Burbank , Luther, 1849-1926

Alternative names
Birth 1849-03-07
Death 1926-04-11

Biographical notes:

Botanist, horticulturist, and naturalist.

From the description of Luther Burbank papers, 1830-1989 (bulk 1880-1926). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70981669

Luther Burbank began his work in horticulture in his birthplace, Lancaster, Massachusetts, where he raised seeds and vegetables for market. He moved to Santa Rosa, California in 1875 in order to pursue his work in a warmer climate. Burbank became world famous for his timesaving methods of plant breeding and grafting, especially orchard stock. In 1928, Burbank's garden office was moved to Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan, a gift of his widow Elizabeth Waters Burbank.

From the description of Luther Burbank papers, 1883-1938. (The Henry Ford). WorldCat record id: 19092631

"Laura Harlan was Mrs. Warren Harding's secretary."

From the description of Luther Burbank letter to Laura Harlan : Santa Rosa, Calif., and related material : LS, 1923 Apr. 11. (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 25528881

Burbank was an American plant breeder.

From the description of Autograph, ca. 1900. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 83960107

Burbank was a horticulturist.

From the description of Signature, ca. 1927. (Natural History Museum Foundation, Los Angeles County). WorldCat record id: 23239272

Biographical Note

  • 1849, Mar. 7: Born, Lancaster, Mass.
  • 1871: Opened plant nursery in Lunenburg, Mass.
  • 1871 - 1875 : Developed the Burbank potato
  • 1875: Moved to Santa Rosa, Calif.
  • 1890: Married Helen Coleman (divorced 1896)
  • 1893: Published first descriptive seed catalog, New Creations
  • 1904 - 1906 : Visiting lecturer, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.
  • 1905 - 1910 : Awarded $10,000 annual stipend by the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, D.C.
  • 1914 - 1915 : Published Luther Burbank, His Methods and Discoveries and Their Practical Application (New York: Luther Burbank Press. 12 vols.)
  • 1916: Married Elizabeth Waters
  • 1926, Apr. 11: Died, Santa Rosa, Calif.
  • 1927: Posthumous publication with Wilbur Hall of The Harvest of the Years (Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 296 pp.)

From the guide to the Luther Burbank Papers, 1830-1989, (bulk 1880-1926), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

Biographical note

Luther Burbank was born in Lancaster, Massachusetts, on March 7, 1849. He arrived in San Francisco in 1875, and settled in Santa Rosa Valley. In 1878 he purchased 4 acres of land in Santa Rosa, and later purchased 16 acres of land near what is now Sebastopol, where he established Burbank’s Experiment Farms. He became highly successful in growing and modifying thousands of types of plants. He died on April 11, 1926. Source: History of Sonoma County, California: Its People and Its Resources. (Santa Rosa, CA: Democrat, 1937.), 412-19.

From the guide to the Burbank, Luther Correspondence, March 17, 1904, (Society of California Pioneers)


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Ark ID:


  • Plant breeders--Autographs
  • Nurseries (Horticulture)--California--Santa Rosa
  • Postmasters
  • Plants
  • Naturalists
  • Botany
  • Seeds
  • Nurseries (Horticulture)
  • Bookplates--Collectors and collecting
  • Plant breeders
  • Botony
  • Horticulturists
  • Horticulture
  • Plant-breeding
  • Fruit culture


  • Horticulturists
  • Botanists


  • Santa Rosa, CA, US
  • Lancaster, MA, US