The Eastern Wine and Grape Archive

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Press Release: Cornell University Library receives second grant to support its Eastern Wine and Grape Archive

In 1998, Cornell University established the Eastern Wine and Grape Archive (EWGA) to collect the archival records of grape growers, wine makers, and associated industry participants. The goals of the Eastern Wine and Grape Archive are to:

  • Collect and preserve the history of the wine and grape industries in the Eastern United States;
  • Develop awareness about the importance of preserving these historical records;
  • Ensure that these materials remain available to scholars, industry members, and the public.

The history of grape growers and wine makers is under-documented. Despite the steady growth of the American wine industry over the 19th century, and its explosive growth during the last decades of the 20th century, Cornell University is one of only a few institutions with an ongoing program to document the history of the production and consumption of wine in the United States.

What are Historical Records?
The EWGA seeks letters, account books, diaries, scrapbooks, pamphlets, posters, memorabilia, field notes, scientific reports, winery publications and marketing materials. Other relevant materials may include drawings, photographs, videotapes, and oral histories, or any other documents that help tell the story of grape growing and winemaking in the United States.

What is in the Archive?
During the years since its founding, the Eastern Wine and Grape Archive has grown to include the records and papers of several businesses, individual growers, viticulturists, and wine makers, such as:
  • George Remaily (papers 1970-2000)
  • Nelson Shaulis (papers 1941-1986)
  • Philip Wagner (papers 1934-1997)
  • Hammondsport Wine Company (1920-1928)
  • Pleasant Valley Wine Company (1860-1953)
  • Urbana Wine Company (1867-1882, 1900-1918)
  • Widmer Wine Cellars (1906-1963)

How is the Archive Supported?
The Eastern Wine and Grape Archive is a cooperative project between Cornell University Library's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, and the Frank A. Lee Library at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva, New York. Cornell received early seed money for the Archive from the American Society for Enology and Viticulture - Eastern Section (ASEV-ES). The ASEV Eastern Section provides continued support to the Archive. Additional gifts have come from the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, the Vinifera Wine Growers Association, and the estate of Philip Wagner, among others.

Historical Records Survey Project (2004-2006)
Cornell University Library has received funding through the New York State Department of Educations Documentary Heritage Program to conduct a survey of historical materials and business records from grape growing, juice and wine making, and related industries in New York State.
The survey project will identify and describe records and other information owned by individuals and businesses; develop awareness of the importance of these historically relevant materials; and offer to help in planning for their future preservation and access. Cornellās project archivist will identify materials through surveys, discussion and on-site review and in-person interviews.

The Importance of Acting Now
By taking a little time today, it is possible to ensure that your contributions to the wine and grape industry, or the contributions of someone you know, will endure. All too often, important letters, diaries, documents or photographs disappear or are discarded when someone important to viticulture or enology passes away or can no longer store older materials. Invaluable documents about the individualās accomplishments are sometimes irrevocably lost.

We Need Your Help
If you have or know about materials that could help tell the story of grape growing, wine or juice making, we would like to hear from you. Please contact us at Cornell University Library, Eastern Wine and Grape Archive.

Telephone: 607 255-3530
Email: RareRef@cornell.edu

The Archive actively solicits materials for consideration and/or contribution. For information about contributing, please contact:

Katherine Reagan
Curator of Rare Books & Burgunder Curator for George Bernard Shaw
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
2B Carl A. Kroch Library
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-3530
or
Marty Schlabach
Director, Frank A. Lee Library
New York State Agricultural Experiment Station
Geneva, NY 14456
315-787-2214