Archive.org has a host of old seed catalogs (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. I happened across a few in my Pinterest feed and gone completely down the rabbit hole in this treasure trove of information. Sure some ideas might be out of date, but you never know what you might find when you explore these catalogs. I’ll be sharing more catalogs as I find them in the coming weeks. –Douglas
January 1st, 1903.
IT IS with the greatest pleasure I send my little catalogue for A 1903 season to my friends and patrons. I wish to thank you all for the very successful season of 1902. The demand for my seeds obliged me to issue an extra edition of 38,000 catalogues last year, and I trust the coming season may require even a larger extra edition. I have done my best to make the 1903 catalogue better than that of any previous year, and trust that I have been fortunate enough to give just what my friends most want.
A review of my customers’ names reveals the pleasant fact that very many remain with me from year to year, giving me continued patronage, and this fact I take to be the highest compliment that could be paid any business, and the best incentive to renewed energy.
The universal cold, wet summer has made seed-growing rather up-hill work, in many instances causing seeds to rot in the ground and preventing germination entirely. Some, no doubt, are very much discouraged, but I earnestly hope not entirely so, and that they will try again, feeling assured that with more favorable weather they will surely reap rich results in beautiful blossoms. At the urgent request of many patrons, I have added a line of roses and vines to my business, which you will find in the copy of Floral Culture which goes with every cash order of seeds, or will be sent on application FREE. I receive a number of letters saying the writers failed to receive a catalogue for several years, to all of which I would reply, I mail a catalogue to all of my customers each year, to everyone who purchases seed, but many of these go astray in the mail. So to all who will drop a card asking for one, if theirs is late in appearing, I will send’ it with pleasure. I have received so many nice letters from kind friends. I wish it were possible to print and answer them all, but space is limited; so kindly remember that they are all read and fully appreciated, and I answer them as best I can in this general letter in my catalogue greeting. Thanking you all for past favors and hoping for the continuance of your patronage, I am, Very sincerely yours,
More information on this catalog:
* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library