Poster for "Gifts to the Prairie" exhibit, April 13-November 3, 2008. Image is of a hand-colored lithograph of an Alexander apple by William Henry Prestele.

Phoenix Family and Nursery Collection


Processed by Tim Fuertges
Summer 1997

Reprocessed by Torii Moré
Summer 2010

Table of Contents

Collection Information
Volume of Collection:
Two Boxes
Collection Dates:
Reproduction Rights:
Permission to reproduce or publish material in this collection must be obtained in writing from the McLean County Museum of History.
Alternative Formats:
Other Finding Aids: None.
Location: Archives.

Additional collections:

Curatorial Department: Accession # 1997.003 (Hand-colored lithographs)

Archive Photographs: under "Phoenix Nursery Photographs"

Also, booklet Gifts to the Prairie by Daryl Watson available for sale in gift shop, $10

Historical Sketch

Franklin Kelsey Phoenix was born in 1823 in Perry, New York. At the age of twelve, Phoenix moved with his family to Delavan, Wisconsin. Delavan was a new town founded in a region that was largely wilderness, and Phoenix grew up "loving flowers, trees, and all nature." In 1842 Phoenix started his life-long profession as a nurseryman in Delavan. He was a very passionate and energetic in his work, quickly becoming a respected voice in America's horticultural community in his twenties.

In the 1850s the nursery industry grew. F.K. Phoenix was an active participant in the Illinois Horticultural Society, and eventually relocated his business to Bloomington Illinois. By 1867 Phoenix's nursery was 240 acres with six greenhouses. It grew "Fruit, Ornamental & Nursery Stock, Flowers, Bulbs, Greenhouse and Garden Plants" with "Grapes & Roses A Specialty." His was the largest nursery in the "West" and one of the largest in the country. He also saw the value in colorful nursery plates- wildly colored images of trees, fruits, and flowers- which were used to advertise and expand his business. Artist William Henry Prestele moved from New York City to Bloomington in 1867 and became the main producer of the beautiful nursery plates. Phoenix and Prestele were successful for a time, until around 1872 when William Prestele began a fruit and flower print business on his own. Phoenix struggled to keep from losing his beloved nursery in the 1870s, and by 1877 he filed for bankruptcy. Nonetheless, both William Henry Prestele and F.K. Phoenix added to the appreciation of art and nature in the lives of those around them.

In 1878 F.K. Phoenix disposed of his holdings in the business and returned to Delavan, but the Nursery which he founded still displayed his name. F.K.'s son, Fred S. Phoenix, acquired partial ownership (along with Samuel T. Phoenix and F. M. Emerson) of the Bloomington Nursery and continued to increase the business after his father's departure. He successfully managed the Nursery for years before retiring in June 1903, when the business was sold to the Saddler Brothers of Bloomington.


Red Astrachan apple-- hand-colored lithograph by William Henry Prestele

Knight's Early Black cherries-- hand-colored lithograph by William Henry Prestele


Scope and Contents Note

Materials in the Phoenix collection covers the history of the Phoenix family and its nurseries in Bloomington-Normal. There are several items of particular interest.

The collection contains a vast amount of correspondence. Most of the correspondence takes the form of personal letters written from one family member to another. However, there are three letters which merit special attention. The first is a letter from Samuel Faulkner Phoenix to the editor of the Emancipator. In this letter Mr. Phoenix accuses an anti-slavery society of pursuing interests beyond abolition. The second letter is from Franklin Kelsey Phoenix to the editor of an unknown journal. In a thirteen page opinion letter Franklin Phoenix argued that intemperance and a warmonger spirit threatened to destroy a nation. The final letter is from Andrew Jackson Downing to Franklin Phoenix. Mr. Downing was the editor of the Horticulturist, a prominent journal of its time. In the letter Mr. Downing discussed articles which Franklin Phoenix had submitted for publication.

There is also a substantial quantity of genealogical material in the Phoenix collection. Some duplication does exist, as several family members kept genealogical records. Two items have particular merit. The first item is a genealogy chart of the Phoenix family of New York. It covers the years from 1643 to 1877. The second item is a bound family record. Included in the volume are photographs, death notices, biographies, and genealogies. Histories of the Kelsey, Topping, and Phoenix families are included within the work.

One other family item deserves consideration here. Franklin Kelsey Phoenix used a business ledger as a scrapbook, collecting documents which related to his personal interests. Among the items in the scrapbook are political speeches, poems, and articles relating to religion (especially prayers and sermons).

In addition to information on the Phoenix family, there is also an excellent selection of material relating to the F.K. Phoenix nursery and the F.S. Phoenix nursery. When the inventory of the collection was initially undertaken, there were three boxes of material. Precious few items directly related to the nursery businesses. However, the accession of three additional boxes afforded a more comprehensive record of the nurseries in question. Included in these boxes were several items of note.

The collection contains a volume of price lists for the Phoenix & Emerson nursery (later to become the F.S. Phoenix nursery). The volume covers the seasons from fall 1882 to spring 1903. Also included in the collection is a descriptive catalog of fruits and trees, compiled by F.S. Phoenix. The catalog contains brief cultivation directions by F.K. Phoenix. In addition, there are several advertising banners and a traveling salesman folio, complete with colored fruit and tree pictures.

A notable part of this collection is a series of autographed letters sent to F.K. Phoenix and John Phoenix. F.K. received letters from Frances E. Willard, Luther Burbank, Allan Pinkerton, Charles Downing and Booker T. Washington. John Phoenix recieved letters from Otto L. Bettman, Pierre Salinger, and President Eisenhower. These items were given to the museum by John F. Phoenix in 2010.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the collection, and certainly its most dramatic, is a series of fruit and tree plates. These plates were used as a means to advertise the F.K. Phoenix nursery and its horticultural stocks. Some of the plates are signed (see the historical note for a brief history of the plate project). A bound volume of A.L. Foote's plates also resides within the Phoenix collection.




Golden Russet Apple-- hand-colored lithograph by William Henry Prestele




Box and Folder Inventory

Box 1: Phoenix Family and Nursery Documents

Folder 1:
Hand-written list of letters sent to A. Whitney Phoenix 1874-1877
"Sandwich Island"; hand-written details of a San Francisco trip (unknown author)
Semi-Centennial Hymn; "My Faith Looks Up to Thee" (September 21, 1889)
Reverend Charles A. Hobbes, 1st Baptist Church, Delavan, Wisconsin
Newspaper clipping of "Periton's Ride in the Valley of the Conemaugh" (poem) by C.A. Hobbs; (May 31, 1899)
Newspaper clipping of poems with various authors under the heading "In Memoriam"
Honor Roll Certificate; 3rd Honors awarded to Olive Phoenix (November 23, 1901) Saint Mary's School, Knoxville, Illinois
Envelope from 1901 with "Return in ten days to Bloomington Phoenix Nursery Phoenix Nursery Co." in upper left corner. Envelope addressed to Trevett & Mathis, Champaign, Ill.


Folder 2:
Miscellaneous Correspondence
W. I. Chapin to Samuel F. Phoenix; family friend; regarding Fall employment; March 4, 1833
W. I. Chapin to Samuel F. Phoenix; family friend; financial difficulties/bank policies in New York; March 16, 1838
I.M. Allen to Samuel F. Phoenix; agent of the Baptist General Tract Society; concerning abolition, slavery, and Mr. Phoenix's continued service in the Society; December 28, 1835
Dr. Turpin to Samuel F. Phoenix; Georgian doctor who received Mr. Phoenix into his home; regarding Mr. Phoenix's missionary work in Georgia and his position on the issue of slavery; February 27, 1836 (postmarked March 2).
Elizabeth Kelsey to daughter Sarah A. Phoenix; general correspondence; January 5, 1823
Stillman Chase to Sarah A. Phoenix; family friend; circumstances of her father's death; October 8, 1941
Andrew Jackson Downing to Franklin K. Phoenix; editor of the Horticulturist: A Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste; regarding articles which Mr. Phoenix had submitted for publication; January 23, 1847
A. Kelsey to Franklin Kelsey Phoenix; relative; concerning the Republican party and religious matters; December 4, 1890
Martha Williams to Mrs. Elizabeth Carver Kelsey; friend; news of mutual friend Harriett's death; Martha requests that her letters to Harriett be returned (keepsakes); July 25, 1826
Arsinore Kelsey to Samuel and Elizabeth Kelsey; daughter; details of her studies at school; April 15, 1835
Louis Warren to Harold A. Phoenix; Director of the Lincoln National Life Foundation; regarding an old copy of the Bloomington Pantagraph which he had received from Mr. Phoenix, May 23, 1935
Ad for Bloomington Nursery & Garden in The Pantagraph. January 28, 1867.
Ad for Bloomington Nursery & Garden in The Pantagraph. February 20, 1869, with letter from J.K ? to W.L. Watkins regarding failed trees. Attached are two brochures for Watkins Woolen Mill.


Folder 3:
A.W. Phoenix Correspondence
A.W. Phoenix to his grandmother Sarah A. Phoenix; general correspondence enclosed in a Bloomington nursery envelope; January 3, 1869


Folder 4:
Frank Phoenix Correspondence
Frank Phoenix to his brother Fred Stanley; mentions the World's Fair in Chicago; November 11, 1893. 2 pages (includes a sketch by Frank on page 2)


Folder 5:
Frank Phoenix Sketchbook
Book containing sketches of Frank Phoenix.


Folder 6:
Franklin Kelsey Phoenix Scrapbook

G.B. Davidson ledger book containing the items listed below:

- Senator Howe's speech on the "Southern Rebellion"

- Loyalists from the South addressing the North

- Senator J.R. Doolittle's speech "Restoration or Reconstruction?"

- Letter from Reverend Henry Ward Beecher to the Soldiers' Convention (Regarding Southern representation in congress)

- President's veto message to the Senate (March 27th of unknown year)

- National Union Committee addressing the American people

- Copperhead Peace platform (August 30, 1864)-adopted in Chicago

- National Union platform (June 7, 1864)-adopted in Baltimore

- Congressional platform-regarding a constitutional amendment

- Letter from Petroleum V. Nasby to the people; regarding the proposed elevation of the status of the black man (October 1, 1866)-written for the Toledo Blade

- Suggested Sunday School activities (from the Executive Committee)

- "Progress in Sabbath-Schools" by R.G. Pardue

- Poem; "Life is Action" by G.W. Morgan

- Poem; "Old Ben Butler" by Uncle Daniel

- Poem; "Coming Home" (author unknown)

- List; "Rules for Bible Reading" (with subheadings)

- "The Sunday School Teacher" (with subheadings)

- "The Teacher's Relation to Sunday School"; Reverend W.J. Leonard's speech to the Sunday School Convention of the Fox River Baptist Association, Downers Grove

- Untitled article with various subheadings-"Conflict of Faith", "Mental Activity", "The Paths of Life", "Rules for Living", Business First and Pleasure Afterwards", "Wild Oats and their Harvest"

- "The Milwaukee Pulpit"; Reverend Doctor Dixon's sermon to his congregation

- "The Milwaukee Pulpit"-Reverend Doctor Dixon's sermon entitled "Recognition of Heaven"


Folder 7:
Franklin Kelsey Phoenix Documents and Correspondence
Typed copy of an article printed in the yearbook of the Illinois Horticultural Society (1925 or 1926); biographical information (2 pages)
Pantagraph article titled "Franklin K. Phoenix Dead" dated February 4th, 1911. (an original copy can be found in the F. S. Phoenix family record towards the end)
F.K. Phoenix to his mother Sarah A. Phoenix; damages to the family barn, legal recourse available; September 14, 1848
F.K. Phoenix to his mother Sarah A. Phoenix; details of his trip to New York City; September 22, 1848
F.K. Phoenix to his mother Sarah A. Phoenix; details of his trip to Boston; September 27, 1848-2 pages
F.K. Phoenix to his mother Sarah A. Phoenix; general correspondence; October 18, 1848
F.K. Phoenix to the editor of an unknown periodical; 13 page opinion letter concerning the damaging effects intemperance and warmongering on the country's spirit; talks of the three-headed monster: (1) intemperance; (2) warmongers; (3) monopolists
Seven loose pages detailing F.K. Phoenix's life; hand-written in pencil
Quitclaim Deed (June 3, 1854)
Notes made from a Delavan Republican article; February 9, 1911-date of his death (3 pages)
"Pioneer Citizen Hears Death's Summons"; February 9, 1911- Delavan Republican
Sheet titled "F.K.P. Memorandums"; various dates and events are written on the front and back
Article from the Delavan Republican; details F.K. Phoenix's contributions to the Delavan School for the Deaf; also narrates the history of the founding of Delavan by Samuel F. and Henry Phoenix
Copy of the Temperance Standard; September 9, 1869-Volume I, Number 23, Bloomington, Illinois
Franklin Kelsey Phoenix 1 page of post-civil-war revenue stamps with FKP pen cancellation
Diary of Sarah K. Phoenix wife of Franklin K. Phoenix. "Our trips to London, Rotterdam, Hanover, Berlin. 1871. (Note) party consisted of F.K.P, S.K.P and son Fred S. Phoenix."



