The Illustrated History of Apples in the United States and Canada

by Daniel J. Bussey, edited by Kent Whealy, published by JAK KAW Press LLC.

After 30 years of research and seven years of editing, The Illustrated History of Apples in the United States and Canada is finally available.  The hardcover set of seven volumes (each 500-600 pages, 8½ x 11”, 3,742 total pages) documents all apple varieties that appear in publications in the United States and Canada through the year 2000:

  • 16,350 varietal listings (descriptions, origins and histories)
  • 9,700 synonyms (other names the apples were known by in different locations)
  • 1,650 cited references (two centuries of pomological literature on apples)
  • 1,400 life-size watercolors (painted a century ago for color documentation)

This unprecedented compendium is the result of a collaborative effort between Daniel J. Bussey and Kent Whealy.  For 30 years, whenever time allowed, Dan Bussey has searched countless libraries in an attempt to locate everything published about apples during the last two centuries in the U.S. and Canada.  Dan’s research has identified information about apples in a total of 1,650 pomological publications, horticultural and pomological society proceedings, governmental and experiment station bulletins, and commercial nursery catalogs.  All of those descriptions, origins and histories were transcribed and compiled into 16,350 apple variety listings and 9,700 synonyms (other names the apples were known by in different locations).

For the last seven years, entirely gratis, Kent Whealy has been editing Dan’s massive compilation of research and notes.  The seven volumes that Kent designed include a unique system of codes and dates for the 1,650 “Cited References,” by far the most complete cataloging of the pomological literature on apples ever compiled.  Each of the seven volumes is gorgeously illustrated with life-size watercolors.  From 1886-1942, USDA employed 21 artists to paint 7,584 watercolors of 38 families of fruits, including 3,820 apples.  USDA’s Pomological Watercolor Collection provided documentation before color photography existed and today is a little known national treasure.  Kent is currently a trustee of the Ceres Trust, a private foundation focused on organic agricultural issues.  In 2009 at Kent’s request, Ceres Trust provided a substantial grant to the Special Collections at the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, Maryland for the high quality scanning of the entire collection.  More than 1,400 of these breathtakingly beautiful paintings that match the book’s historic descriptions have been included as illustrations, in order to create an unprecedented identification tool for apple sleuths searching for lost varieties. 

This fascinatingly rich slice of agricultural history documents the robust interactions and invaluable contributions of expert pomologists, local apple growers and nurseries, apple breeders, horticultural and pomological societies, and government research stations.  In times past, apples were so highly valued and such an integral part of peoples’ lives, displayed and judged at local, state and national Pomological Society meetings, and at annual County Fairs and State Fairs and periodic World Fairs.  When viewed in its entirety, these detailed varietal descriptions, meticulously recorded by expert pomologists, plus the histories of the apples’ origins and movements around the country is truly staggering in its scope.

Extensive information about the book and how to order online:  (or call toll:  844-567-5888).  $350 per seven-volume set throughout the continental U.S. $380 throughout Canada (both prices include shipping by UPS Ground).

Brochures, promotional assistance and images may be provided to authorized booksellers at no charge by contacting the publisher's office: (or 844-567-5888). Quantities of brochures for distribution at events are also available free of charge.