Collection on the Malmo & Company Nursery, 1893-1983  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Title
Collection on the Malmo & Company Nursery
Dates
1893-1983 (inclusive)
1920-1960 (bulk)
Quantity
1 box, (.42 cubic feet)
Collection Number
1997.4
Summary
Photographs, seed catalogs, business records and newspaper clippings documenting the history of the Malmo Nursery Company
Repository
Museum of History & Industry, Sophie Frye Bass Library
Sophie Frye Bass Library
Museum of History & Industry
P.O. Box 80816
Seattle, WA
98108
Telephone: 206-324-1126
Fax: 206-780-1533
library@mohai.org
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public by appointment.

Languages
English.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Charles Malmo (ca. 1862-1938) immigrated to the United States from Norway in 1878. He moved to Seattle in 1891, and established the Malmo Seed and Nursery Company in 1893. He opened his first small garden store at 916 Second Avenue, at that time a relatively undeveloped area in downtown Seattle. Malmo operated several greenhouses and a warehouse during the Alaska Gold Rush, selling nursery stock during the residential building boom.

Prior to 1920, almost all ornamental plants, seeds and bulbs were imported to the Northwest. Choice trees, shrubs and flowers arrived from Japan, England and Holland in large quantities, and many of these plant varieties thrived in the region’s similar climate. In 1912, The Plant Quarantine Act was passed by Congress to address concern over pest outbreaks in nursery stock in the United States. The subsequent embargo on foreign plant importation provided Malmo with an excellent business opportunity, and the company began to utilize their plant inventory for local propagation of nursery stock. Charles Malmo is credited with being the first in the Northwest to do so. Plant production quickly intensified and Malmo developed a landscaping business. Some of the mature yards surrounding historic Seattle homes were once the work of the Malmo Company.

The Malmo Nursery Company continued to thrive, and in 1923 began selling nursery stock from a large corner store on 6th Avenue and Stewart Street. In 1930, Malmo opened a multi-level “open air garden store” at Westlake in Seattle’s new Denny regrade area. The Garden Square store replaced glass windows with wrought iron grillwork on the street level and had an elaborate roof garden. To supply his retail and landscaping businesses, Malmo maintained 25 acres of greenhouses and fields in Georgetown, adjacent to Boeing Field. In 1937, Charles Malmo’s son Clark bought 30 acres at the present site of the University Village shopping mall, and later opened a suburban nursery.

In 1962, the Malmo family sold their business to Ernst Hardware and Pay‘n Save Stores and became a wholly owned subsidiary. By 1975, there were 22 Malmo Nurseries operating in Washington State. On July 12, 1996 Ernst Hardware filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and began its final going out of business sale in November 1996, closing 53 stores and selling off the remainder of its operations, including the nursery business.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection includes a series of Malmo & Company Nursery retail catalogs that provide insight into the history of horticulture in the Northwest. They are a valuable resource for researchers interested in what was available to period gardeners, and they reveal changing styles, tastes and interests. Although the publications make no mention of the Great Depression, gardening was popular in the early 1930s as a means to increase food supply and as an inexpensive hobby. The colorful graphic illustrations and text document cultural changes in Seattle over several decades. The catalogs also contain examples of heirloom vegetable and flower varieties.

A collection of newspaper clippings and articles provide background information the Malmo Company and family. The selection of Malmo business records includes store inventories, plant propagation lists and notes, general correspondence and sales receipts.

The photographs document Malmo landscaping projects at construction sites, including homes and apartment buildings. Historical images include Seattle Malmo Nursery locations and various employee group events and celebrations. Amateur color snapshots show Malmo Nursery stores during the 1960s and 1970s.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View selections from the collection in digital format by clicking on the camera icons in the inventory below.

Restrictions on Use

The Museum of History & Industry is the owner of the materials in the Sophie Frye Bass Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from MOHAI before any reproduction use. The museum does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Collection on the Malmo & Company Nursery, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Photographs, circa 1893-1960Return to Top

