English Language Pre-1945
Bibliographic References to Dwarf Potted Trees


Compiled by Robert J. Baran



Post-1945 Articles
Travellers' Observations
Pre-1945 French Articles



      The following is a list of known English language bonsai references.  It is not claimed to be exhaustive.

      Primary sources have been Poole's Index (Vol. IV, 1892-1896), Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature (Vol. 1+, 1900- present), The Brooklyn Daily Eagle serial archives, and those of the Trove project of the National Library of Australia.  Bonsai-specific periodicals are not listed in this section.  "P" before an entry indicates an article having only a passing mention of dwarf trees.  "S" before an entry indicates an article which, though not specifically about dwarf trees, does have a significant portion concerning them.  For historical significance, the following are listed in chronological order:

      Livingstone, John  "Observations on the Difficulties which have existed in the Transportation of Plants from China to England, and Suggestions for obviating them,"  Transactions of the Horticultural Society of London, Vol. III, pp. 421-429.  Read Nov. 16, 1819; letter dated Macao Feb 5th, 1819; published 1820.

       Livingstone, John  "Account of the Method of Dwarfing Trees and Shrubs, as practiced by the Chinese, including their Plan of Propagation from Branches,"  Transactions of the Horticultural Society of London, Vol. IV, pp. 224-231.  Read June 20, 1820; letter undated from Macao; published 1822.


P            "The Chinese Method of Dwarfing Trees" in "On Fruit Trees Gnawed by Mice" by X in The Genesee Farmer (Rochester), Vol. V, No. 8, Feb. 21, 1835, pg. 63.  Third paragraph of the four of the article.

P            "Agriculture and Gardening in Japan," The Saturday Magazine, Vol. 6, No. 182, May 2, 1835, pg. 175.  Adapted from Paxton's Horticultural Register.

              "The Chinese Method of Dwarfing Trees," The American Gardener's Magazine, Vol. II, October 1836, pg. 387-388.

S            "Dwarfed Plants," Edwards's Botanical Register, Vol. VIII, July, 1845, pp. 45-48, as Section 58.

              "Chinese Method of Dwarfing Trees," The Horticulturist, and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste, Vol. I, No. 7, January 1847, pp. 337-338

S            "Freaks Upon Flowers, Fruits, and Trees," Chambers' Edinburgh Journal, No. 254, Nov. 11, 1848, pg. 311, the seventh and eighth paragraphs.

S     Hickok, Rev. H.  "Visit to the Fati Gardens," The Ladies' Repository, Vol. 9, Issue 4, April 1849, pg. 111.  

              "Dwarf Trees," Peterson's Magazine, Vol. XVIII, No. 4, October 1850, pg. 174.

P            "Our Phantom Ship -- Japan," The International magazine of literature, art, and science, Vol. 3, Issue 4, July 1851, pg. 537.

P            "Consul Harris and Japan," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 27, 1859, pg. 2.  

S            "The Japanese, Their Proficiency in Mechanics, Agricultural Science, &c.," Scientific American, New Series, Vol. 2, Issue 26, June 23, 1860, pg. 407.

P            "The Lecture Season," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 21, 1860, pg. 2.  

              "How the Chinese Make Dwarf Trees," Scientific American, New Series, Vol. 6, Issue 16, April 19, 1862, pg. 243.

S      Dixon, William Hepworth   Review of Robert Fortune's Yedo and Peking, The Athenæum, London, 28 March, 1863, pg. 1848 (+?).


S            A review of Robert Fortune's Yedo and PekingThe Living Age, New York, No. 986, 25 April, 1863, pp. 186-188.  Reprint of the above.  Additional citations for other reviews can be found in the Notes to Fortune.


              "How the Chinese make Dwarf Trees," Scientific American, New Series, Vol. 11, Issue 3, July 16, 1864, pg. 33.

P            "News Items, Chinese Letter," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 1, 1864, pg. 2.  

              "Dwarf Plants," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 29, 1868, pg. 3.

P            "Japanese Gardens," Launceston Examiner, May 9, 1868.  pg. 2.  From Leisure Hour.

P      Simmons, D.B.  "Five Years in Japan,"The Galaxy, Vol. 5, Issue 5, May 1868, pg. 612.

P      Conway, M.D.  "South-Coast Saunterings in England," Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 39, Issue 231, August 1869, pg. 345.

