Monday, July 31, 2017

1898 W Atlee Burpee & Co Catalog from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1898 W Atlee Burpee & Co Catalog from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Washington Atlee Burpee was born on April 5, 1858 at Sheffield, New Brunswick.  His parents moved to Philadelphia when he was a child.  By fourteen his hobby was breeding chickens, geese & turkeys.  He attended private schools & graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1878. In 1876, with a partner & $1,000 loaned to him by his mother,  Burpee started a mail-order chicken business from the family home.  Poultry farmers throughout the Northeast knew of the company.  After opening a retail store in Philadelphia, they began selling corn seed for feed to compliment the animal business.  His customers soon began to request vegetable seeds. In 1878, after graduating & dropping his partner, he founded W. Atlee Burpee & Company.  Although the emphasis was garden seeds, poultry remained in the annual catalog into the 1940s. Fordhook Farms, in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, was established by 1888, & served as the family home, a farm to evaluate varieties of vegetables & flowers, & to produce seeds.

Prior to the outbreak of World War I, Burpee spent several summers traveling throughout the United States & Europe seeking new & interesting plant varieties.  Many of the vegetables & flowers he found were sent back to Fordhook Farms for evaluation.  The Fordhook Farm facility specialized in evaluating onions, beets, carrots, peas & cabbage. Burpee added the Lompoc, California facility named Floradale Farms in  in 1909 to test sweet peas, & Sunnybrook Farms near Swedesboro, New Jersey for tomatoes, eggplants, peppers & squashes. Burpee released many varieties that are now classics.  Some of these are the 'Fordhook Lima' bean, Iceberg lettuce was introduced in 1894 & named for its crispness, & 'Golden Bantam' sweet corn in 1902.

Burpee was a pioneer in the mail order marketing of seeds.  In his first year of business, his catalog was 48 pages. Distribution was one million catalogs.  Although Burpee set up an advertising department, he personally wrote most of the copy in the catalogs. By the time of his death, the company was the largest seed company in the world,  distributing over 1 million catalogs a year, receiving 10,000 orders a day during peak times. & employing about 300 people.  Management passed to son David Burpee. He died on November 26, 1915 at Fordhook Farm, Pennsylvania & is buried in Doylestown Cemetery, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, USA.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

1896 Catalog of Cox Seed & Plant Co. of San Francisco, California

1896 Catalog, backcover, of Cox Seed & Plant Co. of San Francisco, California
In The American Florist of 1907 there was an announcement that Cox Seed & Plant Co had sold its business to the C C Morse Company. The 1906 earthquake demolished the firm's facilities, but they quickly moved to temporary space in San Francisco, and the company bought out Cox Seed and Plant Co.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Martha Daniell Logan (1704-1779) Imports Seeds & Gives Planting info in South Carolina

Richard Houston (Irish printmaker, c.1721-1775) An image of an 18C woman gardening

Martha Daniell Logan (1704-1779), colonial teacher and gardener, was born in St. Thomas Parish, S.C., the 2nd child of Robert Daniell and his second wife, Martha Wainwright.  Her father, who may originally have been a Virginian, had arrived in South Carolina from Barbados in 1679; already propertied, he increased his holdings in real estate, slaves, and ships over the years. In 1704 and 1705, he had a stormy term as lieutenant governor of North Carolina; and he served twice in the same capacity in South Carolina from 1715 through 1717.

Nothing is known of his daughter Martha’s education, but it surely consisted of reading and writing English along with the skills of needlework. Her childhood was not prolonged. In May 1718, when she was 13, her father died; and on July 30, of the following year she was married to George Logan, Jr. At about the same time her mother married the senior Logan, an Aberdeen Scot who, like Daniell, had held offices of trust in the province. The younger Logans spent their early married years on a plantation some 10 miles up the Wando River from Charles Town, on land which Martha had inherited from her father. There, between 1720 and 1736, 8 children were born to them: George, Martha, Robert Daniell (who died as a child in 1726), William, John, Frances, Anne, and finally another Robert who also died before reaching adulthood.

As early as Mar. 20, 1742, Martha Logan advertised in the South Carolina Gazette that she would board students who would be “taught to read and write, also to work plain Work Embroidery, tent and cut work for 120 l. a year,” at her house up Wando River.  Twelve years later, after she had removed to Charles Town, the Gazette of Aug. 4, 1754, carried her proposal for a boarding school in which a master of writing and arithmetic would supplement her instruction in reading, drawing, and needlework. Tradition had it that she also managed the Logan plantation, though this is less certain, as her husband did not die until July 1, 1764.  Her first advertisement for a school did, however, offer for sale the home estate and other properties, an offer which she repeated on Mar. 13, 1749, when she announced that she acted as attorney for her son George Logan of Cape Fear.
Nicolas Bonnart I (French printer, c 1637-1718) An image of a 17C lady interested in gardening. Her cat guards the watering can, as she carries a rake and a spade sits behind her.

