Burpee's Farm Annual, W. Atlee Burpee, 1909, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1909 Burpee's catalog

1909 Burpee's catalog


 


W. Atlee Burpee founded his seed business in 1876 and by the 1880's had made a name for himself in a highly competitive business. Burpee offered not only free catalogs, but also cash for growing seed from his company. Burpee catalogs often announced special incentives such as $50 prizes for the three largest Cuban Queen watermelons or other rewards to the gardeners planting Burpee seeds and producing the most pods on a Creaseback Pole Bean.

Burpee attributed his success at achieving the country's largest number of seed orders to the "kind words of our customers." Effective national advertising also helped. Burpee purchased more advertising than either of his closest rivals, Peter Henderson and James Vick. When Burpee passed away in 1915, his enterprise had become the worldís biggest seed company.