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 Sure some ideas might be out of date, but you never know what you might find when you explore these catalogs.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
The Maule Seed Business is 25 Years Old This Year.
I fully realize that this fact is of interest to many of my friends but to the (public. it does not make much difference whether I have been in business 25 years or 100 years. What they are interested in is what I am going to do for 1902.
I have been working for two years on this Silver Anniversary Catalogue, with the determination of giving my friends and customers a book that would at least equal, and I hope surpass any of the twenty-four publications I have previously issued. Because the house is 25 years old, I do not want anyone to think I am getting too old to take off my coat, roll up my sleeves and push this business for all I am worth. Twenty-five years from now, if I am alive, I may think of letting up a bit; but I am only forty-four years old in 1902 and while I have worked pretty hard for 25 years past, I still propose to keep the Maule Seed business right in front of the procession. It is fortunate, not only for myself, but for my customers as well, that I made such elaborate preparations for my Silver Anniversary Book. Notwithstanding short crops, I go into the season with by all odds the largest stock of the very best seeds I have ever warehoused, and on account of these large stocks, I am prepared to quote Maule’s Seeds at most reasonable prices, considering the remarkable shortage of a great many seed crops, both at home and abroad.
I do not propose to say much about the past 25 years; the illustration on page 32 taken over 20 years ago, and the illustrations on this page and page 2 of my present warehouses. will give everyone some conception of the astonishing growth of this business; but to give some further idea of what I am doing, I would say, that last year’s postage bill paid Uncle Sam amounted to $37,273.19; and in addition I shipped double the quantit.y of prepaid packages by express of any other house in Philadelphia, and more than any other seed firm in the country. During the last 25 years, I have paid in cash prizes for club orders and premium vegetables $29,909 98. I have distributed during the last 25 years more than three million packets of Maule’s Seeds free for trial among my customers.
During the existence of this business more than five million seed catalogues have been distributed, in addition to many million pamphlets, circulars, and other printed matter. Since 1889, Maule’s Seeds have not been sold to dealers: but can he obtained only direct from headquarters in Philadelphia. I am not o.ily the original American house adopting this method, but for many years no other house dared follow my footsteps.
All these facts are well known to my old friends, and they are simply reiterated here for the benefit of new readers: but I cannot forget under any circumstances to thank the more than 560,000 customers whose name.s are now on my books, for the share each individual one has had in building up this enormous business. The kind words spoken by my friends to their friends and neighbors the last twenty-five years have been the best advertisement this business has ever had, in fact have been the foundation of the whole structure, and in this, my Silver Anniversary Year, my one regret is that I cannot take each one by the hand and thank them personally.
For 1902 I hand you a book I am proud of. Never in the history of the seed trade has a single house been able to present anything like the aggregation of new things I have to offer nay customers this year. These yellow pages are simply filled to overflowing with the choicest lot of the most desirable novelties in vegetables ever gotten together in the space of a single book; while the other departments, flower seeds, plants, bulbs, etc., also contain everything new or old known to the trade worth growing. For my Silver Anniversary Year I have made preparations for the largest business I have ever done, and trust I will not be disappointed. Wishing you all a prosperous New Year, I remain Yours to command
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† Available from the LA Public Library