Folder 8:
Fred S. Phoenix Family Record

Allaben-Bayles Family Record (missing cover) contains the following documents and materials:

- Typed Phoenix Genealogy

- Sarah A. Phoenix death notice (May 10, 1894)-Delavan Republican

- Topping family background

- Photograph of Fred S. Phoenix

- Photograph of Fred S., Harold, Mary, and Franklin K. Phoenix

- Frank Phoenix's death notice (October 2, 1924)-Delavan Times

- Card; "Franklin K. Phoenix for State Senator" (listed with others)

- Photograph of Mr. and Mrs. Fred S. Phoenix

- Photograph taken in Florida in 1917

- Mrs. Sallie (Lain) Phoenix's death notice (August 8, 1916)-Davenport Democrat

- Mrs. Mary E. Phoenix's death notice (May 9, 1912)-Delavan Republican

- Franklin K. Phoenix's death notice (February 3, 1911)

- Article on the Bradley Knitting Mills (August 1906) -- Wisconsin Independent Review

- Photograph of E.E. Williams

- Marriage notice-E.E. Williams and Carrie A. Phoenix (September 22, 1891)

- Article from the Daily Pantagraph (April 10, 1919)

- Reproduction of a mural painted by Frank Phoenix (Alexandria Hotel lobby, Los Angeles)

- Frank Phoenix's appointment as Secretary of the Chicago Society of Artists

- Artistic rendering of Samuel F. Phoenix

- Photograph of Flora May, Franklin K., and Mary E. Phoenix (with nephew)

- Various family photographs

- Program for the Chicago Playhouse; Mary Cameron, pianist on the cover (February 24, 1918)-niece of Fred S. Phoenix

- Letter from Mary Cameron to Fred S. Phoenix (February 27, 1918)

- Topping Genealogy

- Various photographs of the Topping family

- Kelsey genealogy

- Colored drawing of Mrs. Samuel (Carver) Kelsey

- Various photographs of the Kelsey family

- Note regarding Deacon W.A. Bartlett; Franklin K. Phoenix's uncle

- Letter to John Jay Phoenix regarding Samuel T. Phoenix's disappearance (April 13, 1904)

- "Working in Horticulture, VII"; Biography of Franklin K. Phoenix in Gardening, IV, #140 Chicago (July 1, 1918)

- Note from the Daily Pantagraph (October 25, 1892)

- Article detailing the events at a Y.M.C.A. Good Time Social (Harold Phoenix was there)

- Daily Pantagraph article regarding the sale of the F.S. Phoenix nursery to the Saddler Brothers (June 10, 1903)

- Daily Pantagraph article containing information on the Saddler Brothers (June 11, 1903)

- Lineage from Stephen Kelsey to Frank and Carrie Kelsey (includes children)

- Fred S. Phoenix's death notice (December 13, 1943)-Davenport Democrat

- Mrs. Elizabeth Bright) Phoenix's death notice (May 5, 1926)-Davenport Democrat

- H.B. Betty's death notice; husband of Olive Phoenix; February 24, 1953-Morning Democrat

- Notice of final rites administered for H.B. Betty (includes a list of prominent attendees)

- Article detailing H.B. Betty's legal contributions to the community (February 24, 1953)--The Daily Times

- Announcement of John Jay Phoenix as new editor of the Saint Ambrose Bee Line

- John Panton's death notice; father of Mrs. Harold Phoenix-2 copies

- Article regarding a trip to Egypt (Fred S. Phoenix, John Jay Phoenix, and Mrs. Eva (Bradley) Phoenix in traveling party)

- Mrs. Eva (Bradley) Phoenix's death notice; wife of John Jay Phoenix- Beloit Daily News

- Article detailing Harold A. Phoenix's appointment to the Iowa delegation of the Mississippi Valley Association (November 10, 1925)

- Article detailing Harold A. Phoenix's promotion to 2nd lieutenant (August 19, 1918)

- Notice of college students home for the holidays: Harold Phoenix (Cornell); December 23, 1911- Davenport Times

- Qualification for membership into the S.A.R. (entries for Fred S. and Harold A. Phoenix glued on)

- Ledger entry detailing births and deaths

- Poem inspired by the death of a soldier-by Mrs. C.H. Parmely of Beloit, Wisconsin

- Poem; "The Volunteer's Wife"-by E.L.M.


