Spotlight on Ephemera Research: Mertz Library

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June 16, 2015 Sarah Ashlock

As you tend to your garden beneath the June sun, you may wonder about the generations before you who did the very same thing. What kind of seeds did they choose? How did they purchase seeds. The answers could be found in seed catalogs. This ephemera provides handy lists of available seeds. A look into the history of seed catalogs provides a glimpse into America's developing landscape.

You can find an impressive reference collection of American seed catalogs and other ephemera both on site and online at the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, housed in a beautiful Beaux Arts building.

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Director Susan M. Fraser edited a recent book from Yale University Press, Flora Illustrata, which won the 2015 American Horticultural Society's Book Award. The book is based on a significant exhibition of the same name that closed February 22. A chapter written by Elizabeth S. Eustis outlines the library holdings.
The cover of a seed catalog: F. H. Dewitt & Co. 1915 Pelargoniums and Geraniumsephemera-society-mertz-library-6
The library is open for research Tuesday through Friday, 10 to 6pm (Friday closing at 5). Check their excellent finding guide, and other online resources, including a link to a postcard collection of the garden and other Bronx parks: http://www.nybg.org/library/finding_guide/index.php
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