The Mids are Stitching! (2012-2013)

Posted on September 27, 2012

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19th Century individual tapestry: Midshipman Tomato Brand Label

The United States Naval Academy community of midshipmen, faculty, staff and employees began the Annapolis Tapetries: USNA Project with the 2012-2013 academic year.                              

Kathy Pendley, Annapolis Tapestries volunteer, is the Project Coordinator. This project is open for stitching only by USNA personnel.

The 19th century individual tapestry panel being stitched on the USNA campus is the Midshipman brand Tomato Can Label.  Here is some background information this history and significance of this item to the history of the City of Annapolis:

The Story Behind The Image: The Midshipman Brand Tomato Can Label

The Annapolis Canning and Packing Company dates from 1903, when the company was incorporated by seven male residents of Annapolis: five businessmen in construction or building supply companies; one real estate agent; and the seventh, an attorney and member of the House of  Delegates. The Company may have had its plant on West Street in the Parole neighborhood.

The company’s choice of the brand name and images shown on this label expresses the pride of Annapolis residents in the United States Navy (which had recently led the country to victory over Spain); the  United States Naval Academy (then being completely rebuilt to the Beaux Arts design of architect Ernest Flagg); and the midshipmen themselves, trained here to command the greatest naval fleet.

Pictured on the label:  (1) A midshipman in uniform of the period. (2)Three ships of America’s Golden Age of sea power.   These vessels resemble the sixteen steam battleships of the  egendary Great White Fleet, sent around the world in 1907–09.

Midshipman Brand tomatoes were almost certainly grown in Anne Arundel County and shipped by train and ship across the United States  and, possibly, abroad…carrying the mystique of the Naval Academy  and the name of Annapolis to households far and wide.

A product of a canning industry with roots in post-Civil War Annapolis, Annapolis Canning and Packing Company built on the experience of  local men and women involved for more than thirty years in the processing of oysters, vegetables, and fruits. The extensive truck farms of Anne Arundel County supplied ample amounts of tomatoes and other vegetables for commercial canning as well as for sale in the produce markets of Washington, Baltimore and beyond.

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