Michigan State University

Special Collections Hours

Wednesday (October 1): 9:00am to 5:00pm

Thursday (October 2): 9:00am to 5:00pm

Friday (October 3): 9:00am to 5:00pm

Saturday (October 4): Closed

Sunday (October 5): 1:00pm to 5:00pm

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Special Collections
Main Library Building
Michigan State University
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing MI, 48824
Phone: (517) 884-6471


the Special Collections reading room at the MSU LibrarySpecial Collections

Special Collections was established in 1962 to hold, preserve, build, and make accessible rare materials and special collections in the MSU Libraries. All materials must be used in the Special Collections reading room to protect and preserve them for use today and in the future.

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The Fruits of America (Boston, [1847-]1852-1856), by Charles Mason Hovey is the most lavish ante-bellum work on the fruit trees of America and considered to be the first major work executed entirely in chromolithography (lithograph printed in at least three colors). The 96 varieties featured include 93 fruit trees (53 pear, 20 apple, 7 cherry, 7 plum, and 6 peach) and three strawberry varieties. In addition to Hovey's text, the plates were all executed by the Boston firm headed by William Sharp. Hovey was a highly regarded plant breeder and his orchard in Cambridge, Massachusetts boasted over 1,000 pear trees alone. The Fruits of America was intended to showcase what American pomologists had achieved, as well as to serve as an essential reference guide.