J. Horace McFarland Company Collection

J. Horace McFarland in his garden at Breeze HillIn 1909, J. Horace McFarland purchased 2.4 acres of land in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and named it “Breeze Hill.” Photo: J. Horace McFarland in his garden at Breeze Hill

Biographical Note

Dr. J. Horace McFarland (1859-1948) was a well-known author, publisher, horticulturist, and authority on roses. McFarland was a member of the American Rose Society and president of the American Civic Association. The cultivars Editor McFarland, Horace McFarland, and possibly The Doctor were named after him. McFarland was a staunch advocate for the preservation of the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Everglades, and the Glacier Bay and Jackson Hole National Monument and the establishment of the National Park Service. As an early preservationist, he also rallied against the New York power industry to save Niagara Falls from exploitation. McFarland's printing company, Mount Pleasant Press (later the J. Horace McFarland Company), was based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It published many of the seed and nursery trade catalogs in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century and was one of the first to apply color processes to commercial print applications. McFarland wrote over 200 articles in popular journals as well as a dozen books on roses and gardening. Numerous examples from his photographic archives have appeared in journals and books.

Scope and Content

The J. Horace McFarland Company Collection includes over 3,100 black and white mounted photographs and 445 glass lantern slides of gardens throughout the United States dating from 1900 to 1962. Many of the photographs indicate the publications in which they appeared.

Additional Resources

The Smithsonian Botany and Horticulture Branch Library includes seed and nursery trade catalogs, books, and library material from the J. Horace McFarland Company. In addition, the United States Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Library has a photographic collection of plant portraits from the McFarland Company.