Folder 9:
Fred Stanley Phoenix Documents and Correspondence
F.S. Phoenix to his grandmother Sarah A. Phoenix; life in Bloomington; January 3, 1869
Business card sent by Mr. Frederick William Taylor (Director of Agriculture for the Phillipine Islands); envelope included
Marriage Certificate; March 16, 1882; Fred S. Phoenix and Sallie T. Lain
Real Estate License; January 2, 1932; issued to Phoenix & Phoenix, Davenport, Iowa
Passport; July 26, 1871; written in French
Hole-in-One Certificate; July 15, 1927; Credit Island Golf Club


Folder 10:
Henry Phoenix Correspondence
Henry Phoenix to his brother Samuel F. Phoenix; sale of the family store and its merchandise; description of the land in Wisconsin; status of abolition in Wisconsin; August 26, 1836
Henry Phoenix to his brother Samuel F. Phoenix; talk of the Van Buren/Harrison election (New York results); new railroad from Milwaukee to Chicago (cost projections and estimates); railroad from Galena to Chicago; unknown date in 1837
Henry Phoenix to his brother Samuel F. Phoenix; news from home; details of the grist mill and financial concerns; March 5 & 9, 1838
Enlarged copy of the above (2 pages)


Folder 11:
John Jay Phoenix Correspondence
John Jay Phoenix to his brother Fred S. Phoenix; news from Delavan; July 31, 1941


Folder 12:
S. Whitney Phoenix Correspondence
* note that all of the following letters may have been written to F.K. Phoenix; also note that fading makes the letters difficult to read
S. Whitney Phoenix to F.K. Phoenix; illegible; January 13, 1874
S. Whitney Phoenix to unknown addressee; regarding his great-grandfather's first name; March 20, 1875
S. Whitney Phoenix to unknown addressee; regarding the Phoenix genealogy; January 16, 1876
S. Whitney Phoenix to unknown addressee; regarding his work on the Whitney family history; March 10, 1877
S. Whitney Phoenix to unknown addressee; regarding a Phoenix living in Michigan; April 27, 1877
S. Whitney Phoenix to unknown addressee; regarding the headway being made on the Whitney family history; October 24, 1877


Folder 13:
Samuel T. Phoenix
Samuel T. Phoenix to mother (Mary E. Phoenix); regarding weather and status of employment out West; May 18, 1871.
Samuel T. Phoenix to mother (Mary E. Phoenix); regarding lack of news, surplus of snow, and asking about family; June 23, 1897
S.T.P to his brother Fred S. Phoenix; advise regarding rose stocks and planting directions; December 7, 1893
S.T.P to his brother Fred S. Phoenix; regarding tough times, mining; May 5, 1894
S.T. Phoenix to his brother Fred S. Phoenix; regarding roses, money, mining, economics, metalism; November 20, 1894
S.T. Phoenix to his brother Fred S. Phoenix; regarding roses, moving to Colorado; May 20, 1896.


Folder 14:
Sarah Averill Phoenix
S.A. Phoenix to "Parents" regarding her living situation, the land available in her area, relationships with relatives; and an attached letter to "Grandparents" advising them not to buy more land where they are (New York), addressed to Mr. Samuel Kelsey; December 1, 1839
Mortgage from the Racine, Janesville, and Mississippi Railroad Company in the amount of $500; April 18, 1855
Record of land purchase in Delavan(?), Wisconsin. Sarah A. Phoenix to D.H. Ostrum (?); details of terms of sale and payment; December 10, 1859


Folder 15:
Samuel Faulkner Phoenix Journal
"Journal of Remarks and Observations while on a tour to Georgia for Health by Samuel F. Phoenix of Delavan Wisconsin 1833" Journal also includes labor costs and payroll entries for the years 1842-1847.


