The Eastern Wine and Grape Archive

Grapes lithograph.
This hand-colored lithograph of grapes is from a series of fruit images created by Joseph Prestele. Homestead, Iowa Amana Society, [ca. 1880]. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

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, along with rare books, photographs, and other documentation on these subjects. Housed in Cornell Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, 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.

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 preserves letters, account books, diaries, scrapbooks, pamphlets, posters, memorabilia, field notes, scientific reports, winery publications and marketing materials. Other relevant materials include rare, old, or scarce publications, 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)
  • The papers of wine journalist and historian Hudson Cattell (ca 1970-2018)

History of the Program
The Eastern Wine and Grape Archive originated as 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 has provided 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 (2004-2008)
Cornell University Library 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 identified and described records and other information owned by individuals and businesses; developed awareness of the importance of these historically relevant materials; and offered help in planning for their future preservation and access. Materials were identified through surveys, discussion and on-site review and in-person interviews.

How to Support the Archive
If you have or know about materials that could help tell the story of grape growing, wine or juice making, or the distribution, marketing or consumption of wine or grapes, 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