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Vick's

During the second half of the nineteenth century, Rochester, New York, supported a thriving nursery industry. Its geographic location in the fertile Genesee Valley and the availability of efficient transportation made the city an ideal place for seedsmen to set up their businesses.

James Vick dominated “The Flower City” with his vertically integrated company that included its own 100-acre nursery for the growing of seeds and plants, retail store, order and packing department, and publishing office, engravers’ rooms, and bindery for the production of catalogs.

John Walton, cover for Vick’s Illustrated Floral Guide for 1873. (9 x 5 7/8 in). Rochester, NY: C. F. Muntz & Co. Lith., 1873.
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John Walton, wood engravings for Vick’s Illustrated Floral Guide for 1873. (9 x 5 7/8 in).
Rochester, NY: C. F. Muntz & Co. Lith., 1873.

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In 1873, Vick demonstrated his marketing genius by including in the catalog behind-the-scenes illustrations of his seedhouse so that distant customers understood his efficient operation. He wrote: “As hundreds of thousands of my customers will probably never have the opportunity of making a personal visit, I thought a few facts and illustrations would be interesting to this large class whom I am anxious to please, and be, at least, an acknowledgement of a debt of gratitude for long continued confidence, which I can feel, but not repay.”

John Walton, wood engravings for Vick’s Illustrated Floral Guide for 1873. (9 x 5 7/8 in). Rochester, NY: C. F. Muntz & Co. Lith., 1873.
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The crisp wood engravings of vegetables, created by George Eichorn, were all numbered and cross-referenced in descriptive lists, making it easy for customers to use the catalog.

 

 

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