She is best known for her interest in horticulture. She is assumed to be the “Lady of this Province” whose “Gardener’s Kalendar” was published in John Tobler’s South Carolina Almanack for 1752, according to the South Carolina Gazette of Dec. 6, 1751.  Here is her Kalendar from 1756.
Tobler's South Carolina Almanack of 1756.
Directions for Managing a Kitchen Garden every month of the year Done by a Lady
Plant peas and Beans: Sow Spinage for Use and for Seed: that which is preserved for Seed must never be cut: a small Quantity will yield plentifully in rich ground. 
Sow Cabbage for Summer Use, when they are fit transplant them into rich Earth. 
Sow Parsley. Transplant
Artichokes into very rich mellow Ground and they will bear in the Fall. 
This month all kinds of Fruit-Trees may be Transplanted.
Sow Celery, Cucumbers, Melons, Kidney-Beans, Spinage, Asparagus, Radish. 
Parsley, Lettice, to be transplanted in shady Places: they must be moved young and watered every Morning: Pond or Rain Water is the best. 
If the season does not prove too wet, this Month is best for
planting all Sorts of Trees, except the Fig, which should not be moved 'til March, when the suckers may be taken from the Roots of old Trees. The Fig will not bear pruning. 
The middle of this Month is the best for Grafting in the Cleft. 
If Fruit-Trees have not been pruned last Month, they must not be delayed longer. 
About the Middle of this Month, sow Spinage, Radish, Parsley and Lettice for the last time. 
Plant Dwarf and Hotspur Pease.
Sow Onions, Carrots and Parsnips; and plant out Carrots, Parsnips, Cabbage and Onions, for Seed the next Year. 
Plant Hops, Strawberries, and all kinds of aromatic Herbs
Whatever was neglected last Month, may be done in this, with good Success, if it is not too dry; if it be, you must water more frequently. 
Now plant Rounceval Pease and all manner of Kidney Beans.
Continue to plant aromatic Herbs Rosemary, Thyme, Lavender etc. and be careful to weed and water what was formerly planted. Lettice, Spinage and all kinds of Salading may be
planted to use all the Summer but they must be frequently watered and shaded from the Sun.
This month is chiefly for weeding and watering: Nothing sown or planted does well.
Clip Evergreens, and Herbs for drying, Thyme, Sage, Carduus, Rosemary, Lavender, etc. 
Sow Carrots, Parsnips and Cabbage. 
If the Weather is dry and hot the Ground must be well
watered, after being dug deep and made mellow. 
Straw or Stable Litter well wetted and laid pretty thick upon the Beds where Seeds are sown, in the Heat of the Day, and taken off at Night is a good expedient to forward the Growth.
What was done last Month may also be done this. Continue to water, in the evening only.
The latter end of this Month sow Pease for the Fall. 
Water such things as are going to seed, is being very needful to preserve good Seed. 
Turnips and Onions may be sown; 
Leeks, scallions and all of this Tribe planted.
Sow Turneps and another crop of Hotspur or Dwarf Pease. 
Still Continue to weed and water as before.
Showers of Rain will be frequent. 
Now prepare the ground for the following Seeds viz.
Spinage, Dutch brown Lettice, Endive, and other crop of Pease and Beans. 
Now you may inoculate with Buds.
The the calendar and a variant version appeared often in South Carolina and Georgia almanacs into the 1780’s. The Pennsylvania botanist John Bartram met Martha Logan briefly in 1760; and, at least through 1765, they carried on an eager exchange of letters, seeds, and plants. “Her garden is her delight,” wrote Bartram to his London correspondent Peter Collinson.

It was also a source of income. The South Carolina Gazette of Nov. 5, 1753, gave notice that Daniel (Robert Daniell) Logan sold imported seeds, flower roots, and fruit stones at his “mother’s house on the Green near Trotts point,” but perhaps because of his death the nursery business soon passed into Martha Logan’s hands, as a diary reference of 1763, and a newspaper advertisement of 1768 attest. Martha Logan died in Charleston in 1779. Martha Logan was buried in the family vault, since destroyed, in St. Phillip’s churchyard, Charleston.

