By Brenda Eubanks Burnette
When Citrus Industry magazine was launched 100 years ago, the founders had many fears as to whether the focus on a single crop was too narrow to be successful. It would be something I clearly remember the Frisbie family discussing with staff at different times over the years. However, at the close of the publication’s first year of business, the editorial titled “The Citrus Industry – A Yearling” was as follows:
“With this issue The Citrus Industry closes its first year of publication.
“When announcement was made last January that a publication devoted exclusively to the citrus industry had been established, most citrus men recognized the need of such a publication, but many, even among those who most clearly recognized the need, expressed belief that the field was too limited to permit hope of success.
“But the founders of The Citrus Industry had studied the situation from every angle and for a period of some years before embarking on the enterprise. When the publication was launched, it was with a full understanding of the conditions which must be met and the probable obstacles which must be overcome. Recognizing these conditions and realizing these obstacles, but firm in the conviction that the industry offered a field for such a publication, the founders of The Citrus Industry launched the magazine prepared to back it to the limit of their ability.
“The record of achievement during the first year of Its existence has justified the faith of its founders. With no effort to perform miracles or to achieve wonders, but with a firm determination to establish the magazine on a sound and solid foundation — to build for the future, rather than to blow bubbles for the present — The Citrus Industry has gained a circulation during the first twelve months of its existence which has probably been equaled by few, if any, class publications during the first year.
“Citrus men in every field and in every branch of the industry, have been quick to recognize the need of such a publication and the merits of the magazine itself, while advertisers desiring to reach men engaged in any branch of citrus endeavor have recognized The Citrus Industry the medium through which this could be done most advantageously and directly.
“The Citrus Industry has not created, nor attempted to create, any undue furors. It has busied itself rather with the building of a foundation upon which during the future years a structure of pre-eminence in the citrus world may be erected. Men of achievement in the citrus world, from the Department of Agriculture at Washington to the practical grower in his grove, have assured us that the foundation has been firmly and properly laid.
“With this record during the first year of its existence, the publishers of The Citrus Industry are well satisfied. During the year which is to come, and other years which may follow, it will be the constant effort of The Citrus Industry and its publishers to grow further in the confidence and good graces of the men who have made the growing, handling and marketing of citrus fruits the important industry which it has become. In this effort, the magazine hopes to merit and receive the continued support of the many friends in the industry who have shown their approval and good will during the year just closing.
“With this purpose in view, The Citrus Industry closes its first year with even greater confidence in the future than that which possessed its founders when the first number was issued a year ago.”
And now, 100 years later, the founders would be even more satisfied with the growth and longevity of its “yearling” publication!
May your holidays ring with love and laughter. Here’s to a fruitful new year filled with faith, friends and family!
Brenda Eubanks Burnette is executive director of the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame. Pieces of the Past is presented in partnership with Florida Southern College’s McKay Archives Center in Lakeland.