Historical seed catalogs provide a variety of insights into the history of horticulture, agriculture, gardening, advertising, seed companies, and the mail order business. Seed trade catalogs even contain windows into the history of graphic design and social history by showing the changing interests and desires of the gardener and farmer. Not only do the seed catalogs reveal new varieties and when they were introduced, but many also include brief advice on how and where to plant the seeds, lawn care, and occasionally a history of certain plant varieties.
This digital collection
contains trade catalogs, 1881-1922, from Iowa seed companies, such as the Iowa Seed Company and Dorr's Iowa Seeds. Catalogs include seeds and bulbs for flowers, trees, herbs, ornamental shrubs, vegetables, grains, grasses, and fruit. In addition, the catalogs often also include gardening tools and implements.
Only a portion of the Seed Catalogs are represented in the digital collection
. For more collections, search the library catalog
or Special Collections