Friday, July 28, 2017

1895 A W Livingston's Sons Catalog from Columbus, Ohio

1895 A W Livingston's Sons Catalog from Columbus, Ohio
Alexander W. Livingston was born on October 14, 1822, near Reynoldsburg, Ohio. He grew up on his family's farm & received limited schooling. He could read & write & do simple math problems. While still a child, Livingston showed an interest in seeds & plants, & many Reynoldsburg residents viewed him as an authority on these subjects. Upon reaching adulthood, Livingston married Matilda Dickey Graham. The couple had 10 children. In 1852, Livingston purchased 70 acres of land near Reynoldsburg. Here he developed A.W. Livingston Buckeye Seed Gardens, a seed business. His business quickly prospered. At this time, Livingston began to try to improve the tomato. He succeeded in doing so in 1870. Livingston spent two decades breeding his "Paragon" tomato. Tomatoes existed before Livingston, but they were small fruits with a sour taste. Livingston's Paragon was much larger & had a sweeter taste. Over the next 28 years, Livingston developed more than 30 other varieties of tomatoes. His work helped to make tomatoes more popular with American cooks. A scientist until the end of his life, Livingston died in 1898.
1822 - Founder Alexander W Livingston b in Reynoldsburg, OH 
1842 - Begins working for a local seed grower. 
1844 - Marries and leases land to begin farming.
1852 - Purchases his own land for a farm & seed business. 
1856 - Purchases 400 boxes of the Buckeye Garden Seed Company from Robert Robertson who was moving to Iowa.  During the late 1850s and early 1860s, business does well; and Livingston is able to expand his farming and seed operations. 
1864-65 - Builds a family home and consolidates seed and farming operations in one location. 
1875-76 - The Buckeye Garden Seed Company went bankrupt in the economic crash that affected many businesses in the nation. The business is dissolved and new entity formed by son Robert and named, "A. W. Livingston's Sons." Marketing was expanded using seed catalogs and advertising in newspapers and magazines. 
1880 - The company moves from Reynoldsburg to Columbus, Ohio. Alexander moves to Des Moines, Iowa after purchasing the farm of his friend Robert Robertson. Alexander's plan was to relocate the entire company to Iowa, but the business was prospering in Columbus under his son's management. 
1890 - After Alexander's wife passes away, he turned over the Iowa seed business to his son, Josiah. He returned to Ohio and began to work on his book, "Livingston and the Tomato." It was part autobiographical, part instructional, and part agricultural history. It combined information about Livingston's methods, the history of the tomato as a food crop, and even contained a large selection of compiled recipes. 
1898 - The company is incorporated as the Livingston Seed Company. Founder, A. W. Livingston passes away. 
1919 - The Livingstons were big players in the seed trade industry interacting with many major seed houses. They had their own grow outs as well as 'traded' stock. On April 1st, 1919, a fire broke out at one of their warehouses destroying everything. The McCullough's Sons Seed Company from Cincinnati, took the train up to Columbus the next day, gathered up what they could, and filled orders for the Livingstons. Even with their help, Livingstons still was forced to send out a form letter returning orders along with money.  
1930s - By the late 1930s, the seed industry had begun to change. The company survived by moving into field seeds, and dropped tomatoes from their line. 1937 - The United States Department of Agriculture's "Yearbook of Agriculture" for the year 1937 published the following short history: "The work of A. W. Livingston, of Columbus, Ohio, and his associates and successors in the Livingston Seed Co. has resulted in the introduction of more new varieties than that of any other private group. Most of the varieties introduced by the Livingstons were of their own finding or origination, but some were obtained from other growers. Paragon, from a chance seedling, was their first introduction (1870). The famous old variety Acme was developed by A. W. Livingston from a single superior plant found in a field of mixed stock and introduced in 1875. Like the Trophy, this variety was the source or served as one parent of many subsequently introduced varieties. In 1880 Perfection, a chance variant in Acme, was introduced. Livingston next brought out Golden Queen in 1882, Favorite in 1883, Beauty in 1886, Potato Leaf in 1887, Stone in 1889, and Royal Red in 1892. This last was developed from seven similar plants found in a field of Dwarf Champion by M. M. Miesse. The others just named were chance seedlings occurring in varieties the names of which are not known. These were followed by Aristocrat and Buckeye State in 1893, Honor Bright in 1897, and Magnus in 1900, as chance seedlings in varieties not recorded. In 1903 Dwarf Stone was introduced; it was a chance seedling found in Stone. Globe is from a cross between Stone and Ponderosa made about 1899 by Robert Livingston and was introduced in 1905. Hummer, another introduction, was selected out of Paragon. Of this impressive list introduced by the Livingstons, Stone and Globe are among the most important varieties grown today. Acme, Beauty, Buckeye State, Dwarf Stone, Golden Queen, and Perfection are still listed by some seed producers although they are not extensively grown." "With all due credit to the important contributions of other growers, seedsmen, and investigators, it is not out of place to call attention again to the great contribution of the Livingston Seed Co. to tomato improvement. Of about 40 varieties that had attained a distinct status prior to 1910, a third were productions or introductions by the Livingston company. If we add those varieties derived directly from Livingston productions and introductions, it appears that half of the major varieties were due to the abilities of the Livingstons to evaluate and perpetuate superior material in the tomato." 
1947 - The last wholesale catalog was produced. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Botanist Jeanne Baret (1740-1807) had to travel as a man but became 1st woman to travel around the globe

Jeanne Baret (1740-1807) from 1811

Jeanne Baret (1740-1807) was a member of Louis Antoine de Bougainville's expedition on the ships La Boudeuse & Étoile in 1766–1769. In the 18C, not yet 30 years old, she became the 1st woman to travel around the world. Along the way she helped collect thousands of plant specimens, some of which were new species. And she did it all dressed as a man.

Jeanne Baret was born on July 27, 1740, in the village of La Comelle in the Burgundy region of France. Her record of baptism survives & identifies her as the legitimate issue of Jean Baret & Jeanne Pochard. Her father is identified as a day laborer. Nothing definitive is known of Baret's youth. 

