Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Digital Collection for Those With Green Thumbs!

Just when all the gardeners out there are dreaming of cultivating giant killer squash and to-die-for American Beauty roses we bring you a Smithsonian Institution Libraries Digital Collection: Seed Catalogs.

From their introduction:

"The Smithsonian Institution Libraries have a unique trade catalog collection that includes about 10,000 seed and nursery catalogs dating from 1830 to the present.

The real gems of the collection date from 1830 to the 1930s and are both beautiful and important multidisciplinary historical documents. The seed trade catalogs document the history of the seed and agricultural implement business in the United States, as well as provide a history of botany and plant research such as the introduction of plant varieties into the United States. Additionally, the seed trade catalogs are a window into the history of graphic arts in advertising, and a social history, through the text and illustrations, showing changing fashions in flowers and vegetables."

You can search by seed company or five categories of cover art: flowers, vegetables, fruits, people and the material world, and other.