Kira Grape Label Collection
Yates County Genealogical and Historical Society holds in their collections over 200 grape labels which were at one time used on “pony” baskets of eating grapes. From the 1890’s through the 1920’s millions of pony baskets of grapes were shipped from the Finger Lakes of New York to nearby cities. While production numbers for the quantity of grapes shipped do not exist, two examples of the numbers of baskets made and shipped give an idea of the magnitude of the industry. One manufacturer of baskets made over 9 million pony baskets in 1917 while one supplier of handles for these baskets sold over 8.5 million that same year.
The majority of the grape labels that adorned these baskets in Yates and adjoining counties were printed in Penn Yan by the Chronicle, one of the local newspapers. In the early years of this fruit business, customers looked for grapes from specific packers. This led to more attractive labels to catch the customer’s eye. We today are the beneficiaries of this label art.
Approximately half of the labels in our collection are from Yates County. Others are from nearby Finger Lakes and from the grape growing regions of western New York on Ontario and Erie Lakes. Mr. George Kira of Staten Island started collecting these labels in the early 1990’s and generously donated them to us.
The labels are sorted by region and all are available in a printed form. Contact YCG&HS for cost & ordering details.
Keuka Lake | Seneca Lake | Finger Lakes | Hudson Valley | Lake Erie | And More
The Publick Universal Friend, Jemima Wilkinson In 1790
Jemima Wilkinson, known as the Publick Universal Friend, brought 260 believers to Yates County, creating a utopian community and the largest settlement in western New York State. A powerful preacher and forceful personality, Wilkinson espoused plain dress, pacifism and the emancipation of slaves. The sect declined after her death in 1819, and today, YCGHS owns the largest known collection of artifacts and manuscript materials relating to Wilkinson and her community, the Society of Universal Friends. These collections include her portrait, the man's hat worn by her, Jemima's bible, gifts given by visitors to the community including Seneca baskets and a pocketbook from a French aristocrat, and items of daily use including pewter, china, chairs and a saddle. Manuscript materials include her last will and testament, the Society's Death Book, and a large body of correspondence and other written materials. The re-print of Pioneer Prophetess is available only through our Museum Gift Shop.
L. Caroline Underwood
Throughout her life, Caroline accumulated a variety of objects included collectibles such as her renowned pink ceramic pigs, travel souvenirs, menus, Royal Copenhagen Christmas plates, cups and saucers; family-related material such as furniture and hand-made quilts; antique toys; fine clothes, shoes and jewelry, and a host of other items from both the 19 th and 20 th centuries. In addition, Caroline specified that she wished to be placed on permanent display 44 objects that had special meaning to her. These objects are incorporated into the long term exhibit at the L. Caroline Underwood Museum entitled, Caroline Underwood: Collector, Teacher Traveler.
The Oliver grandfather clock was manufactured by Riley Whiting in Connecticut circa 1820. The original works were wooden but have been replaced.
Incorporating the Oliver family collection of Revival Renaissance pieces with the Society's collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century furnishings, six rooms within the house are portrayed in Victorian period style. Other period pieces both earlier and later are also on display.
From Adam Hunt's 1760 wedding vest to the polyester leisure suits of the 1970's, our extensive collection of costumes include fine examples of styles, fabrics and design throughout this time period. Along with numerous accessory pieces, a fine collection of quilts and textiles round out our collection. The objects are frequently on display.
Agricultural, Carpentry and Blacksmithing Tools
Our many agricultural implements and carpentry/blacksmithing tools give insight into the tasks performed to build and maintain the communities of Yates County.
Just as the agricultural, carpentry and blacksmithing tools were used mainly by men, the domestic tools such as churns, walking and flax wheels, candle molds, irons and other household items assisted women as they went about their daily tasks of every day living.
Our collection includes pieces from the War of 1812 through the Korean Conflict. Consisting of uniforms, arms, medals, and the day-to-day tools used in the different wars, the collection also contains a number of manuscripts and documents.
Native American Artifacts
Our collection centers on the Eastern Woodlands Indians who inhabited our area, particularly the Seneca Nation (Onondowahgah), “People of the Great Hill”. The Seneca Nation’s origin is recognized as being within the Town of Middlesex, Yates County. The Senecas are one of the original five nations that comprised the Haudenosaunee (“People of the Longhouse”) Confederacy, also known as the Iroquois Confederacy. Our collection includes a great number of points, mortars and pestles, celts, axe heads, and other stone tools, trade beads, birdstones, a pair of 1890’s moccasins, a cradleboard, baskets and a tanned decorative hide. We also have “hands-on” items and several reference books.
The Oliver House collection consists of a variety of decorative arts popular in Yates County through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Among our pieces is a particularly fine collection of flow blue china owned by the Oliver family.
The Society has a fine collection of portraits in oil, charcoal and watercolor of early settlers and prominent figures in Yates County. Paintings of landscapes are also on display.
Our unusually rich photograph collection contains items dating from 1850 to the present, consisting of a large number of antique postcards, paper prints, slides (modern and lantern), daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tin-types, negatives (glass and film), hand-colored black and white prints, stereographs, and photo albums. Themes include transportation, steamboat traffic, railroads and trolley, businesses, Keuka Lake, churches, schools, residences, special events- parades, circuses, fairs and festivals, military, and special collections such as the slides of Verdi Burtch, noted ornithologist.