Folder 16:
Samuel Faulkner Phoenix Correspondence
Samuel F. Phoenix to his wife Sarah A. Kelsey; details of his travels; August 24, 1831
Samuel F. Phoenix to his wife Sarah A. Kelsey; geography and sights of Philadelphia and Baltimore; December 17, 1823
Samuel F. Phoenix to his wife Sarah A. Kelsey; reflections on their life together; February 26, 1833
Samuel F. Phoenix to his wife Sarah A. Kelsey; concerning his work for the Baptist General Tract Society; April 17, 1833
Samuel F. Phoenix to his wife Sarah A Kelsey; details of their land and home in Wisconsin; Sept. 18(?)
Samuel F. Phoenix to his brother Henry; land discussions and other business matters; September 2, 1830 (or 1836?)
Samuel F. Phoenix to family friend W.I. Chapin; slavery issue and the people he has met on his journeys; April 23, 1835
Samuel F. Phoenix to family friend W.I. Chapin; details of his trip out west; June 4, 1836
Samuel F. Phoenix to family friend W.A. Bartlett; differences between the North and the South, geological aspects of Georgia; March 24, 1833
Samuel F. Phoenix to the editor of the Emancipator and the recording secretary of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society; accuses the anti-slavery society of pursuing interests beyond abolition, asks them to drop his name from the list of managers; June 1840


Folder 17:
Phoenix Genealogical Material
Hand-written lineage from Samuel Kelsey and Elisabeth Carver Kelsey to Stephen and Sarah A. Kelsey.
Hand-written lineage from Steven and Sarah Averill Kelsey to Frederick and Jennie (Prentice) Kelsey-through the Kelsey line
Hand-written note tracing the Kelsey line back to the 17th century
Hand-written note with five biographical entries (Fred S. Phoenix and Sarah T. Lain; Franklin K. Phoenix and Mary E. Topping; Mary Topping, Thomas Toping, Sarah Briggs; Thomas and Isaiah Topping; Isaiah and Thomas Topping)
The Phoenix Family of New York genealogy chart (1643-1877)
Hand-written lineage from Gardner Carver to Franklin K. Phoenix (including children); on 9 pages on loose ledger paper
Letter to Fred S. Phoenix from Iowa Society Sons of the American Revolution informing him of his approved membership in the S.A.R. Dated June 8th 1932.
Family record of Isaiah and Mary Anne Lain (front and back)
Lineage from Samuel and Elizabeth (Carver) Kelsey to Franklin K and Mary E. (Topping) Phoenix; contained in Sarah Phoenix's Writing Speller and Definer, 1871.
Booklet detailing history of the Toppings (6 pages); included is an extract concerning the English roots of the family written by Rev. Henry Topping.
Typed Topping genealogy traced from Thomas Topping in Long Island (2 typed pages)
Hand-written note listing the children and grandchildren of Franklin K. and Mary E. (Topping) Phoenix.
Fred S. Phoenix's preliminary application to the Iowa Society of the S.A.R
Yellow ledger sheet noting changes made to the Kelsey family history, notes for S.A.R application
Family record, torn out of the front section of a Greek translation of the New Testament (Cambridge Edition); 5 pages. Note: Harold Averil Phoenix "read" the diary in 1942 and indicated that the party consisted of Franklin K. Phoenix, his wife Sarah K., and his son Fred S. Srarh actually is the mother of Franklin K. (His wife was Mary E) and the grandmother of Fred S. Phoenix.


