Friday, April 20, 2012

H. W. Buckbee - Rockford Seed Farms

Growing Buckbee's American Beauty Roses

Here are some of the free advertising postcards that Buckbee Seed Farms of Rockford, Illinois was offering customers circa 1910-1912. The company sent out cards illustrating sets of "six beautiful Souvenir Post Cards" that could be obtained free by returning a coupon with an order from their catalog.

Buckbee company history goes back to 1871 when Hiram W. Buckbee began selling cabbage plants as a boy. The business later grew into a huge operation that included a 350,000-square-foot warehouse, greenhouse complex, and trial area, along with a 15,000-acre seed farm. The company mailed out 750,000 catalogs In 1921, the year of Hiram’s death.

Growing Buckbee's "full of Life" Beans

Growing Buckbee's Great Ruby Strawberries

Growing Buckbee's Pedigreed "Full of Life" Onion Seed

An enlargement of the Buckbee's trademark from the back of the postcards is shown below.

The last two images are from the Smithsonian Institution Libraries Digital Collection. They show the front and back covers of the 1896 H. W. Buckbee Seed & Plant Guide.

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  1. What a wonderful selection! I guess back when nearly everybody had a garden of their own, they would have a lot of mail order business.

    Thanks, and Happy Sepia Saturday, Postcardy!

    Kathy M.

  2. Oh these are just fantastic! I always like seeing these oversized fruits and veggies in such colorful delight! Great group of cards you have in this good things to eat, collection!

  3. Lovely, detailed and colourful. I could do with some of those full of life beans myself!

  4. I always ordered too many seeds when I used a catalog. Everything looks so good.

  5. I think that's pretty effective advertising because it makes me want to order seeds and plant onions and strawberries and whatever else they're selling.

  6. What gorgeous postcards. Imagine getting those free in the mail. My mother lived close to Rockford. I wonder if she knew of this company.

  7. What an appropriate name. Where would our gardens be without the (Buck)bees?

  8. Those postcards are so colorful. I probably would have ordered too many seeds just to get a set! Looks like a successful marketing tool to me.

  9. Definitely a great promoting item. I am amazed they issued 750,000 catalogues back in 1921.
    I guess this was huge...

  10. I remember when we were little girls we would order flower seeds and sell them in our neighborhood. I can't remember the name of the company but I remember. Sweet Williams, Zinnias, Sweet Peas and the wonder of watching them grow. These are great cards.

  11. These are fun postcards, and the format is new to me. At first glance I expected those gag cards with incredibly huge fruits and vegetables.

  12. What great illustrations. Nice selection.


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