History and Horticultural Books

One of the great things I love about horticulture is that history is so important.  When I was growing up, going through school I thought about what I wanted to do when I got older.  I never once thought I would be in horticulture.  My main ideas were private detective, archaeologist, park ranger, professional baseball player, novelist, movie director, and historian (not necessarily in that order).  Horticulture allows me the freedom to be many of these things.  As a researcher and Extension specialist, I am part private detective, trying to piece together clues to determine why things happen.  Sometimes I am an archaeologist, looking into the past through records and old samples.  I, too am part park ranger.  Just yesterday I gave a tour of my small vineyard, doling out wisdom and observations on each vine.  Over the years I have written many, many articles, book chapters, peer-reviewed papers that (almost) satisfies that novelist need.  I’ve also filmed (and been filmed) performing different aspects of my job.  And, as I will show below, I am also a historian.  Unfortunately, my dream of playing professional baseball never came true (is it too late at 43?).

I really enjoy the history in horticulture.  To satisfy this I collect books primarily related to pomology, but also have others that pertain to viticulture and general horticulture.  Below are some of in my collection:

The Strawberry by George Darrow

The Strawberry by George Darrow

I was able to pick this FIRST EDITION with dusk jacket up in a used book store in the French Quarter last weekend.  I was dumbfounded to be able to find it in this condition.  The Strawberry was published in 1966.

USDA Yearbook of Agriculture 1937

USDA Yearbook of Agriculture 1937

The USDA Yearbook of Agriculture 1937 is a must have for any breeder.  It is a classic.  I found this one at a used bookstore on Dickson St. in Fayetteville, AR.

Advances in Fruit Breeding

Advances in Fruit Breeding

Advances in Fruit Breeding was edited by Jules Janick and James N. Moore.  It was first published in 1975.  I found this one at the University of Arkansas Student Bookstore — probably the last copy they had.

Methods in Fruit Breeding

Methods in Fruit Breeding

Methods in Fruit Breeding was edited by James N. Moore and Jules Janick.  It was published in 1983.  I found this book in New Orleans in the French Quarter while attending the 2006 American Society for Horticultural Science annual conference in 2006.

The Cherries of New York

The Cherries of New York

The Cherries of New York is part of a series of publications from the NY Agriculture Experiment Station.  These volumes were published in the early 20th Century.  Unfortunately I don’t have them all, but do have a couple more.  I bought this one and The Grapes of New York from a Habitat for Humanity Resale store in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

The Grapes of New York

The Grapes of New York

The Grapes of New York is a classic and it is coming in very handy as I am currently writing a book chapter concerning grapes in the southern U.S.

The Pears of New York

The Pears of New York

This copy of The Pears of New York was given to me by Dr. Gerald Klingaman, former faculty member at the University of Arkansas and current Director of Operations for the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks.

I have others in my collection, but these were handy in my office.  Anyone out there have some prizes in their own collections?

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4 responses

  1. Fine collection, I’m jealous! Pears of New York, I see that mentioned all the time – do you know of a more recent pear reference? I do have Lee Calhoun’s book, signed by him last summer. I have Joyce Neighbor’s Apples – Collecting Old Southern varieties, that’s a hard one to find. I recommend Renewing America’s Food Traditions, by Gary Nabhan, lots about fruit there.

  2. A book I consider a classic is “The Fig” by Ira J. Condit, Ph.D., which gives the history, botany, distribution, characteristics, etc. of the fig. The book I have is from 1947.

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