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Bedman Brothers Company records

Owner:
Bedman, John  Search this
Bedman, James  Search this
Bedman, Joseph  Search this
Bedman, Frank  Search this
Bedman, Charles  Search this
Founder:
Bedman, William  Search this
Creator:
Bedman Brothers Rahway, New Jersey.  Search this
Bedman Brothers  Search this
William Bedman Seed Company (Rahway, New Jersey)  Search this
Investor:
Thorburn, James  Search this
Names:
Bedman Brothers  Search this
Extent:
8.5 Cubic feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Negatives
Brochures
Price lists
Account books
Administrative records
Correspondence
Photographs
Artifacts
Leaflets
Clippings
Ledgers (account books)
Scrapbooks
Purchase orders
Pamphlets
Date:
1859 - 1984
Summary:
The Bedman Brothers Company Records collection focuses primarily on the business and financial transactions of Bedman Brothers seed company of Rahway, New Jersey, and includes accounting ledgers, purchase orders, price lists, miscellaneous business and family correspondence, and various brochures, pamphlets and leaflets related to horticultural topics. Other holdings in the collection include World War II ration stamps and two scrapbooks, one of which contains many late nineteenth and early twentieth century chromo-lithographed trade cards (primarily from the sewing, clothing, and floral industries). The other scrapbook holds news clippings from the Civil War period. Seperated materials include seed gathering equipment used by field workers.
Historical note:
The William Bedman Seed Company of Rahway, New Jersey was established in 1843 by William Bedman with the support of James Thorburn, a Manhattan seed purveyor. The firm, later called Bedman Brothers, was principally a wholesale mail order seed company that sold to consumer-end seed houses such as Vicks, W. Atlee Burpee, and George J. Ball. Bedman Brothers became known for its production of salvias (sage), including the development of 'Bonfire' or Clara Bedman sage variety. The company continued after William Bedman's tenure under the leadership of his sons Charles, James and John. The business ended after the death of Joseph Bedman, William's grandson, in 1962.
Separated Materials:
Assorted nursery and trade catalogs and price lists from the Bedman Brothers records were transferred to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History Library, Horticulture Trade Catalogs Collection.
Provenance:
Donated to the Smithsonian Office of Horticulture (later Horticulture Services Division) in 1984 by Gladys and Florence Whitehead, great-granddaughters of William Bedman.
Restrictions:
Access to original images by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Rights:
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens.
Topic:
Mail-order business  Search this
Seed industry and trade  Search this
Seeds -- Processing -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Salvia  Search this
Flowers  Search this
Horticulture  Search this
Genre/Form:
Negatives
Brochures
Price lists
Account books -- 19th century
Administrative records
Correspondence
Photographs
Artifacts
Leaflets
Clippings
Ledgers (account books)
Scrapbooks
Account books -- 20th century
Purchase orders
Pamphlets
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Bedman Brothers Company Records.
Identifier:
AAG.BED
See more items in:
Bedman Brothers Company records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Gardens
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aag-bed
Online Media:

W. Atlee Burpee & Company records

Creator:
Burpee, David, 1893-1980  Search this
Burpee, W. Atlee (Washington Atlee), 1858-1915  Search this
James Vick's Sons (Rochester, N.Y.).  Search this
W. Atlee Burpee & Co.  Search this
Wm. Henry Maule (Firm)  Search this
Extent:
201 Cubic feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Account books
Advertising
Business records
Correspondence
Pamphlets
Trade catalogs
Date:
circa 1873-1986
bulk 1890-1930
Summary:
The W. Atlee Burpee & Company records, dated circa 1873-1986, document the firm's business activities developing plant varieties and marketing and selling seeds. They include accounting records, seed trial records, seed contracts, sales records, inventories, office correspondence, seed catalogs, promotional and instructional materials, advertisements and advertising reports, contest letters, daybooks, photographs, reference materials, and other items relating to the company and some of its competitors.
Arrangement:
Collection is arranged into six series:

Series 1: Plant/Farm Related Material

Series 2: Business Records

Series 3: Material Published About the Burpee Company

Series 4: Awards and Certificates

Series 5: Photographic and A/V Materials

Series 6: Burpee Family Papers
Biographical / Historical:
Washington Atlee Burpee (1858-1915) began a mail-order poultry and livestock business in 1876 in Philadelpia, which he soon expanded to include corn seed for chicken feed. In 1878, he founded W. Atlee Burpee & Co., the primary focus of which was to sell vegetable, fruit, and flower seeds through the mail. This company would go on to become one of the most notable seed distributors in the United States.

By 1888, Burpee's family home, Fordhook Farms, in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, was established as an experimental farm to test and evaluate new varieties of vegetables and flowers, and to produce seeds. Burpee spent many summers traveling throughout the United States and Europe, visiting farms and searching for the best flowers and vegetables; certain plants he found were shipped to Fordhook Farms for testing. Plants that survived were bred with healthier specimens to produce heartier hybrids that were more resistant to disease. Other Burpee trial gardens were established in Lompoc, California and near Swedesboro, New Jersey.

Burpee's son David took over the family business upon his father's death in 1915. At that time, the Burpee Company had 300 employees and was the largest mail order seed company in the world. It distributed over one million catalogs a year and received as many as 10,000 orders a day. In response to food shortages caused by World War I, the Burpee Company helped promote a "war gardens" campaign that evolved into a "victory gardens" campaign during World War II. Both were aimed at city dwellers and instructed them on how to grow vegetables for their own consumption to aid in the war effort.

Sometime in the 1930s, the Burpee Company entered into a business relationship with the James Vick's Company of Rochester, New York. In 1947, Burpee purchased the assets of and rights to the use of the name of the Wm. Henry Maule Co. In 1970, Burpee was sold to General Foods; the corporate headquarters moved from Philadelphia to Warminster, Pennsylvania in 1974. David Burpee remained a consultant for the company until his death in 1981. In 1991, the Burpee Company was acquired by George J. Ball, Inc.
Separated Materials:
Burpee seed catalogs donated to the Smithsonian in 1982 by the W. Atlee Burpee Company can be found in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History Branch Library Trade Literature Collection.
Restrictions:
Access to original images by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Rights:
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens.
Topic:
Agriculture  Search this
Business  Search this
Contests  Search this
Flowers  Search this
Gardens -- United States  Search this
Horticulture  Search this
Mail-order business  Search this
Seed industry and trade  Search this
Trial gardens  Search this
Vegetables  Search this
Victory gardens  Search this
Genre/Form:
Account books -- 19th century
Account books -- 20th century
Advertising
Business records
Correspondence
Pamphlets
Trade catalogs
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, W. Atlee Burpee & Company Records.
Identifier:
AAG.BUR
See more items in:
W. Atlee Burpee & Company records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Gardens
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aag-bur
Online Media:

W. Atlee Burpee & Company Seed Contests, 1924-1925

Creator:
W. Atlee Burpee & Co  Search this
Physical description:
5 boxes
Type:
Advertising
Business records
Correspondence
Photographs
Place:
United States
Date:
1924
1924-1925
Topic:
Horticulture  Search this
Business  Search this
Mail-order business  Search this
Seed industry and trade  Search this
Flowers  Search this
Contests  Search this
Gardens  Search this
Vegetables  Search this
Local number:
AAG.BUR.ContestLetters
Restrictions & Rights:
Access to original documents by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens
See more items in:
W. Atlee Burpee & Company Records, circa 1873-1978, bulk 1890-1930
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_367582

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