At some point between 1760 & 1764, Baret became employed as housekeeper to Commerson in Toulon-sur-Arroux. Commerson's wife died shortly after giving birth to a son in April 1762. Baret may have assumed management of Commerson's household at that time.  Baret became pregnant in 1764. French law at that time required women who became pregnant out of wedlock to obtain a "certificate of pregnancy" but she did not name the father of the child. Shortly afterwards, Baret & Commerson moved together to Paris, where she continued in the role of his housekeeper. Baret apparently changed her name to "Jeanne de Bonnefoy" during this period. Her child, born in December 1764, was given the name Jean-Pierre Baret. Baret gave the child up to the Paris Foundlings Hospital. Her baby was placed with a foster mother but died in the summer of 1765. 

Baret was asked to join French admiral & explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville's expedition around the world. At the time, a royal ordinance forbade women from traveling on naval ships. In 1765, Commerson was invited to join Bougainville's expedition. He hesitated in accepting because he was often in poor health; he required Baret's assistance as a nurse as well as in running his household & managing his collections & papers. His appointment allowed him a servant, paid as a royal expense, but women were completely prohibited on French navy ships at this time. At some point, the idea of Baret disguising herself as a man in order to accompany Commerson was conceived. To avoid scrutiny, she was to join the expedition immediately before the ship sailed, pretending to be a stranger to Commerson.Before leaving Paris, Commerson drew up a will in which he left to "Jeanne Baret, known as de Bonnefoi, my housekeeper," a lump sum of 600 livres along with back wages owed & the furnishings of their Paris apartment. Baret & Commerson joined the Bougainville expedition at the port of Rochefort in late December 1766. They were assigned to sail on the storeship, the Étoile. Because of the vast quantity of equipment Commerson was bringing on the voyage, the ship's captain, François Chesnard de la Giraudais, gave up his own large cabin on the ship to Commerson & his "assistant." 

Commerson suffered badly from both seasickness & a recurring ulcer on his leg in the early part of the voyage, & Baret probably spent most of her time attending to him. There they set out on expeditions to the surrounding plains & mountains. Commerson's leg was still troubling him, & Baret seems to have done much of the actual labor, carrying supplies & specimens. In Rio de Janeiro, Commerson was officially confined to the ship while his leg healed, but he & Baret nonetheless collected specimens of a flowering vine. Perhaps the expedition's most famous discovery is the popular bougainvillea vine, which adorns many a trellis & fence around the world today.

After a second visit to Montevideo, their next opportunity to botanize was in Patagonia while the ships of the expedition were waiting for favorable winds to carry them through the Strait of Magellan. Here Baret accompanied Commerson on the most troublesome excursions over rugged terrain & gained a reputation for courage & strength. Commerson, still hampered by his leg injury, referred to Baret as his "beast of burden" on these expeditions. In addition to the manual labor she performed in collecting plants, stones, & shells, Baret also helped Commerson organize & catalog their specimens & notes in the weeks that followed, as the ships entered the Pacific.

Surviving accounts of the expedition differ on when Baret's gender was 1st discovered. According to Bougainville, rumors that Baret was a woman had circulated for some time, but her gender was not finally confirmed until the expedition reached Tahiti in April 1768. As soon as she & Commerson landed on shore to botanize, Baret was immediately surrounded by Tahitians who cried out that she was a woman. Bougainville recorded this incident in his journal some weeks after it happened. Tahitian natives reported the presence of a woman in Bougainville's expedition to later visitors to the island, including James Cook in 1769 & Domingo de Bonechea in 1772.

After a brief stop for supplies in the Dutch East Indies, the ships made a longer stop at the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. This island, known as Isle de France, was then an important French trading station. Commerson was delighted to find that his old friend & fellow botanist Pierre Poivre was serving as governor on the island, & Commerson & Baret remained behind as Poivre's guests. On Mauritius, Baret continued as Commerson's assistant & housekeeper. It is likely that she accompanied him to botanize on Madagascar & Bourbon Island in 1770–1772. Commerson continued to have serious health problems, & he died in Mauritius in February 1773. After marrying an officer in the French army, Baret made her way back to France, claimed her part of Commerson's will & earned a pension for her work on Bougainville's expedition. There is no record of exactly when Baret & her husband arrived in France, thus completing her voyage of circumnavigation. Most likely it was sometime in 1775. In April 1776, she received the money that was due to her under Commerson's will after applying directly to the Attorney General. With this money, she settled with her husband Dubernat in his native village of Saint-Aulaye.

In 1785, Baret was granted a pension of 200 livres a year by the Ministry of Marine. The document granting her this pension makes clear the high regard with which she was held by this point: "Jeanne Barré, by means of a disguise, circumnavigated the globe on one of the vessels commanded by Mr de Bougainville. She devoted herself in particular to assisting Mr de Commerson, doctor & botanist, & shared with great courage the labours & dangers of this savant. Her behaviour was exemplary & Mr de Bougainville refers to it with all due credit.... His Lordship has been gracious enough to grant to this extraordinary woman a pension of 200 livres a year to be drawn from the fund for invalid servicemen & this pension shall be payable from 1 January 1785." She collected her pension from 1785-1807. She died in Saint-Aulaye on August 5, 1807, at the age of 67.

