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Conard–Pyle Company

The Conard–Pyle Company of West Grove, Pennsylvania, is a large wholesale horticultural enterprise that specializes in the cultivation and hybridization of roses. Founded in 1897, it established a large magazine–based advertizing campaign and mail order business. Robert Pyle joined the company in 1898 and purchased control in it after Alfred Conard’s death in 1907. The Company is best known for its famed Star Roses and most notably the Peace Rose, patented in 1943 from the work of the French hybridizer Francis Meilland. The Peace Rose was given to delegates at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations on April 25, 1945, in San Francisco. Nearly every new rose today is descended from the Peace Rose.

Robert Pyle

National Rose Show of France photograph album, 1911
Gift of Steven Hutton

In 1911, president of the Conard–Pyle Company Robert Pyle was appointed as American judge for the 1911 National Rose Show of France held in Paris. The competition included entries from France, the United States, England, and Germany and was held at the Bagatelle Gardens of the Bois de Boulogne. This album documents Pyle’s 1911 trip to various nurseries and gardens in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The four photographs shown here were taken during the Royal Horticultural Society show held July 4–6, 1911, in London.

Conard-Pyle Company

Spring 1930 Star Rose catalog. West Grove, Pennsylvania, 1930
Gift of Steven Hutton

When Robert Pyle took over Conard & Jones in 1906, he made history by marketing the slogan “Guaranteed to Bloom,” marking the first time in the horticulture industry that a product was sold to consumers with a guarantee. This catalog features one of the Company’s famed Star Roses, the Mrs. Pierre S. du Pont, “the namesake of the gracious Lady of Longwood.”

Pierre Joseph Redouté

Les Roses. Paris: C.L.F. Panckoucke, 1824.
Gift of Richard and Steven Hutton

This volume was Robert Pyle’s personal copy, with his name blind–stamped on the title page. Redouté was a French botanical painter and a favored patron of the French monarchy; roses were among his specialties.

James Newton

A Complete Herbal, Containing the Prints & the English Names of Several Thousand Trees, Plants, Shrubs, Flowers, Exotics, &c.: Many of Which Are Not to be Found in the Herbals of Either Gerard, Johnson, or Parkinson. London: Printed by J. Whiting, for Lackington, Allen, & Co., 1802.
Gift of Mrs. W. Glasgow Reynolds

James Newton was an English botanist who collected specimens across the British Isles and in the Netherlands. His Herbal, begun in 1680, was first published, posthumously, in 1752. He was also the keeper of a private insane asylum which he established in London. In this copy, an earlier owner has slipped a plant specimen between the pages of this volume, which has survived to this day relatively undamaged.

William Darlington

Florula Cestrica: An Essay Towards a Catalogue of the Phaenogamous Plants, Native and Naturalized, Growing in the Vicinity of the Borough of West-Chester, in Chester County, Pennsylvania. West–Chester, Pennsylvania: Printed for the author, by Simeon Siegfried, 1826.
Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Daudon

In addition to his botanical work, William Darlington was a member of the United States House of Representatives, a ship’s surgeon in the East Indies, a veteran of the War of 1812, and the president of the West Chester Railroad and the National Bank of Chester County. In his preface he explains that Florula Cestrica was aimed to give botanists an impetus to create similar, regional–specific botanical catalogs which together would form a complete description of American flora. This copy is inscribed by the author to his friend Josiah Coates.

Sir Isaac Newton

Traité d’ Optique Sur les Reflexions, Refraction, Inflexions, et Couleurs de la Lumiére. Amsterdam: Chez Pierre Humbert, 1720.
Anonymous gift

This volume is the French translation of Newton’s 1704 work on optics. The translator, Pierre Coste, was a Protestant who fled France for England, where he became acquainted with Locke and Shaftesbury. This edition was printed with several folding plates which illustrate the mathematics in Newton’s text. This printing format allowed printers to include complex scientific and geographic illustrations in otherwise smaller–sized editions.

Tecumseh Nurseries

[Nursery Sample Book]. Springfield, Ohio: Tecumseh Nurseries, [19th century?].
Gift of James Mitchell

Sample books such as this were used from the mid–nineteenth to the early–twentieth century as illustrated catalogs, which were used both at the nursery and by travelling salesmen representing the nursery. The plates were individually selected by the salesman from a printer’s catalog and subsequently bound together. The plates in this copy were produced by a number of different lithographers, most of them located in Rochester, New York. Each sample book, though assembled commercially from mass produced plates, is thus a unique item assembled at the individual’s discretion.

Karl W. Böer

Institute of Energy Conversion of the University of Delaware, January 1975
Gift of Karl W. Böer

This document contains a summary of background, objectives, facilities, and accomplishments of the Institute of Energy Conversion (IEC) at the University of Delaware, directed by Dr. Karl W. Böer. With a vision of solar energy as a supply source for residential energy and a means to reduce American dependence on foreign oil imports, Böer anticipated issues of the energy crisis of the mid–1970s and founded the IEC at the University of Delaware in 1972. He served as its director and chief scientist from 1972 to 1975. Under Böer’s direction, the IEC grew into a major research facility and important training ground for many of the individuals who have contributed to advances in photovoltaic technology. Featured is an image of “Solar One,” a solar–powered house built to serve as a test laboratory for the Institute of Energy Conversion.

John Dicks

The New Gardener’s Dictionary; or Whole Art of Gardening, Fully and Accurately Displayed; Containing the Most Approved Methods of Cultivating all Kinds of Trees, Plants, and Flowers; with Ample Directions for Performing All the Operations in Gardening [...] According to the Practice of the Best Modern Gardeners. London: G. Keith, J. Johnson; J. Almon; and Blyth and Beevor, 1771.
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Daudon

Edwin N. Benson

Doctor Mistletoe’s Telephone: A Play for Children. Philadelphia: [s.n.], 1888.
Gift of Mark Samuels Lasner

A privately published one–act comedy, Doctor Mistletoe’s Telephone features one of the earliest literary appearances of the telephone, whose ringing is used throughout for dramatic effect. The telephone was still a very recent invention, having been patented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. At the time of this play’s publication, the telephone was regularly used by less than one percent of Americans nationwide.

“Blue Jay” reproduction, Birds of America, undated
Gift of Emil Christofano

Hand–colored reproduction of the Audubon print “Blue Jay,” originally published in Birds of America (Havell edition, 1827–1838).

Sir Isaac Newton

Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica. Londini: Apud Guil. & Joh. Innys, Regiæ Societatis Typographos, 1726.
Gift of Anonymous

Newton’s Principia introduced Newton’s laws of motion and his law of universal gravitation. It presented a universe which could be explained and understood through physical sciences and universal laws, independent of theological or supernatural origins. First printed in 1687, the Principia was substantially revised by the author over the following four decades, resulting in three distinct versions of the text. This, the third printing of the Principia, was published one year before Newton’s death and presents Newton’s final authorial revisions and corrections. This particular copy was printed as a “large paper copy,” which refers to the slightly larger sheets of paper which it was printed on. Large paper copies served as special editions, commanded a higher price than the regular edition, and were sometimes used for presentation or for advance subscribers. The Library owns copies of all three editions of the Principia, as well as the first English translation.

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