Manual of Everything for the Garden, Peter Henderson & Co., 1897, New York, New York
1897 Peter Henderson catalog

1902 Peter Henderson catalog


Peter Henderson, (1822-1890) a canny and energetic Scotsman trained in European gardening methods, came to America in 1843. After saving $500 from three years of work in the New York City horticultural trade, he began his business as a market gardener in New Jersey.

In 1865 Henderson published his immensely influential Gardening for Profit "written in an aggregate of 100 hours, when the author was working 16 hours a day, largely at manual labor. At the noon intervals and late at night he wrote this work lying on his back with his head on a pillow." Six years later he established his seed business and began a new era in seed merchandising by introducing a 5-color lithograph into his catalog. As a successful market gardener turned best-selling author, Henderson became the most popular garden authority of the Gilded Age. He took pride in personally responding to every letter he received. In the course of 45 years in business, he estimated that he sent out 175,000 letters, two-thirds of them written by his own hand.