"If we could please presidents Washington and Jefferson, WE CAN PLEASE YOU."
This is the motto of Landreth Seeds, founded in 1784 and the oldest continuously
operating seed company in the country.
Landreth's 1889 catalog begins with this sentence:
Deprecating the prevalent practice of Seed Merchants of publishing
EXAGGERATED AND HAND DRAWN CUTS OF MONSTROUS AND IMPOSSIBLE VEGETABLES, we present
to the attention of our customers in the Catalogue a series of Photo-Electrotypic
Illustrations of seventy-two leading Garden Vegetables, and beg intending purchasers of
seeds to observe particularly that these pictures of ours are exact reproductions of
Photographs, and are therefore true to nature and not the result of an artist's
One glance at these early half-tone photographs shows clearly why only one year
after making this empiric claim, the Landreth Seed Company went back to "exaggerated
and hand drawn cuts."