Bougainville's published journal – a popular best-seller in its day, in English translation as well as French – was the only widely available source of information about Baret. The 1st English-language biography of Baret, by John Dunmore, was published in 2002, in New Zealand. A 2010 biography of Baret by Glynis Ridley, The Discovery of Jeanne Baret, brought Baret to the attention of a wider audience.

Wednesday, July 26, 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. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Botanist François André Michaux (1770-1855) went to the USA in 1785 with his famous father André Michaux

François André Michaux (1770-1855) was a French botanist, who went to the USA in 1785 with his father, the botanist André Michaux (1746-1802), where he was to gather plants for the royal botanical garden. The father founded a tree school in Hackensack, New Jersey, for export to France. From 1787, Francois Andre Michaux directed a branch of the tree nursery school in Charleston, South Carolina. He traveled for research in the Tennessee Valley, the Allegheny Mountains, Florida, and the Bahamas where he was temporarily interned by the British when they were carrying his ship. 
Botanist François André Michaux (1770-1855) 

In 1790 Michaux returned to France to study medicine. He then took part in the French Revolution. His father returned in 1796, where his son helped him to cultivate the trees he had brought but reportedly died in 1802, on an expedition in Madagascar. 

In the same year the son went back to the USA at the request of the French government to dissolve the nursery school. He traveled from Charleston, where his ship arrived in October 1801, to New Jersey, whose forests he roamed with David Hosack, and on this occasion visited Hosack's new Elgin Botanic Garden in New York; visited Philadelphia (where he visited the arboretum of William Hamilton In Woodlands); Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Tennessee; returning to France at the end of 1803. He was back in the US in 1806, exploring the east coast from Maine to Georgia and the Great Lakes in 1809, then sailed back to France. Michaux was the author of the most important book on trees of North America in the 19C, which appeared in Paris from 1810 to 1813. The illustrators included Pierre-Joseph Redouté, Henri Redouté, Pancrace Bess and Thomas Nuttall (curator of the botanical garden of Harvard University).

Saturday, July 22, 2017

1899 John C Vaughan's Seed Store in Chicago & New York

1899 Vaughn's Seed Store in Chicago & New York. This company was established by John Charles Vaughan (1851-1924) as a small business in Chicago, IL. in 1876. It offered wholesale seed & horticultural supplies primarily through catalog sales. When John Charles Vaughan was born on April 24, 1851, in Chicago, Illinois, his father, Oramel, was 40 and his mother, Sylvia, was 29. Both of his parents were from Pennsylvania. John Charles Vaughan married Martha Throop, and they had 3 children together. He then married Mattie Theoop Vaughan, and they had 1 son together. Vaughan's company letterhead shows locations at 47-49 Barclay Street, New York, N.Y. and 10-12 W. Randolph, Street, Chicago. The business eventually grew to include 5 greenhouses and nurseries in Western Springs, IL. becoming one of the major employers in the community. John Charles Vaughan of Chicago, Illinois–started out selling nursery stock but began selling seeds, when his customers started asking for seed.  He opened his 1st store, called Vaughan’s Seed Store, in the "loop" of Chicago in 1876. Later the greenhouse trade started asking for horticultural supplies, & the Vaughan Seed Company expanded their business to include those supplies. Vaughan issued 8 different catalogs annually, each one designed for a specific market.  Its Corn & Potato Manual of 1882 addressed its customers in academic terms to satisfy a growing public interest in scientific agriculture. It was filled with dissertations on botany, chemistry, & biblical references to plants. The company was later headed by Leonard Holden Vaughan & then John C. Vaughan II.  In the late 1950s, the company bought the Merion Bluegrass seed market & became one of the dominant figures in the grass seed market. It was during this time that the company expanded outside of Chicago to Bound Brook, New Jersey.  With the expansion of the business in the 1960s, the company moved to Downers Grove, Illinois.  At that time they discontinued their home garden catalog & concentrated on the commercial market. In 1972, the company bought the Jacklin Seed Co., Inc. of Dishman, Washington.   The company then became known as the Vaughan-Jacklin Corp.  Many other companies were absorbed into the business in the 1970s. In July 1989, Sandoz Corp. purchased the company, & then Novartis Seeds purchased the Sandoz Corp.   Novartis Seeds is now the world’s second largest seed company.  The U.S. headquarters remain in Downers Grove, Illinois.  Today the company operates in 3 major areas: horticultural plant products, plastic products, & grass seed production & marketing.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

