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Ottawa Star Nurseries. No. 3280. [Specimen book, or salesman's sample catalogue comprised of fine coloured horticultural and floricultural plates].
Ottawa, KS: Ottawa [Star] Nurseries, printed by Rochester Lithographing Co., Rochester, NY, 1895 - Octavo (213 × 140 mm). Contemporary burgundy half skiver, black pebble-grained cloth boards, title gilt to the front board. Typically somewhat used, externally rubbed and soiled, spine eroded and splitting, corners through, joints holding, hinges lined with linen, but the contents remaining clean and sound. 59 chromolithographic plates, 7 hand-coloured Theorem plates, 1 other colour plate. First edition, thus, of this specimen book, or salesman's sample catalogue for the Ottawa Star Nurseries in the 1890s. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, and into the twentieth, Rochester, NY was the centre of the American in the nursery business, and colour printing firms like Rochester Litho., Dewey, Stecher, and Vredenburg, specialised in producing pocket-sized portfolios for nurserymen, or salesmen, tailoring them to the individual local markets, offering different varieties of fruits and flowers in each. Of particular interest in this beautiful Ottawa, Kansas catalogue are the colour Theorem plates - each printed with a number of stencils, in pochoir style, then finished by hand in water-colour, creating a remarkably luminous effect, these include the Missouri Mammoth Quince, the Willard Plum, Japanese Botan Plum, Future Great Peach, Russian Alexander Apricot, and the Early Cluster Blackberries. The catalogue includes chromolithograph plates of varieties of cherries - Large Montmorency, Lieb, Ostheim, Early Richmond - apples - Bismarck, Downing's Winter Maiden Blush, Red Beitigheimer, Missouri Pippin, Wolf River - pears - Garber's Hybrid or Birkett, Seckel, Flemish Beauty, Kieffer's Hybrid, Duchess D'Angouleme - plums including the Burbank Plum developed in the 1890s, grapes - Niagara, Worden, Prentiss - gooseberries, blackberries, the Kansas Raspberry, strawberries - Senator Dunlap, Warfield, Finch - varieties of plants including Altheas, Purple and White Lilac, Roses - Crimson Rambler, Yellow Rambler, Queen of the Prairie, General Washington - Hydrangeas, and spruce trees. The plates were grouped in sections to aid the salesman, or nursery, in showing the prospective customer the best items for them. Since they were such expensive productions, the owners of the specimen books were instructed to not allow customers with dirty hands to touch the books, avoid getting them wet, and if it should get soiled at the edges, have it cut and rebound again. Many nurserymen would rebind their catalogues as often as every two years. This catalogue offers an invaluable reference to the hardy varieties tested on the American Prairie and West in the nineteenth century, entirely different to those typically seen offered in East Coast specimen books (see Kabelac, "Nineteenth-Century Rochester Fruit and Flower Plates" in University of Rochester Library Bulletin, Vol. XXXV, 1982). Frank Haskins Stannard (1857-1922), the founder and proprietor of Ottawa Star Nurseries studied in Jamestown, NY under a number of nurserymen, and in 1879 emigrated to Kansas. Once there he immediately began buying up acreage, eventually accumulating over 500 acres in Ottawa, Kansas, which would not only become the largest nursery and seed supplier in the state, but went on to become the largest in the West. Stannard's client-base was largely to be found in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. By 1900 he was shipping over 45,000 bushels a year, and would later become a Republican State Senator in 1906 and 1908. (Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Vol. III, Part 2, pp. 1030-1).
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington. ABA member]
Last Found On: 2017-03-25           Check availability:      ZVAB    

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