Skip to content

The 28th Edition, for 1888, is now online…

January 31, 2012

No. 1. Descriptive Catalogue of Fruits- Twenty-Eighth Edition.

A published catalog is newly available on-line…but I wouldn’t try ordering anything from it.  Still, this is a special event around these parts as this book is the first digitized version of a complete bound set of Ellwanger & Barry’s catalogs that I’ve found in any online archive. Not surprisingly,  it is made available by the  Monroe County Library System as part of  a recent update to it’s dowloadable eBooks.  The physical bound book is kept at the Rochester Public Library and does not circulate.

The volume is actually a set of separate catalogs that were issued during the year 1888:

  • No. 1. Descriptive Catalogue of Fruits- Twenty-Eighth Edition.
  • No .2 Descriptive Catalogue of Ornamental Trees, Shrubs, Hardy Perennial Plants, Etc. : Twenty-Seventh Edition.
  • No. 3. Autumn, 1887. Spring, 1888 Descriptive Priced Catalogue – Strawberries,
  • No. 5. A Descriptive Catalogue of Select Roses -11th Edition.
    (not included here is E&B’s Number 4 catalog which was intended to for the wholesale market)

Magnolia Soulangeana

In later years, Ellwanger & Barry would publish a soft cover one volume catalog that resembles today seed & nursery catalogs, but in 1888, the catalogs were published as large pamplets directed towards different markets…for example Fruit Growers as opposed to “Landscape Gardeners” (See Preface Below from Catalog #2, “Ornamentals”).    If the Fruits catalog seems lightly illustrated compared to the Ornamentals, one should note that Ellwanger & Barry salesmen during this era would also have been using  specially bound plate books with many colorful Chromoliths to illustrate virtually every variety of fruit available.  Samples of these plates can be found at the University of Rochester online site…(and we will have much more on the subject of  colored plates for Nurseryman on this site at some point in the near future as well. )  Over 90 varieties of Apples and 65 of Pears are listed in the Catalog.  Other catalogs from this decade show that Ellwanger & Barry actually stocked several hundred other and rarer varieties of both fruits.  It  will give you a sense of how things have changed in the Fruit Nursery business when you contrast these numbers with what is currently available from one of the largest local fruit nurseries (for example – only 11 different varieties of Pears are sold.)

I hope you enjoy examining this historical catalog – it comes from a time that much was changing in the section of the city now known as the Highland Park Neighborhood.  Most of what would become the Neighborhood was still Nursery Grounds   An invitation to visit those grounds  is given in the excerpt below.  While one can no longer “inspect” Mount Hope Nurseries’s Collections, Botanical & Pomological Gardens, and Arboretum directly, Ellwanger & Barry in 1888 were busy preserving their legacy in such manner that one can still marvel at the varieties of trees and shrubs that they developed and sold….for this was the year that their gift of Highland Park was accepted was finally accepted by the City of Rochester.

From Lilac' Section of Catalog #2


We take pleasure in presenting to our friends and patrons the 27th edition of this catalogue.

Many of the descriptions have been rewritten, all the lists revised and several new illustrations introduced. W e believe the book will serve, not only as a priced catalogue, but also as a useful hand-book, containing concise descriptions of nearly all the hardy Ornamental Trees and Shrubs most worthy of cultivation in this and similar climates.

We cordially invite all who are interested in ornamental planting to inspect our collection; a new arboretum having been planted recently, which contains young specimens of nearly all the species and varieties we offer.
Duplicate collections will be furnished for college grounds, parks, etc., on the most favorable terms. To students and lovers of nature nothing can be more interesting than to study the nomenclature and note the peculiarities of growth, habit, foliage, flowers and fruit of all the finest trees and shrubs that will thrive in our climate.
Our general stock of ornamental trees, shrubs and plants has never been so extensive and complete in every department as it is at this time. Everything has been well and carefully grown.
Several promising novelties are now offered for the first time.

Young's Weeping Birch

Gentlemen making extensive improvements, or adding to their collections, Landscape Gardeners, Superintendents of Public Parks, Gardens, Cemeteries, etc., etc., will find it to their advantage to examine our stock.
Nurserymen and Dealers will be supplied on liberal terms. A wholesale catalogue (No. 4) is published semi-annually.
A Rose Catalogue is now published separately and is known, in our series, as No. 5, the great extension of our Rose culture having compelled us to adopt this course.
Attention is requested to ” Brief Suggestions to Planters ” on the next page.


Golden Leaf Syringa from 1888 Ellwanger & Barry Catalogue

From  Ellwanger & Barry’s Mount Hope Nurseries  No .2 Descriptive Catalogue Of Ornamental Trees, Shrubs, Hardy Perennial Plants, Etc. : Twenty-Seventh Edition.

No comments yet

Your Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: