Every fall, as the weather begins to transition from hot and humid to cool and brisk, my mind turns to happy memories of comforting foods and trips to pumpkin patches from years past. A search of the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog reveals that pumpkins have been part of the autumn visual landscape for quite some time — and long before pumpkin spice lattes came into being.
Take the scene in the stereograph view below, highlighting an impressive harvest of pumpkins on display at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. The abundance of squash in every shape imaginable stands out, along with the somewhat unimpressed expression on the face of the man sitting at the table in the foreground.
The little girl in this popular graphic art print looks pleased, and surprisingly unencumbered, by the rather large pumpkin in her arms.
For many of us, the first thing that comes to mind at the mention of pumpkins is pie. This bakery worker is hard at work preparing just that in this photo from November 1939.
Pumpkin harvests often bring to mind bucolic scenes such as this one, which was published in the October 26, 1867 issue of Harper’s Weekly.
Photographer Carol M. Highsmith captured snapshots of pumpkin purveyors in multiple states, including Vermont and Connecticut, as seen below.
- Explore the Prints & Photographs Division’s Stereograph Cards and see additional agriculture-related images from the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition.
- View more pumpkin pictures from the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
- Read another Picture This blog post with a focus on autumn produce: From Apples to Autumn Leaves.