Commercialization of Nature: The Picturesque Garden According to 19th Century Seedsman James Vick

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Fall 2004

Project Description/Abstract

This project, which is a continuation of earlier research at the Strong Museum in Rochester, NY, is a cultural history of late nineteenth century garden product promotion that coincided with advertising and media becoming increasingly important, the availability of the railroad, and the beginning of standardizing of products. The goal is to understand how public relations material like garden mail order catalogs and a garden magazine chronicle the change in the view of the garden as an expression of a new middle class. The focus will be on the picturesque view of gardening promoted by James Vick, a 19th century American seed manufacturer. The landscape he proposed was to include an extensive lawn, a few trees, and a flowerbed. The homeowner took pride in that type of garden and literally “bought into it”, because it was the American middle class view of gardening.

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