Folder 18:
Autographed correspondence to F.K. and John Phoenix
Letter to F.K. Phoenix from Frances E. Willard (autograph), President of Woman's National Christian Temperance Union, dated July 24, 1889. Also included are 2 stamps with Francis E. Willard on them (Scott's #872), and an article from The American Philatelist by Charles A. Fricke titled "A First Issue Postal Card Signed by Frances Willard."
Letter to F. K. Phoenix from Frances E. Willard (autograph), on Woman's National Christian Temperance Union letterhead, dated May 26, 1888.
Autographed letter from Luther Burbank written on BURBANK'S EXPERIMENT FARMS letterhead. Dated September 21st, 1895, letter discusses in detail Luther Burbank's methods of hybridizing roses with pollen and brush. Also included are 4 Luther Burbank stamps (Scott's #870).
Allan Pinkerton to F. Phoenix, autographed 8 1/2 x 11 letter in his manuscript under Pinkerton's National Detective Agency heading, dated Chicago, September 26, 1877. Letter asks for nursery catalogs and requests discount on lots of 100 or more plantings.
Charles Downing autographed letter to F.K. Phoenix discussing culture of apples and peaches, etc. Three pages. Dated July 14, 1874, Newburgh, New York.
Otto L. Bettman typed business letter with full autograph signature on 6 x 9 Bettman letterhead, to J. Phoenix, regarding the mailing of a photograph of early rice farming for use in a mailing brochure. Dated July 6, 1966.
Booker T. Washington letter dated February 8, 1886 on Tuskegee Normal School letterhead, 6 x 9 1/2. Letter is concerned with order for 150 large apples. Letter is hand-written by Booker T. Washington with his signature on the back side.
Booker T. Washington letter on Tuskegee Normal School letterhead dated February 11, 1886. Signed at bottom "yours (etc.) B.T. Washington, Prin"
Booker T. Washington letter on Tuskegee Normal School Letterhead dated Jun 26, 1886, regarding ordering of asparagus and rhubarb roots. Autographed "B.T. Washington, Prin." On front.
4 photocopies of photographs of Tuskegee Institute 1902.
Pierre Salinger, "Press Secretary to the President" on 6 1/4 x 9 1/4 White House stationery January 20, 1964. Two-paragraph note to Mr. Phoenix referencing press release by John Deere. Corresponding envelope also included, as well as a newspaper clipping of a photograph of Pierre Salinger and President Johnson, a color photocopy of the cover of "TIME" magazine with Salinger on the cover, and a photograph of Salinger with a cigar.
Dwight D. Eisenhower signature on DDE bookplate with personalized "Best wishes to John Phoenix" typed in. Also included: letter from Clemens A. Warner with DDE bookplate enclosed; first-day cover of the May 10, 1971 eight-cent Eisenhower regular issue stamp with autographs of Julie Nixon Eisenhower and husband David Eisenhower with a the red Eisenhower stamp, plus their verifying facsimile signatures and photos on cachet of a May 23, 1971 cover with the eight-cent black Eisenhower stamp; and a Mamie Doud Eisenhower note on 6 x 8 1/2 personal stationary to Chairman Milbank regarding the new Eisenhower Dollars dated October 1, 1971 with facsimile signature.


Folder 19:
Illinois Wesleyan University
Booklet: "Illinois Wesleyan University- Rooted in Phoenix's Nursery"
Memorandum of agreement between Bloomington Nursery Company and Levi Dillon and James C. Duncan.
Letter from Minor Myers, Jr. President of Illinois Wesleyan University to Greg Koos. Dated November 4, 1999, regarding Carol Peddigo Phoenix. Corresponding letter from Carol Peddigo Phoenix to Mr. Meyers regarding the Phoenix family, dated October 22, 1999.


Folder 20:
Phoenix & Emerson Price List

Bound book containing "Price List of Nursery Stock grown and for sale by Phoenix Bros. & Emerson, Nurserymen, Bloomington, McLean County, Ill." and after 1888 "Price List of Nursery Stock grown and for sale by F.S. Phoenix, Nurseryman (successor to Phoenix & Emerson)":

Fall 1882, Spring 1883, Fall 1883, Spring 1884, Fall 1884, Spring 1885, Fall 1885 (fold-out contractors price list), Spring 1886, Fall 1886, Fall 1887(fold-out contractors price list), Spring 1888-"Nursery stock for sale by F.S. Phoenix (successor to Phoenix & Emerson)", Fall 1888, Spring 1889, Fall 1889, Spring 1890, Fall 1890, Spring 1891, Fall 1891, Spring 1892, Fall 1892 (Lincoln pear introduced with accompanying brochure), Spring 1893, Fall 1893, Spring 1894, Spring 1895 (new choice fruits description), Fall 1895, Spring 1896, Fall 1896, Spring 1897, Spring 1898 (includes a picture of the office building), Fall 1898 (includes First Prize award for F.S. Phoenix at the Paris Exposition), Spring 1899, Spring 1900, Fall 1900, Spring 1901, 2 small retail price list booklets, Fall 1901, Testimonial from the U.S. Government Department of Agriculture confirming arrival of shipment, Spring 1902, Fall 1902 (fold-out contractors price list), Spring 1903, Illustrated and descriptive catalogue for fruits and ornamental trees 1902-1903.


