United Fruit Company Photograph Collection
- 1891-1962 (inclusive)
- Majority of material found within 1920-1960
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
85 linear feet (110 boxes)
The photographs depict agricultural operations, construction, and research activities undertaken by the company’s many operating units. These units produced bananas, sugar, abaca (for use as hemp), cacao, palm oil, cattle, and mahogany. The operational activities illustrated include planting, spraying, irrigation, and harvesting. Photographs also depict the construction and running of railroads, the building of wharves, company towns, schools, hospitals, and recreational facilities. The photographs also include images of the damage cause to company properties by hurricanes, floods, windstorms, fires, and other natural disasters.
From its founding, the United Fruit Company acquired large, undeveloped tracts of land made available to it by Caribbean and Central and South American governments. The company cleared and planted these lands and developed extensive railroad and port facilities. It also built employee housing, schools for the children of employees, hospitals, and research laboratories. United Fruit’s laboratories worked to develop disease-resistant crops, insecticides, and fungicides. The company operated a large fleet of steamships painted white to protect their cargo from the tropical sun. This “Great White Fleet” transported United Fruit’s products to the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
The United Fruit Company ultimately owned or leased property in Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Colombia, Cuba, Jamaica, and numerous other Central American, South American, and the West Indian countries. It engaged in the production, transportation, and marketing of bananas, sugar, cocoa, abaca, and other tropical products.
In 1970, the United Fruit Company merged with AMK Corporation; the new corporation was called the United Brands Company. The company became Chiquita Brands International in 1990.
- Series I. Mexico and Central America, 1891-1957
- Series II. South America, 1922-1957
- Series III. West Indies, 1919-1962
- Series IV. British Cameroons and Elders & Fyffes, 1913-1951
- Series V. United States, ca. 1910-1957
- Series VI. Crops, 1942-1960
- Series VII. Spraying and Irrigation, 1935-1957
- Series VIII. Facilities, 1939-1950
- Series IX. Recreation & Miscellaneous, 1916-1927
By: Maggie Hale
The existing finding aid—an inventory produced in 1979 when the collection was donated to Baker Library—was considerably revised and expanded. The current box inventory listed below reflects the numbers assigned to the new boxes. A key linking the former box locations with the new box numbering system is available if required. Please ask the reference staff for assistance.
- United Fruit Company Photograph Collection, 1891-1962 (inclusive), 1920-1960 (bulk): A Finding Aid
- Baker Library
- EAD ID
Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository
Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.
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