Saturday, September 23, 2017

1884 Who stole all of those fine, large, mellow apples out of the garden.

Tupelo Journal (MS) County News - Guntown, Baldwyn, Verona November 21 1884

GUNTOWN NEWS
Messrs. Agnew & Hinds will soon have their spacious shop and warerooms read for occupying.
Mr. J. M. Agnew is very anxious to know who stole all of those fine, large, mellow apples out of his garden. 
From Noah Webster (1758-1843) American Spelling Book.

A blog on the American Orchard tells us that as far as 19C American law was concerned, "taking apples from a roadside orchard was a trivial offense–at most an instance of trespass, for which the owner was only entitled to sue for the value of lost fruit, which in any given case would be so small as to not be worth the trouble. But as good roads & canals connected farmers to urban markets, & improvement-minded farmers invested more of their labor & resources into carefully cultivated, grafted fruit orchards with marketable winter apples, they began to perceive the passerby who pilfered a shirttail full of apples in the same light they did the pickpocket. Market-minded farmers grew increasingly frustrated that the law did not agree. As early as 1832, a court case in New York gave horticulturalists some hope that the legal system & the public might begin to take their grievance seriously. The case involved an apple-pilferer who took a farmer to court for assault. The pilferer had been caught in the act by the orchard owner who was holding a horsewhip when he demanded that the thief put down the fruit. When the brazen scoundrel refused, the orchard owner took the whip to him. The plaintiff’s lawyer confessed to the jury that he himself had on many occasions taken fruit from other men’s orchards, that no doubt the majority of the jury members had done so as well, & therefore the assault with horsewhip was entirely unwarranted. The jury disagreed & found for the farmer defendant. The story circulated among editors of agricultural journals, who read into the jury’s decision “the pleasing hope that we were on the eve of a revolution in regard to the plundering of fruit, & that a great improvement in public sentiment is taking place on this subject.”

Friday, September 22, 2017

1896 Alneer Brothers Illustrated Catalog from Rockford, Illinois

1896 Alneer Brothers Illustrated Catalog from Rockford, Illinois

Charles G Alneer and his brother Alfred, of the firm of Alneer Bros, dealers in all kinds of seeds and plants. The Alneer brothers were originally from Sweden, born in Wester Gothland Province, and came with the family to America in 1869. They settled Rockford, Ill. Their father was a tiller of the soil all his life. The mother, whose maiden name was Anna Lindstrom, died after only 5 years in the USA in 1874. When they came to Rockford in 1869, they began working for the J B Root seed company, which they would later acquire, and subsequently the brothers began business on their own account. They opened their seed compay in 1883, meeting with so much success and encouragement, that they built a new building in 1894. They gradually increased their business, until they were among the flourishing & most reliable seed merchants of Illinois. They developed a large trade all over the United States by carrying a full line of flower, vegetable, farm, & grass seed. The business became part of the Condon-Shumway Company in 1950.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

1911 Working Wonders With Worn Out, Abandoned Alabama Land

Huntsville Weekly Democrat  Huntsville, AL. July 19 1911
A Thrifty Farmer of Scottsboro - Miller Kelly
Miller Kelly Has Worked Wonders With
Worn Out Land That Had Been Abandoned
Scottsboro, July 13.—Miller Kelly, is one farmer that believes in diversifying his crop. He has now growing on his pretty farm, one mile west of town, cotton, corn, peanuts, sweet & Irish potatoes, alfalfa, sorghum & peas, all in a high state of cultivation free from grass & weeds. A few years ago this farm that now looks like a well-kept garden was a terrible thicket of briars & bushes—one that had been allowed to run down & considered worthless & worn out. Mr. Kelly also has fine hogs & a heard of fine cows. His home, barn & outhouses are all good, & you can see thrift & industry all about the place. He uses the latest improved tools for cultivating his crops. He always sells at a fancy price his King’s early cotton seed. In the last few years by grading his seed up every year he has brought them to as near perfection as can be. He & his 4 sons comprise the force. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Burpee Catalog 1890 Back Cover

