Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Correspondence and Printed Materials

Scrapbooks

Photographs

Oversize Materials

Houston Public Library, Houston Metropolitan Research Center

Sig Frucht Collection MSS.0136



Descriptive Summary

Creator Frucht, Sigmund, 1899-1977
Title: Sig Frucht Collection
Dates: Bulk, 1940-1959
Dates: 1929-1977, 1940-1959
Identification: MSS.0136
Quantity: 11.0 Linear feet, Three document boxes, five oversize document boxes and one flat oversize box.
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Biographical Note

Sig Frucht, born in 1899 in Galveston, Texas, emerged from humble beginnings to become one of Houston’s most successful and beloved businessmen by the 1940s. Mr. Frucht was best known for his devotion to his business, Sig Frucht Produce, his family and the sports team he sponsored, The Sig Frucht Ramblers. Little is known about Mr. Frucht’s early years; however, it is clear that he maintained a close relationship throughout his life with the Boy’s Town orphanage for boys in Nebraska. He was made an Honorary Citizen of Boy’s Town and corresponded with Father Flanagan for many years.

He enlisted in the U. S. Army at the age of 19, and worked in the produce distribution warehouse where he was stationed in Australia. His army sergeant reported that Lt. Frucht usually worked 16-hour days without complaint. Shortly after his honorable discharge in 1918, he began Sig Frucht Produce, Inc. in the old Houston produce market downtown on Commerce Street. He soon earned the moniker “The Grapefruit Kid” because of his tenacity in promoting the retail purchase of Ruby Red® grapefruit grown in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley instead of imported grapefruit. He was the pioneer in promoting the Ruby Red® that we find so frequently abundant today. He steadily worked until Sig Frucht Produce became known worldwide to grocers as a supplier of quality avocados, vegetables, bananas, grapefruit and citrus, and other fruit thought to be exotic at that time such as mango and papaya. In households, Sig Frucht Produce was known for their delightful mail-order gift baskets. When the new Houston Produce Terminal was built, Sig Frucht was elected President and remained in that post for five annual terms. Sig Frucht Produce, Inc. remained in business for 50 years. During that time, Mr. Frucht started his day at 3: 00 or 4:00 a.m. He spoke of the romance and adventure of being in the produce industry. Indeed, his occupation took him to foreign countries. The most notable of these was Havana, Cuba, where Mr. Frucht developed many close business relationships and friendships. After retirement, he continued to maintain his office and mail-order catalog at the Houston Produce Terminal. He continued to foster solid relationships with local grocers, such as the Weingarten family and others close to the produce industry.

Despite heading a time-consuming business, Mr. Frucht found time to contribute to the community by sponsoring The Ramblers Club sports team. The Ramblers Club was founded by a group of young Jewish men who competed with other teams in a number of different sports. This was a very important way to occupy the time and nurture the talents of these young men during The Depression when work was difficult to find and time was abundant. All of the Ramblers went on to become respectable and productive citizens in adulthood. Other ways Mr. Frucht was an influence in the community include becoming an honorary sheriff’s deputy in service of his close friend, Sheriff Buster Kern, and serving as a Harris County Grand Juror for three terms.

Sig Frucht made and kept friends throughout his life. He had a risque and mischievous sense of humor as evidenced by the memorabilia with which he chose to decorate his scrapbooks. This was tempered by a truly caring, kind and generous humanitarian who valued his relationships and work above all else.

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Scope and Contents

The collection is comprised of scrapbooks, correspondence and photographs of Mr. Frucht’s personal life, community involvement and his work in the wholesale produce industry of Houston.

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Arrangement

Oversize materials are located in Box 9. These materials may be part of other series, but have been removed because they require appropriate housing.
Series 1: Correspondence and Printed Materials
Series 2: Scrapbooks
Series 3: Photographs
Series 4: Oversize Materials

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

None.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Sig Frucht Collection must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder.

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Index Terms

Frucht, Sigmund, 1899-1977
Houston Produce Terminal (Houston, Tex.)
Rambler’s Club
Sig Frucht Produce, Inc.
Sig Frucht Ramblers (Sports Team)
Citrus fruit industry--Texas--Houston
Fishing
Grocers--Texas--Houston
Havana (Cuba)
Jews--Texas--Houston
Produce industry--Texas--Houston--20th century

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Sig Frucht Collection. Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Sig Frucht, September 1, 1977.

Processing Information

Processed by Tammy Jordan, March 20, 2007

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Correspondence and Printed Materials

Box Folder
1 1 Itinerary: New York. June 19th to June 20th, 1960
2 Personal letter from Houston Mayor, Louie Welch. October 18, 1971
3 Letters, 1959 to 1970
4 Letters, 1956 to 1957
5 Letters, 1954 to 1971
6 Newspaper clipping: The Jewish Herald-Voice. Ramblers Club Reunion to Honor Sponsor Sig Frucht June 23. June 20, 1974
7 Flyer: Sig Frucht Produce Ruby Red grapefruit. No date
8 Letters, 1975 to 1976
9 Certificate of Appreciation: Harris County, Texas. For services as Grand Juror. May 1967
10 Retirement letter. January 23, 1960
11 Certificate: Boy’s Town. Honorary Citizen. July 2, 1940
12 Licenses: Texas Department of Agriculture. Citrus Fruit and Vegetable License (2). 1957, 1958
13 License: United States Department of Agriculture. Produce handler, merchant, broker. September 29, 1930
14 Certificate: Honorary Sheriff’s Deputy. Harris County Sheriff’s Department. April 14, 1976
15 Announcements: Rambler’s Club Reunion, July 10, 1974. Closing of business, December 25, 1974.
November 7, 1944
May 4, 1978
1954
1948
Menu (signed): San Souci Restaurant Garden. Havana, Cuba
Box Folder
1 16 Periodical: The Shocking Fact About the Fruits and Vegetables You Eat. Redbook. July 1958
17 Programs: Texas Citrus and Vegetable Growers and Shippers Annual Conference. 1949, 1977
December 1959
Box Folder
1 18 Membership Directory: Texas Citrus and Vegetable Growers and Shippers. 1949
1949
Box Folder
1 Loose in box Book: Texas Citrus and Vegetable Growers and Shippers. Seventh Annual Meeting. The Shamrock [Hotel]. Houston, Texas. September 1949

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Scrapbooks

General note
The contents of the many scrapbooks collected by Mr. Frucht include photographs (both of personal subjects and those related to Sig Frucht Produce), letters, documents and clippings. Many pages are devoted to his many fishing trips and the Sig Frucht Ramblers sports club. Every effort was made to retain the original arrangement of the scrapbooks while storing the pages to minimize their inherent vice.
Box
2 Two scrapbooks
Box
3 Two scrapbooks
Box
4 Four scrapbooks
Box
5 Three scrapbooks
Box
6 Three scrapbooks

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Photographs

Box Number
7 MSS 136.1 to MSS 136.54C Sig Frucht Produce
MSS 136.55 to MSS 136.100 Portraits
Box Folder
8 MSS 136.101 to MSS 136.134A Portraits
MSS 136.135 to MSS 136.145 Havana, Cuba
MSS 136.146 to MSS 136.169 Houston Sports
MSS 136.170 to MSS 136.183 Fishing

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Oversize Materials

Box Folder
9 MSS 136.54D to MSS 136.54E Sig Frucht Produce photographs
MSS 136.134B to MSS 136.134D Portrait photographs
MSS 136.148 and MSS 136.185 Fishing photographs
Two scrapbooks
Assorted, enlarged clippings
High school diploma: Sam Houston High School. 1918

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