Happy Mayflower!

First, I found these two images above, from a blog called Catnip Studio Collage, while hunting around for cheerful flower images, and got pretty excited about them. Gorgeous seed packet circa 1893, wouldn’t you say? So of course, I had to continue investigating a little bit, just to see what this “Mayflower” publication was all about…

You might imagine how very excited I got tonight when I found these wonderful turn of the century Mayflower Magazine covers. I wasn’t familiar with this magazine before, and learned more about it thanks to a wonderful blog called Letterology, which is maintained by a teacher of book design and experimental typography at Seattle Central Community College, who says: “The Mayflower magazine was founded by noted horticulturist John Lewis Childs (1856-1921) in 1885. When it folded over 20 years later, it had reached an international circulation of half a million copies. Childs also established one of the first mail order seed catalogs in the US, based in Floral Park, Long Island and was receiving up to 8000 orders per day. By 1892 he had several hundred acres with glass greenhouses, seed beds, seed stores, housing, a lumber mill, and a printing press where he employed numerous nameless artists to design his elaborately illustrated magazines and seed catalogs. Nearly every issue of The Mayflower monthly displayed an entirely hand-rendered, new or modified masthead. Child’s magazine and seed catalogs soon became wildly successful and he went on to build the first school in Floral Park, served as the first town mayor and later NY state senator, and ran two unsuccessful campaigns for US Senator.” He would definitely have gotten my vote for some fine quality imagery!


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