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Siebenthaler Nursery Company Records

Identifier: MS-44

Scope and Content

The Siebenthaler Collection is divided into two series. The first series is comprised of the business records of the Siebenthaler Nursery. The types of material with the collection include sales records, payroll and employment records, cash and inventory records, and various ledgers and journals. Also contained is printed material and manuscripts relating to flowers plants, trees, etc. which are relevant to the nursery and landscape business. The date of the earliest record is 1877. The latest records (excluding a brief history of the firm) are 1944. The bulk of the material falls in the last two decades of the nineteenth century and the first three decades of the twentieth century. There are occasional gaps in the material. However, most of the collection is its records of the everyday financial operation and sales of the company. The collection is weak in material relating to the care and nature of various horticulture aspects of the firm although this information can be gleaned from several of the records.

The second section of the collection is comprised of personal material. It is primarily correspondence of some of the members of the Siebenthaler family. Also included are some of the members of the Siebenthaler family. Also included is some genealogical material, estate papers, i.e. wills, inventories and obituaries, receipts and bills and bank (both checking and savings) books. The earliest material is correspondence of John Siebenthaler which begins in 1881. The latest material dates 1911. Although some of the material is revealing, overall, it is weak in that it is not comprehensive nor does it tell us too much about the Siebenthaler's personal lives.


  • Creation: 1877-1944


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

History of Siebenthaler Nursery Company

The Siebenthaler Company was founded in 1870 by John Siebenthaler under the guidance of his father George. In the early years they specialized in grapes and fruit trees. They encouraged the general public to get involved with trees and nature in order to both beautify the area and to produce fruit. By 1920 fruit trees were largely replaced by the sale of shrubs and ornamental trees. Other aspects of the business taking on prominence during this period were the cultivation of roses and expansion into the field of landscaping. In the early 1930s the company originated over thirty varieties of oriental poppies which were in great demand.

It was in the mid-twenties that the organization began to really expand and acquire more locations. The original location, Catalpa Drive and Siebenthaler Avenue, had expanded to eighty acres. Increased business and the desire to increase potential capacity led to the purchase of 140 additional acres in present day Moraine. Later, in 1956, they purchased more acreage in Beaver Valley bringing the total to 432 acres. This is their current amount of land from which they operate two modern garden centers and two nurseries which provide a source for lawn and garden needs and a complete landscape service.

George Siebenthaler immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1841. Under his guidance his son John organized the nursery in 1870. It was the children of John Siebenthaler who really provided the impetus needed to develop the business. John had seven children. Wilber Siebenthaler (1891-1940) succeeded his father as head of the firm. Following Wilber was Clarence (1894-1950) who developed the landscape aspects of the business. John Siebenthaler, another son, concentrated on plant material and was responsible for the cultivation of new varieties of lilacs and two new shade trees. George and Mary, along with Robert Siebenthaler, son of Clarence, were responsible for the company's operation in the 1970s. By 2015, six generations of the family have run the company.

The Siebenthaler Nursery is a prominent fixture in the local community, having landscaped for NCR corporate headquarters, Wright Patterson Air Force Base's Memorial Garden, the Dayton Art Institute, and the Dayton Public Library, as well as homes of the Kettering family and Wright family. The Siebenthaler Nursery also has far reaching influences. Their influence on the nursery business has been felt not only by their membership in important trade association but also by the development of unusual trees and shrubs. Most notably are the Moraine Locust (1949), Moraine Ash (1958), and the Wright Brothers Maple. The Moraine Locust was the first shade tree ever patented. The Siebenthaler Nursery played an important role in the development of the nursery business in the United States.

This brief history of the Siebenthaler Nursery has been primarily compiled from the centennial publication of the company enclosed within this collection.


3.5 linear feet

Language of Materials



The Siebenthaler Nursery played an important part in the development of the nursery business in the United States. As such, it would prove valuable to any student of the nursery and landscape business, students interested in business history, or many aspects of local history. The business, founded in 1870, is still in operation today under the same family. The major strengths of the collection are its financial, employment, and operating records.

Statement of Arrangement

The Siebenthaler Collection is divided into two series:

  1. Series I: Business Records
  2. Series II: Personal Materials
Guide to the Siebenthaler Nursery Company Records (MS-44)
Finding aid prepared by William Gates and Robert H. Smith, 1977 July. Updated according to DACS by Toni Vanden Bos in 2015 Nov.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA