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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Pomological Watercolor Collection

posted on 2023-11-30, 07:18 authored by USDA National Agricultural Library

The USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection is a collection of original watercolors, lithographs, and photographs documenting fruit and nut varieties developed by growers, including USDA plant explorers, around the turn of the 20th century. Technically accurate paintings were used to create lithographs illustrating USDA bulletins, yearbooks, and other series distributed to growers and gardeners across America.

Coverage: 1886 to 1942, with the majority created between 1894 and 1916.

The collection contains 7,584 watercolor paintings, lithographs and line drawings, including 3,807 images of apples. The plant specimens illustrated originated in 29 countries and 51 states and territories in the U.S.

The paintings were created by approximately twenty-one artists commissioned by USDA for this purpose. Some works are not signed.

Resources in this dataset:


Data contact name

Lee, Sara

Data contact email


National Agricultural Library - ARS - USDA

Use limitations

If you use these images in a publication or as part of an original artwork, contact Special Collections at

Temporal Extent Start Date


Temporal Extent End Date



  • irregular


  • Not specified

Geographic location - description

29 countries and 51 states and territories in the U.S.

ISO Topic Category

  • farming

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

USDA; photographs; growers; yearbooks; gardeners; apples; United States; fruit growing; breeding; horticulturists; agricultural colleges; plant exploration and collection; new variety; digital images; cultivars; color; botanical illustration; botany; plant anatomy

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:18 - Agricultural Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:040 - National Research

Pending citation

  • No

Related material without URL

Carey, L., Sinn, S., Fugate, S., Frangakis, E., Pisa, M., Weston, C., & Sines, G. (2003). National Agricultural Library. In Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Second Edition (pp. 1942-1952).

Public Access Level

  • Public

Preferred dataset citation

USDA National Agricultural Library (2015). U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Pomological Watercolor Collection. National Agricultural Library - ARS - USDA.

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