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Photo shows large red bard in background, with dozens of bright orange pumplins on green lawn in foreground.
Pumpkins by the dozens, harvested from the fields behind this barn in Richmond, Vermont. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2017. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.46169

Pumpkins in Pictures

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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.

Stereograph card shows to nearly identical photographs that feature a large pile of harvested pumpkins, on display at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition.
Exhibit of pumpkins from a New York stock farm at the World’s Fair, St. Louis, Mo., 1904. Photo by Whiting View Company. https://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/stereo.1s47631

The little girl in this popular graphic art print looks pleased, and surprisingly unencumbered, by the rather large pumpkin in her arms.

Color lithograph shows girl in dress sitting in chair, holding a large pumpkin and smiling.
Girl in red chair with pumpkin. Chromolithograph, 1899. https://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.44586

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.

Photo shows a man sitting on a stool and cutting up pumpkins in preparation to make pies.
Cutting up pumpkin for pies. Bakery, San Angelo, Texas. Photo by Russell Lee, November 1939. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8b23669

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.

Bucolic scene showing several men harvesting pumpkins and placing them in carts, another man drinking from a jug, and a woman and small child sitting on the ground next to them.
Gathering pumpkins, an October scene in New England. Wood engraving after a drawing by J.W. Ehninger, 1867. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3a11079

Photographer Carol M. Highsmith captured snapshots of pumpkin purveyors in multiple states, including Vermont and Connecticut, as seen below.

Photo shows large red bard in background, with dozens of bright orange pumplins on green lawn in foreground.
Pumpkins by the dozens, harvested from the fields behind this barn in Richmond, Vermont. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2017. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.46169
Photograph shows large pumpkins in pile in foreground, with three-story blue Victorian house in background.
Pumpkin stand in Southington, Connecticut. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2011. https://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/highsm.19805/

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Comments

  1. These blogs are so enriched with history and education. l enjoyed learning fun facts complemented with idyllic photographs and iconic posters.

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