University of Rochester Library Bulletin: A Business Library for Ellwanger and Barry

Volume XXXV   • 1982
A Business Library for Ellwanger and Barry

The Ellwanger and Barry Horticultural Library, which was deposited in the University of Rochester in 1943 and given outright in 1963, was above all the working library of a commercial nursery and real estate company. It was originally kept in the nursery office, where the books could easily be consulted, and some volumes bear pencilled notations in the margins. The subjects covered ranged broadly from the theoretical to the utterly practical, through three languages--English, French, and German--and included topics as diverse as fruit growing, entomology, greenhouse construction, roses, architecture, manure, park development, and horse doctoring.

George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry probably brought books with them to Rochester, though no direct evidence survives. It is tempting to surmise that George Ellwanger acquired the small, black-letter volumes of Diel'sPomology (Stuttgart, 1821) during his apprenticeship in Stuttgart, and that they were in his luggage when he first stopped in Rochester in 1835. It is more certain that Patrick Barry was given a set of the works of his first employer, William R. Prince, when he left the Princes' Nursery on Long Island. The volumes of A Treatise on the Vine (New York, 1830) and The Pomological Manual (New York, 1831) are both inscribed "Presented to Mr. P. Barry by the author." Patrick Barry probably also acquired A Short Treatise on Horticulture by William Prince (New York, 1828) during his employment there.

After the initial struggles of the infant firm were over, Ellwanger and Barry continued to acquire books. The first purchase on record was a copy of The Naturalist's Library, which they bought at auction in May 1842 for 12 shillings. They steadily added to their bookshelf, and by 1869, after thirty years of accumulation, the leather-bound catalogue recorded over 275 titles. By the 1890's the books were kept in two rooms in the office and the then-current catalogue listed the name and location on the shelf of each title. Ultimately, when the collection came to the University of Rochester, there were over 560 titles in 1,600 volumes.

The volumes of the library continue to be kept together as a unit in the Department of Rare Booksand Special Collections, and they form a valuable source for study. Several points come to mind when looking through the books. The first thing the browser notices is the large proportion of European and English titles. One of the strengths of the Ellwanger and Barry Company was the contact the partners maintained with European advances in knowledge and practice. They travelled frequently and maintained correspondence with English and Continental growers, they subscribed to periodicals, and they evidently purchased books wherever they went. At the same time they stayed abreast of American developments, and the library includes proceedings and publications of regional and national horticultural societies and works dealing with specifically American problems of soil, climate, and pests.

The selection of books also reflects changes in American society in the first half of the nineteenth century. One very basic development was the alteration of diet made possible by education and better methods of transportation. It became possible to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to the cities and also to disseminate many varieties around the country, thanks to the opening of the canals and railroads. The books that aimed to help growers develop these markets are present in the library. Patrick Barry contributed to the literature withThe Fruit Garden (New York, 1851), which went through innumerable reprintings and editions and became a standard authority.

The task of educating people to take advantage of the new opportunities for proper diet was carried out in the pages of the horticultural periodicals, many of which are represented by extensive runs. This brings us to the very stark contrast between the European and American periodicals in the library. The American journals, whether The HorticulturistThe American Cultivator, the Genesee Farmer or The American Agriculturist, are suffused with the improving spirit that aimed to reform and remake every aspect of life. The mottoes and subtitles are expressive: "For the improvement of the soil and the mind"; "The journal of rural art and rural taste"; "a journal for the farm, the garden and the fireside." The European periodicals devote themselves to single subjects, such as the cultivation of plants and new species and varieties and the management of nurseries; they do not devote space to moralizing or to lessons on the improvement of life.

After the beginning of the nineteenth century, ornamental trees and flower gardens ceased to be the sole province of the wealthy of country and town. All the familiar perennials and annuals were grown, but roses were especially popular. The collection has many of the standard works in English, French, and German. One of these was written by George Ellwanger's son, Henry Brooks Ellwanger, and went through several editions after its publication in 1882. (Oddly enough, considering the great collection of lilacs in Highland Park, which is one of the most enduring legacies from Ellwanger and Barry, there are no books devoted solely to lilacs. They are mentioned in the works on flower gardening and landscape, but not singled out.) The advent of cheap glass and stoves for heating gave anyone the means to cultivate houseplants, tropicals and ferns, and several books deal with the most effective use of plants in decorating interiors.