1895 Floral Treasures. G. R. Gause & Co., Richmond, Indiana

1895 Floral Treasures. G. R. Gause & Co., Richmond, Indiana
George R Gause (1867-1940), a member of the Friends (Quaker) Church, was for over 50 years a "Dealer and Grower of Choice Plants and Bulbs, Cut Flowers for Weddings and Funerals a Specialty, Office and Greenhouse National Road opposite Earlham Cemetery, Richmond, Indiana." 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Pitcher & Manda, Short Hills, New Jersey Seed and Plant Catalog

Pitcher & Manda Seed and Plant Catalog, Short Hills, New Jersey. William Albert Manda's biographical information, from a catalog tells us that in 1883, he assumed the position of curator of the Harvard Botanical Gardens at Harvard College in Cambridge, Mass. After five years he resigned to join the firm of Pitcher & Manda in Short Hills until 1894, after which he "acted independently as a landscape architect and horticultural expert."
Pitcher & Manda, Short Hills, New Jersey Seed and Plant.  William Albert Manda (born 1862 near Prague, Bohemia), Manda says he lived in Iowa as a child. Apparently, he traveled to the U.S. East Coast in 1882, to collect plants for shipping back to Europe. There he took the job as Curator of the Harvard University Botanical Gardens in 1883. He worked there for 5 years, then resigned to join the firm of Pitcher & Manda, Short Hills, N.J. An announcement in the 1888 "Garden & Forest" magazine, stated that the firm was doing business as the United States Nurseries. The partners were James R. Pitcher & William Albert Manda. This firm was famous for its collection of orchids, valued in 1901 at $100,000. The partnership ended in 1895, when Manda published an announcement in "Garden & Forest" magazine that he was severing his connection to Pitcher & Manda & starting a new business at South Orange, N.J., called The Universal Horticultural Establishment. The firm of Pitcher & Manda kept the same name but announced that they were under new management. "Garden & Forest" announced in September 1897 that a firm called the American Bulb Co. was "successors to Pitcher & Manda" & further announced that there would be a public auction held on October 4-7, 1897 to sell "the entire collection of Pitcher & Manda, including 100,000 palms, all the choice collection of ornamental foliage plants; also, real estate, greenhouses, etc." A 1901 San Francisco newspaper refers to the firm holding a collection of orchids valued at $100,000. And a catalog held at Rutger's Univeristy includes the notation that the firm was in business from 1885 & 1904.  
William Albert Manda of Pitcher & Manda, Short Hills, New Jersey. In 1909, William Albert Manda was doing business as W.A. Manda, Inc. Reportedly, a statue of him was erected in his honor at his death by the South Orange Garden Club at Meadowland Park in South Orange. At the time of his death in 1933, he had a collection of some 12,000 species of cacti & succulents. His younger brother, Joseph A. Manda had his own nursery business in 1898, which continued as Joseph A. Manda & Son. They dealt in orchids among other things. The 1900 census shows the brothers living next door to each other at 191 Valley Street, South Orange. William was a single man, sharing his household with one of his employees; while his brother Joseph's household contained also their parents & a sister. By 1908, Joseph A. Manda was living at 191 Valley Street, in West Orange. Thomas Capek, author of the book "The Cech (Bohemian) Community of New York" (1921) says that the Manda Floral Co. (landscape architects) and W.A. Manda, Inc. of South Orange, N.J. were both founded by the same Czech florist. 

Research by Marlea Graham, California Garden & Landscape History Society. Photos from the Pitcher and Manda catalog.

Friday, July 14, 2017

1897 Seed & Plant Catalog of Dingee and Conrad Co of West Grove, Pennsylvania

1897 Seed & Plant Catalog of Dingee and Conrad Co of West Grove, Pennsylvania. Company Timeline:
1855: Alfred Conard formed the firm of Conard & Brother of West Grove, PA
1862: Conard started a nursery business with Charles Dingee under the name Dingee & Conard. The business had two greenhouses and the establishment was known as the Harmony Grove Nursery. 1867: Dingee & Conard began propagating roses under a new system introduced by Antoine Wintzer, the head nurseryman, and a world-class hybridiser. Conard conceived the idea of disposing of their rose stock through the mail. Their first catalog offered bedding plants, shrubbery, bulbs, seeds, and roses. 
1888: Howard Preston sold his farm (a dairy farm and regional creamery) to S. Morris Jones, who continued to operate the creamery. 
1892: Conard separated from Dingee and along with Antoine Wintzer joined with S. Morris Jones. The new company continued with the growing and distribution of roses and flowering plants. Much of the farmland acquired by Jones became part of Conard-Pyle, the house was eventually provided to the head nurseryman, Antoine Wintzer, as his residence. 
1895: Antoine Wintzer worked on the improvement of the canna. 
1897: The name became Conard & Jones Co.

Alfred Fellenberg Conard (1835–1906) of West Grove, PA was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1835. He descended from German Quakers who were part of William Penn’s Colony in 1683. He worked on his father’s farm and learned the nursery business from Thomas M. Harvey. Charles Dingee was a member of the Dingee seeds family. Antoine "Leon" Wintzer was born in Alsace, France, emigrating to the USA at an early age, died at West Grove, PA in 1930. The head-nurseryman before becoming the company's Vice-President.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

WWI Patriotic Gardens

 20C AmericanVictory Gardens

Victory gardens (originally called war gardens or liberty gardens) made their 1st appearance in America during World War I (1914-1918). President Woodrow Wilson called on Americans to plant vegetable gardens to ward off possible food shortages. Americans took up the challenge as a patriotic duty.

