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Women’s History Month: Carrie H. Lippincott

Carrie H. Lippincott from Minneapolis, Minnesota, was the self-titled “Pioneer Seedswoman of America.” She started a seed business in 1886 out of the necessity of increasing the family income. By 1896 the business claimed they had received 150,000 orders. A quote from a contemporary publication said “the key to her success is prompt service, best seeds, reasonable prices, beautiful flowers, by a woman.”

Carrie H. Lippincott

Most of the lithographs in Lippincott’s catalogs portrayed women or children. Lippincott’s approach to marketing through her emphasis on a woman-owned company led to at least two other seed firms in Minneapolis beginning business under women’s names. Their catalogs were also similar in size and illustration. Lippincott was convinced that men owned these companies. Her 1899 catalog stated “it is a peculiar thing in this day and age that a man should want to masquerade in woman’s clothing…I do not advise a life of business for any woman when it can be avoided. It means self-sacrifice…”

From The American Seed and Nursery Industry bibliography. —Elizabeth Periale


  1. don’t really leave comments but have to say very informative post.

  2. It is interesting to see what both women and minorities can accomplish if given the opportunity. America has come a long and healthy way down this road and now thanks to the Internet so is the rest of the world. I often consider the Web the great equalizer of the world. Being on an equal playing field world wide will (I believe) lead to higher quality products being produced. Given that history often repeats itself I appreciate this reflection on the past to understand what the future may bring. Moving forward on grounds of equality, what would you believe our biggest future hurdles to accomplish would be?

  3. As a father, my wife and I had a daughter while I was part of a corporate Human Resources Department. Initially, in the mid 1980’s there were instances of “glass ceiling maximization” in some departments. As I witnessed in the early 1990 and continuing to today, most of the treatment towards women and minorities has been set aside.
    And yet, because my daughter appears very young, there still is lingering discrimination because of lack of trust in Gen X and in Gen Y professionals. We still have some overcoming to accomplish no matter the credentials or experience a person has.

  4. Also as a collector of antiques, and using the reference above, my wife and I love Shaker Seed boxes. Those do NOT use women and children, but rather great lithography of seeds and gardens!!
    Thank you!

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