Description Dates
1997.4.1: View of house at the corner of Pike and Broadway
6x8 inches
Mounted on cardboard. Handwritten on back: Charlotte born here
circa 1920
1997.4.2: Charles Malmo and C.D. Hobbs
8x10 inches
Handwritten on back: Charles Malmo, Pacific Coast Association of Nurseymen, Seattle, Washington, handing gavel to new president, C.D. Hobbs, Milton, Oregon
1928 July 13
1925
1997.4.4: Postcard of young men standing outdoors with shovels
circa 1930
1939
1997.4.6: Malmo Nursery Japanese garden
2x4 inches
1961
1997.4.7: Malmo Nursery exterior, 4700 25th N.E.
5x3 inches
circa 1950
1997.4.8: Malmo Nursery Japanese garden
3.5x3.5 inches
1961
1997.4.9: Malmo Nursery, University Village
3.5x3.5 inches
1961
1997.4.10: Malmo Nursery, University Village
5x3 inches
circa 1960
1997.4.11: Malmo Nursery, University Village
5x3 inches
circa 1960
1997.4.12: Malmo Nursery, University Village
5x3 inches
circa 1960
1997.4.13: Malmo Nursery parking lot, University Village
5x3 inches
circa 1960
1997.4.14: Malmo Nursery, University Village
3.5x3.5 inches
1961
1997.4.15: Malmo Nursery, Second Avenue
8x10 inches
Handwritten on back: Eastside of 2nd Ave. 100 foot south of Madison Street
1893
1997.4.16: The Novelty Store
4x8 inches
Mounted on cardboard
circa 1900
1997.4.17: Employee group at banquet tables
8x10 inches
1952
1997.4.18: Group of two men and three women
8x10 inches
Handwritten on back: Alex Sepulveda
1952
1997.4.19: Employee group standing
8x10 inches
Handwritten on back: B F Day
1952 August 5
1997.4.20: Exterior view of Garden Court Building entrance
Hand colored ; 5x7 inches
Mounted on album page
circa 1930
1997.4.21: Stone gate, Acacia Cemetery, Seattle
Hand colored ; 5x7 inches
Mounted on album page
circa 1930
1997.4.22: Exterior view of 900 Queen Anne Building entrance
Hand colored ; 5x7 inches
Mounted on album page
circa 1930
1997.4.23: Stone gate, Acacia Cemetery, Seattle
Hand colored ; 5x7 inches
Mounted on album page
circa 1930
1997.4.24: Exterior view of Glen Eden Building entrance
5x7 inches
Mounted on album page
circa 1930
1997.4.25: Street view of Glen Eden Building
5x7 inches
Mounted on album page
circa 1930
1997.4.26:  Exterior view of Garden Court Building under construction
5x7 inches
Mounted on album page
circa 1930
1997.4.27:  Exterior view of Garden Court Building landscaping
5x7 inches
Mounted on album page
circa 1930
1997.4.28: View of apartment building courtyard and landscaping
5x7 inches
Mounted on album page
circa 1930
1997.4.29: View of apartment building courtyard and landscaping
5x7 inches
Mounted on album page
circa 1930
1997.4.30: View of apartment building front gate and landscaping
5x7 inches
Mounted on album page
circa 1930
1997.4.31: Japanese maple and landscaping
5x7 inches
Mounted on album page
circa 1930
1997.4.32: View of building entrance with stone walkway and landscaping
5x7 inches
Mounted on album page
circa 1930
circa 1930

Newspaper clippingsReturn to Top

Description Dates
1997.4.34: Photocopies of newspaper articles relating to the Malmo family and company
12 items
circa 1924-1983

Business records, circa 1910-1931Return to Top

Description Dates
1997.4.35: Correspondence relating to the Red Gravenstein apple production
circa 1929
1997.4.36: Blueprint, Malmo's Second Addition to the City of Seattle
22x18 inches
Folded
circa 1910
1997.4.37: General business correspondence and purchase orders
circa 1931
1997.4.38: The Malmo News, issued for Malmo sales representatives
3 pages
1930 July 25
1997.4.39: Copy of bill of sale; article on rhododendrons from the Florist's Exchange newspaper; Malmo business envelopes
circa 1930
1997.4.40: Propagation notes and lists; plant inventories
circa 1930

Malmo Company Seed and Bulb Catalogs, circa 1910-1960Return to Top

Description Dates
1997.4.41: Nursery Stock Planting Guide
82 pages
1924
1997.4.42: Bulb Supplement
18 pages
1924
1997.4.43: Nursery Stock and Seeds
120 pages
1926
1997.4.44: Bulb Supplement
34 pages
1926
1997.4.45: Everything for the Successful Garden
124 pages
1927
1997.4.46: Bulb Supplement
36 pages
1927
1997.4.47: Illustrated Annual
51 pages
circa 1910
1997.4.48: Planting Guide and Price List
25 pages
1921
1997.4.49: Nursery Stock and Seeds
49 pages
1921
1997.4.50: Nursery Stock and Seeds
56 pages
1923
1997.4.51: Nursery Stock and Seeds
48 pages
circa 1925
1997.4.52: Everything for Your Garden
40 pages
circa 1945
1997.4.53: Everything for Your Garden
40 pages
circa 1950
1997.4.54: Everything for Your Garden
25 pages
circa 1960
97. 4.55: Malmo Nurseries and Seed Store
39 pages
1951-1952
1997.4.56: Malmo Nurseries and Seed Store
40 pages
1949-1950
1997.4.57: Plant Your Garden with Malmo Quality
48 pages
1945
1997.4.58: Salute to Seattle's Centennial
11 pages
1951
1997.4.59: Flowers and Fashions
11 pages
1950
1997.4.60: Nursery Stock and Seeds
66 pages
1925
1997.4.61: Bulb Supplement
36 pages
1927
1997.4.62: Everything for the Successful Garden
124 pages
1927
1997.4.63: Planting Guide
144 pages
1928
1997.4.64: Nursery Stock for Fall Planting
50 pages
1928
1997.4.65: Bulb Supplement
15 pages
1929
1997.4.66: Planting Guide
144 pages
1929
1997.4.67: Bulb Supplement
18 pages
1925
1997.4.68: Catalog
25 pages
1936
1997.4.69: Fall Bulb Catalog
6 pages
1937
1997.4.70: Nursery Stock
49 pages
1937
1997.4.71: Fall Catalog
10 pages
1931
1997.4.72: Nursery Stock Catalog
98 pages
1930
1997.4.73: Fall Planting Guide
32 pages
1930
1997.4.74: Tested Seed Catalog
95 pages
1930
1997.4.75: The Planting Guide
200 pages
circa 1930

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Horticulture--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Nurseries (Horticulture)--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Personal Names :
  • Malmo, Charles, 1862-1938
  • Geographical Names :
  • Seattle (Wash.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Catalogs
  • Clippings
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Other Creators :
    • Corporate Names :
    • Malmo & Company (creator)
    • Malmo Nurseries and Seed Stores (creator)