Slogans like "Food Will Win the War" appeared in numerous ads and posters aimed at encouraging the American public to do their part for the war effort.

During World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1941-1945), millions of Americans helped the war effort by turning front yards, backyards, schoolyards, and vacant lots into vegetable gardens. These "home front" projects allowed every American to dig in to help win the wars raging abroad.

By 1919,  America became the world's leading seed supplier during World War I, as Europe faced mounting seed shortages. Calling attention to the war garden movement, seed companies and nurseries embellished their catalogs with patriotic imagery.

Charles Lathrop Pack, head of the National War Garden Commission, coined the term "victory garden," as World War I was nearing its end. More upbeat than "war garden," the term was so popular that it was used again during World War II, when victory gardeners sprang into action once more.

Governmental Regulation of Food During WWI

From the outbreak of World War I in Europe until the signing of the Versailles Treaty, the Wilson administration proposed and implemented programs affecting citizens' daily activities. The Lever Act of 1917 helped meet the extraordinary food consequences of World War I. 

In August 1917, Congress passed the Food and Fuel Control Act (40 Stat. 276), also known as the Lever Act. On August 10, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson issued Executive Order 2679-A creating the U. S. Food Administration. In doing so, he created a government entity to supplement existing volunteer efforts. 

The U. S. Food Administration, operating in each state, was to
~Assure the supply, distribution, and conservation of food during the war,
~Facilitate transportation of food and prevent monopolies and hoarding, and
~Maintain governmental power over foods by using voluntary agreements and a licensing system.

Herbert Hoover lobbied for and won the job of administrator of the Food Administration. Hoover had convinced President Wilson, that a single, authoritative administrator should head the effort, not a board. This, Hoover believed, would ensure an effective federal organization. He further insisted that he accept no salary. Taking no pay, he argued, would give him the moral authority he needed to ask the American people to sacrifice to support the war effort. As Hoover later wrote in his memoirs, his job was to ask people to "Go back to simple food, simple clothes, simple pleasures. Pray hard, work hard, sleep hard and play hard. Do it all courageously and cheerfully."

As head of the U. S. Food Administration, Hoover, given the authority by Wilson, became a "food dictator." The Lever Act had given the president power to regulate the distribution, export, import, purchase, and storage of food. Wilson passed that power on to Hoover. To succeed, Hoover designed an effort that would appeal to the American sense of volunteerism and avoid coercion. He oversaw federal corporations and national trade associations; he sought cooperation of local buyers and sellers. Through it all he called for patriotism and sacrifices that would increase production and decrease food consumption. Under Hoover's direction, the Food Administration urged all homeowners to sign pledge cards that testified to their efforts to conserve food. The government board issued the appeal on a Friday. By the following week, Americans had embraced wheatless Mondays, meatless Tuesdays, porkless Saturdays.

According to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in Wisconsin's Green Lake County 100 percent of the housewives signed on and 80 percent of Milwaukee did. Schoolchildren joined housewives in supporting the effort by signing this pledge: "At table I'll not leave a scrap of food upon my plate. And I'll not eat between meals But for supper time I'll wait."  While Hoover preferred the emphasis on the "spirit of self sacrifice," he also had authority to coerce. He set wheat prices, bought and distributed wheat. Coercion plus volunteerism produced results. By 1918 the United States was exporting 3 times as much breadstuffs, meat, and sugar as it had prior to the war.

To achieve the results, the Food Administration combined an emphasis on patriotism with the lure of advertising created by its own Advertising Section. This section produced a wealth of posters for both outdoor and indoor display. One proclaimed: "Food is Ammunition-Don't waste it." Another combined patriotism with a modern healthy diet message. At the top, the poster encouraged readers to: "Eat more corn, oats and rye products-fish and poultry-fruits, vegetables and potatoes, baked, boiled and broiled foods." At the bottom, the poster concluded "Eat less wheat, meat, sugar and fats to save for the army and our allies."  These posters are visual evidence of the government's food effort during World War I. As much as possible, it did so under a banner of volunteerism, rather than coercion. In doing so, the Wilson administration created a program that did affect the everyday lives of Americans during World War I. An executive order signed August 21, 1920, terminated the remaining branches of the U.S. Food Administration.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

