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The Special Collections unit of the Michigan State University Libraries collects, houses, and preserves rare and unique materials within the MSU Libraries. Our materials cover a vast array of topics from Africana to Veterinary Medicine. These materials are available to the public in our reading room.
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The Fruits of America (Boston, [1847-]1852-1856), by Charles Mason Hovey is the most lavish ante-bellum work on the fruit trees of America and considered to be the first major work executed entirely in chromolithography (lithograph printed in at least three colors). The 96 varieties featured include 93 fruit trees (53 pear, 20 apple, 7 cherry, 7 plum, and 6 peach) and three strawberry varieties. In addition to Hovey's text, the plates were all executed by the Boston firm headed by William Sharp. Hovey was a highly regarded plant breeder and his orchard in Cambridge, Massachusetts boasted over 1,000 pear trees alone. The Fruits of America was intended to showcase what American pomologists had achieved, as well as to serve as an essential reference guide.