See also 'Floral Industry-Henry Weber' file in Victorian Horticultural Subjects vertical file.
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The Smithsonian Institution's Botany and Horticulture Library includes two albums of floral designs from The H. Weber & Sons Co. Additional florist trade catalogs compiled by the Weber firm can be found in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History Branch Library Trade Literature Collection.
Henry Weber (1935-1904) was born in Germany and later immigrated to the United States in the 1860s. He was raised on a farm; this experience influenced the course of his life and career. Weber showed an affinity for flower growing and in 1870, he founded his own firm, The H. Weber & Sons Co, a florist shop and greenhouse. In 1866, he married Catharine Schutz. Together they had eleven children; six later joined him in the company, which sold cut flowers (especially carnations and roses), annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetable plants. In 1880, Weber purchased an additional one hundred acres of land for the company. At the height of his business, he held a total of five hundred acres.
Weber sold to a variety of clients, including private individuals and large companies. At the turn of the century, the small town of Oakland, Maryland, where his company was based, prospered because of the influence of the railroad, agriculture and summer vacationers. The H. Weber & Sons Company's customer base, however, extended far beyond the boundaries of Oakland and the state of Maryland. Customers were located in Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, North Carolina, and as far away as Illinois, Michigan and Toronto, Ontario. Henry Weber died in 1904; his sons continued the business until 1978.
Finding aid is available.
The H. Weber & Sons Co. Collection documents the professional activities of The H. Weber & Sons Co. The collection contains business records, photographs, horticultural medals and pins and wire frames used for floral displays. The bulk of the collection consists of business records dating from 1903-1907 in the form of accounting journals and ledgers with handwritten entries of sales and payments.
The ledger entries are quite detailed and include the date, customer name and sometimes the location, items purchased (with specific information related to quantity and item description), and unit and total prices. In the case of payments received, the entries include the client, date, amount paid and the method of payment, such as cash, check, money order or p.o. stamps. Some of the journals include sections in which monthly and annual account information was tallied. One ledger appears to contain names of employees, along with information such as hourly wages, hours worked and rent received.
The collection of horticultural medals spans from 1879 to 1905. Most are in their original cases and are engraved. The floral frame collection is extensive; a sampling of the motifs that are represented includes a banner, open book, harp, train, four-leaf clover, cross, star, clock and Masonic symbols. These frames were typically used for funerary flower arrangements.
This collection contains only a sampling of the records of The H. Weber and Sons Co. and should not be considered comprehensive.
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, H. Weber & Sons Records
Smithsonian Gardens, PO Box 37012, Capital Gallery, Suite 3300, MRC 506, Washington, DC 20013-7012