DescriptionFounded in 1876, W. Atlee Burpee & Company grew to be the largest seed company in the world by the early twentieth century. In 1924 the company advertised a contest in its Seed Annual asking customers to write in about “What Burpee’s Seeds Have Done for Me,” with prizes for the best stories ranging from five to two hundred and fifty dollars. Roughly 4,000 contest letters, as well as many accompanying photographs, are part of the W. Atlee Burpee & Company Collection at the Archives of American Gardens. This is the story of Cecilia Auge’s garden in Mendota, Minnesota, told in her own words through her 1924 contest submission.
Transcription of Cecilia Auge’s letter to W. Atlee Burpee Co.:
August 5th 1924
Cecilia M. Auge
R. I. Box 126
“For Prize Contest”
I am a 19 year old farmette and I will tell you “What Burpee’s seeds have done for me.” For the last two seasons I purchased from you 1 ½ lbs of onion seeds and planted these for my spending money, father gave me the land for helping him weed his onions.
The first season I cleared $80 and last year $160 and I purchased a incubator and full blooded eggs (I now have 65 buff Orpington chickens) also most of my clothes and all of my spending money has come from this source, and I still have $1.12 bank account in the "Mendota State Bank."
I feel that I not only have derived profit but have also learned to do business with the bank and other business firms.
Some my age I know are richer financially but the knowledge I have gained and being able to be out close to nature “where the hand of God is seen,” has I am sure made me a better more contented, home loving girl than I ever could of been if I didn’t have something all my own to work and for.
Cecilia M. Auge
Box 126 R.I.