Like many other nursery companies, Ellwanger and Barry began to subdivide their older lands in the 1850's. They built small houses for their employees and others, and the cottages on Cypress and Linden streets in Rochester reflect the influence of several works on cottage and suburban architecture. The most notable are the books by Andrew Jackson Downing and Calvert Vaux, but there are others by more obscure architects.

The books in the Ellwanger and Barry Company Horticultural Library are not particularly rare in the sense of being early works or first editions, although there are a few scarce and valuable books. They are generally in their original bindings, and for that reason interesting to the student of nineteenth-century trade bindings, and many contain delightful colored plates, reproduced by every sort of mechanical and semi-mechanical means. The greatest value of the library, though, consists of its being a kind of fossil. What follows is a survey of some high spots and also representative examples of the range of subjects. It is not meant to be a comprehensive survey, and is certainly not a scholarly treatise on nineteenth-century horticultural books. It is merely a personal impression of a remarkable survival.



The American Agriculturist. . . New York, C. M. Saxton; Philadelphia, Josiah Tatum, 1851; Orange Judd, 1858-1893. Twenty-five volumes.

American Horticultural Annual. . . . A Year-book of Horticultural Progress for the Professional and Amateur Gardener, Fruit-grower, and Florist. New York, Orange Judd & Co., 1867-1869. Three volumes.

Published in New York by Orange Judd, the leading agricultural publisher of the latter nineteenth century. Patrick Barry contributed articles in 1867 and 1868 on "new or noteworthy pears."

American Pomological Society. A Catalogue of Fruits for Cultivation in the United States and Canadas. . . Rochester, N.Y., Book & Job Press of Benton & Andrews, 1862.

This work was Patrick Barry's other great contribution to American horticulture. This copy was hung up by a string, much like an almanac, to be at hand for consultation, and the wrappers are flyspecked and spattered.

Annales de Pomologie Belge et Étrangère. Brussels, 1847-1859. Eleven volumes. Beautifully illustrated with colored plates of fruits.

Barry, Patrick. The Fruit Garden; a Treatise Intended to Explain and Illustrate the Physiology ofFruit Trees, the Theory and Practice of All Operations Connected with the Propagation, Transplanting, Pruning and Training of Orchard and Garden Trees . . . the Laying Out and Arranging [of] Different Kinds of Orchards and Gardens. . . New York, Charles Scribner, 1851.


The first edition of Patrick Barry's most famous book. The Ellwanger and Barry Library has 12 different issues and editions of The Fruit Garden.


Cole, Samuel W. The American Fruit Book, Containing Directions for Raising, Propagating and Managing Fruit Trees, Shrubs, and Plants. . . Boston, John P. Jewett; New York, C. M. Saxton, 1849.


The author acknowledges Patrick Barry, with other nurserymen, for assistance in evaluating fruit.


Coxe, William. A View of the Cultivation of Fruit Trees and the Management of Orchards and Cider. . . Philadelphia, M. Carey & Son, 1817.

The first book by an American on pomology, this volume belonged to A. J. Downing, and was given to Patrick Barry by Charles Downing after A. J. Downing's death in the "Henry Clay" steamboat disaster in 1852.

Curtis, John. Farm Insects: Being the Natural History and Economy of the Insects Injurious to the Field Crops of Great Britain and Ireland. . . Glasgow, Edinburgh, and London, Blackie & Son, 1860.


Organized by the crop afflicted, and illustrated with colored plates showing each stage in the life cycle of the pest.


Curtis's Botanical Magazine. . . London, Lowell Reeve, 1854-1862. Nine volumes.


Certainly one of the most beautiful botanical periodicals ever published, this contains hand-colored lithographs of a variety of domestic and exotic plants. Volume 10 for 1854 contains a plate of the Wellingtonia tree, as the giant Sequoia was called in England. Ellwanger and Barry dispersed seeds and specimens of the tree, but no mention is made of them in the text.


