`Bartlett' pears were harvested from four commercial orchards at their optimum harvest date and 3 or 7 days later (depending on grower orchard). Samples were held for 3 or 7 days before stored in cold storage and two controlled-atmosphere conditions: 1) cold storage at 1C; 2) regular CA storage (2.5% O2 + 1.0% CO2 at –1C); 3) low-oxygen CA (1.0% O2 + 0.2% CO2 at –1C). After 2 months of cold and CA storage, pears showed that postharvest prestorage holding temperature, affected the rate of change in weight loss, firmness, ground color, and senescent breakdown. After 4 months of CA storage, `Bartlett' pears maintained their quality at about 53–58 N of firmness. Firmness loss, peel ground color change, and senescent breakdown of `Bartlett' pears were affected by the holding temperature and the length of the holding period between harvest and storage. In conclusion, pear quality was reduced depending on the holding temperature and holding period between harvest and storage. CA storage maintained better pear quality than cold storage. Fast oxygen pulldown in order to establish CA condition sooner was essential to maintain better pear quality.