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Vick’s 1873 Seed Catalog

Eventually seedsman James Vick (1818-1882) incorporated chromolithography  in his catalog.

Rochester, New York  where he lived provided home to several lithograph companies like D. M. Dewey  that created artwork for the local seed and nursery industry.  Back then companies like Dewey  helped to earn Rochester the name “the Flower City”.

In 1873 Vick featured one of the earliest detailed chromo  illustrations on his catalog cover.  The drawing provides an artist’s detailed rendering of flowers that Vick sold in the catalog.

Vick’s desire to keep current in business practices enabled his company to become one of the biggest in nineteenth century America.

Marjorie  R. Norcross in her history of American gardening wrote, “Although Henderson, Park, Burpee, and Harris were important seedsmen in the nineteenth century, James Vick of Rochester, New York was the most successful horticultural seedsman-writer-merchandiser of that period.”

Vick  enlisted the artistic help of lithograph firms like Dewey to create colorful covers for the yearly catalog, which Vick printed and mailed in the thousands.

Whenever in the catalog he instructed his customers on the principles of home landscape, Vick often included essays and illustrations of the picturesque or modern view of landscape gardening, borrowed from the English.

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