Biographies of American Seedsmen and Nurserymen 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 Gar; AH; HG; Tice; CP; GT; VanRav
Seed packet fom D.M. Ferry Co.