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Free Online Historical Seed & Nursery Catalog Collection

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Collaborative digitization of seed and nursery catalogs by Cornell University, New York Botanical Garden, National Agriculture Library and Missouri Botanical Garden, and crowdsourcing the correction of OCRed text in Biodiversity Heritage Library.

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Free Online Historical Seed & Nursery Catalog Collection

  1. 1. Free Online Historical Seed & Nursery Catalog Collection Marty Schlabach Food & Agriculture Librarian Mann Library Cornell University Heirloom Gardening Seminar Genesee Country Village & Museum February 21, 2015
  2. 2. Listings of fruit and vegetables with descriptions Amateur's Fruit and Ornamental Trees, York, PA 1867
  3. 3. Postcard of Exaggerated Fruit
  4. 4. Collaborative Digitization Effort • New York Botanical Garden • LuEsther T. Mertz Library • 50,000+ catalogs • National Agriculture Library, USDA • Henry G. Gilbert Nursery & Seed Trade Catalog Collection • 200,000+ catalogs • Cornell University Library • Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium (Plant Specimen Collection) • Ethel Zoe Bailey Horticultural Catalog Collection • 130,000+ catalogs
  5. 5. http://specialcollections.nal.usda.gov/guide-collections/henry-g-gilbert-nursery-and-seed-trade-catalog-collection
  6. 6. https://archive.org/details/usda-nurseryandseedcatalog
  7. 7. http://bhort.bh.cornell.edu/catalogs.htm
  8. 8. Ethel Zoe Bailey 1889-1983 • Curated the seed & nursery collection for 4+ decades, 1930s-1980s • Daughter of Liberty Hyde Bailey • Graduated from Smith College 1911 • Assisted her father with many of his plant collection trips around the world • Assisted and coauthored with her father many of his botany and horticultural publications • Awarded the George Robert White Medal in 1967 from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society • Awarded the Smith College Medal in 1970 • Continued curating the seed & nursery catalog collection until her death in 1983 at the age of 93 • Lived a long and distinguished career in botany and horticulture
  9. 9. How was it used? 1889 Introduction of Vick’s Irondequoit Melon, as found in Annals of Horticulture, by LH Bailey
  10. 10. Image of collection in Mann Vault
  11. 11. Cornell’s Digitization • Public Domain items only • i.e. no longer under copyright • Pre-1923 American, public domain • Post-1922 American, need research to determine • Non-US catalogs • different copyright laws apply • Began scanning firms that carried grapevines • Ethel Bailey indexed catalogs by specie & cultivated variety (cultivar) • Then scanned other firms not held by partners • Funding in part provided by • Institute for Museum & Library Services (IMLS)
  12. 12. Seed & Nursery Catalog Digital Collection • Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) • http://biodiversitylibrary.org • Collaboration among 20 botanical & natural history libraries • 157,532 volumes • 45,568,082 pages • Seed & Nursery Catalog Collection • http://biodiversitylibrary.org/browse/collection/seedcatalogs • A subcollection in BHL • Currently 13,601 volumes and growing • 679,776 pages • Combining NAL, NYBG, and Cornell digitized catalogs
  13. 13. Historical Development of American Seed & Nursery Catalogs • Broadside • Multi-page, text only • Engraved images added to text • Hand-colored engravings • Lithography • Chromolithography • Black & White photography • Color photography • Today: websites
  14. 14. Broadside One sheet only Approx 12”x18” (Prince Nursery, 1793)
  15. 15. Text only, multi-page (J. B. Russel’s Catalog of Garden Seeds, 1827)
  16. 16. Text with added engraving (James Vick, 1868)
  17. 17. Hand-colored engravings (D. M. Dewey, Rochester, NY, n.d.)
  18. 18. B & W Lithography, followed by chromolithography
  19. 19. Black & White Photography (A. Currie & Co, 1923) Color Photography (Miss Ella V. Baines, 1928)
  20. 20. Garden & Farm Tools & Equipment (Mann’s Superior Seeds, 1934)
  21. 21. Beekeeping and Dairy Supplies (Mann’s Superior Seeds, 1934)
  22. 22. Poultry, Supplies and Equipment (Mann’s Superior Seeds, 1934)
  23. 23. 50+ Rochester Seed & Nursery Firms • Allen Nursery Co. • Briggs Bros. & Co. • Brown Brothers Co. • Chase Bros. Co. • Crosman Bros. • Diamond White Grape Co. • Ellwanger & Barry • Green's Nursery Co. • Hiram Sibley & Co. • James Vick's Sons • Joseph Harris Company
  24. 24. Thanks to my colleagues at: Mann Library, Cornell University (especially Carol Lowe) Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium, Cornell University Biodiversity Heritage Library Mertz Library, New York Botanical Garden National Agriculture Library, USDA Institute for Museum and Library Services
  25. 25. Questions??

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