A Tree-Peddler's Sample Book for Washington Nursery Co., Toppenish, Washington
Rochester: Rochester Lithographing and Printing Co. 8vo. (8 x 5 1/2 inches). 151 chromolithographic and colour photographic offset plates, and 1 uncoloured, mounted photograph of flowers, apples, pears, plums, cherries, peaches, berries, grapes, trees and shrubs and more.
Original cloth wallet-style binding, lettered with the Nursery name.
A later-period "tree-peddler's" sample book, providing an unusual combination of chromolithographic and colour-offset plates of fruit, flower, and tree varieties.
Sample books such as this were used to market fruit trees and shrubs, displaying the handsome fruits in vivid colour. They were typically made up uniquely for each nursery by various Rochester firms. 'From the 1850s, as Rochester [N.Y.] became an important centre of nursery gardening, another local industry grew up to provide illustrations of fruit, flowers, shrubs, trees, selections of which were used as catalogues by travelling 'tree peddlers' who sold plants from the nurseries they represented to farmers and gardeners in the territories they visited. The earliest illustrations of this kind were watercolours copied by local artists, but soon their production was made more efficient by the use of stencils to provide theorem paintings of flowers and fruit. Printed outlines or lithographs were also coloured by hand until chromolithographs added colour to the basic process, though even then they were often finished by hand' (Oak Spring Pomona, p.167). Amongst the plates in the present sample book are examples by the Rochester Lithographing Company who were 'in the nurserymen's plate business by 1888. Beginning that year and continuing into the twentieth century, [the firm] is listed in the city directories under both 'Fruit Plates' and 'Nurserymen's Plates' (Kabelac).
Karl Sanford Kabelac `Nineteenth-Century Rochester Fruit and Flower Plates' in The University of Rochester Library Bulletin (1982) vol. XXXV, pp. 93-114; Raphael, An Oak Spring Pomona 65.