Dadd, George H. The Modern Horse Doctor: Containing Practical Observations on the Causes, Nature and Treatment of Disease and Lameness in Horses . . . Boston, John P. Jewett & Co.; Cleveland, Jewett, Proctor & Worthington; and New York, Sheldon, Lamport & Blakeman, 1855.


The nursery was truly run on horsepower, for plowing and pulling loads. By 1859 there were 25 horses employed during the season.


Delaire, Eugene. De la Construction, de la Direction et du Chauffage des Serres, Baches, Coffres, etc. Paris, Chez H. Cousin, 1846.


A French work on the construction and maintenance of greenhouses and on gardening under glass.


Deutsches Magazin für Garten- und Blumenkunde . . . Stuttgart, 1858, 1861.

Diel, August Friederich Adrian. Systematische Beschreibung der Vorzülichsten in Deutschland Vorhandenen Kernobstsorten. Stuttgart und Tübingen, in der F.C.Cotta'schen buckhandlung, 1821-1832. Five volumes in two.


Each volume contains a hand-colored lithograph of a pear as a frontispiece.


Downing, Andrew Jackson. The Architecture of Country Houses; Including Designs for Cottages, Farmhouses and Villas. . . New York, D. Appleton & Co., 1853.

________ A Treatise on the Theory and Practise of Landscape Gardening, Adapted to North America. . . New York and London, Wiley & Putnam, 1844.

Downing was one of the single greatest influences upon American taste, through his books on architecture and landscape and as editor of The Horticulturist. In addition, he and his brother Charles owned the eminent Downing Nursery at Newburgh on the Hudson.

Dwyer, Charles P. The Economic Cottage Builder: or, Cottages for Men of Small Means. . . . Buffalo, Wanzer, McKim & Co., 1855.

Elliott, Frank R. Hand-Book for Fruit Growers, Containing a Short History of Fruits and Their Value-Instructions as to Soils and Locations-How to Grow from Seeds-How to Bud and Graft-the Making of Cuttings-Pruning-Best Age for Transplanting etc., etc. . . . Rochester, N.Y., D. M. Dewey, 1877.


The publisher of this volume, D. M. Dewey, is best remembered for his highly colored fruit plates.


Ellwanger, Henry Brooks. The Rose; a Treatise on the Cultivation, History, Family Characteristics, etc., of the Various Groups of Roses, with Accurate Descriptions of the Varieties Now Generally Grown. New York, Dodd, Mead & Co., 1882.

Rochester's contribution to the literature on the rose.


Fessenden, Thomas Green. The New American Gardener, Containing Practical Directions on the Culture of Fruits and Vegetables . . . sixteenth edition. Boston, Otis, Broaders & Co., and Philadelphia, Thomas, Cowperthwaite & Co., 1843.


A compilation by the editor of the New England Farmer of information from various standard sources, presented in handy alphabetical form.


Fitch, Asa. First and Second Report on the Noxious, Beneficial and Other lnsects of the State of New York. . . . Albany, C. Van Benthuysen, 1856.

The Gardener's Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette. London, 1849-1908. Ninety-four volumes.

The Gardener's Monthly and Horticultural Advertiser. Philadelphia, 1860-1887. Twenty-eight volumes.

An American-specialized periodical devoted only to horticulture.


Harris, Joseph. Talks on Manures. A Series of Familiar and Practical Talks Between the Author and the Deacon, the Doctor, and Other Neighbors, on the Whole Subject of Manures and Fertilizers. New York, Orange Judd Company, [1878].

Despite the subtitle, a very thorough work on manures, complete with statistics and charts, by Rochester's Joseph Harris.


Henderson, Peter. Gardening for Profit; a Guide to the Successful Cultivation of the Market and Family Garden.New York, Orange Judd Company, [1867].

The publisher claimed for this book that it was "an original and purely American work, and not made up, as books on gardening too often are, by quotations from foreign authors."


Hiles, Theron L. The Ice Crop. How to Harvest, Store, Ship and Use Ice. . .Including Many Recipes for Iced Dishes and Beverages. New York, Orange Judd Company, 1893.

American ingenuity turned even frozen water into a cash crop.


