Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Wilder, Marshall P.

Marshall P. Wilder Collection, 1848-1929.
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: RG 2/3 W55

Marshall P. Wilder
Marshall P. Wilder

A merchant and amateur horticulturalist from Dorchester, Mass., Marshall P. Wilder (1798-1886) was a key figure in American pomology during the mid-nineteenth century and a major supporter of agricultural education. A supreme organizer and institution builder, he was a founder and president of the American Pomological Society and United States Agricultural Society, and president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and New England Historic Genealogical Society. His 1849 address before the Norfolk Agricultural Society is often credited as an important catalyst for the creation of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, and he served as trustee of the College from its opening in 1867 until his death in 1886.

The Wilder Collection consists primarily of printed works written or collected by Marshall P. Wilder, including materials pertaining to early meetings of the American Pomological Society and the United States Agricultural Society, his 1849 address to the Norfolk Agricultural Society, and his address to the first graduating class at MAC. Among the handful of manuscripts are a draft proposal to hold a national meeting of fruit growers (the inaugural meeting of the American Pomological Society), two letters regarding his donation of a large number of books to the MAC library, and a bound set of 22 beautiful watercolors of pear varieties painted by Louis B. Berckmans.

Biographical Note

A merchant and amateur horticulturalist from Dorchester, Mass., Marshall P. Wilder was a key figure in American pomology during the mid-nineteenth century and an important supporter of agricultural education in Massachusetts. Born in Rindge, New Hampshire, on September 22, 1798, Wilder was presented at 16 with a choice of attending college, starting a farm, or working in the family store, and elected to farm. Following the death of an uncle two years later, however, he was called upon to join his father in their burgeoning wholesale business, remaining there until he set out for the larger markets of Boston in 1825. As senior partner in the firms of Wilder and Payson and Wilder and Smith, Wilder enjoyed considerable success within the city’s mercantile community. In 1837, he joined Isaac Parker and Abraham W. Blanchard in the commission dry goods trade, to create a notably prosperous and long-lived firm, Parker, Blanchard, and Wilder (later Parker, Wilder and Co.).

In 1831, Wilder purchased an estate in then-suburban Dorchester from Gov. Increase Sumner where he turned to his avocation, horticulture, with extraordinary zeal. He rapidly transformed Hawthorne Grove into a model in horticultural experiment. Noted particularly for his work with camellias and azaleas, as well as flowers, Wilder experimented extensively with new cultivars, importing or developing as many as 1,200 varieties of pear, for example, including the wildly popular Bartlett from England and the Beurre d’Anjou from France. The inevitable setbacks did little to dampen his industry. Although a greenhouse fire in 1839 cost him all but two of his eight hundred camellias, Wilder had rebounded sufficiently quickly that a year later he was able to exhibit three hundred varieties to a touring group from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.

Perhaps the most notable feature of Wilder’s career in horticulture was his remarkable energy and organizational capacity. A regular at horticultural fairs, he was a founding member of the New England Horticultural Society in 1829 and the Massachusetts Academy of Agriculture (a reform school for boys) in 1845, president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (1840-1848), a founder and president of the American Pomological Society (1848-1886), the Massachusetts Agricultural Club, the Norfolk Agricultural Society, and the United States Agricultural Society, among many other organizations. Outside of horticulture, he was president of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (1868-1886), an officer in the state militia in New Hampshire and later in the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, and he was elected to single terms in the Massachusetts General Court (1839), the state Executive Council (1849), and the state senate, of which he predictably chosen president (1850).

Wilder’s 1849 address on agricultural education before the Norfolk Agricultural Society was considered instrumental in building support for establishing an agricultural college in the Commonwealth. Although he was not the first to propose the idea of an agricultural college for Massachusetts, he may have been its most persistent advocate. To build political support for agriculture, Wilder helped establish the State Board of Agriculture in 1852 (it was first constituted unofficially the year previously), and although it was more than a decade before the college became a reality, Wilder did not flag in his support. A trustee of MAC from 1863 until 1886, Wilder was singled out for the honor of addressing its first graduating class in 1871. He was similarly important in supporting the founding of MIT, though only after William B. Rogers agreed that the college would provide instruction in pomology and horticulture.

Wilder died in Dorchester on December 16, 1886.

Scope and contents of the collection

The Wilder Collection consists primarily of printed works of the pomologist Marshall P. Wilder, reflecting his broad commitments to American horticulture, agricultural education, and the Massachusetts Agricultural College. Theses include strong runs of programs and president’s addresses for the early meetings of the American Pomological Society and United States Agricultural Society, both of which he helped found, and most of his presidential addresses to the New-England Historic Genealogical Society. Among the miscellaneous publications are several addresses to regional agricultural societies, including his seminal 1849 address to the Norfolk Agricultural Society, and seven copies of his address to the first graduating class of Massachusetts Agricultural College.