W. Atlee Burpee (1858-1915) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Doylestown, Pennsylvania; Lompoc California; Swedesboro, New Jersey The W. Atlee Burpee & Company was founded by W. Atlee Burpee in 1876 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.   Atlee was born in 1858, in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  At fourteen years of age, Atlee’s hobby was breeding chickens, geese and turkeys.  He corresponded with poultry experts worldwide and wrote scholarly articles in poultry journals.   With a partner, in 1876, the 18 year old Atlee started a mail-order chicken business in the family home with $1,000 loaned to him by his mother.  Poultry farmers from the Northeast knew of his business, and he soon opened a store in Philadelphia, selling not only poultry but also corn seed for poultry feed.  It wasn’t long before his customers started requesting cabbage, carrot, cauliflower and cucumber seeds.  In 1878, Burpee dropped his partner and founded W. Atlee Burpee & Company, mainly for garden seeds, but poultry wasn’t dropped from the Burpee catalog until the 1940s.   By 1888, the family home, Fordhook Farms, in Doylestown, seed packet - Burpee's seed sense Pennsylvania, was established as an experimental farm to test and evaluate new varieties of vegetables and flowers, and to produce seeds.  Before World War I, Atlee spent many summers traveling through Europe and the United States, visiting farms and searching for the best flowers and vegetables.  Atlee shipped many of the vegetables and flowers he found to Fordhook Farms for testing.  Those plants that survived were bred with healthier types to produce hybrids better suited to the United States.  Fordhook Farms was the first laboratory to research and test seeds in this way.  Fordhook Farms specialized in testing onions, beets, carrots, peas and cabbage.  In 1909, Burpee established Floradale Farms in Lompoc, California, to test sweet peas, and Sunnybrook Farms near Swedesboro, New Jersey tested tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and squashes.  In his travels, Atlee met Asa Palmer, a Pennsylvania farmer who raised beans, and who thought he had one plant that was resistant to cutworms.  Burpee turned this bean plant into what is now known as the Fordhook lima bean, one of the company’s most famous items.  Another successful plant was the Golden Bantam sweet corn that the farmer William Chambers of Greenfield, Massachusetts had grown before his death.  A friend of Chambers found some of the sweet corn seeds and sold Burpee seeds of the corn, and in 1902, Golden Bantam was featured in a Burpee catalog.  Before 1900 most people thought that yellow corn was fit only for animals, so in order to change their customers minds, many farmers slipped Golden Bantam corn in with the white corn they were selling.  Within a few years, people in the United States were converted to yellow corn.  Iceberg lettuce was introduced in 1894 and named for its crispness.  A key in Burpee’s business was the 1863 free delivery system, that required post offices to deliver mail to residents’ homes, and in 1896, free delivery was extended to rural areas.  This allowed his catalogs to be delivered directly to people’s homes.  Thousands of letters were received annually from Burpee’s customers thanking him for his seeds.  Burpee knew that the key to his business was advertising and the catalog was his advertising medium.  In his first year of business, his catalog was 48 pages, but by 1915 his catalogs were 200 pages and he distributed a million catalogs. Burpee personally wrote most of the copy of his catalogs.  Burpee set up an advertising department and offered cash prizes for the best advertisements.  This competition is what originated the slogan “Burpee Seeds Grow” in 1890.  The 1891 catalog was the first to feature engravings made from photographs, and by 1901 this process was done by machines.  Burpee’s move to photography changed the whole industry and the hand-drawn illustration in catalogs disappeared.  In another break with tradition, Burpee eliminated cultural information and put in testimonial letters and plant descriptions.   At Atlee’s death in 1915, the company had 300 employees, and it was the largest seed company in the world.  At that time the Burpee company distributed over 1 million catalogs a year and received 10,000 orders a day. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

1903 Raging Fire, Live Ammunition, The Gardener's Cottage, Dead Child

The Hepburn - English Style Gardener's Cottage - American House Plan

THE PEATS GIRL IS DEAD
The Girl’s Aunt & Mother Received Severe Burns — Fireman
Fighting Flames Felt Bullets Whistling Past Their Heads.
Waterbury Evening Democrat. Waterbury, CT January 23 1903. 
-------
Greenwich, June 23.--After lingering in agony several hours as a result of burns received during the fire which destroyed her home, Genevieve Peats, the young daughter of Alfred Peats, the millionaire wall-paper manufacturer, died this morning, at the cottage of the gardener employed on the Peats estate. The girl was 8 years old, & was an only child. Her mother & the latter's sister, Miss Pugh, who were burned about the arms in their efforts to save the child, will recover, from their injuries, though Mrs. Peats is prostrated by grief. It was learned today that Miss Pugh was in Genevieve Peats' room when the fire started. She thinks a lamp in the room exploded. Both Mrs. Peats & Miss Pugh were removed early today to the gardener’s cottage, where the child afterward died. Mr Peats...was at the gardener's cottage for a time, & refused to leave there until compelled to do so by his nurses. The firemen say their effort to subdue the flames were greatly hampered by delay in sending in an alarm due to...the fact that the two towers of the residence contained a large quantity of ammunition. Each of the towers rooms were fitted up as dens & a servant warned the firemen that the dens contained about a thousand rounds of cartridges. Proof of the assertion came when the towers caught fire & a continuous series of explosions ensued. The firemen say they frequently heard bullets whizzing about their heads & that any near-approach to the towers was dangerous.

Monday, September 18, 2017

D M Ferry & Co Seed Catalog from Detroit, Michigan

Dexter Mason Ferry was born in Lowville, New York, on August 8, 1833, but after his father's passing when Dexter was 3 years old, he & his mother moved to Penfield, New York.  Dexter went attended school there & at age of 16 began working on a farm. In 1851, when Ferry reached 18, he began working for Ezra M. Parsons of Rochester, New York.  In a short time, in 1852, Parsons helped Dexter get a job as an errand boy for S .D. Elwood & Company, a stationery firm in Detroit, Michigan. There he was soon promoted salesman, & later bookkeeper. With a formal education, experience as a laborer, & various aspects of business under his belt, Mr. Ferry, along with 2 partners, Milo T. Gardner & Eber F. Church, founded Gardner, Ferry & Church on April 1, 1856, when Dexter was not quite 23. In 1865, Ferry bought out Gardner & the company name was shortened to Ferry, Church & Company. Church retired 2 years later, & Dexter dropped his ex-partner's name. Ferry focused on quality & gained a reputation for selling superior seeds. He chose to only sell fresh seed with tested high germination rates. In 1879, Mr. Ferry absorbed the Detroit Seed Company & incorporated as D. M. Ferry & Co. The company grew, released new varieties of vegetables, & thrived. On New Years Day in 1886, fire demolished the company's warehouse at with a loss of nearly $1,000,000. Ferry quickly decided to purchase seed stock & 2 smaller seed companies, & were able to fill customer's orders. They constructed a new warehouse, & by 1890 were selling over $1,500,000 annually.  By the early 1900s, the company's sales grew to over $2,000,000 yearly through mail-order catalog sales as well as placing seed racks to 160,000 retail outlets. D. M. Ferry died on November 10, 1907. The company merged with the California based seed company, C. C. Morse Company in 1930, to become the Ferry-Morse Seed Company. They relocated to Kentucky in 1959.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

