Bedman Brothers Company Records, 1859-1984, bulk 1859-1955
William Bedman Seed Company Rahway, New Jersey
Bedman Brothers Rahway, New Jersey
8.5 cubic ft
Ledgers (account books)
The William Bedman Seed Company of Rahway, New Jersey was established in 1843 by William Bedman with the support of James Thorburn, a Manhattan seed purveyor. The firm, later called Bedman Brothers, was principally a wholesale mail order seed company that sold to consumer-end seed houses such as Vicks, W. Atlee Burpee, and George J. Ball. Bedman Brothers became known for its production of salvias (sage), including the development of 'Bonfire' or Clara Bedman sage variety. The company continued after William Bedman's tenure under the leadership of his sons Charles, James and John. The business ended after the death of Joseph Bedman, William's grandson, in 1962.
The Bedman Brothers Company Records collection focuses primarily on the business and financial transactions of the Bedman Brothers seed company and includes accounting ledgers, purchase orders, price lists, miscellaneous business and family correspondence, and various brochures, pamphlets and leaflets related to horticultural topics. Other holdings in the collection include World War II ration stamps and two scrapbooks, one of which contains many late nineteenth and early twentieth century chromo-lithographed trade cards (primarily from the sewing, clothing, and floral industries). The other scrapbook holds news clippings from the Civil War period. Some seed gathering equipment used by field workers rounds out the collection.
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Bedman Brothers Company Records