The small number of manuscript items in the collection include a draft copy of the proposal to hold a national meeting of fruit growers — the first meeting of what would become the American Pomological Society — and two letters relating to gifts of books to the MAC library. Of special note is a volume of 22 watercolors by the Belgian-American artist Louis E. Berckmans (d. 1883) of pear varieties.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection: Marshall P. Wilder Collection (RG 2/3 W55). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

History of the Collection

Acquired from Marshall P. Wilder.


Additional Information

Language
English
Separated Material

The following bound items were removed from the collection and transferred to the rare books stacks:

  • Biography of Marshall P. Wilder [spine title]. Includes: John H. Sheppard, “Marshall P. Wilder,” Bay State Monthly 1, 1 (1887); “Hon. Marshall P. Wilder,” from Boston Past and Present; “Marshall Pinckney Wilder,” California Farmer (April 27, 1871); Penn. Horticultural Society, “Brief Notice of the Life and Public Services of Marshall P. Wilder”; Jerome V.C. Smith, “A well spent life,” Chronotype 1 (1873); “Wilder, Marshall Pinckney,” from Biographical Encyclopaedia of Massachusetts of the Nineteenth Century.
  • Catalogue of the Library of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (Boston: A.A. Kingman, 1873). Bound interleaved with blank pages for notes.
  • Memorials: Marshall Pinckney Wilder (Boston: s.n., 1889). Miscellaneous published memorials.
  • Marshall P. Wilder Memorial. Miscellaneous published memorials.
  • Proceedings at a Banquet Given by His Friends Given to the Hon. Marshall Pinckney Wilder, PhD., on His Birthday, September 22, 1883, to Commemorate the Completion of His Eighty-Fifth Year (Cambridge: University Press, 1883). Three copies.
  • Peabody, Andrew P., Memorial Address on the Late Marshall Pinckney Wilder, President of the New-England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston: The Society, 1888)
  • Sheppard, John M. , Memoir of Marshall P. Wilder (Boston: David Clapp & Sons 1867). Inscribed by Wilder to William Smith Clark
  • Wilder, Marshall P., California (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1871)
  • Wilder, Marshall P., Historical Address Delivered Before the Massachusetts Agricultural College, on the Occasion of Graduating its First Class (Boston: Wright and Potter, 1871). 2 copies.
  • Wilder, Marshall P., “Notes of a Horticultural Visit to California,” Tilton’s Journal of Horticulture and Florists’ Companion 8 (1870)
  • Wilder, Marshall P., Southern Horticultural Trip (s.l.: s.n., 1869?). From Tilton’s Journal of Horticulture and Florists’ Companion


Contents List
Manuscripts and Miscellanea
1848-1920
Box 1
Berckmans, Louis E., illustrations of pears
1886 January 14
Watercolors, bound
Box 1

22 original watercolor paintings of pears: Abbott, Howell, Philadelphia, Sheldon, Nouveau Porteau, Beurré Sterckmans, St. Michael Archange, Dunmore, Sterling, Gen. Dutilleul, Columbia, Brandywine, Walker, Beurré Pairgeau, Andrews, Lodge, Frédérica Brémer, Theodore Van Mons, Beurré d’Anjou (not finished), Gédéon Paridant, Gustave Bourgogne.

Great National Convention of Fruit Growers
1848
ADfS, 4pp.
Box 1:1

Joint proposal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to hold a national convention of fruit growers in New York. Wilder is a representative for MHS.

Hassam, F. F., to Marshall P. Wilder
1886 Jan. 3
ALS, 1p., 4pp. incl.
Box 1:2

Re: Queen of Sillys bulb. Includes samples of 18th century New Hampshire currency printed from original plates and Civil War “shin plaster.”

Kirtland Society of Natural History, membership certificate for Marshall P. Wilder
1870 Feb. 9
PrDS,4pp.
Box 1:3
Massachusetts Agricultural Club
1857 July
ADS, 1p., photo [both photostat]
Box 1:4

Document commemorating founding of club and photo of original members.

New England Historic Genealogical Society 250th Anniversary of Boston ribbon
1880 Sept. 17
1 item
Box 1:5
Newspaper clippings
1852-1929
5 items
Box 1:6

Miscellaneous newspaper clippings by and about Wilder

Wilder, Marshall P., to Henry H. Goodale
1886 January 29
ALS, 3pp., bill of lading
Box 1:7

Sending boxes of books for MAC library.