1859 Drs Cock & McCarter selling Medicines, Garden Seeds plus Whiskey for "Medical Purposes"

Abbeville Advertiser AL March 17 1859
Drs. Cock & McCarter

IF YOU COME TO COLUMBIA,
STOP AT THE SIGN OF THE BLUE MORTAR!
WHERE MESSRS. COCK & McCARTER 
will always be ready to supply you with all you may want in the way of
DRUGS, PATENT MEDICINES, OILS, PAINTS, & DYE STUFFS. Also, GARDEN SEEDS, Fresh and of the Best kinds.
SURGICAL & DENTAL INSTRUMENTS, TRUSSES & PHYSICIANS FURNITURE; such as
Saddlebags, Viols, Bottles, Jars, &c. 

DO YOU USE TOBACCO?
They always have on hand a fine assortment of Cigars, Snuff & Tobacco, of the best brands.
Brandy, Gin, Wine and Whisky, of the purest and best kind, for medical purposes.

LADIES CALL ON THEM,
And they will supply you with FLAVORING EXTRACTS, for your table Candies and Fruits for your children; and Soaps, Perfumery and Toilet Articles of every description, for yourselves.
DR. W. Z. COCK, B. L. M CARTER

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Wm Henry Maule Philadelphia Catalog of Vegetables including The Lazy Wife's Pole Bean

Henry Maule was born on April 14, 1828 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. & died in 1902. He took over the Philadelphia lumber company established by his father Caleb Maul (1790-1844). Henry's son William Henry Maule (1858-1913), took control of his grandfather's & father’s lumber & seed company in 1882, after partnering with his father for several years. When the father/son seed business originally began in 1877, it originally catered to market gardeners & farmers who supplied local consumers with their fresh vegetables. The world of seed publishing was fascinating to the young businessman & much of his energy went into expanding the seed & bulb end of the business, handing off the lumber-related duties to his brother Charles Price Maule (1856-1920). In 1885, W H Maule came up with the idea of publishing a colorful, beautifully illustrated catalog to showcase the vast variety & quality of his products. In 1889, Maule took it to the next level. Instead of appealing to the distribution of his product to dealers, he would target the common independent farmer, the gardening hobbyist, & anyone who had a mailbox could now become a potential lifelong customer. To entice the general public, Maule would include a packet of free samples with every catalog & offer cash prizes for the largest orders. William Henry Maule Co.'s catalogs often featured farm & field scenes. This idea skyrocketed the seed company into nationwide fame. Maule’s Seeds (later called the William Henry Maule Company) was the 1st in Philadelphia to use this business model & helped make the city into the seed capital of America, causing the spawn of at least a dozen similar outfits. (The Landreth Seed Company was the 1st large seed distributor, having set up shop at 12th & Market in 1784; Burpee Seeds, Maule’s contemporary & competitor, was founded in 1876.) By the time his father died in 1902, William Henry Maule had 560,000 regular customers, distributed over 5 million seed catalogs, given away more than 3 million seed packets, & awarded $30,000 in cash prizes. Over that time, the company had moved to larger & larger quarters. From a rented space on the Delaware riverfront in the 1880s, to a cast iron beauty at 1711 Filbert in the early 1890s, to a 7-story modern office building at 18th & Market at the turn of the 20th Century. The 18th & Market warehouse was named “Maule Building.” Maule eventually set his sights on building a much larger headquarters that would end the need to move every decade. In 1909, Maule acquired a string of properties on the 2100 block of Arch Street & spent the next few years working on what he hoped would be the William Henry Maule Company’s final home. This new $100,000 headquarters would not only house the company’s offices but also warehouse the immense variety of seeds, bulbs, & plants the Maule Company distributed across the country. It would have a footprint measuring 60′ x 111’8″ & rise 8 stories. Construction began in 1912 & was completed by the end of 1913. The building was quite prominent on the skyline at the time, as few other buildings in the immediate area matched its height. On September 6th, 1913, around the same time the new building was about to open, the 55-year-old William Henry Maule died from what was then known as a “stroke of apoplexy,” a term used at the time to describe any number of afflictions that appeared to cause sudden death. Once opened, the new Maule Building would continue William Henry Maule’s business model. New catalogs were published every year for the next 3 decades. Unfortunately, William Henry Maule’s dream of the entire operation running out of this one building didn’t last. By the end of the 1920s, the Maule Company moved out of the Maule Building & leased office & warehouse space at the Nicetown home of the W. A. Burpee Company, a competitor whose progenitor, W. Atlee Burpee, had partnered with William Henry Maule’s father, when the Maule Lumber Company 1st expanded to include seeds. Burpee had already surpassed the Maule Company’s success in 1915. In 1946, the Maule Company sold 2100 Arch Street for $145,000 & used the money to purchase a new office/warehouse in Clinton, Iowa, creating a second distribution point for all deliveries west of Ohio. Despite this major expansion, the company didn’t last. In 1947, the Maule Company merged with the W.A. Burpee Company, with whom they had already been collaborating for about a decade.

