Dating back to the late 19th century and encompassing all aspects of gardening, the Nursery and Seed Catalog Collection provides a glimpse into the past and provides information on methods, trends, and pricing, as well as some wonderful imagery. The catalogs represent 620 different companies from all over the United States, and a handful from England and the Netherlands.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the collection began with Lloyd Library founder Curtis Gates Lloyd. Among his personal correspondence files are letters to and from companies such as A. Henderson & Co. in Chicago and Barr & Son in London. He was buying plants for his property in Crittenden, Kentucky and seemed to prefer flowering plants, purchasing large quantities of peonies from Brand Peony Farms in Faribault, Minnesota, gladiolus from A.E. Kunderd in Goshen, Indiana, and roses, lilies, and irises from Bobbink & Atkins of Rutherford, New Jersey. He corresponded with and purchased plants from John Lewis Childs in Long Island, New York from 1913 to 1925. Lloyd ordered so many plants that Brand Peony Farms thought he was a commercial dealer in the peony business.
Librarian Corinne Miller Simons began adding her personal nursery catalogs to the collection beginning in the 1940s and at some point acquired many catalogs from A.E. Curtis, a Cincinnati poppy and iris enthusiast.
The catalogs are organized by company name and are searchable in the Lloyd’s online catalog and in the Nursery and Seed Catalog Collection’s inventory available here.