Wilder, Marshall P., to J.C. Greenough
1886 January 14
ALS, 4pp.
Box 1:8

Sending boxes of books for MAC library.

Printed Material
1849-1920
Box 1-3
American Pomological Society
1849-1885
Box 1
Proceedings of the North American Pomological Convention, Held at Syracuse (Syracuse: V.W. Smith, 1849)
1849
Box 1:9
American Pomological Society, Catalogue of Fruits for Cultivation in the United States and Canadas; In Two Divisions (Boston: Sam’s Chism, 1868)
1868
Box 1:10
Wilder, Marshall P., Address Delivered at the Fourth Session of the American Pomological Society (Boston: Franklin Printing House, 1856)
1856
Box 1:11
Proceedings of the Seventh Session of the American Pomological Society (S.l.: The Society, 1858)
1858
Box 1:11

Includes President’s Address by Wilder

Wilder, Marshall P., Address Delivered at the Eighth Session of the American Pomological Society (Boston: S. Chism, 1860)
1860
Box 1:11
Wilder, Marshall P., Address Delivered at the Ninth Session of the American Pomological Society (Boston: McIntire & Moutlon, 1862)
1862
Box 1:12
Wilder, Marshall P., Address Delivered at the Twelfth Session of the American Pomological Society (Boston: The Society, 1869)
1869
Box 1:12
Wilder, Marshall P., Address Delivered at the Thirteenth Session of the American Pomological Society (Boston: Wright and Potter, 1869)
1871
Box 1:12
Wilder, Marshall P., Address Delivered at the Fourteenth Session and the Quarter-Centennial Celebration of the American Pomological Society (Boston: The Society, 1873)
1873
2 copies
Box 1:13
Wilder, Marshall P., Address Delivered at the Fifteenth Session of the American Pomological Society (Boston: The Society, 1875)
1875
Box 1:13
Wilder, Marshall P., Address Delivered at the Seventeenth Session of the American Pomological Society (Boston: The Society, 1879)
1879
Box 1:13
Wilder, Marshall P., Address Delivered at the Nineteenth Session of the American Pomological Society (s.l.: The Society, 1883)
1883
2 copies
Box 1:14
Wilder, Marshall P., Address Delivered at the Twentieth Session of the American Pomological Society (Boston: The Society, 1885)
1885
Box 1:14
Biographical Works
1871-1920
Box 1
Bay State Monthly 1, 1 (1884)
1884
Box 1:15

Includes article: John Ward Dean, “Hon. Marshall P. Wilder”

Biographies of Marshall Pinckney Wilder
1878?
2 copies
Box 1:15
Knapp, F. N., “The ‘Georgics’ and the Boston Maecenas”
1887
2 copies
Box 1:16

Offprint of tribute to Wilder

Massachusetts Agricultural Club
ca.1886
Box 1:16

Memorial tribute to Wilder

Parker, Wilder, & Co., Looking Back One Hundred Years From the Beginning in 1820 to the Present in the History of Parker, Wilder, & Co. (Boston: Parker, Wilder, & Co., 1920)
1920
Box 1:16
Sketch of the Life and Services of Marshall P. Wilder (Boston: Alfred Mudge & Son, 1871)
1871
Box 1:17
Some of the Principal Published Writings of Marshall Pinckney Wilder, 1835. 1878
1878
2 copies
Box 1:17
Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture
1854-1874
Box 1
Annual Reports
1854-1874
Box 1-2
First Annual Report of the Secretary of the Board of Agriculture (Boston: William White, 1854)
1854
Box 1:18

Excerpt only.

Fourth Annual Report of the Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture (Boston: William White, 1857)
1857
Box 1:18

Excerpt only.

Seventh Annual Report of the Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture (Boston: William White, 1860)
1860
Box 1:18

Excerpt only.

Tenth Annual Report of the Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1863)
1863
Box 1:18

Excerpt only.

Seventeenth Annual Report of the Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1870)
1869
Box 1:18

Excerpt only.

Eighteenth Annual Report of the Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1871)
1871
Box 1:19

Excerpt only.

Nineteenth Annual Report of the Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1872)
1872
Box 1:19

Excerpt only.

Twenty-First Annual Report of the Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1874)
1874
Box 2:1

Excerpt only.

Twenty-Third Annual Report of the Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1876)
1876
Box 2:1

Excerpt only.

Twenty-Fifth Annual Report of the Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture (Boston: Rand, Avery & Wright, 1878)
1878
Box 2:1

Excerpt only.

