Andersen Horticultural Library hosts one of the largest seed and nursery catalog collections in the country. Numbering over 72,000 and dating from 1614 to the present, it includes catalogs from every state and 40 countries. Minnesota and other Upper Midwest companies are strongly represented.
The value of the collection rests not only on the beautiful lithographs, engravings, and photographs, but on their multidisciplinary historical importance. They document the history of the horticultural trade and provide a look at advertising and printing trends as well. They also document the introduction of specific plants into the trade, whether through discovery, importation, or hybridization.
The catalogs are kept in acid-free folders or boxes on compact shelving. Older catalogs are housed in a climate-controlled room to help preserve them. All are available for research, with an appointment. Over 1,000 current catalogs are available for use any time the library is open.
Individual seed and nursery catalogs are not listed in the University Libraries' catalog, MNCAT. For specific holdings, please contact us (612-301-1239; HortLib@umn.edu).
The Seed and Nursery Catalog Collection was built with the support and inspiration of Governor Elmer L. Andersen: "Our view was that the Andersen Horticultural Library should have a special area of excellence. We latched on to one early: its collection of nursery and seed catalogs would be the best in the nation." - A Man's Reach, p. 358
Since its inception, the Seed and Nursery Catalog Collection has been supported by Elmer and Eleanor Andersen, the Andersen Book Trust, and the Friends of the Andersen Horticultural Library. Without these supporters, there would be no collection.