Friday, September 15, 2017

1859 A Rice Machine & Garden Seeds

Ads from the Abbeville Advertiser, AL March 17 1859

Rice Machine
The subscriber would respectfully inform the citizens of Henry and surrounding counties, that he has a Machine on the 8 Mile Creek, near the road leading from Abbeville to Franklin, now in successful operation for cleaning rice, and invites the rice making community to give him a call he pledges himself to give satisfaction. DAVID CANNON.
================
Garden Seeds
D. M. BRUNER & SON,
ABBEVILLE, ALA.
WHOLESALE AND RETAIL DEALERS IN
DRUGS, MEDICINES, CHEMICALS
Fine Toilet Soaps, Fine Hair and Tooth Brushes, Trusses and Shoulder Braces, Fancy and Toilet Articles, Pure Wines and Liquors for Medicinal Uses, Perfumery, Glass, Putty, Paints, Oils, Varnishes, Dye Stuffs, Garden Seeds, Tobacco, Cigars, Pipes, etc., etc., etc.
Planters and Physicians from the country will find our stock of Medicines complete. Physicians Prescriptions carefully compounded, and all orders carefully answered. Medicines warranted genuine and of the best quality.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Johnson & Stokes 1906 Seed Catalog of Philadelphia, PA

Johnson & Stokes 1906 Seed Catalog of Philadelphia, PA 

Walter P Stokes joined the Seed Company, owned by Herbert W Johnson, Republican Sheriff of Camden County, NJ, since 1876, in Merchantville, & it was renamed the Johnson & Stokes Seed Company in 1881. The enterprise was dissolved in 1906, & Walter Stokes resumed operating under his previous business name as Stokes' Standard Seeds & then as Stokes Seed Company. Walter P Stokes was born on June 4, 1856, in Pennsylvania, his father was Isaac & his mother was Mary. He married Anna N R Smedley, & they had 2 children. He then married Anna Taylor, & they had one son. Walter P. Stokes, for many years engaged in the seed trade in Philadelphia, Pa., & a prominent member of the Society of Friends, died suddenly of heart disease on July 1, 1916; while on a fishing trip in Maine, & was buried in Upper Darby, PA. Mr. Stokes resided in Moorestown, N.J. Walter P. Stokes was head of the tree commission of Moorestown, first president of the Moorestown Field Club, a member of the board of directors of the Friends hospital, Frankford, & of the Cheyney Institute for Colored Youth. He was a member of the Northfleld Country Club, Atlantic City, & the City Club, Philadelphia. He was a past president of the American Seed Trade Association & was widely known in the trade throughout the country. In 1916, the firm was taken over by Walter's son, Francis C. Stokes, a Rutgers horticultural alumnus, with a national reputation as a dynamic young seedsman who was responsible for developing some of the famous New Jersey tomatoes of the early 1900's. Reportedly, he was the 1st American seedsman to offer seeds in a tin can; 1st to protect seeds with a fungicide; & 1st to import from Italy & catalog broccoli for his customers.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

1899 Peter Henderson & Co Catalog from New York City

1899 Peter Henderson & Co Catalog from New York City 
Peter Henderson, (1822-1890)–New York, NY Henderson was born in Scotland in 1822. He came to America in 1843, and worked under Grant Thorburn and Robert Buist. Henderson began as a market gardener in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1847. During the Civil War he moved his floral business to South Bergen. By 1890 he had five acres covered by glass. Henderson’s contemporaries called him “the father of horticulture and ornamental gardening” in the United States. In 1865, he published Gardening for Profit, the first book written on market gardening in the United States. It sold 100,000 copies. He followed with Practical Floriculture in 1868. In 1871, he established a seed company called Peter Henderson & Company. The company developed vegetables and flowers suited to American conditions. He began a new era of seed trade merchandising by using a five-color lithograph in his catalog. His catalog Everything for the Garden featured a white-haired gentleman. His writing was aimed at teaching good horticultural practices. He recommended gardening as the best therapy for invalids. He dictated all of his writing for his catalog to a secretary, while lying down after work hours. He personally answered every letter he received. In the course of 45 years of business, he sent out 175,000 letters, two-thirds of them were written by his own hand. An account of his life was published by his son Alfred Henderson. He died in Jersey City, New Jersey, on January 17, 1890.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Philadelphian William Henry Maule’s 1888 Seed Catalog

