Ferry, Dexter Mason–(b. 1833)–Detroit,
Michigan–Ferry was born in Lowville, New York on August 8, 1833.
In 1856 he founded the D. M. Ferry & Co., Detroit, Michigan.
The company merged with the California based seed company, C. C. Morse
Company in 1930 to become the Ferry-Morse Seed Company. The Ferry-Morse
Seed Company became part of France’s Groupe Limagrain, considered in 1990
to be the third largest seed company in the world. “Ladies should
cultivate flowers as an invigorating and inspiring out-door occupation.
Many are pining and dying from monotony and depression, who might bury
their cares by planting a few seeds...” wrote D. M. Ferry in the 1876 Seed
Annual. The vegetable section began with a quote from Plutarch
advising exercise through gardening. “Out-door work...must tend to
develop that attachment of the citizen to his home, which is one of the
strongest safeguard of society against lawlessness and immorality.”
Chromolithographs illustrated this catalog as well, and lithographs of
the seed farm show different activities, hoeing, weeding cabbage, dinner,
and harvesting. The field workers are almost all women with men supervising.
Ferry invented the “commission box,” a seed rack for retail display, and
was the first to have brightly colored seed packets.
Sources: SW3; CHSJ-Oct.
1961; cat.-022551; Art