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In Vibrant Color: Historical Seed and Nursery Catalogs from the Ethel Z. Bailey Collection

Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 8:00am to 5:00pm

Mann Library, Lobby
Cornell University Mann Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Starting in the mid-nineteenth century many gardeners experienced a reprieve from the dark and cold of winter with the arrival of a seed and nursery catalog in the mailbox. The catalog would tempt with beautiful illustrations and vivid descriptions of exotic, intriguing and tantalizing species. The images of flowers, fruits, vegetables and berries are still a delight to gardeners and non-gardeners alike. But historical catalogs are more than a collection of beautiful pictures, they also provide a window into the timing and development of propagated species, demographic and infrastructure changes, mechanical, agricultural, and printing innovations, the evolution of popular advertisement and marketing, pest control methods, and much more. The Ethel Zoe Bailey Horticultural Catalogue Collection housed in Mann Library’s Special Collection is preserving this cultural, historic, and scientifically valuable information in its over 130,000 seed and nursery catalogs. Come discover the history of Seed and Nursery Catalogs, and some of the many fascinating themes that can be gleaned from their pages, in the Mann Library Lobby now through September.

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Event Type



Cornell University Library, Mann Library, Sustainability


agriculture, exhibit, history, Cornell University Library, Mann Library, Design, seed catalogs, printing, chromolithography


Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Jenny Leijonhufvud

Contact Phone


Open To

Free and open to the public

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