1906 Catalog Farmer Seed Co. of Fairbault, Minnesota

1906 Catalog Farmer Seed Co. of Fairbault, Minnesota.  Farmer Seed Company was founded in Chicago in 1888 by William L. Kueker and his brother-in-law Otto Kozlowski. As associate editors for a monthly farm newspaper in Chicago, they discovered a need for seed sources through numerous inquiries from farmers. It was then that the southern part of Minnesota was being settled by thrifty German-American farmers. In 1893, the men moved their business to a small 2-story building on West Fourth Street in Faribault. A catalog in the German language was distributed to 10,000 farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin and specialized in pasture grasses, clovers, seed grains and corn seed. A second catalog was published in the English language soon after, and the circulation was upped to 20,000. The business quickly outgrew its space and in 1899, it moved across the street to a large stone warehouse. By the early 1900s, garden seed were added to the catalog. Then, after World War I, nursery stock was also included. A retail store was added in the late 1920s, and seed racks were distributed to more than 4,000 merchants across the Midwest. That retail store continues to operate today with home and outdoor decor, gardening tools and the popular wall of seeds. Farmer Seed and Nursery is now owned by Owen Nursery of Bloomington, Illinois, making it a part of one of the largest lawn and garden mail order companies in the United States.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

19C Brings Retail & Wholsale Seed Catalogs

Seed storage warehouse of Philadelphia seedsman Robert Buist. From a 1891 wholesale seed catalog

In North America, more seed and nursery companies came into being during the 2nd half of the 19C, especially after the US Civil War. Mail-order became much more common due to improved transportation networks and US postal reforms in the 1860s that made it cheaper to ship seeds and plant material, as well as catalog. Mail-order companies increased the size and number of catalogs they produced, often including colorful art, and most catalogs were shipped to customers free upon request. As more business was done by mail, catalogs contained more detailed ordering and shipping instructions. 

With the growth of cities & towns throughout the country, seed & nursery companies faced a huge potential market, but also increased competition. As a result, many catalogs tried to distinguish themselves from their competitors by promoting more novelties & giving vegetable & flower varieties names containing superlatives such as “Mammoth,” “Giant,” or “Perfection.” Catalog covers became more elaborate, & companies also devoted more space to illustrations, descriptions, testimonials, contests, special offers, & awards won at horticultural fairs or exhibitions. Novelties were often described in special sections of catalogs that were sometimes marked by different colored pages. Dingee & Conard’s 1889 catalog contained an insert on pink paper listing their discounted collections of popular varieties.

Catalogs catered to commercial farmers, home gardeners, & aspiring market growers. As truck farming increased in scale, there was a great demand for reliable commercial varieties, & some market gardeners began producing seeds for this purpose. Improvements in food preservation led to the need for varieties suitable for canning & pickling; in 1875, the refrigerated railway car was brought into use, leading to an even larger-scale commercial vegetable & fruit trade. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

1896 W.W. Barnard Co. Seed Catalog from Chicago, Illinois

W.W. Barnard Co., 231-235 W Madison St, Chicago, Illinois. William Wilcox Barnard (1856-1921), son of William Barnard II, founded & operated the W. W. Barnard Seed Co. in the late 1800s. The company was taken over by Ralph Howe, when William W. Barnard moved to California for his health where died in 1921. Ralph Barnard Howe, born in 1882, held a degree in agriculture from the University of Illinois. But the company did not survive the depression years. After graduating from Amherst College in 1845, William Barnard II headed west to homestead. He intended to settle in Iowa, but stopped in Chicago where he met Thomas Morgan who owned several thousand acres of land south of Chicago (now known as Morgan Park) Morgan convinced William Barnard II to settle near Chicago.  In 1846, William Barnard II's parents & siblings joined him in Chicago to farm in the area that is now 49th Street & Vincennes Road. William Barnard II married Miranda Wilcox in 1852, & they had 4 children, Alice Sarah (1854), Mary Elizabeth (1855), William Wilcox (1856), & Emma Jerusha. (1859). William Barnard II eventually bought 160 acres in Longwood & built a home for his family at 101st & Longwood Drive.  William Wilcox Barnard's grandparents Alice Emerson & William Barnard also came to Chicago from the Amherst, Massachusetts area. Barnard was a practicing physician for a time. Alice Emerson & William Barnard were married in 1819 & had 5 children, William Barnard II (1821), Elizabeth (1823), Daniel Emerson (1826), Alice Lucretia (1829), & Erastus Ames (1833).

Monday, July 3, 2017

Celebrating the 4th of July on a 1913 Historic American Seed & Plant Catalog

Ratekin's Seed House, Shenandoah, Iowa,  A 1909 overview of Page County, Iowa declared, "Ratekin Seed House is of immense proportions. The office, where ten thousand dollars in stamps are forwarded each year, is a spectacle to see. A loafer would not last ten minutes in this institution without being stepped on and run over. The Ratekins are a success in their business, in which they have been engaged for years and know it from A to Z. They send out catalogues broadcast that are works of art and it is considered that the Ratekin's is one of the biggest seed corn plants in the world. They handle all seed and nursery stock by catalogue exclusively, but their specialty is seed corn, and the name of Ratekin has become famous by reason of the exceptional business methods adopted. The business has outgrown the present quarters and plans are already prepared to build a new seed corn and garden seed building just east of their present frame structure, which will be a three-story building, entirely fire-proof and costing in the neighborhood of forty thousand dollars."