Philadelphian William Henry Maule’s 1888 Seed Catalog

Henry Maule was born on April 14, 1828 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. & died in 1902. He took over the Philadelphia lumber company established by his father Caleb Maul (1790-1844). Henry's son William Henry Maule (1858-1913), took control of his grandfather's & father’s lumber & seed company in 1882, after partnering with his father for several years. When the father/son seed business originally began in 1877, it originally catered to market gardeners & farmers who supplied local consumers with their fresh vegetables. The world of seed publishing was fascinating to the young businessman & much of his energy went into expanding the seed & bulb end of the business, handing off the lumber-related duties to his brother Charles Price Maule (1856-1920). In 1885, W H Maule came up with the idea of publishing a colorful, beautifully illustrated catalog to showcase the vast variety & quality of his products. In 1889, Maule took it to the next level. Instead of appealing to the distribution of his product to dealers, he would target the common independent farmer, the gardening hobbyist, & anyone who had a mailbox could now become a potential lifelong customer. To entice the general public, Maule would include a packet of free samples with every catalog & offer cash prizes for the largest orders. William Henry Maule Co.'s catalogs often featured farm & field scenes. This idea skyrocketed the seed company into nationwide fame. Maule’s Seeds (later called the William Henry Maule Company) was the 1st in Philadelphia to use this business model & helped make the city into the seed capital of America, causing the spawn of at least a dozen similar outfits. (The Landreth Seed Company was the 1st large seed distributor, having set up shop at 12th & Market in 1784; Burpee Seeds, Maule’s contemporary & competitor, was founded in 1876.) By the time his father died in 1902, William Henry Maule had 560,000 regular customers, distributed over 5 million seed catalogs, given away more than 3 million seed packets, & awarded $30,000 in cash prizes. Over that time, the company had moved to larger & larger quarters. From a rented space on the Delaware riverfront in the 1880s, to a cast iron beauty at 1711 Filbert in the early 1890s, to a 7-story modern office building at 18th & Market at the turn of the 20th Century. The 18th & Market warehouse was named “Maule Building.” Maule eventually set his sights on building a much larger headquarters that would end the need to move every decade. In 1909, Maule acquired a string of properties on the 2100 block of Arch Street & spent the next few years working on what he hoped would be the William Henry Maule Company’s final home. This new $100,000 headquarters would not only house the company’s offices but also warehouse the immense variety of seeds, bulbs, & plants the Maule Company distributed across the country. It would have a footprint measuring 60′ x 111’8″ & rise 8 stories. Construction began in 1912 & was completed by the end of 1913. The building was quite prominent on the skyline at the time, as few other buildings in the immediate area matched its height. On September 6th, 1913, around the same time the new building was about to open, the 55-year-old William Henry Maule died from what was then known as a “stroke of apoplexy,” a term used at the time to describe any number of afflictions that appeared to cause sudden death. Once opened, the new Maule Building would continue William Henry Maule’s business model. New catalogs were published every year for the next 3 decades. Unfortunately, William Henry Maule’s dream of the entire operation running out of this one building didn’t last. By the end of the 1920s, the Maule Company moved out of the Maule Building & leased office & warehouse space at the Nicetown home of the W. A. Burpee Company, a competitor whose progenitor, W. Atlee Burpee, had partnered with William Henry Maule’s father, when the Maule Lumber Company 1st expanded to include seeds. Burpee had already surpassed the Maule Company’s success in 1915. In 1946, the Maule Company sold 2100 Arch Street for $145,000 & used the money to purchase a new office/warehouse in Clinton, Iowa, creating a second distribution point for all deliveries west of Ohio. Despite this major expansion, the company didn’t last. In 1947, the Maule Company merged with the W.A. Burpee Company, with whom they had already been collaborating for about a decade.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

1896 Catalog of Lovett Co, Little Silver, N.J. + Unexpected Spread of the Chestnut Blight

1896 Catalog of The Lovett Co., Little Silver, N.J.
Lovett Nursery & the Introduction of Chestnut Blight

Dr. Sandra L. Anagnostakis writes that, "American chestnut trees (Castanea dentata) were once so common in the Eastern United States that everyone who could get to the woods in the fall could count on nuts for roasting & for stuffing their Thanksgiving turkey. The wood was highly resistant to rot, & used extensively for poles, fencing, & building materials. An "imported" fungus disease was discovered in New York City in 1904, & within 50 years it had changed the appearance of our Eastern forests. The fungus, Cryphonectria (formerly Endothia) parasitica, enters wounds, grows in & under the bark, & eventually kills the cambium all the way around the twig, branch, or trunk. Everything distal to this "canker" then dies, sprouts are formed, & the process starts all over again. The fungus does not enter the "root collar" at the base of the tree, so sprout clumps survive today that are the remnants of the original trees. From the earliest discovery of the disease attempts were made to control it, but nothing worked. A major forest tree was reduced to a multiple-stemmed shrub. In 1912 the Plant Quarantine Act was passed to reduce the chances of such a catastrophe happening again. 

