Seed and Nursery Catalogs
The Seed and Nursery Catalogs collection includes covers from 250 of the over 10,000 seed and nursery catalogs held by the Libraries as part of our Trade Literatre collections. Many of the trade catalogs were part of the Burpee Collection, including both Burpee and competitors' catalogs, donated to the Smithsonian's Horticulture Services Division by Mrs. David Burpee in 1982. The real gems of the collection date from 1830 to the 1930s and are both beautiful and important publications that document the history of the seed and agricultural implement business and provide insight into the history of botany and plant research in the United States, through the introduction of plant varieties. Seed trade catalogs are also a window into the evolution of graphic arts in advertising and the changing fashions in flowers and vegetables.