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W. Atlee Burpee & Company Seed Co., 1898

W. Atlee Burpee & Company Seed Co., 1898

Smithsonian Institution Libraries

W. Atlee Burpee & Company Seed Co., 1898

The seed trade catalogs document the history of the seed and agricultural business in the United States; they also provide a history of botany and plant research such as the introduction of plant varieties into the country.

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ trade catalog collection includes about 10,000 seed and nursery catalogs dating from 1830 to the present.

This seed catalog is from the W. Atlee Burpee & Co., which was founded in Philadelphia in 1876 by Washington Atlee Burpee, an 18-year-old with a passion for plants and animals—and a mother willing to lend him $1,000 of “seed money” to start his business.

This item is one of 137 million artifacts, works of art and specimens in the Smithsonian’s collection. The seed and nursery catalogs are part of the Smithsonian Libraries Trade Literature Collection, which is in the National Museum of American History Library. It is not on display.

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