October 29, 2022 | Last updated Oct 17, 2023

Nebraska Nursery and Seed Catalogs

With our first taste of spring, many of us are dreaming of warmer days and planning our gardens for the upcoming season.  There’s nothing like a stack of colorful seed catalogs to help get one through the last weeks of winter.   For generations Nebraskans have been enticed by seed and nursery catalogs and advertisements.  Here are a few examples from the Nebraska History Museum’s collections.

Robert S. Griswold Seed & Floral Company

This 1936 catalog is from Robert S. Griswold Seed and Floral Company of Lincoln.  In addition to vegetables and flower seeds, one could order tobacco plants, bee keeping supplies and baby chicks.  The company was founded in 1890 by Wallace Butler Griswold as the Griswold Seed Company.  In 1926, Robert Southgate Griswold Jr.  became president and the name changed to the Robert S. Griswold Seed and Floral Company.

7956-1209, Donor: Otto and Dorothye Klima, Lincoln, Nebraska (at left).

7956-1209, Donor: Otto and Dorothye Klima, Lincoln, Nebraska (above).

National Seed and Importing Co., Inc.

Omaha’s National Seed and Importing Co., Inc. printed this Czech language catalog.  In addition to flower and vegetable seed, the catalog advertises imports such as lace, dolls and jewelry.   The company was managed by Josef Brezacek, who also served as an editor of Hospodár, a Czech agricultural journal.

11464-1, Donor: Brezacek – Blazek Collection, Omaha, Nebraska (above)




Sonderegger Nurseries and Seed House

This Beatrice nursery’s catalogs enticed its customers with colorful illustrations and customer testimonials.  The nursery was established in 1886 by Carl Sonderegger, a Swiss immigrant.

11055-506, Nebraska State Historical Society Permanent Collection

11055-497, Nebraska State Historical Society Permanent Collection

 The 1926 Sonderegger catalog advertises the benefits of growing popcorn:   “Every boy on the farm should plant a few small patches of ground to Pop Corn. It always yields well and brings a good price on the market. The past season many of the pop corn men have been paying 12c to 18c per pound. Next year it may not be quite so high, but it will not be cheap and will help to make you pocket money.  Five pounds will plant an acre.”



Dunlap Apples

This apple is named for James P. Dunlap, who owned Lone Star Nursery in Dwight, Nebraska.  In 1882, this nursery reportedly had seven acres of fruit trees.

3563-2, Donor: L.C. Dunlap, Los Angeles, CA


These are just a few examples of nursery and seed company advertising in the Nebraska History Museum’s collections.

-Laura Mooney, Museum Registrar

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