This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
At the winter meeting of the Ohio State Horticultural Society, at Zanesville, Mr. Bateham explained Dr. Ayer's successful method of keeping winter pears out of doors during the winter. This is simply to gather the fruit when mature, or before sharp frosts occur, and lay it in piles of one or two bushels each, not over six inches in depth, upon smooth grass near the house, and under the shelter of a tree, an evergreen preferred; then cover with forest leaves five or six inches thick, and throw some sticks or brush on top to prevent the leaves from blowing away and keep small animals off. Leave it thus till hard freezing weather sets in; then take off the brush or sticks and cover the fruit and leaves with old coffee sacks or carpet, the better to exclude light and air, but not to exclude wet nor frost, indeed, the more freezing the better. As the fruit is wanted for use bring some into the house, and if frozen let it thaw in a dark cellar, kept closely covered up, and then keep a few days in a warm room till mellow.
A writer in the Agriculturist adopts this mode of keeping winter pears: Winter Nelis and Vicar of Winkfield pears are barreled as late in autumn as will be safe from frost, headed up tight, and placed on the north side of a building until there is danger of freezing, when they are removed to the cellar, which is kept by the thermometer at a temperature at from 35° to 40°. They remain hard till the middle of January, and may be ripened any time by bringing them into a warm room. We keep ours in the cellar, packed in shallow boxes, with close lids, the fruit room being separated from the other cellar apartments by brick walls, and the bottom and sides cemented with water lime, which keeps the room dry, and admits of keeping it clean. The ventilating windows are opened during cold nights, and closed when the weather is warmer.