              "Dwarfing Trees," The Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Trade, Vol. 25, No. 290, August 1870, pg. 246.  In the section "Editor's Portfolio."

P            "How Japanese Produce Dwarf Trees," Revue Horticole, December 1, 1873, pp. 442-444, and The Garden, December 6, 1873, pp. 453-454.  Seventh of fifteen questions.  

P            "Japanese Dwarf Trees," The Gardeners' Chronicle, January 2, 1875, pg. 12.  Last three of eight paragraphs.  

              "A Chinese Dwarf-tree in Paris," Nature, Vol. XI, April 15, 1875, pg. 475.  Ninth paragraph under "Notes."  

P      Brooks, Noah  "Some Pictures from Japan," Scribners Monthly, December 1875, pg. 189.

        Mitchell, Donald G.  "In and about the Fair," Scribners Monthly, November 1876, pg. 118.

              "Characteristics of the International Fair, V," Atlantic Monthly, December 1876. Vol. 38, Issue 230, pg. 733.  

         Quin, C.W.  "The Horticultural Comprachicos of Japan at the Paris Exhibition," The Garden, Aug. 24, 1878, pp. 174-175.  Five illustrations.  

              "Japanese Dwarfed and Trained Plants," Brooklyn Daily Eagle October 7, 1878, pg. 2.  Twenty-fourth small paragraph out of twenty-five under "Current Events."  

               "Japanese Dwarfed Trees" in The World of Wonders, 1883. 

S            "Japanese Gardens," The Queenslander, September 8, 1883.  pg. 416.  From the New York Sun.

              "Pigmy Trees and Miniature Landscapes," Brooklyn Daily Eagle February 3, 1884, pg. 9.  

              "Dwarf Trees of China," Health, a weekly journal of domestic and sanitary science (London), Vol. 3, No. 53, April 11, 1884, pg. 5.  

              "Miniature Trees," The Agassiz Association Journal, July, 1885, pg. 23.  

              "Japanese Gardens," Morning Bulletin, February 1, 1886.  pp. 5.  From St. Nicholas.

         van Rensselaer, M.G. "Japanese Dwarf Plants at Paris," Garden and Forest, February 6, 1889, pp. 63-64.  Sixth paragraph of a ten paragraph review of Mr. Conder's article in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan.

S           A review of The Industries of Japan by J.J. Rein, Garden and Forest, July 3, 1889.  Vol. 2, pp. 321-322.

             "Dwarf Trees at the Paris Exhibition," Garden and Forest, Vol. 2, No. 78, August 21, 1889, pg. 408.  In a general section with the heading "Notes."  Sixteenth paragraph; not otherwise separately marked.

              "The Dwarfed Trees of Japan," Australian Town and Country Journal, September 21, 1889, pg. 22.  From London's Gardeners Chronicle.

        Cumming, George  "Japanese Dwarf Plants at Paris," Garden and Forest, March 19, 1890, pp. 138-139.

              "Fantastic Gardening -- Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly" in "Among the Plants: Garden, Field and Forest," Current Literature, Vol. V, No. 1, July 1890, pg. 71.

              "Japanese Dwarfs," The Sydney Morning Herald, October 24, 1890, pg. 6.  (Then reprinted in Bendigo Advertiser, November 29, 1890, pg. 7.)

              "Dwarfing Trees in Japan," Windsor and Richmond Gazette, February 14, 1891, pg. 11.  Apparently a shortened version of the above article, now with the closing credit of "Pall Mall Gazette."  (Later reprinted as "Dwarfed Trees," Western Mail, October 15, 1897, pg. 5)

P      Dana, Richard Henry  "A Voyage on the Grand Canal of China," Atlantic Monthly, May 1891.  Vol. 67, Issue No. 403, pp. 604.

              "Dwarfed Trees," The Mildura Cultivator, January 13, 1892, pg. 3.

              "Demise of a 300 year old Cedar," Garden and Forest, Vol. VI, No. 264, March 15, 1893, pg. 128.  In a general section with the heading "Notes."  Tenth paragraph; not otherwise separately marked.

S      Gibson, W. Hamilton  "Foreground and Vista at the Fair," Scribner's Magazine, Vol. 14, Issue 1, July, 1893, pp. 33, 34.

S      Robbins, M.C.  "Gardening at the World's Fair," Garden and Forest, July 19, 1893, pp. 302, 303.

