ILGENFRITZ, Israel Epsley.

I.E. Ilgenfritz' Sons Co., Monroe, Mich. 3565

[Specimen book, or salesman's sample catalogue comprised of fine coloured horticultural and floricultural plates].

Monroe, MI: Ilgenfritz' Sons Co., printed by Rochester Lithographing Co., Rochester, NY, c.1908 Stock Code: 113838

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First edition thus, of an uncommon Edwardian specimen book, or salesman's sample catalogue for the I.E. Ilgenfritz' Sons Co. Nursery in Monroe, Michigan. The business was founded in 1847, and survived as a family run concern down to 1984 when it was sold on by James I.E. Ilgenfritz, the fourth generation proprietor. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, and into the twentieth, Rochester, NY was a leading American centre in the nursery business, and colour printing firms like Stecher, Dewey, Rochester Litho., and Vredenburg, specialised in producing pocket size portfolios for nursery firms, or salesmen, tailoring them to individual local markets in terms of varieties offered. This example includes chromolithographic plates of varieties of roses such as The Baby Rambler Set, Tausendschon (introduced in 1906), Dorothy Perkins, Flower of Fairfield (introduced in 1908), Climbing American Beauty, Etoile de France, and others; apples - Genuine Delicious, Yellow Transparent, Talman Sweet, Winter Banana, Northern Spy, Transcendent Crab Apples; pears - Bartlett, Vermont Beauty, Clapp's favourite, Kieffer; cherries, plums - Burbank, Bundance, Imperial Gage; peaches - Billmeyer, Superior, Lockwood; Champion Quince, grapes - Niagara, Worden, Salem; gooseberries, blackberries - including the Black Diamond, Golden Queen, Cuthbert, Ohio, Gregg, Erie, and strawberries, as well as varieties of trees including Oriental Sycamores, Weeping Birches, American Elms, Horse Chestnuts, Colorado Blue Spruce, and others. The flowering plants include Clematis, Hydrangea, Spiraea, several varieties of lilacs, Chinese lantern plants, Chrysanthemums, Irises, Poppies, and others. The plates were grouped in sections so as to aid the salesman, or nursery, in showing the prospective customer the best items for them. Since they were such expensive productions, the owners of the specimen books were instructed to not allow customers with dirty hands to touch the books, avoid getting them wet, and if it should get soiled at the edges, have it cut and rebound again. Many nurserymen would rebind their catalogues as often as every two years. (See Kabelac, "Nineteenth-Century Rochester Fruit and Flower Plates", in: University of Rochester Library Bulletin, Vol. XXXV, 1982). From the library of James E. Gorman (1905-1969), former secretary and custodian for church in Deckerville, MI, ink-stamps to front and rear endpapers.

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Octavo, opening notebook style, wire-stiched in brown sand-grained cloth, title gilt to the front board.


85 chromolithograph, and colour lithograph plates, some from photographs, and several printed on thin paper stock.


Minor chipping head and tail of the spine, edgewear and fraying to the boards, paint spatter to the front board, a few plates with pencil marks, a couple with minor closed tears, remains very good.


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