Papaya Gathering

Date: 31 Mar 1924
Owner: Massachusetts Historical Society
Source Type: Images


In this photograph, two prominent botanists with Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology are picking hybrid papayas for the upcoming April Fool's Day celebration in the gardens of Harvard's Biological Station. In 1924, following several failed sugarcane crops; the E. Atkins & Co. plantation invited scientists with Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology to study the landscape, the crops, and the system of production and submit proposals for more efficient management, in an effort to use science to improve yields. Botanists and horticulturalists worked to create new, hybrid species of sugar, tobacco, and some fruit trees, which were more resistant to disease. This Biological Station became a gathering place for agriculturalists, botanists, horticulturalists, and ornithologists and housed some of the most impressive collections of tropical plants and animals. It was transferred to the Cuban government following the Cuban Revolution in 1959. In this image, Harvard zoologist Thomas Barbour and horticulturalist Robert Grey are picking papayas from a hybrid papaya tree for the upcoming feast. Notice the highly labor intensive process of production.

CITATION:  Fairchild, David.  Papaya Gathering.  31 Mar 1924. Atkins Family Photographs, Collection 37, Massachusetts Historical Society Photo Archives.