- Collection ID:
McFarland, J. Horace, (John Horace), 1859-1948
- Physical Description:
30 cubic feet
2718 photographs: black and white; 448 glass lantern slides; 41 glass negatives; color records; plant patents; publications.
Archives of American Gardens
The J. Horace McFarland Collection includes over 3,100 photographic images of private and public gardens throughout the United States, as well as some from foreign countries, dating from 1899 to 1963. Many of these images, generated for Mount Pleasant Press (later the J. Horace McFarland Company), were used to illustrate trade catalogs published by the firm as well as journal and newspaper articles. The collection also contains color records that were used as reference aids during the printing process, plant patents, and various publications of the McFarland Company.
Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
The J. Horace McFarland Collection includes over 2,700 black and white mounted photographs, 448 glass lantern slides, and 41 glass plate negatives of gardens throughout the United States dating from 1899 to 1963. A small number of images show gardens in Austria, Canada, England, Mexico, Scotland and Wales. Many of the images, which were generated and used by the J. Horace McFarland Company to illustrate trade catalogs and journal and newspaper articles, indicate the publication(s) in which they appeared. A series of portraits of rosarians, many of them featured in Modern Roses 6, rounds out the image collection. The McFarland Collection also includes color records, plants patents, and miscellaneous publications. Color records are plant ‘portraits’ that were painted by McFarland Company staff artists in watercolor. They were referenced by the printing department in order to render illustrations of plants in colors as close to the originals as possible. The plant patents are patents for plants issued by the United States Patent Office. They include the plant name, source, filing and patent dates, patent number, and growth characteristics. Most are accompanied by a colored image of the plant identified in the patent. The miscellaneous publications are various pamphlets and booklets published by the J. Horace McFarland Company.
The collection is arranged into 5 series:
1) Garden images (including mounted photographs, glass plate negatives, and glass lantern slides)
2) Portraits of Rosarians
3) Color Records
4) Plant Patents
5) Miscellaneous Publications
Dr. J. Horace McFarland (1859-1948) was an influential civic leader, author, publisher, horticulturist, and authority on roses. His printing company, Mount Pleasant Press (later the J. Horace McFarland Company), was based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It published many of the seed and nursery trade catalogs in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century and was one of the first to apply color processes to commercial print applications. J. Horace McFarland Company staffers photographed thousands of different gardens and plant specimens throughout the United States. These images were used to illustrate numerous nursery and seed catalogs, journals and books. Among its many services, the firm sold various themed lectures illustrated by sets of hand-colored glass lantern slides.
McFarland wrote over 200 articles in popular journals as well as a dozen books on roses and gardening. He served as the first president of the American Civic Association from 1904-1924 and led several local and national campaigns to protect communities and scenic areas from urban blight and overdevelopment including the city of Harrisburg and Niagara Falls. McFarland, who served as the president of the American Rose Society (1930-1932) and helped establish a standardized rose identification and registration method, used the gardens on his own 2.5 acre property in Harrisburg, "Breeze Hill," to test hundreds of varieties of roses and plant cultivars. "Breeze Hill" was used as the backdrop for many photographs taken by McFarland's firm.
Separated Materials note
The Smithsonian Institution's Botany and Horticulture Library includes seed and nursery trade catalogs, books, and published materials from the J. Horace McFarland Company.
The United States Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, Maryland has various photographic images, nursery catalogs, publications and miscellaneous records from the J. Horace McFarland Company in its J. Horace McFarland Collection.
The Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania includes the J. Horace McFarland Company Records (Manuscript Group 453) and the J. Horace McFarland Papers (Manuscript Group 85).
The Historical Society of Dauphin County in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania includes the J. Horace McFarland Collection (MG 229).
Processing Information note
The collection was processed by Smithsonian staffer Paula Healy and volunteer Marca Woodhams. AAG intern Julie Hunter assisted in preparing the finding aid.
Finding aid prepared by Joyce Connolly
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
Donated in 1992 by James W. Walsh, who purchased the J. Horace McFarland Company from its founder's heirs. (The business was later renamed the Roebuck Printing Company.)
Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access note
Access to original images by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conditions Governing Use note
For information or study purposes only. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens.
Preferred Citation note
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Collection.
Archives of American Gardens
P.O. Box 37012
Capital Gallery, Suite 3300, MRC 506
Washington, DC, 20013-7012