Folder 21:
Photocopy of Phoenix Nursery Catalog
1 page photocopy from Phoenix's Bloomington Nursery catalog of 1859 p 22-23 (Original at University of Illinois Rare Book Library)
Spring 1867


Folder 22:
Photocopy of Phoenix Nursery Catalog, 1868


Folder 23:
Photocopy of Phoenix Nursery Catalog, Fall 1870


Folder 24:
Photocopy of Phoenix Nursery Catalog, Spring 1871 (Note: Original at Morton Arboretum)


Folder 25:
Original Phoenix Nursery Catalog, 1880


Folder 26:
Photocopy of Phoenix Nursery Catalog, Spring 1886


Folder 27:
Photocopy of Phoenix Nursery Catalog, Fall 1886


Folder 28:
Photocopy of Phoenix Nursery Catalog, Spring 1887


Folder 29: Photocopy of Phoenix Nursery Catalog, Spring 1891


Folder 30:
Photocopy of Phoenix Nursery Catalog, Spring 1894


Folder 31:
Original Phoenix Nursery Catalog, 1903
Photograph of cover


Folder 32:
Phoenix Nursery Advertisements
Harpers Weekly newspaper September 4, 1869
Moore's Rural New-Yorker January 5, 1867
Phoenix Nursery Company order sheets


Folder 33:
State Horticultural Society Transactions (1863)
Book containing details of the proceedings of the 8th annual winter meeting at Alton
December 15th-18th, and of the second annual fair at Rockford September 8th-11th.


Folder 34:
The Endeavorer's Daily Companion for 1906 by Amos R. Wells
The Endeavorer's Daily Companion for 1906 by Amos R. Wells Booklet
10th annual McLean County Christian Endeavor Union lapel ribbon 1903 (inside booklet)


Folder 35:
Phoenix Newspaper Articles
"Bloomington Nurseries" Daily Pantagraph, originally in Prairie Farmer. July 9, 1864.
"Nursery" in the Daily Pantagraph, July 13, 1864.
"Receivers Sale of Real Estate of Phoenix Nursery Company" Pantagraph January 9, 1915


Folder 36:
The Smithsonian
July/August 2011 issue of Smithsonian magazine with a story on Prestele on pages 76-82


Box 2: Loose Items

Plate Book
"Fruits, trees and flowers, reproduced from nature by Vredenburg & Co., incorporated, Rochester, N.Y.Unpaged; no date


Plate Book
"Book of roses painted by A.L. Foote for F.K. Phoenix". Unpaged, no date. 2 loose plates in [added] pocket.


Plate Book
Folding book, plates in groups of 3; ca. 66 plates, unpaged, no date.


Plate Book
Bound (poor condition); many plates "C.M. Search & Co., Rochester, N.Y."); others unidentified; penciled notations; inside cover previously stamped "[Phoenix & Emerson(?)], over stamped "Delavan, Wis.", also "Nursery stock released & guaranteed".


Folder 1:
Loose Plates
Report of the Pomologist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1892 Plate VIII Wm. H.
Report of the Pomologist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1892 Plate X Wm. H. Prestele
"Wolf Plum"
J. W. Thompson & Co., Colored Plates, Rochester, N.Y. "Prunus Simoni"
Stretcher Lith. Co. Roch, NY "Hibernal"
Plate XX Yearbook U.S. Deptartment of Agriculture 1909 "Ears of Corn of U.S.
Plate XXI Yearbook U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1909 "Ear of corn produced by a
"The Diana Grape"


Folder 2:
Loose Plates
Transparent envelope with writing "Letter from grandfather of Fred & Frank Phoenix"
"Stump the World" lithograph
(Flower) Albert G. Foote, 1874
Lithographs (unidentified, cut into ovals)
1 lithograph of a flower, matted
"Laciniata" lithograph
"Home Treasures" engraved by W. Wellstood.
"Summer Quiet" engraved by W. Wellstood, painted by A.F. Bellows
"Rebecca" lithograph
"Joseph Gourdon" lithograph
"Glory of Mosses" lithograph mounted on cardboard
"Currants- Red Dutch, White Dutch, and Black Naples" lithograph D. M. Dewey's Series
"Red Gilliflower" lithograph AL Foole 10/20/1893
"Carolina De Sansel" lithograph mounted on cardboard.
"Red Lady Finger (winter)"
"Atrosanguinea" A.L. Foote 6/30/74
"Thunbergianum Citrinum- Salmon Dwarf"
"Lilium Excelsium"
"Red Raneripe(?)" and "Wardo Sate(?)"
"Amsdens June (?)"


Folder 3:
Loose Plates
D.M. Dewey's Series, colored from nature: "American Ivy---Virginia Creeper
J. [Coulson?], Iowa City, Iowa. "Alexander's Early"


McLean County Museum of History Collections and Research