Thirty-Fourth Annual Report of the Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1887)
1887
Box 2:1

Excerpt only.

Proceedings of the State Board of Agriculture (Boston: White and Potter, 1853)
1853
Box 2:2

Excerpt only.

Publications
1874-1878
Box 2
Agassiz, Louis, Structure and Growth of Domesticated Animals: The Last Lecture Delivered Before the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture, at Fitchburg (Boston: Wright and Potter, 1874)
1874
Box 2:3
Wilder, Marshall P., History and Progress of the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture for the First Quarter of a Century, With a Report on Fruits… (Boston: and, Avery, & Co., 1878)
1878
2 copies
Box 2:4
Wilder, Marshall P., Importance, Progress and Influence of Rural Pursuit: A Lecture Delivered Before the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture (Boston: Wright and Potter, 1874)
1874
2 copies
Box 2:5
New England Historic Geneaological Society
1879-1887
Box 2
Chamberlain, N. H., Paper on New-England Architecture (Boston: Crosby, Nichols, & Co., 1858)
1858
Box 2:6
Wilder, Marshall P., Address of the Hon. Marshall P. Wilder, at the Annual Meeting of the New-England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston: The Society, 1871)
1871
Box 2:7
Wilder, Marshall P., Address of the Hon. Marshall P. Wilder, at the Annual Meeting of the New-England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston: The Society, 1879)
1879
Box 2:7
Wilder, Marshall P., Address of the Hon. Marshall P. Wilder, and the Other Proceedings at the Annual Meeting of the New-England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston: The Society, 1880)
1880
Box 2:7
Wilder, Marshall P., Address of the Hon. Marshall P. Wilder, PhD., and the Other Proceedings at the Annual Meeting of the New-England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston: The Society, 1882)
1882
Box 2:8
Wilder, Marshall P., Address of the Hon. Marshall P. Wilder, PhD., and the Other Proceedings at the Annual Meeting of the New-England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston: The Society, 1884)
1884
Box 2:8
Wilder, Marshall P., Address of the Hon. Marshall P. Wilder, PhD., and the Other Proceedings at the Annual Meeting of the New-England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston: The Society, 1885)
1885
Box 2:8
Wilder, Marshall P., Address of the Hon. Marshall P. Wilder, PhD., and the Other Proceedings at the Annual Meeting of the New-England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston: The Society, 1886)
1886
Box 2:9
Wilder, Marshall P., Posthumous Address of the Hon. Marshall P. Wilder, PhD., President of the New-England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston: The Society, 1887)
1887
Box 2:9
Publications by Wilder
1849-1883
Box 2
Wilder, Marshall P., Address Delivered at the Annual Exhibition of the Norfolk Agricultural Society, at Readville (S.l.: The Society, 1870)
1870
Box 2:10
Wilder, Marshall P., Address Delivered at the Semi-Centennial Anniversary of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, September 12, 1879 (Boston: Tolman & White, 1880)
1880
Box 2:11
Wilder, Marshall P., Address Delivered Before the Berkshire Agricultural Society at its Annual Exhibition (Boston: T.R. Marvin, 1852)
1852
Box 2:12
Wilder, Marshall P., Address Delivered Before the Bristol Agricultural Society, on the Occasion of its Twenty-Sixth Anniversary (Taunton: Hall’s Press, 1849)
1849
Box 2:13
Wilder, Marshall P., Address Delivered Before the Norfolk Agricultural Society, on the Occasion of its First Annual Exhibition, at Dedham (Boston: The Society, 1849)
1849
Box 2:14
Wilder, Marshall P., “American Pomological Society,” Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture for the Year 1870 (Washington: GPO, 1871)
1871
Box 2:15

Excerpt on the American Pomological Society

Wilder, Marshall P., Historical Address Delivered Before the Massachusetts Agricultural College, on the Occasion of Graduating its First Class (Boston: Wright and Potter, 1871)
1871
7 copies
Box 2:16-17
Wilder, Marshall P., Horticulture of Boston and Vicinity (Boston: Toman & White, 1881)
1881
Box 2:18
Wilder, Marshall P., Lecture on the Hybridization of Plants, and the Production of New Varieties from Seed (Boston: Wright and Potter, 1872)
1872
Box 2:19
Wilder, Marshall P., Mr. Wilder’s Address Before the Berkshire Agricultural Society, on the Occasion of Their Annual Exhibition, October 2, 1851 (Boston: T.R. Marvin, 1851)
1851
Box 2:20
United States Agricultural Society
1853-1883
Box 2-3
Field Trials
1857-1858
Box 2
First National Field Trial of Reapers, Mowers, &c., By the United States Agricultural Society, at Syracuse, N.Y. (Washington, D.C.: s.n., 1857)
1857
2 variant copies
Box 2:21
Poore, Ben Perley, ed., Field Trial of Reapers, Mowers, and Harvest Implements, By the United States Agricultural Society, at Syracuse, N.Y. (Boston: Bazin & Chandler, 1857)
1857
Box 2:21

Wilder’s speech extracted, but present.