 "Where did the chestnut blight fungus come from, & when did it come to the United States? After the blight fungus was discovered here, plant explorer Frank Meyer found that it was present in both China & Japan, & that Asian trees were often very resistant to the disease & showed few symptoms when infected. This was taken as proof that Asian trees imported into the United States had brought the blight with them. "G. H. Powell wrote in 1900 that Japanese chestnut trees (Castanea crenata) were first imported in 1876 by nurseryman S. B. Parsons of Flushing, New York (in the New York City borough of Queens, at the western end of Long Island). These were widely distributed, & two of them were planted & still survive in southern Connecticut. In 1882, William Parry in New Jersey imported 1,000 grafted Japanese chestnut trees. In the West, Luther Burbank planted a box of seeds sent by his collector from Japan in 1886. He subsequently had over 10,000 bearing trees growing in his Santa Rosa, California, nursery. Three of Burbank's selections were sold to Judge Coe in Connecticut, & then to J. H. Hale who propagated & sold them from his South Glastonbury, Connecticut, nursery. 

"Powell also reported that by 1899 there were over 300 acres of chestnut trees near Philadelphia grafted with European & Japanese varieties, & that the Lovett Co. in Little Silver, New Jersey, (near the coast, about 15 miles south of Long Island) had also imported Japanese chestnut trees & were selling them by mail-order."

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Off to the Fair - A State Fair 1896

Detail, 1896 H W Buckbee Seed & Plant Guide, Rockford, Illinois, From the collection of historic American Seed & Plant Catalogs from Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Friday, September 1, 2017

A Few Hard Feelings - Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), Pehr Kalm (1716-1779), & John Bartram (1699-1777)

Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), Pehr Kalm (1716-1779), & John Bartram (1699-1777)

Pehr Kalm (1716-1779), sometimes Peter Kalm, was the son of a Lutheran minister. He was born in Angermanland, Sweden, in 1716, & attended college in Finland before moving to Uppsala University in Sweden in 1740. 
Pehr Kalm (1716-1779) by J. G. Geitel, c. 1764, (Some uncertainty remains if the portrait depicts Kalm). Satakunta Museum, Björneborg, Finland

Here he studied under scientist Linnaeus (Carl von Linné), who became his friend as well as mentor. Linnaeus was most interested in organizing all plants & animals into a coherent system of names & relationships. The modern system of Latin binomials originated with his work.  
Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778)

As Europeans fanned out across Asia, Africa, & the Americas during the 18C, students & colleagues of Linneaus kept a steady stream of specimens flowing back to the great systematizer in Uppsala. As one of Linnaeus’ best students, Kalm was selected in 1747 to travel to North America to collect seeds of plants that might prove useful for agriculture & industry. After the trip to British Clonial America, Kalm devoted most of his remaining years to caring for, studying & lecturing about the American plants he brought home to Sweden.

Kalm arrived in Pennsylvania in 1748, & made his base of operations the Swedish ex-patriate communities in southern New Jersey, where he served as pastor of a local church & married in 1750. He made trips as far west as Niagara Falls & as far north as Quebec before returning to Sweden in 1751. Although botany was his main reason for traveling, Kalm trained his scientist's eye on all aspects of American culture & his careful, dispassionate observations show colonial settlement life in great detail. The following article is fascinating.


"Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) sent several of his best students abroad to discover plants that might be brought back to enrich the Swedish kingdom, which then consisted of both Sweden & Finland. The northern British colonies in America & the French colony of Canada were particularly attractive because Linnaeus & others thought their climates were similar to Sweden’s, & North American plants were known to survive the cold Scandinavian winters. Linnaeus already knew about the great botanist John Bartram of Philadelphia, & as early as 1738, he had requested seeds from Bartram.

"One of Linnaeus’ favorite students at Uppsala University was Pehr (or Peter) Pehr Kalm (1716-1779), who had grown up in Finland & attended Åbo Akademi in Turku, Finland, before moving to Sweden. There Kalm supervised the gardens & plantation of his patron, Baron Sten Carl Bielke, Linnaeus’s close friend & a fellow founder of the Swedish Royal Academy of Science. Through the efforts of Linnaeus & Bielke, as well as other scientists, including Anders Celsius, the Swedish inventor of the centigrade thermometer, Kalm was groomed in preparation for a journey of exploration. He was appointed lecturer in natural history & economics at Åbo Akademi, & the stipend for that post plus contributions from Uppsala University & the Swedish government’s Department of Manufactures funded Kalm’s journey to North America (along with his faithful servant, Bielke’s gardener & handyman, Lars Jungström).

"The trip was supposed to last only 2 years, but it was almost 4 years from the time they left Uppsala in October 1747, until their return in June 1751. First, they were shipwrecked on the way to England & had to spend several months in Norway. Then, because of the war between England & France, they were unable to obtain passage for America until August of 1748. However, Kalm used his 6 months in England to improve his command of English, to meet many influential British botanists, & to learn much more about American plants.

"Kalm finally arrived in Philadelphia on September 15, 1748, & was met by Benjamin Franklin, to whom he had been recommended by several mutual acquaintances in England. Franklin introduced Kalm to many of his friends & Kalm wrote that Franklin gave him “all necessary instructions & showed [him] kindness on many occasions.” Kalm immediately set about learning as much as possible about American plants before the onset of winter. Kalm spent many hours in the company of John Bartram (1699-1777), who was most hospitable & helpful, teaching him to identify many American plants he had not seen before, & answering his numerous questions.

