Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

American Studies

Major Professor

Robert E. Snyder, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Daniel Belgrad, Ph.D.

Keywords

Citrus, Advertising, Twentieth century America, Cultural history

Abstract

Neither indigenous nor exclusive to Florida, the orange has nevertheless become an international symbol for the state. This connection between product and place appears in cultural materials regarding Florida. In fact and fiction the orange has operated as metaphor and synecdoche for an Edenic Florida. This thesis analyzes how the orange came to represent a "natural" Florida through the conflation of the commercial product with the state's history by way of political and marketing puffery. A litany of citrus advertisements, tourist ephemera, and historical associations regarding the state acknowledged and expanded the connections between the orange, improved health, and Florida. A critical thirty-year period between 1930 and 1960 solidified these connections through major shifts in the Florida citrus industry and American culture. These shifts caused the state history and the oranges' history to become irrevocably entwined.

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