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From the Cataloger’s Desk: A.E. Kunderd’s Gorgeous Gladioli

August 2, 2016

Amos E. Kunderd, a plant breeder from Goshen, Indiana, developed a fascination with flowers at an early age. Over time, he studied hybridization, raised seedlings of his own and originated stunning new varieties of gladioli. After introducing the first Ruffled Gladiolus (Kunderdii Glory) in 1908, his business boomed. By the time this catalog was published, 75 acres of his farm were devoted to growing numerous varieties of gladioli, and he employed about 100 people during the busiest season of the year.

This golden anniversary catalog includes a sketch of A.E. Kunderd’s life, information about the business and customer testimonials throughout. What captures the reader’s attention most, however, are the magnificent, detailed illustrations, some of which are in color. It is interesting to note the names, descriptions and prices of the flowers as well. As an amateur gardener, I was particularly struck by “The Kunderd Standard,” explained eloquently on page 12 as follows: “The value of a single flower can never be measured in terms of money. Nature is not mercenary, she gladly gives the best she has that we all may enjoy a full measure of happiness. Nature is our partner in business, and never do I go out into the gardens without feeling her indispensable value. Our work consists merely of helping nature overcome many of her obstacles and in return she shows her gratitude by offering us the marvelous blooms I am proud to list in my catalog … “

Kunderd 3

Since gladiolus season is in full bloom and the gladiolus just happens to be the birth flower for August this is the perfect time to visit the library at the History Center and view A.E. Kunderd’s My 50th Anniversary, 1930 catalog!

The record for this item can be found here.

Lindsay Borman is the cataloger of Printed Collections at the Indiana Historical Society. Her claim to fame: She can name all of the U.S. presidents ... in order!

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