Photo of the Week


“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck


Spring, 1881, Paddock Bros., Plant Catalogue

by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian


Spring 1881 Paddock Bro.’s Plant Catalogue. 

(Image from the Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives.)

With spring in the air and garden centers filling their shelves with plants for another gardening season we thought it fitting to pull out this 1881 plant catalogue from the Paddock Bro.’s Company of Cleveland, Ohio. It includes a wide variety of plants that were available to gardeners 140 years ago. The introduction to the work makes note of the company’s attempt to meet the increasing demand for horticultural products by adding to their facility a new, large propagating house and greenhouse, a large tank with iron turbine wind-engine for their water supply, and a new packing house.

The product catalogue lists an astonishing 115 different varieties of geraniums, 84 types of old garden roses, and a wide assortment of greenhouse and bedding plants. For $1.00 you could buy 12 beautiful roses, for instance, or 12 geraniums, or a combination of 2 roses, 2 fuchsias, 2 heliotropes, 2 geraniums, 2 cupheas, and 2 carnations. Many other combinations were offered. A collection of 375 plants could be had for $19 including express shipping. The company “made no extra charge” for packing, either by mail or Express, and added extra plants for the “Expressage.” 



FUN-FILLED FAMILY OUTING! An Exhibit of Ordinary Objects From Yesteryear That Are Mysteries to Our Modern Eyes! In our Weathervane Gallery now thru Sept. 11, 2021. The objects we use to get through an ordinary day have changed so much over time that many everyday items once used at work or at home by your grandparents (or great-grandparents) are now virtually unrecognizable. This fun exhibit showcases a selection of the most mysterious objects from our collection to baffle, befuddle, and bemuse you!

Can you guess what these mysterious objects are? Bring your cellphone for an interactive experience!

Click here for Newsday’s review!

Free admission for children includes museum-wide scavenger hunt & prizes!

Gallery Hours: Weds. to Sat., 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


The Suffolk County Historical Society Museum is open to the public for a safe, socially-distanced family outing with 15-minute intervals between parties. Exhibits provide a safe, “touchless” experience for adults and children alike. Masks are required of all museum visitors over age 2.



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