Trade Catalogs

The Society's Trade Catalogs collection includes almost 1,500 catalogs, many lavishly illustrated. Though seemingly ephemeral, trade catalogs are an invaluable source for the study of social, business, industrial, and advertising history. The bookseller, the druggist, and the seedsman were the primary issuers of these catalogs, and their contributions to America's trade history are fully cataloged online. The Society focuses on the acquisition of seed and nursery catalogs, now owning more than one hundred and fifty such items, with over fifty firms represented.


The collection is fully cataloged online in the General Catalog.


Romaine, Lawrence B. Guide to American Trade Catalogues, 1744-1900. New York, 1960.

Trade Cards Collection

Seed catalogs are highlighted in the AAS online exhibition Big Business: Food Production, Processing & Distribution in the North 1850-1900.

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