What do we do with our old rose catalogs?

anntn6b(z6b TN)September 16, 2011

Easy answer: don't throw them away.

Harder answer: Store them somewhere so that maybe, in the future, they'll be scanned and shared.

Reasoning: I went to the National Agriculture Library in Beltsville, MD, last fall to search their rose (and other) catalogs in special collections. They had a lot fewer than I expected them to. It was a "white cotton gloves", no flashs on my camera, pencils only experience. But when I saw how little had survived the 1800s I could appreciate their cautious approach. Maybe a percent of all the catalogs that were published in 1900 still exist there. So often there was a mention of other sellers in one catalog, but that seller had vanished. (Example: the Alabama Rose Company)

I am going to box my catalogs up.

I wouldn't give them to a library just now. I'm not sure if some libraries are going to continue to exist... I see more and more scientific periodicals pre-internet being placed in storage (including the ones that are not on line). Storage is relatively cheap. Every university library storage I've visited (three so far), Larry and I have been the only folks there using their musty olde books.

Ideas? anyone?

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strawchicago 5a IL

When I decorated my 5-years old's room, she wanted to cut flower pictures from the catalog and glue them on the $10 "Peel-and-stick" princess border.

That was 3 years ago, the border still looks good and makes her bedroom into a flower garden. What's nice is that you can peel the border off, without any damage to the wall.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 4:23PM
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pfzimmerman(6/7 Upstate SC)

I've saved all mine and will continue to do so.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 5:43PM
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The last time I had a large amount of them was when Barney Gardner gave me decades of old catalogs. I passed those on to Bob Edberg of Limberlost Rose Books. You've probably seen them, Paul. I have several Arena, Sequoia, Vintage, Ashdown and others which I use for reference. Kim

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 5:53PM
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I've saved catalogs for quite a few years and find that I do refer to some of them from time to time. The importance of old catalogs was made abundantly clear to me as I read the recent Australian book on Tea Roses. Throughout that impressive book, as the authors repeatedly make references to early catalogs and sales lists, one realizes how very vital those sources were to their research and to the unraveling of much confusion.

Some of the older U.S. catalogs -- the early Edmunds' catalogs, for instance -- make for very interesting reading, and often contain helpful (& sometimes humorous) personal observations/opinions.

It would be wonderful if, at a minimum, there could be an online repository of a listing of rose varieties that were available thru the years from the various suppliers. Scanning the catalogs would, of course, be the ideal approach.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 6:52PM
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Oh, yes! Wini Edmunds HATED mauve roses! I mean, she HATED, really HATED, mauve roses! "The Nile isn't blue and neither is this rose!" Her descriptions were chock full of those types of personal tidbits. I couldn't wait to read the thing cover to cover just to laugh hysterically at what she'd write about the roses. A Hybrid Tea was named for her, Wini, she wrote, "Fred will only let me have one of these in the garden, I guess he figures one in the garden and one in the house are enough!". About one, I'm not sure which it was, "I guess I should revise what I said about this rose. After last year's description, several people called to cancel their orders!" She repeated what a columnist wrote about Garden Party, calling it "Garden Pity". I seriously wondered if anything that crossed her mind didn't come out of her mouth. She was an absolute hoot! Kim

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 7:19PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

I value the brief available access to the catalogs from Theodosia Burr Shepherds "Shepherds Gardens" Catalogs from "Ventura By The Sea" of the late 19th Century. I wish there were more of such "ephemera."

Libraries are a treacherous resource, because as times get tight, they "de-accession" what they feel they can't afford to keep.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 8:18PM
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I recently became aware of the existence of the Gutenberg Project, which converts books in the public domain into e-book format and makes them available free to whoever wishes to download them. Part of the raison d'etre of the project is to preserve rare books and make them widely available. Anyway, Project Gutenberg deals primarily or entirely with book-length works, or so I understand, but there might be other entities out there that would be interested in preserving these catalogs in electronic format. Who does research on roses? or rose history? and has a(n electronic) library? Those would be the folks to ask.
If preservation isn't the primary issue, there are ways to keep nice--tempting, beautiful--rose catalogs in circulation. I used to take all my nifty old magazines that I thought were way too good to throw away and haul them on down to the local coffee shop, which was always glad to have fresh reading matter for its customers. Or one could donate them to the local library book sale.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 2:34AM
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organic_tosca(9/Sunset 14)

I will never, never give up my Vintage Gardens catalog.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 3:45PM
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Your local VA and nursing homes are very good outlets to share your magazines with, too. Some doctors offices appreciate the reading material, too. Remove your mailing address labels from them before letting them go. You don't want nut cases showing up at your front door as if the magazine was an invitation! It has happened! Kim

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 4:26PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I have all my Austin catalogs just because the pictures are so darn pretty! And I have a lot of Nor'East's too. Don't know how they got kept, maybe because they're so small, but I'm glad I have them now. They're good for referencing. J&P used to send me a new catalog about every other week so a lot of those got tossed. I usually keep garden catalogs 2 years and then when the 3rd year comes I toss the oldest one out. Otherwise I'd be hip deep in them!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 5:58PM
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