Breck, Joseph–(1794-1873)–Boston, Massachusetts–established
his business, Joseph Breck & Company, in 1818. He acquired the
England Farmer, and later Horticultural Register and Gardens
magazine, both edited by Thomas Fessenden. He also wrote The Flower
Garden, a book about flower cultivation and shrubbery. He was
one of the founding members of the American Seed Trade Association and
a president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society from 1859-1862.
Breck experimented with different forms of catalogs, for one of his schemes
he packaged a collection of seeds targeted at specific markets such as
the West Indies. His 1840 catalog New England Agricultural Warehouse
and Seed Store Catalogue was a small book, 84 pages in length.
Long essays on gardening were included with the products. Breck attempted
to use horticulture as an uplifting, educational tool. He included
French plant names, listed standard works on horticulture, used illustrations
to improve his readers’ tastes. The 1840 catalog featured 72 black-and-white
engravings. Breck’s catalog may have been his rural customers only
exposure to graphic arts and horticultural literature.
Sources: MHS; Plants;
CHSJ-Apr. 1966; Leighton2;