Home > History of Wine > Historic Photographs of Grapevines in Illinos

Historic Photographs of Grapevines in Illinos


The photographs featured in today’s post are sourced from the American Environmental Photographs 1891-1936 collection.  This collection features photographs taken by American botanists who sought to capture the diverse American topography.  The photographs were taken by Henry Chandler Cowles, George Damon Fuller, and other Chicago ecologists.  The Chicago location might explain why most of the grapevine photographs were taken in Illinois.

Vitis planted on a hillside [at a] Nauvoo, Illinois vineyard. [1]

Vitis planted on a hillside [at a] Nauvoo, Illinois vineyard. [1]

I am particularly captivated by the last two pictures in this post because they bear a connection to earlier posts in the history of wine.  The second image of Vitis vulpina shows the long, thick grapevine coiling up into the trees.  If you look closely you will see a man standing in the shadows.  There are descriptions of grapes vines climbing up trees in many of the 17th century accounts that I have read.  For example I noted how Louis Hennepin wrote of the trees “cover’d with Vines, whose Grapes are very big and sweet” in my post “our Vat was a Bark-Pail”: An Account of 17th Century Wine Making in Canada.

Vitis vulpina, Bethel Hollow, Pope County, Illinois. [2]

Vitis vulpina, Bethel Hollow, Pope County, Illinois. [2]

In the post An Example of Colonial Winemaking Located in What was Briefly Maryland I quoted Colonel John Jones who wrote in 1776 of  the “immense quantity of these vines growing on the beach open to the sea”.  He did not describe what these beach vines looked like but due to the picture of Dune remnants I now have a mental image.  Has anyone see other pictures of grapevines growing on dunes or beaches?

Dune remnants with grapevine smothering Pine, Miller, Indiana. [3]

Dune remnants with grapevine smothering Pine, Miller, Indiana. [3]


[1] Vitis planted on a hillside [at a] Nauvoo, Illinois vineyard. American Environmental Photographs Collection, [AEP Image Number, AEP-ILS294], Department of Special Collections, University of Chicago Library.  URL: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.award/icuaep.ils294
[2] Vitis vulpina, Bethel Hollow, Pope County, Illinois. American Environmental Photographs Collection, [AEP Image Number, AEP-ILS35], Department of Special Collections, University of Chicago Library.  URL: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.award/icuaep.ils35
[3] Dune remnants with grapevine smothering Pine, Miller, Indiana. American Environmental Photographs Collection, [AEP Image Number, AEP-INN151], Department of Special Collections, University of Chicago Library. URL: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.award/icuaep.inn151

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