Will's Pioneer Brand helped settle the Northern Plains – and remains a popular ephemera collectible
Opposite page, clockwise from top left:▪ 1895 photograph of Oscar H. Will taken by I.U. Doust, Syracuse, N.Y. Oscar was raised on a farm south of Syracuse at Pompey, N.Y. (State Historical Society of North Dakota 0029-001).▪ Early oat sack with Will’s Pioneer Brand and logo.▪ The back of a 1916 Pioneer Brand seed catalog.▪ This image, painted by White Crow, depicts Mandan women beneath their corn scaffold preparing the dried corn for winter storage. In the lower left, near White Crow’s signature, is an open cache pit ready to receive the season’s bounty.▪ George F. Will in 1925.▪ Confectionary sunflower seeds became a part of the Will & Co. operation in the mid-1930s. That aspect of the business continued until 1979.
Left: Pioneer Brand logo.Bottom left: Oscar H. Will & Co. seed packet, years unknown. The colorful packets were most likely used in store displays and seed racks.Bottom right: This letterhead lists George F. Will as the company president and dates to at least the early 1940s.
Above: Oscar H. Will & Co. was proud to offer Fulton Brand cloth sacks for sale, and as packaging for their own feed and seed products.
Right: 1904 photograph of the Oscar H. Will & Co. building in Bismarck, N.D.
Left: Shipment of Oscar H. Will & Co.’s seed corn en route to Russia in the mid-1920s.
Below (from top): Will’s 1916 catalog featured a spray of gladiolus on the front, but even then, the company was a significant player in agricultural seed supply, which is the theme of that catalog’s back cover; a Native American woman shelling corn is a theme that appears on several Will & Co. catalogs. This image from the 1928 catalog is accompanied by a small inset showing a modern farm behind a lush field of alfalfa; during World War II, Will’s Pioneer Home Garden Collection was temporarily renamed Will’s Victory Garden Collection, but it still included all the essentials for feeding a family throughout the year.