"Philadelphia impressed the young scientist, who wrote: "It will be easy to conceive why this city should rise so suddenly from nothing into such grandeur & perfection without any powerful monarch contributing to it, either by punishing the wicked or by giving great supplies of money. And yet its fine appearance, good regulations, agreeable location, natural advantages, trade, riches & power are by no means inferior to those of any, even of the most ancient, towns in Europe. It has not been necessary to force people to come & settle here; on the contrary foreigners of different languages have left their country, houses, property & relations & ventured over wide & stormy seas in order to come hither. Other countries, which have been peopled for a long space of time, complain of the small number of their inhabitants. But Pennsylvania which was no better than a wilderness in the year 1681, & contained hardly 1,500 people, now vies with several kingdoms in Europe in the number of inhabitants. It has received hosts of people which other countries, to their infinite loss, have either neglected, belittled or expelled." (Travels in North America, 1770; reprinted, New York: Dover Publications, 1937, p. 33).

"Kalm was also introduced to fellow Swedes, including the portrait painter, Gustav Hesselius. They soon took him across the Delaware to Raccoon (now Swedesboro) in New Jersey, where lived many of the descendants of the Swedish & Finnish settlers of New Sweden (1638-55). On his arrival at Raccoon, Kalm discovered that the Church of Sweden missionary to the congregation in Raccoon, Johan Sandin, had died the previous month. Kalm & Sandin had been friends & fellow students at the university in Uppsala, so Kalm stayed as a guest in Sandin’s home & attended with great care to his surviving family, a widow with a young daughter & a new-born infant.

"Kalm had originally studied theology, intending to follow in the footsteps of his father & become a minister. Therefore, he naturally stepped in as substitute preacher for the Raccoon congregation. During his stay in America, he spent 3 winters in Raccoon, preaching nearly every Sunday in the Raccoon Church & also delivering funeral sermons. His friendship & care for the widow Anna Margaretha Sjoman Sandin resulted in their marriage in Philadelphia in February of 1750.

"When weather permitted, Kalm left the Philadelphia area & traveled up the Hudson to Canada, where he stayed for some time in 1749, studying in the area around Quebec & Montreal as the guest of the French king. In the summer of 1750, he traveled to Niagara Falls; his description of that natural wonder was the first written by a trained scientist & was widely read. Kalm discovered many plants native to the St. Lawrence, Hudson, & Delaware valleys that were new to Europeans. He provided Linnaeus with more than 100 American plants for his herbarium.

"Kalm returned to Finland, where he was a popular teacher at Åbo Akademi for many years until his death in 1779. He died disappointed that he had not succeeded in growing any North American plants that added substantially to the economy of the Swedish kingdom. He wrote a 2-volume account of his travels that was later translated into German, French, & English, but was unable to find a publisher for the 3rd volume, which perished in a fire. He also wrote many articles about American plants & animals & supervised papers written by his students on American subjects. Kalm’s value to us, more than 250 years later, is primarily through the clear & objective descriptions he wrote of the people & places he saw during his journey. He also served to spread knowledge of & interest in Linnaeus’ system in the American colonies.

"Unfortunately, the impression that Kalm made on several of his acquaintances in Philadelphia was not a favorable one. They were not pleased with some of the conclusions that Kalm made in his Travels, when they were finally translated into English in 1770. An early 20C Philadelphia botanist, John Harshberger, wrote of Kalm, “he seems to have been remarkably credulous; &, moreover, it is alleged, took to himself the credit of some discoveries which rightfully belonged to John Bartram.”  James Logan, then elderly & in poor health, was suspicious that Kalm was really a spy for the French. Bartram complained several times that he had received no letter of thanks or copies of Kalm’s publications. Franklin wrote of Kalm, “It is dangerous conversing with these Strangers that keep Journals.”

Kalm's journal of his travels was published in Stockholm, Sweden, as En Resa til Norra America published in 3 volumes between 1753 & 1761. Before that, his short account of his visit to Niagara Falls had been published in John Bartram's Observations... (London, 1751). 

English Edition...Kalm, Peter. Travels into North America; Containing Its Natural History, & a Circumstantial Account of Its Plantations & Agriculture in General, with the Civil, Ecclesiastical & Commercial State of the Country, the Manners of the Inhabitants, & Several Curious & Important Remarks on Various Subjects. By Peter Kalm. Translated into English by John Reinhold Forster. Enriched with a Map, Several Cuts for the Illustration of Natural History, & Some Additional Notes. 
In Two Volumes. (London: Printed for T. Lowndes, 1771).

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

On his Life in John Bartram's Own Words

"I find by thy letter thee supposeth I was born in England but I asure thee I was born in Pensilvania & never been out of sight of land since & I believe hath taken more pains after the study of botany & the operation of nature than any other that was born in English America notwithstanding my low fortune in the world which laid me under the necessity of very hard labour for the support of my family having now a wife & seven small children whose subsitance depends on the produce that is raised on my farm which is scituate on A navigable river near Philadelphia but I have had ever since I was 12 years of age A great inclination to botany & natural history but could not make much improvement therein for want of bookes or other instruction until I entered into Correspondence with my good friend Peter Collinson."

In a similar vein, Bartram later wrote to Collinson in 1764: "I had always since 10 years ould A great inclination to plants & knowed all that I once observed by sight tho not thair proper names haveing no person or books to instruct me."

Throughout his life, Bartram remained proud of his intellectual accomplishments. He also realized his interests were unique among Americans. He wrote: “our Americans hath very little taste for these amusements I cant find one that will bear the fatigues to accompany me in my peregrinations.”

