General gardening literature in the University of Delaware Library's Special Collections is represented by over three hundred titles, many in multiple editions, spanning the mid-sixteenth to the late nineteenth centuries. British and American imprints are present in roughly equal proportions, providing an opportunity to study the evolution of Anglo-American horticultural practices over a four-hundred-year period. British gardening works in Special Collections range from the late sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries, with the greatest concentration of titles from the eighteenth century. American gardening literature is very well represented for the entire nineteenth century. In addition to American monographs on general gardening and practical horticulture, gardening magazines such as the Magazine of Horticulture, American Journal of Horticulture, Gardener's Monthly, and Meehan's Monthly played an important role in guiding and instructing a large American audience in the pleasures and profits of garden cultivation.
Special Collections holds over three hundred titles relating specifically to fruit culture and vegetable gardening, and hundreds more that include some aspects of these topics. The holdings consist primarily of materials written by nineteenth-century American horticulturalists and plant breeders, particularly between the 1840s and 1890s, and include examples of British and French works. Early English works in particular provide a context for the heritage of American fruit and vegetable growing practices. Among the earliest American publications specializing in fruits and vegetables are William Coxe's A View of the Cultivation of Fruit Trees published in 1817, and Thomas Green Fessenden's New American Gardener, published in 1828. Examples of late nineteenth century practice are recorded in popular manuals such as Peter Henderson's Gardening For Profit; A Guide to the Successful Cultivation of the Market and Family Garden , the popularity of which is demonstrated by numerous reprintings well into the twentieth century.
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