Hooper, Edward James. Hooper's Western Fruit Book: a Compendious Collection of Facts from the Notes and Experience of Successful Fruit Culturists, Arranged for Practical Use in the Orchard and Garden. Cincinnati, Moore, Wilstach, Keys & Co., 1857.

Embellished with a very effective group portrait of the leading western horticulturists sitting and standing around a table heaped with fruit. Also contains a supplement describing a patented combination fruit, ice, and spring house, devised by John C. Schooley.


Hoopes, Josiah. The Book of Evergreens. A Practical Treatise on the Coniferae, or Cone-bearing Plants. New York, Orange Judd Company, [1868].

The best known conifers ever grown by Ellwanger and Barry were the California Sequoias, which improbably survived for over seventy years on Mt. Hope Avenue.


The Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste. . . Albany, 1846; Rochester, 1853-1854; Philadelphia, 1854-1857; New York, 1858-1875.

The Horticulturist was begun by A. J. Downing, and published by Luther Tucker in Albany. After Downing's death, James Vick purchased it and brought it to Rochester for two years, where Patrick Barry edited it. After a brief stint in Philadelphia, it was removed to New York. Patrick Barry's own set of this journal is the deluxe edition with colored plates and bound in morocco. While The Horticulturist was published in Rochester, the colored plates were done by the Presteles, father and son, and are certainly among the most beautiful ever included in a magazine.

Hovey, Charles M. The Fruits of America, Containing Richly Colored Figures, and Full Descriptions of all the Choicest Varieties Cultivated in the United States. Boston, C. C. Little & Jas. Brown, and Hovey and Co.; New York, D. Appleton & Co., 1851-1856.

Embellished with chromolithographs, this is probably one of the most beautiful books in the nursery library.


Kenrick, William. The New American Orchardist, or an Account of the Most Valuable Varieties of Fruit Adapted to Cultivation in the Climate of the United States. . . Boston, Carter, Hendee & Co., and Russell, Odiorne & Co., 1833.

A general compendium, called by U. P. Hedrick "one of the most valuable fruit books," written by one of the original silk-culture enthusiasts.


Lindley, George. A Guide to the Orchard and Fruit Garden; or an Account of the Most Valuable Fruits Cultivated in Great Britain. With Additions of all the Most Valuable Fruits Cultivated in America. . . by Michael Floy. New edition. New York, J. C. Riker, 1846.

A standard and much reprinted English work adapted for American use. Floy decried the excessive chauvinism that led some writers to rename or ignore any European fruit in favor of the American varieties.


Lindley, John. Rosarum Monographia: or, a Botanical History of Roses. New edition. London, James Ridgway, 1830.

The earliest work on roses in the library. It contains delicately tinted engravings of 19 roses drawn by Lindley, one of the most prolific English horticultural writers.


Loudon, John Claudius. The Suburban Gardener, and Villa Companion. . . London, Printed for the Author, 1838.

One of the many works by the prolific J. C. Loudon, this is intended "for the instruction of those who know little of gardening and rural affairs, and more particularly for the use of ladies."


McIntosh, Charles. The Orchard: Including the Management of Wall and Standard Fruit Trees, and the Forcing Pit. London, Wm. S. Orr, 1839.

The neat green exterior of this volume conceals multicolor hand-tinted lithographic frontispiece, title page, and plates.


Michaux, Francois Andre. The North American Sylva; or a Description of the Forest Trees of the United States, Canada and Nova Scotia.. . with Notes by J. Jay Smith. Philadelphia, Robert P. Smith, and New York, G. P. Putnam, 1850. Three volumes.

The third edition in English, beautifully illustrated with hand-colored engravings from the original copper plates by Redouté.


Mead, Peter B. An Elementary Treatise on American Grape Culture and Wine Making. New York, Harper & Brothers, 1867.

Appropriately bound in purple and illustrated with woodcuts. Vineyards became an important part of Western New York's economy.


Mollison, John R. The New Practical Window Gardener Being Practical Directions for the Cultivation of Flowering and Foliage Plants in Windows and Glazed Cases. . . London, Groombridge & Sons, 1877.

Moore's Rural New Yorker: an Agricultural and Family Journal, Dedicated to the Home Interests of Both Country and Town Residents. . . Rochester, N.Y., D. D. T. Moore, 1850-51, 1855, 1857-1861. Eight volumes.

