Dennis Werner Collection of Seed Catalogs 1883-2013

Summary
Contents
Names/subjects
Using these materials
Please note that some historical materials may contain harmful content and/or descriptions. Learn how we’re addressing it.
Creators
Werner, Dennis J. (Dennis James); W. Atlee Burpee Company; Gurney Seed & Nursery Co.
Size
4.65 linear feet (8 archival storage boxes, 1 flatbox)
Call number
MC 00573

The Dennis Werner Collection of Seed Catalogs contains approximately 90 annual publications from W. Atlee Burpee & Co. and contains 17 annual publications of other nursery and seed companies, including Gurney's, Schell's, and Iowa Seed. The date span is 1883 to 2013, but there are some gaps. In addition to the annual catalogs, the collection contains such ephemeral materials as envelopes, order forms, inserts about products, price lists, money order forms, catalog request forms, and other materials.

Dennis Werner, a professor in the Horticultural Science at North Carolina State Univeristy, has collected historical seed catalogs (primarily Burpee Seed) throughout his career. W. Atlee Burpee (1858-1915) began a mail-order company in the 1870s, and he experimented with selective breeding and hybridization for the improvement of animals and plants. By the 1890s Burpee had became the largest seed company in the world. The business's annual catalog (begun by 1881) was an important marketing tool, and it played a significant role in the company's success. In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century other nurseries and seed companies also became famous, in part, because of their catalogs. These included Ferry (later Ferry-Morse), Gurney, Iowa Seed, Earl May, Schell, and others.

Biographical/historical note

Dennis Werner holds a BS in Horticulture from Pennsylvania State University (1973) and a MS and Ph.D. in Horticulture from Michigan State University (1975, 1979). He became an assistant professor in the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University in 1979 and became a full professor in 1988. He was director of the JC Raulston Arboretum from 2005 to 2008. He was the JC Raulston Distinguished Professor from 2007 to 2015, and in 2013 he became Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor. He has collected historical seed catalogs throughout his career.

W. Atlee Burpee (1858-1915) began a mail-order company in the 1870s, first focusing on animals but quickly expanding to include nursery plants and seeds. He experimented with selective breeding and hybridization for the improvement of animals and plants. By the 1890s Burpee had became the largest seed company in the world, and since then its slogan has been: "Burpee's Seeds Grow". Among the company's successful varieties are "Iceberg" lettuce, "Stringless Green Pod Beans," "Fordhook" bush lima beans, and "Golden Bantam" sweet corn. After 1900 flower seeds became an important part of the business.

The annual catalog (begun by 1881) was an important marketing tool for Burpee, and it played a significant role in the company's success. By the late 1880s the catalogs contained color plates, some of which were purchased from Europe but most were created by skilled immigrant watercolorists in Germantown, Pennsylvania. After 1900 black-and-white photography began to appear in the catalogs, and by the 1950s color photographs had been introduced.

In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century other nurseries and seed companies became famous, in part, because of their catalogs. These incuded Ferry (later Ferry-Morse), Gurney, Iowa Seed, Earl May, Schell, and others.

Scope/content

The Dennis Werner Collection of Seed Catalogs contains approximately 90 annual publications from W. Atlee Burpee & Co. The date span is 1883 to 2013, but there are some gaps. The collection also contains 17 annual publications of other other nursery and seed companies, including Gurney's, Schell's, and Iowa Seed. These date from 1904 to 1958, but they mostly concentrate on the period from the 1930s to the 1950s.

In addition to the annual catalogs, the collection contains ephemeral materials for some years. These include envelopes, order forms, inserts about products, price lists, money order forms, catalog request forms, and other materials. These items are filed with the individual catalogs with which they are associated.

Arrangement

Burpee catalogs are arranged chronologically. Other seed catalogs organized separately, first by name of nursery/seed company and then chronologically. Oversize materials are filed separately in flatbox 9.

Access to the collection

Collection is open for research; access requires at least 48 hours advance notice. Because of the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access will require additional advanced notice. Copies of digital files may be provided for use in the SCRC Reading Room upon request.

Use of these materials

The nature of the NC State University Libraries' Special Collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The NC State University Libraries claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which North Carolina State University assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Dennis Werner Collection of Seed Catalogs, MC 000573, Special Collections Research Center, NC State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC

Source of acquisition

Gift of Dennis Werner, 2016 (Accession 2016.0003)

Processing information

Processed by Jessica Watkins, 2016 February; machine-readable finding aid by Cathy Dorin-Black and Todd Kosmerick, 2016 February.

