Tulip Varieties a Hundred Years Ago

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, October 8, 1913:

10/6 – 10/8:  I’ve husked about ten loads of corn by this time. My hands are sore and roughened, but I didn’t care very much. I’m thinking of what I’m earning.

Source: McCall's Magazine (September, 1913)
Source: McCall’s Magazine (September, 1913)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write a diary entry specific for this date, I’m going to go off on a tangent—

I found this advertisement for tulip bulbs in the September, 1913 issue of McCalls magazine. I wondered if I could buy these old varieties so I googled them. Here’s what I found:

Crimson King

Nothing popped up when I googled  “Crimson King tulip”. I wonder if the Crimson King tulip and the Red Emperor tulip are slightly different names for the same variety. The Red Emperor tulips are so common today.

White Queen

I couldn’t find any place where I could buy the White Queen tulip, but I did find a photo of them on The Tulip Gallery website.

White Queen Tulip

Yellow Prince

I found a picture of the Yellow Prince tulip on the Old House Gardens Heirloom Bulbs website—though I don’t think that they had any bulbs available for sale this year.

Yellow Prince Tulip

Cottage Maid

I couldn’t find any place where I could buy the Cottage Maid tulip, but I did find a photo of them on the Hortus Tulipus Old Tulips website.

Cottage Maid Tulip

Keiser’s Kroon

The Keiser’s Kroon tulip is still sold by several companies—though it generally goes by its Dutch name, Keizerskroon. One source for the bulbs is Old House Gardens Heirloom Bulbs.

Keiser’s Kroon Tulip


43 thoughts on “Tulip Varieties a Hundred Years Ago

  1. My mom always told me that tulips were my dad’s favorite flower (he passed away when I was an infant.) Oddly enough, my mom never planted tulips, and I haven’t either…

    1. So do I. Writing this post reminded me that I want to plant some more tulips this fall, and that I’ve got to go to the store and buy some.

    1. I wonder why they’ve apparently been replaced by other varieties over the years. . . were they less hardy than modern varieties? .. . more susceptible to diseases? . . . no longer considered fashionable? .

    1. I need to plant some more tulips this fall. Many of my tulips have died out over the years (probably because I forgot to periodically dig them up and divide the bulbs).

    1. I think that I saw them (or a very similar variety) for sale at a local store a couple weeks ago. I’m thinking about going back and buying a package of them.

  2. My sister-ilaw orders them by the dozens. I adore the pastel ones. At our last house I planted early and late blooming in piles of pink, yellow and mauve…..I miss them.

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