultural Artifacts, Materials & Objects, Diaries/Journals/Personal Papers, Ephemera, Films/Videos/Moving Images, Institutional Publications, Manuscripts, Maps, Memorabilia, Newspaper Clippings, Official Records, Photographs, Postcards, Press Clippings, Press Releases, Printed Works, Prints/Posters, Rare Books, Slides

Time Periods: 1848-1899, 1900-1920, 1921-1949

Languages: English

Sectors of the Population: Business, Clubs/Service/Social Organizations, Employment, Labor Unions, Migrant Workers, Asian Descent, European Descent, Mexican Descent/Chicano/Latino, At or Below Poverty Level, Lower to Middle Income, Middle to Upper Income


Loan To Others: Yes
Exhibited: Yes
Exhibition Frequency: 1-2 per yr
Makes Purchases: Yes
Outreach: Conferences/Conventions, Exhibitions, Festivals, Library Events, Newspapers, Public Lectures & Programs, Publications, Radio/TV/Video, Telephone, Word of Mouth