Breck, was a horticulturist, botanist and life-long resident of
Massachusetts. Born in 1794 in Medfield, Massachusetts, he passed away
in Brighton, Massachusetts in 1873.
as the superintendent of the Horticultural Gardens of Lancaster,
Massachusetts, was a founding member of the American Seed Trade
Association, and as president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society
from 1859 to 1862.
His early fame
stemmed from a book he wrote in 1833 entitled, "The Young Florist,"
which was the second book on flowers published in America. It
was unique in that it was designed, "to attract young persons to that
delightful employment, the cultivation of a flower garden."
this in 1851 with, "The Flower Garden," which was popular enough to
warrant a second printing in 1860. It was published for several
being an author, Breck also worked as the editor and publisher of the "New
England Farmer" (a popular agricultural journal of the time) from 1822
to 1846. In 1835, Breck and Thomas Fessenden started "The
Horticultural Register and Gardener's Magazine," which ceased
publication in 1839.
moved to Brighton, Massachusetts in 1836 where he purchased twenty eight
acres on Washington Street near Allston Street. There he established
a nursery for raising vegetables and flowers.
In 1854 he
purchased an estate at the corner of Tremont and Nonantum Streets in Oak
Square where he built an extensive nursery. This is also where he
remained until his death.
during all of this busy life, Joseph Breck founded the time to establish a
seed and nursery business. We do not yet know the exact date (see
notes below) but he eventually named it Breck & Sons. In 1840, he
published his first catalog calling it the, "New England Agricultural
Warehouse and Seed Store Catalogue." They were a seed and
agricultural implements wholesaler and retailer. Along with a seed
store and warehouse at 51 Market Street, they also conducted business via
their annual mail order catalog.
death, the company succeeded in remaining a viable business for five
generations of family members. It passed from family ownership when
the aging "Bo" Breck sold to the now-defunct catalog conglomerate Foster &
Gallagher. It was then acquired in September of 2001 by
Lawrenceburg, Indiana-based multititle mailer, Gardens Alive, Inc. along
with other Foster & Gallagher horticultural titles, including Gurney
Seeds, Henry Fieldís, Michigan Bulb, and Spring Hill Nurseries.
conflicting information yet to be sorted out on the founding of Breck &
Sons. The modern company called "Breck's"
which is a marketing arm for flower bulbs of Garden's Alive, Inc.,
claims a founding date of 1818. The 1884 edition of the seed catalog
states the date at 1822. Yet another source states, "Apparently,
Breck took over the business of George C. Barrett after that manís death