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Patriotic Seed Corn!

Ratekin's Seed House, 29th Year; Men, Women and Children Wanted to Plant Good Seeds, 1913, Front Cover

Ratekin's Seed House, Men, Women and Children Wanted to Plant Good Seeds, 1913, Front Cover

We are the oldest
and largest seed corn grower in the world.
Ratekin’s “famous” Iowa
grown seed corn is known and planted from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from
the Gulf to Canada. We begun the seed
business to stay.
  Others have tried to imitate us, but many of
them have come and gone.  WE ARE still HERE, but could not
stay if our seed and representations did not bear us out in our claims.” 
[Bolded and capitalized words as quoted from catalog.]

In this 1913 catalog from the Smithsonian Libraries'
Trade Literature Collection
, Ratekin’s Seed House celebrated their 29th
year of business with a patriotic-themed cover. Ratekin’s Seed House based
their mail-order operations in Shenandoah, Iowa.   The catalog’s
cover claims that Ratekin’s is, “the largest seed house in the West and the
largest producer of seed corn in the world.”  Within its 112 pages, this
catalog devotes almost a third of itself to seed corn with names such as
“Diamond Joe’s Big White,” “Ratekin’s Mammoth Yellow Dent,” and “Ratekin’s
Pride of Nishna.”

In addition to seed corn, Ratekin’s Seed House offers a
variety of other seed choices ranging from vegetables to grains to
fruits. Tree seedlings and tools from Planet, Jr. were also
offered.  Separate
Planet, Jr. catalogs
are available within our trade collection. Detailed descriptions of each
plant product accompany each listing within the catalog with instructions for
planting and personal testimonials from their customers. Unfortunately, Ratekin’s Seed House was no longer in business by
Enjoy this Fourth of July weekend and celebrate by eating
some fresh summer corn. Have a safe and joyous Fourth of July!—Mary


  1. A beautiful old label – and I love the message “Men, women, and children needed to plant good seeds!” Good corn seeds and the seeds of good character!

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