S      Bailey, L.H.  "The Columbian Exposition, Japanese Horticulture at the Fair," Garden and Forest, August 30, 1893, pg. 369.

               "Dwarfing Plants in Japan," Garden and Forest, September 6, 1893.  Vol. 6, pg. 373.  Extracts from a paper by Henry Izawa, gardener of the Imperial Japanese Commission to the Columbian Exposition.

P              "The Park Next Year," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 22, 1893, pg. 20.  Middle of the seventh of eleven paragraphs about things to be seen in Prospect Park.  

P      Comley, James  "My Visit to Japan; Its Chrysanthemums and other Flowers," Transactions of the Worcester County Horticultural Society, 1893-94, Part II, February 22, 1894, pp. 60-61, 63-64. 

P      Parsons, Alfred  "Autumn in Japan," Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 91, Issue 539, April 1895, pg. 773.

P      Ralph, Julian  "Petey Burke and His Pupil," from "People We Pass By," Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 91, Issue 544, September 1895, pg. 617.

P             "A Trip to the Orient," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 28, 1896, pg. 19.  The second of ten paragraphs of a second letter (Tokio, Japan, May 7) from William A. Mosscrop of Brooklyn, who with fellow local Edward Ogden was making a tour through China and Japan.

P      Matthews, Herbert  "Curious Clipped Trees," Strand magazine (London), c. 1898.  Vol. 15, pp. 80-85.  The eleven b&w photos were the first of English topiaries to appear in a popular magazine.

                "Japanese Dwarf Trees, Sell for High Prices," American Gardening, A Weekly Illustrated Journal of Horticulture and Gardeners' Chronicle (New York: James W. Withers), Vol. XIX, No. 181, June 11, 1898, pp. 436-437.  With 3 b&w photos.  

P              "Gallery and Studio," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 3, 1898, pg. 15.  About the appeal for funds that has been made by Academy of Design for its new building in Harlem, the sixth of eight paragraphs ends with a line about dwarf trees.  

P            "Agricultural Bureau," Port Pirie Recorder and North Western Mail, November 2, 1898, pg. 4.  Starting at the 16th paragraph, just below the horizontal break line, quoted from the 1894 work On Short Leave to Japan by G. J. (George John) Younghusband.

                "How It Is Done," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 1, 1898, pg. 8.  

                "Dwarf Japanese Trees," The Sun, June 1, 1899, pg. 7.  In the section "Live Topics About Town."  The fourth paragraph; not otherwise separately marked.


P             "Scholarship and Modern Problems," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 19, 1899, pg. 6. 

              "Deforming Trees," Bendigo Advertiser, September 9, 1899.  pg. 2.

P      Scidmore, Eliza Ruhamah  "The Streets of Peking," The Century, a popular quarterly, Vol. 58, Issue 6, Oct. 1899, pg. 872.

P             "Japanese Dwarf Trees," Success With Flowers, The Only Magazine Entirely Devoted to Floriculture Vol. X, No. 1, October, 1899, pg. 23.  In the "Answers to Correspondence" section. 

                "Japanese Outdone in Dwarfing Trees," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 19, 1899, pg. 18. 

P              "Fine Park Display," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 17, 1900, pg. 9.  The half-story first paragraph of three article about a display at Prospect Park.  

              "Growing Dwarfed Trees in Jardiniers," The Colac Herald, March 2, 1900.  pg. 7.  Cultural Directions from the Yokohama Nursery Co.  (Then reprinted in West Gippsland Gazette, March 13, 1900, pg. 4, and as "How the Japanese Grow the Dwarfed Trees in Jardinieres" in Australian Town and Country Journal, November 9, 1901, pg. 29)

                "Japanese Dwarf Trees,"  Scientific American Supplement, June 9, 1900.  Vol. 49, pg. 20442.  Four paragraphs, each from a different source, one with a b&w illustration of a double-flowering plum.

         Blight, Robert (ed.)  "Among the Plants: Garden, Field and Forest,"  Current Literature, Vol. 28, No. 3, June 1900, pp. 258-260.  Extracts from articles appearing in Every Month, New York Times, and Brooklyn Eagle.

                "How to Make Dwarf Trees For Table," The Queensland Agricultural Journal, July 1, 1900, pg. 86. 

P              "Japanese Table Decorations," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 14, 1900, pg. 11.  The last in a four paragraph article.  