After 1862 this was published in New York as the Rural New Yorker, and the library holds a run from 1880 to 1908, in addition to the early volumes published in Rochester.


Noisette, Louis. Le Jardin Fruitier, Histoire et Culture des Arbres Fruitiers, des Ananas, Melons et Fraisiers. . . seconde édition. . . Paris, Audot, 1839. Two volumes.

The second volume consists of hand-colored plates of fruit drawn by Pancrese Bessa.


Paul, William. The Rose Garden. In Two Divisions. . . London, Sherwood, Gilbert & Piper, and Edinburgh, MacLachlan and Co., 1858.

Prince, William. A Short Treatise on Horticulture: Embracing Descriptions of a Great Variety of Fruit and Ornamental Trees and Shrubs, Grape Vines, Bulbous Flowers, Green-house Trees and Plants, . . . New York, T. & J. Swords, [etc.], 1828.

Prince, William Robert. The Pomological Manual; or, a Treatise on Fruits. . . New York, T. & J. Swords, 1831.

Inscribed to Patrick Barry. Barry was first employed by the Princes at the Linnean Botanic Garden on Long Island, and their horticultural works formed the core of the library.


________. Prince's Manual of Roses.. . Including Every Class, and All the Most Admirable Varieties that have Appeared in Europe and America. . . New York, published by the author, and Clark & Austin, Saxton & Miles, Wiley & Putnam, and Stanford & Swords, 1846.

Inscribed "Presented to the Editor of the Genesee Farmer with the highest respects and regards of the author."


________. A Treatise on the Vine. New York, T. & J. Swords [etc.], 1830.

Also inscribed "Presented to Mr. P. Barry by the Author." Bound in original paper boards with printed label on the spine, and with lithograph frontispiece of grapes.


Rivers, Thomas. The Miniature Fruit Garden or the Culture of Pyramidal and Bush Fruit Trees . . . eighteenth edition. London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1877.

A system of dwarfing fruit trees by root-pruning. This edition also contains an original mounted photograph illustration of a double trellis orchard.


Robinson, William. The Parks and Gardens of Paris Considered in Relation to the Wants of Other Cities and of Public and Private Gardens. . . Second edition, revised. London, Macmillan & Co., 1878.

A treatise on the public and private gardens of France, and also on fruit growing and asparagus and mushroom culture. The author felt that London would be greatly improved by following the French example in regard to public parks. This copy was presented to Ellwanger and Barry by the author in August 1880 and perhaps helped to shape their thinking about parks for Rochester.


Rodgers, Miles M. The Farmers' Agricultural Chemistry. . . Geneva, N.Y., Geo. H. Derby & Co., and Auburn, N.Y., J. C. Derby & Co., 1846.

A short treatise on soils by a resident of Lyons, New York.


Say, Thomas. The Complete Writings of Thomas Say on the Entomology of North America. Edited by John L. Le Conte, M.D., with a memoir of the author by George Ord. New York, Ballière Brothers; London, H. Ballière; Paris, J. B. Ballière et fils; Madrid, D. Bailly-Baillière, 1859. Two volumes.

It is apparent that no one in the nursery ever read these volumes after they were acquired, for the pages are all unopened.


Sayers, Edward. The American Flower Garden Companion. Third edition. Revised and enlarged. Cincinnati, J. J. James; Philadelphia, J. W. Moore; and New York, J. S. Redfield, 1846.

Contains nine pages of advertisements in the back of the volume for Cincinnati nurseries and seedsmen.


Vaux, Calvert. Villas and Cottages. A Series of Designs Prepared for Execution in the United States. New York, Harper & Brothers, 1857.

After the death of A. J. Downing, his partner carried on the work of educating American taste.


Vick, James. Vick's Flower and Vegetable Garden. Rochester, N.Y., James Vick, [1877].

Rochester's own James Vick. This volume is illustrated with hundreds of woodcuts of flowers and plants, as well as the same popular chromolith plates that were issued in Vick's Monthly Magazine. There are also plans for laying out flower beds, decorating rooms, and creating bouquets.



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