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Mills' Seed Catalogue.
Rose Hill & Rochester, NY: F. B. Mills & Stecher Lith. Co.,, 1900. Quarto. Colour lithograph wrappers, wire-stitched, front cover depicting four new flower varieties, rear cover depicting new varieties of bean, radish, sweet corn, tomato, and watermelon. With the order form laid-in as issued. Wrappers colour illustrated on recto and verso, 1 double-sided colour plate, numerous black and white woodcut illustrations to the text. Spine a little worn and creased, some light discolouration to wrappers, small tear to upper edge of rear cover, contents evenly toned, a very good copy. First edition of this Victorian seed catalogue, copyrighted 1899 on the first page. Frank B. Mills (1866-1945) founded his seed business on the family farm, Rose Hill, in 1887 and printed his first catalogue for that year on a privately owned printing press; the print run of 3,000 copies initially secured him 118 customers. By the end of the 19th century this had increased to approximately half a million customers and the business was so profitable that it had become one of the largest establishments in the US, to the extent that the government established a separate post office for Rose Hill with Mills as postmaster. As well as fulfilling mail-orders he printed an illustrated monthly magazine entitled Success with the Garden. This catalogue advertises seeds for flowers and vegetables, farm seeds such as oats, spring and winter wheat, sugar cane, farming implements, exotic plants and a wide range of tomato varieties, including the newly introduced Klondike Tomato and Mammoth Prize Tomato. The watermelon advertised on the back cover, the "earliest melon on earth", sits in front of an African-American and is accompanied by a decidedly racist jingle in dialect. It is scarce in institutional holdings. OCLC locates one copy (USDA's Henry G. Gilbert Nursery and Seed Trade Catalog Collection) and a second listed under the copyright date (Rochester Museum & Science Center).
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2017-11-22           Check availability:      Biblio    

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