A Flutist and a Seedsman
August 1, 1900
Today is the anniversary of the death of the seedsman Charles Henry Bass Breck.
Charles was the 8th generation heir to Joseph Breck & Sons, a wholesaler, and retail company located in Boston, Massachusetts. Breck & Sons specialized in seed, flowers, and agricultural tools and was founded by Joseph Breck - who was a descendant of one of the first puritan families in the country.
Charles' father, Joseph, amassed a botanical publishing empire after he acquired the New England Farmer, and later Horticultural Register and Gardens magazine. For decades, the Breck's catalog, which featured many plant engravings, served as the primary educational reference for east coast farmers.
Charles served as vice-president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society for over twenty years until his death on this day in 1900. And here's a little-known fact about Charles - he was an accomplished flutist, and he was a generous patron of the arts in Boston.
Forty years after Charles died, Breck & Sons had two locations at 85 State Street and 85 Franklyn Street in Boston. One of their most famous customers was Beatrix Farrand. Beatrix Farrand bought seed and roses from the Brecks for her estate Dumbarton Oaks Gardens in Washington, D.C.