Field Trial of Reapers, Mowers, and Harvest Implements by the United States Agricultural Society (Boston: Bazin & Chandler, 1858).
1858
Box 2:21

Excerpt of speech by Wilder

Meetings
1853-1883
Box 3
Wilder, Marshall P., First Annual Meeting of the United States Agricultural Society, February 2, 1853. President’s Address (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo, & Co., 1853)
1853
2 copies
Box 3:1
First National Exhibition of Horses
1853
Box 3:1

Excerpt containing Wilder’s speech only.

National Cattle Show
1854
Box 3:2

Excerpt with Wilder’s speech

National Exhibition of Cattle to be Held by the U.S. Agricultural Society at Springfield, Ohio (Springfield: The Republic Office, 1854)
1854
Box 3:2
Wilder, Marshall P., Second Annual Meeting of the United States Agricultural Society, February 22, 1854. President’s Address (Washington: s.n., 1854)
1854
Box 3:2
Wilder, Marshall P., Third Annual Meeting of the United States Agricultural Society, February 25, 1855. President’s Address (Washington: s.n. 1855)
1855
Box 3:3
Third National Exhibition by the United States Agricultural Society to be Held in the City of Boston (Boston: Franklin Printing House, 1855)
1855
Box 3:3
Fourth National Exhibition by the United States Agricultural Society to be Held in the City of Philadelphia (Washington: s.n., 1856)
1856
Box 3:4
List of the Committees of Judges to Award the Prizes at the Exhibition of the United States Agricultural Society, to be Held at Philadelphia (Philadelphia: Inquirer, 1856)
1856
Box 3:4
Opening of the Exhibition
1856
Box 3:4

Excerpt with Wilder’s address.

Fifth National Exhibition by the United States Agricultural Society to be Held in the City of Louisville (Louisville, Ky.: C. Settle, 1857)
1857
Box 3:5
Wilder, Marshall P., Fifth Annual Meeting of the United States Agricultural Society
1857
Box 3:5

Includes address by Wilder

Wilder, Marshall P., Sixth Annual Meeting of the United States Agricultural Society, Held at Washington, D.C., Jan. 13, 1858. President’s Address
1858
Box 3:6
Premium List and Regulations of the Eighth National Exhibition of the United States Agricultural Society at Cincinnati, Ohio
1860
Box 3:7
Proceedings of the Twenty-Eighth Annual Meeting of the United States Agricultural Society, January 14, 1880, with the Charter, Lists of the Members, and an Address to the Members (Washington: R.O. Polkinhorn 1880)
1880
Box 3:8
Proceedings of the 31st Annual Meeting of the United States Agricultural Society, Held at Washington, D.C. (Washington, D.C.: R.O. Polkinhorn, 1883)
1883
Box 3:9
Periodicals
1855-1862
Box 3
Journal of Agriculture 7, 4 (1859)
1859
Box 3:10
Journal of the United States Agricultural Society 2 (1855)
1855
Box 3:11

Excerpt only.

Journal of the United States Agricultural Society 3 (1856)
1856
2 items
Box 3:12

One complete issue, one excerpt of Wilder’s speech

Monthly Bulletin of the United States Agricultural Society 1, no. 2,3, 5-11 (1858)
1858
Box 3:13

Duplicates of nos. 5,7,10

Quarterly Journal of Agriculture 7, 1 (1859)
1859
2 copies
Box 3:14
Quarterly Journal of Agriculture 7, 2 (1859)
1859
2 copies
Box 3:15
Quarterly Journal of Agriculture 7, 3 (1859)
1859
Box 3:16
Quarterly Journal of Agriculture 10, 1 (1862)
1862
Box 3:17
Subjects
  • Agricultural exhibitions
  • American Pomological Society
  • Horticulture--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Trustees
  • New-England Historic Genealogical Society
  • Pomology--Massachusetts
  • United States Agricultural Society
Contributors
  • Wilder, Marshall P. (Marshall Pinckney), 1798-1886
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)
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