Historic American Landscapes Survey - John Bartram House and Garden by Joel T. Fry

Monday, August 28, 2017

John Bartram in 1803 Dobson's Encyclopedia

In the early-19C, William Bartram prepared several short biographies of his father for publication in Philadelphia. The first appeared in the supplement to Dobson’s edition of the
Encyclopædia (1803).

BARTRAM (John) a celebrated self-taught philosopher & botanist, was born near the village of Darby in Chester county, Pennsylvania, in the year 1701. His grandfather John Bartram with his family from Derbyshire in England, came over with the adherents of the famous William Penn, when he established the colony of Pennsylvania in 1682. He, very early in life, manifested an ardent thirst for knowledge; but the great distance from Europe, then the seat of arts & sciences, & the infant state of the colony, rendered it difficult to obtain even a moderate education: however the resources of his own mind, & the most intense application surmounted the difficulties of his fituation. Associating with the most respectable characters, he obtained the rudiments of the learned languages, which he studied with extraordinary application & success. So earnest was he in the pursuit of learning that he seldom sat at his meals without his book, often his vićtuals in one hand & his book in the other. He had an early inclination for the study of medicine & surgery, & acquired so much knowledge as to administer great relief to the indigent & distressed in his neighbourhood; & as most of his medicines were drawn from the vegetable kingdom, this furnished him with opportunity for prosecuting the study of botany which was his favourite object, together with natural history. Bred a husbandman, he cultivated the ground as the principal means of supporting a large family, he prosecuted his avocations as a philosopher, being attentive to the economy of nature, & observing her most minute operations. When ploughing or sowing his fields or mowing his meadows, his inquisitive mind was exercised in the contemplation of the vegetable system & of animated nature. He was the first American who conceived & carried into effect the design of a botanic garden for the reception & cultivation of American vegetables as well as exotics, & of travelling for the acquisition of them: & for the purpose of accomplishing this scheme he purchased a plantation in a delightful situation on the banks of the Schuylkill, about 5 miles from Philadelphia, where he laid out with his own hands, a large garden, containing 6 or 7 acres comprehending a variety of soils & fituations, which he soon furnished with a great variety of the most curious & beautiful vegetables, collečted in his various excursions...he was the greatest natural botanist in the world. His progress in botany, natural history & philosophy, attracted the notice & esteem of the principal literary & eminent charaćters in America, among whom were James Logan, Esq. Dr Franklin...Dr Colden of New York & Dr Clayton of Virginia, & introduced him to the correspondence & friendship of Peter Collinson, Esq. which continued for nearly fifty years & terminated only with life; Lord Petre, Dr Dillenius, Sir Hans Sloane, Mr Catesby, Dr Fothergill, Dr Hill, Gronovius, Linnaeus, Profassor Kalm, M. Wrangle, &c. who furnished him with such books, philosophical apparatus, &c. as his genius & situation required, thereby lessening the difficulties with which he had to struggle in a newly settled country, & promoting the object which his benevolent mind had contemplated in communicating his discoveries & collections to Europe. These communications occasioned him to be employed in collecting whatever was new & curious to furnish & ornament the European gardens & plantations with the productions of the New World. His industry & success in the pursuit of science procured him fellowship in many hiterary & scientific societies in Europe, as those of London, Edinburgh, Stockholm, &c. And at last he was appointed American Botanist to his Britannic Majesty George the Third, in which appointment he continued till his death in September 1777, in the 75th year of his age. He employed much of his time in excursions through the provinces then subject to England; chiefly in autumn, when his agricultural avocations least required his presence at home. The object of these journeys was to collect curious & non-descript vegetables, fossils, &c. His ardour in these pursuits was such that at the age of 70 he made a journey into East Florida to explore the natural produćtions of that country. His travels among the Native Indians were attended with much danger & difficulty, & the different parts of the country, from the shores of Lakes Ontario & Caiuga to the source of the river St Juan in E. Florida, contributed through his hands to enrich & embellish the gardens & forests of Europe with elegant flowering shrubs, plants, & useful & ornamental trees. He was an ingenious mechanic, several monuments of which still remain at the house in which he lived which he built himself, after quarrying the stone; & he was often his own mason, carpenter, black-smith, &c. And generally made his own farming utenfils. His stature was rather above the middle size, erect & slender, a sandy complećtion, cheersul countenance, with an air of solemnity, his manners modest & gentle, an amiable disposition & liberal mind, a lover of charity & social order, he was never known to enter into a litigious contest with any one, active & temperate, but always maintained a plentiful table, & annually on new year’s day he made an entertainment at his own house, consecrated to friendship & philosophy. He was an advocate for liberty, & for the abolition of Negro slavery, & gave freedom to an excellent young African whom he had brought up...Engraved by himself on a stone in the wall over the front window of his own apartment. "Tis God alone, the Almighty Lord, The Holy One by me ador’d."

“Bartram, John,” Supplement to the Encylcopædia, or Dictionary of Art, Sciences, and Miscellaneous Literature, vol. 1 (Philadelphia, 1803), 91-92. 
Virtually the same text was reprinted in The Cyclopaedia, or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature, vol. 4 (Philadelphia, 1807)