                "Tiny Trees," The Mercury (Hobart, Tasmania), August 1, 1900, 5.  

         Bedford, Cornelia E.  "Elfin Trees," Harper's Bazar [sic], August 11, 1900.  Vol. 33, pp. 915-917.  With 12 b&w photos.

         Maude, Athol  "Miniature Trees," Pearson's Magazine (New York), 1900.  pp. 236-240.  With 13 b&w photos.

S      Beede, Vincent Van Marter  "A Bit of Japan in America," The Chautauquan, a monthly magazine for self-education, September 1900, pp. 569-573.  With three b&w photos by Arthur Hewitt, East Orange, N.J.  

                "How Trees Are Dwarfed," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 2, 1900, pg. 21.  

         Nicholson, George (ed.)  "Japanese Arboriculture" in The 1900 (-Century) Supplement to The Illustrated Dictionary of Gardening, A Practical and Scientific Encyclopaedias of Horticulture for Gardeners and Botanists, 1900.  

P              "The Wonderful Chrysanthemum Show in Prospect Park," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 11, 1900, pg. 16.  The fourth of seven paragraphs about a display that had been going on for nearly a week.  

S      Clark, Francis E.  "A Famous Japanese Statesman," The Independent, Vol. LIII, No. 2719, Jan. 10, 1901, pp. 93-94.  Six paragraphs out of the twenty-one making up this three-page article spread over four pages.

P       Duncan, Frances  "Japanese Plants in American Gardens," Atlantic Monthly, September 1901.  Vol. 88, pp. 403-409.  About full-size plants then in use in America.

                "The Cult of the Pigmy Tree," The House Beautiful, September 1901, pg. 254.

         Unger, Alfred  "Dwarf Japanese Trees," The Garden (London), Vol. LX, No. 1560, October 12, 1901.  pg. 253.  As a "Letter to the Editor" with 1 b&w photo.

         Tsumura, Toichi, M.F.S.  "Dwarf Trees,"  Japan Society: Transactions, Vol. VI, Part I, pp. 2-15.  A talk given before the 11th Session, November 13, 1901.  Thirteen b&w photos from lantern slides shown with the talk.

P              "Sumptuous Studio Just Opened Causes Sensation In Art Circles," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 6, 1902, pg. 53.  Beginning at the end of the fourth of thirteen paragraphs.  

         Meek, Thomas Sheppard  "The Dwarf Trees of Japan" in The Home Library of Entertainment Instruction and Amusement, 1902.  

              "How to Dwarf Trees," Australian Town and Country Journal, September 27, 1902, pg. 56.

              "Dwarfed Trees of Japan," Australian Town and Country Journal, October 29, 1902, pg. 28.  Single paragraph article about Japanese Horticulture at the Paris Exhibition.

P              "Wife of London's New Lord Mayor," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 23, 1902, pg. 15.  The third sentence in the one paragraph article mentions her collection of dwarf trees.  

P              "Dwarf Trees For Table Use," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 23, 1902, pg. 12.  The fourth paragraph of five ends with a line about.  

                "Dwarf Japanese Trees, Climbers, and Shrubs," The Gardeners' Chronicle, No. 853, May 2, 1903, pg. 288.  In the "Answers to Correspondents" section.  

P              "Lady McEacharn At Home," in The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria), 21 May 1903, pg. 5.  The third paragraph of three contains a line about.   (We have a small trove of other Australian articles we are in the process of adding here.)


P              "West Indian Oranges," in "Scientific Committee," Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, Vol. XXXI, Dec. 19, 1905, pg. xcvi.  The fifth paragraph of eight contains a line about.  

P             "Japanese Dwarf Trees," The Garden, Vol. LXIX, No. 1799, May 12, 1906, pg. 263-264.  In the "The Greenhouse" subsection of "Answers to Correspondents" section. 

P       Davidson, H.C.  "Queer Fashions in Gardening," The Country-Side, A Journal of the Country, Garden, Nature, and Wild Life, No. 53, Vol. 3, May 19, 1906, pg. 11.  Paragraphs twenty-four to final twenty-eight of this two-page article with heavy emphasis on topiary.  One b&w photo. 

                "Dwarf Trees," Nelson's Encyclopaedia, 1907, Vol IV, pg. 175.  One paragraph on Chinese/Japanese trees and one paragraph on dwarf fruit trees.  