Please note that some historical materials may contain harmful content and/or descriptions. Learn how we’re addressing it.
Burpee's Farm Annual (2 copies) 1883 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 1, Folder 1
Burpee's Farm Annual 1887 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 1, Folder 2
Burpee's Farm Annual 1888 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 1, Folder 3
Burpees Farm Annual 1890 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 1, Folder 4
Burpee's Seeds 1893 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 1, Folder 5
Burpee's Farm Annual 1895 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 1, Folder 6
Burpee's Farm Annual 1894 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 1, Folder 7
Burpee's Farm Annual 1897 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 1, Folder 8
Burpee's Unique List of The Best Seeds that Grow 1898 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 1, Folder 9
Burpee's Farm Annual 1899 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 1, Folder 10
Burpee's Farm Annual 1901 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 1, Folder 11
Burpee's Farm Annual 1902 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 1, Folder 12
Burpees Farm Annual 1903 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 1, Folder 13
Burpee's Farm Annual 1904 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 1, Folder 14
Burpee's Farm Annual 1906 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 2, Folder 1
Burpee's Farm Annual 1909 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 2, Folder 2
Burpee's Annual 1911 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 2, Folder 3
Burpee's Annual 1913 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 2, Folder 4
Burpee's Annual 1914 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 2, Folder 5
Burpee's Annual 1915 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 2, Folder 6
Burpee's Annual 1916 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 2, Folder 7
Burpee's Annual 1917 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 2, Folder 8
Burpee's Annual 1918 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 2, Folder 9
Burpee's Seeds Grow (advertisement) 1918 (Accession 2016_0003)
Flat box 9, Folder 1
Burpee's Annual 1919 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 2, Folder 10
Burpee's Annual (2 copies) 1920 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 2, Folder 11
Burpee's Annual 1921 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 3, Folder 1
Burpee's Annual 1922 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 3, Folder 2
Burpee's Annual 1923 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 3, Folder 3
Burpee's Annual 1924 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 3, Folder 4
Burpee's Annual 1925 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 3, Folder 5
Burpee's Annual 1926 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 3, Folder 6
Burpee's Annual 1927 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 3, Folder 7
Burpee's Annual 1928 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 3, Folder 8
Burpee's Annual 1929 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 3, Folder 9
Burpee's Annual 1930 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 3, Folder 10
Burpee's Annual 1931 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 3, Folder 11
Burpee's Annual 1932 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 3, Folder 12
Burpee's Annual 1933 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 3, Folder 13
Burpee's Annual 1934 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 4, Folder 1
Burpee's Annual 1935 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 4, Folder 2
Burpee's Annual 1936 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 4, Folder 3
Burpee's Seed Catalog 1937 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 4, Folder 4
Burpee's Seeds 1938 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 4, Folder 5
Burpee's Seeds 1939 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 4, Folder 6
Burpee's Seeds 1940 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 4, Folder 7
Burpee's Seed Catalog 1941 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 4, Folder 8
Burpee's Seeds That Grow 1942 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 4, Folder 9
Burpee's Seeds That Grow 1943 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 4, Folder 10
Burpee's Seeds That Grow 1944 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 4, Folder 11
Burpee's Seeds Grow 1945 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 4, Folder 12
Burpee 1946 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 5, Folder 1
Burpee Bulbs for Fall Planting 1947 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 5, Folder 2
Burpee Seeds That Grow 1947 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 5, Folder 3
Burpee Seeds 1948 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 5, Folder 4
Burpee Seeds 1949 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 5, Folder 5
Burpee Seeds 1950 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 5, Folder 6
Burpee Seeds 1951 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 5, Folder 7
Burpee Seeds 1952 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 5, Folder 8
Burpee Seeds 1953 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 5, Folder 9
Burpee Seeds 1954 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 5, Folder 10
Burpee Seeds 1955 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 5, Folder 11
Burpee Seeds 1956 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 5, Folder 12
Burpee Seeds 1957 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 5, Folder 13
Burpee Seeds 1958 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 5, Folder 14
Burpee Seeds 1959 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 6, Folder 1
Burpee Seeds 1960 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 6, Folder 2
Burpee Seeds 1961 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 6, Folder 3
Burpee Seeds 1962 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 6, Folder 4
Burpee Seeds 1963 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 6, Folder 5
Burpee 1964 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 6, Folder 6
Burpee 1965 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 6, Folder 7
Burpee 1966 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 6, Folder 8
Burpee 1967 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 6, Folder 9
Burpee Seeds 1968 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 6, Folder 10
Burpee Seeds 1969 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 6, Folder 11
Burpee Seeds 1971 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 6, Folder 12
Burpee Seeds 1976 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 6, Folder 13
Burpee Seeds 1977 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 6, Folder 14
Burpee Seeds 1978 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 6, Folder 15
Burpee Gardens 1987 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 7, Folder 1
Burpee Gardens 1990 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 7, Folder 2
Burpee Gardens 1991 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 7, Folder 3
Burpee Gardens 1992 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 7, Folder 4
Burpee Gardens 1993 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 7, Folder 5
Burpee Gardens 1996 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 7, Folder 6
Burpee Gardening 2006 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 7, Folder 7
Burpee Gardening 2007 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 7, Folder 8
Burpee Gardening 2009 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 7, Folder 9
Burpee Gardening 2010 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 7, Folder 10
Burpee Gardening 2011 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 7, Folder 11
Burpee 2013 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 7, Folder 12
Barnard's 1927 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 7, Folder 13
Condon's 1930 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 7, Folder 14
Dreer's Garden Book 1930 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 8, Folder 1
Earl May's Spring Catalog 1932 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 8, Folder 9
Everything for the Garden 1927 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 8, Folder 6
Ferry's Seed Annual 1925 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 8, Folder 2
Good Luck Gardens 1940 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 8, Folder 3
The House of Gurney 1931 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 8, Folder 4
The House of Gurney 1934 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 8, Folder 5
Gurney's 1945 (Accession 2016_0003)
Flat box 9, Folder 2
Gurney's 1956 (Accession 2016_0003)
Flat box 9, Folder 3
Gurney's 1957 (Accession 2016_0003)
Flat box 9, Folder 4
Iowa Seed 1904 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 8, Folder 7
Iowa Seed 1914 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 8, Folder 8
Schell's Quality Seeds (2 copies) 1958 (Accession 2016_0003)
Box 8, Folder 10
R.H. Shumway 1944 (Accession 2016_0003)
Flat box 9, Folder 5
Please note that some historical materials may contain harmful content and/or descriptions. Learn how we’re addressing it.

Access to the collection

Collection is open for research; access requires at least 48 hours advance notice. Because of the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access will require additional advanced notice. Copies of digital files may be provided for use in the SCRC Reading Room upon request.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Dennis Werner Collection of Seed Catalogs, MC 00573, NC State University Libraries Special Collections Research Center

Use of these materials

The nature of the NC State University Libraries' Special Collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The NC State University Libraries claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which North Carolina State University assumes no responsibility.