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In the Nineteenth Century the James Vick Company Advertised its Seed House

This past summer Emily Morry wrote an article in Rochester ‘s Democrat and Chronicle called “From flour to flowers” which details the up-state New York city’s transformation in the nineteenth century into a seed company and nursery powerhouse with customers across the nation.

The story focuses also on what the East Avenue location in Rochester looks like today where the four-story seed house for the James Vick Seed Company once stood.

An illustration of the company seed house became an important marketing tool for nineteenth century seed companies. It portrayed the company as a substantial operation with more than adequate resources to provide the best seeds.

Many catalogs like Vick’s provided space for such an illustration within its pages.

Morry includes a photo  of Vick’s seed house, built in 1880 [below].

Vick Seed House (1880) Collection of the Rochester Library, Local History Division
Vick Seed House (1880) Collection of the Rochester Library, Local History Division

On a visit to Rochester I once stood at that corner spot on East Avenue where Vick built this seed house.

Vick spent the money for the seed house because of his successful business of over twenty years.

The  image of the building  in the catalog became an ad for Vick’s business.  The bigger the business, the more important it was to let your customer know that.  That decision reflected the new forms of mass production, marketing, and advertising of products and services that  the 1890s ushered in, a prelude to what America was becoming: a consumer culture.

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