Grape Basket Label, Lake Keuka Catawba

Catawba is a hybrid grape variety developed in the early 19th century with grape material native to the United States (Vitis labrusca). Widely grown in the Upper Midwest and eastern U.S., Catawba grapes are among those that found favorable conditions in the Finger Lakes area of New York. Production of these red-skinned grapes expanded there during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Enjoyed as table grapes, the Catawba are also used to make jams and jellies as well as sweet and sparkling wines.
This colorful printed label for “Selected Clusters” of Lake Keuka Catawba grapes was used by Andrew MacKay & Co., a firm that packed and shipped grapes out of Penn Yan, a village nestled on the north end of the east branch of Keuka Lake, one of New York’s Finger Lakes. Established in 1866, MacKay’s company was one of several that shipped wooden baskets of grapes by steamboat and rail to commercial processors and retail businesses. Labels like this would have been pasted on the lids of the “pony” baskets, 1250 of which could fit in a single rail car. MacKay was also a grocer and operated a store in the village of Penn Yan in addition to his fruit shipping business.
Currently not on view
Object Name
crate label
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
multicolor (overall color)
overall: 4 15/16 in x 10 5/8 in; 12.54125 cm x 26.9875 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Food Technology
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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