Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Seed Trade Cards and Scrapbooking in the 1800s

Scrapbooking and Trade Cards

 Information on the Crosman  Brothers

is at the bottom of this page.  They were important seedsman for many years.  I have no info on Southworth or Green and Co..

Little children loved collecting these and pasting them in scrapbooks in the 1800s.   It was a popular activity in the later 1800s, so popular that, like today, you could buy special fancy little printed doodads to add to your pages.  Scrapbooks could be lush, gilded and embossed,  or they could be, and often were, an unwanted accounts book.  I haven't found an image on Ebay of a page with a seed card on it yet!

There's nothing like a large bird eating a snake to set off a fashionable lady.

Importers, Growers And Wholesale Seed Merchants, 300 Monroe Avenue.
A most important factor of the celebrated seed business of Rochester is the house of Messrs. Crosman Bros., which  also is the oldest in the trade having been founded in 1840, by Mr. C F. Crosman, father of the present owners and proprietors of the enterprise.
For many years this house has enjoyed a large share of popularity, not only from the assured character of its merchandise, but on account of the liberal and satisfactory terms made with retailers and consumers of its products.
Messrs. Crosman Brothers are importers, growers and wholesale dealers in seeds; they have sixty acres of land in the eastern suburbs of the city devoted to the cultivation of seeds, of which they are the largest growers in this State and we might say the United States. In connection with this acreage they have seeds grown by contract to the extent of ten or twelve hundred acres, in various parts of the United States, and they also have seeds grown for them in France, Germany and other foreign countries by experienced and competent seedsmen, thereby securing a product that haf attained its greatest perfection in the land of its nativity.
A test and trial garden is also had for the purpose of testing all seeds grown. whereby none are put on the market unless known to be genuine. On the grounds are three large green houses and a very extensive spread of hot-beds devoted entirely to the growing of vegetable plants.
Over 15,000 merchants throughout the United States are annually supplied with seeds from this establishment, besides which seeds are shipped in bulk from the warehouse of the firm to all parts of the world. The details of a trade which extends over so large a territory must necessarily involve the greatest care and the most assiduous attention. This may be readily apprehended from the fact that during the busy season, not less than one hundred and fifty employes are engaged in the several departments of the business. Twenty traveling salesmen are also constantly employed in looking after the trade of the house, traveling nearly the entire United States.
The warehouse of the firm is a three story and basement brick building, 140x45 feet in dimensions: it is equipped with printing presses, paper cutters, pea and liean sifters, elevators and all modern conveniences, is operated by a steam engine and is heated throughout by steam, and having been erected specially for the business is in every way adapted for its successful prosecution.
In the preparations of seeds for the market, great care is exercised in the selection of those varieties most suitable to the different climatic conditions of the several States to which they are to be sent. The strictest attention is also paid to packing them, each lot being carefully marked with the common as well as the botanical name, and to make assurance doubly sure a fine illustration of the flower. fruit or vgetable is put upon the outside of each package. Altogether it would be difficult for either dealers or consumers to find a house upon which greater reliance can be placed and with which every transaction is certain to be accompanied by fairness and liberality on one side, and entire and lasting satisfaction on the other.
The mdividual members of the firm, Messrs. C. W. and G. F. Crosman are both natives of Rochester and were brought up in the seed business, to which they devote their entire time and attention. In conclusion we may add that the reputation acquired by this house is in every respect the well-merited reward of a business policy which precludes the possibility of the use of any means likely to mislead or savoring of deceit.


The name of Crosman has for nearly half a century been known to every place on earth where the fame of the Flower city has spread. Charles F. Crosman, who established the seed business in Rochester in 1840, was born in Wilmington, Vermont, in 1802, and from the age of sixteen years lived for nineteen years with the community of Shakers in Columbia county, New York. In 1840 he came to Rochester and established the wholesale and retail seed business now carried on by his sons, Charles W. and George F. Crosman. In 1843 he married Mary L. Wilson of Fenner, NewYork. When C. F. Crosman died, in 1865, leaving to his minor sonsthe business which he had established by twenty-five years' work, no one could foresee that in a short time the young men would have fostered their inheritance so successfully that by the time they had reached middle age it would be one of the largest seed houses in the world. But such is nevertheless a fact. His son, Charles Wilson Crosman, was born in Rochester January 13, 1847, and received his education here. On the death of his father, while he was still under age he assumed the management of the business, and the trade now done by Crosman Brothers is the largest in the United States. Mr. Charles W. Crosman was married in 1884 to Josephine, daughter of  C. W. Godard of Brooklyn, for many years captain of the Port of New York. He is a life member of the New York State and of the Western New York Agricultural societies, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, is prominent in Masonic circles, and president of the American Seedsmen's Protective league. George Frederick Crosman was born in Rochester in 1851 and was educated here. In 1885, on the death of his father, he took hold with his brother to carry on the business, and by untiring efforts succeeded long since in building up one of the most important interests in the city. Their wholesale and retail seed business is one of the largest in America. At their seed house on Monroe avenue two hundred persons are employed and they have dealings with thirty thousand country merchants. In addition to their Rochester interests they have large establishments at Cobourg and Wellington, Ontario, where large quantities of peas are grown for seed that is sent over the world. Mr. George F. Crosman in 1879 married Ella D., only daughter of Ira Todd of Brighton, New York. She died November 4, 1887, leaving two daughters, Clara M. and Beatrice E. Mr. George F. Crosman is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Masonic fraternity and the Rochester club.

1895 - Rochester and the Post ExpressA History of the City of Rochester from the Earliest Times : the Pioneers and Their Predecessors, Frontier Life in the Genesee Country, Biographical Sketches : with a Record of the Post Express