         Pope, Florence Peltier  "Japanese Sand Pictures," Good Housekeeping, Vol. XLV, No. 1, July 1907, pp. 43-45.  With six b&w illustrations by Genjiro Yeto.  

         Collins, Percy  "The Dwarf-Tree Culture of Japan," Windsor Magazine, October 1907, pp. 540-547.  With twenty-six b&w photos.  

                "The Little Trees of Japan" in The Wonder Book of Wonders, 1908, pp. 243-244. 

         Berger, H.H.  "Japanese Dwarf Trees,"  St. Nicholas, a magazine for boys and girls, Vol. 37, pp. 168-169, December 1909.  In the section "Nature and Science For Young Folks."  Four b&w photographs.


                "How to Make Dwarf Trees," Scientific American, May 10, 1913, Vol. 108, pg. 432.  Two long paragraphs.

                "Dwarf Trees of Japan," Technical World Magazine. July, 1913, pg. 709.  Three short paragraphs and a b&w photo.  

                "Japanese Table Tree," Manti Messenger, September 29, 1916, pg. 3.  The third but non-bylined article in the section "The Home Beautiful, Flowers and Shrubbery -- Their Care and Cultivation."  

                "Making Japanese Miniature Gardens,"  American Forestry, August 1920, Vol. 26, pg. 497.  Two b&w photographs.

                "How Japanese Dwarf Trees Are Raised,"  Scientific American, June 11, 1921, Vol.    , pg. 473.

          Newbecker, Richard  "Hints on the Growing of Japanese Dwarf Trees,"  The Flower Grower, July, 1921, Vol. VIII, No. 7, pg. 125.  

          Brownfield, Marion  "How to Make a Japanese Dish-Garden,"  The House Beautiful, November 1921, Vol. 50, No. 5, pp. 422-423.  About a column and a half (one page = three-columns).

                 "Forest of Odd Dwarf Trees Grown by 'Surgery',"  Popular Science Monthly, July 1929, pg. 63.  Three b&w photos.

                 "Trees Dwarfed By Surgery,"  The Literary Digest, August 17, 1929, pg. 35.  Two of the photos and most of text from the above.

S        Hansen, Albert A.  "Dwarf Plants, they are normal in all but size," Nature Magazine, August 1930, Vol.    , pp. 121, 130.  Two pages, mostly about naturally stunted trees and the necessary conditions for this.  Has one long paragraph pertaining to Orientals' efforts with dwarfing.  

          McClure, F.A.  "Methods and Materials of Chinese Table Plant Culture, Lingnan Science Journal (Canton: Lingnan University), Vol 12, Supplement, pp. 119-164.  Issued May 22, 1933.  With eleven b&w photos.

          Guthrie, Eleanor H.  "The Ancient Art of Bonsai,"  House Beautiful, June 1933, pp. 284F, 284G, 284N.  With five photos.  "Rare and Fine Examples in the collection of Mr. Larz Anderson."   [Following Anderson's death four years later, thirty plants, the major portion of his collection, would be donated by his wife to the Arnold Arboretum.]

          Wyman, Donald  "The Larz Anderson Collection of Japanese Dwarf Trees," Arnold Arboretum Bulletin of Popular Information, Series 4, Vol. VI, No. 7, May 27, 1938, pp. 31-39.  With three b&w plates.  The art is repeatedly referred to as "Bon-sai".

                "Amateur Plant Magician: Raises Dwarf Trees in Flowerpot Forest," Popular Science Monthly, June 1938, pg. 47.  Four b&w photos.  About James F. Craven.

          L'Allemand, Gordon  "Dwarf Trees Come to America," Travel, January 1943, pp. 28, 29, 32.  Three pages with seven b&w photos by the author.  About Lee Holdakowski's extensive collection in California.

          Sherman, Chester  "Jap Stunt," Life, October 18, 1943, pg. 131.  In the "Pictures to the Editors" section with four b&w photos.


There are other known references.  See, for instance, magazine reviews and comments about Macartney, Meylan, Fortune, Sirr, and Eida.


Anyone who knows of additional citations to bonsai in general circulation periodicals before 1945 is asked to please contact  rjb@magiminiland.org.  Contributor acknowledgment will be posted.  Please include as many details as possible.  Thank-you!



Post-1945 Articles
Travellers' Observations
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