Alexander W. Livingston

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A. W. Livingston's Sons Seed Catalog.jpg
Front cover of the Annual of True Blue Seeds for 1897, published by A. W. Livingston's Sons, a seed company based in Columbus, Ohio. The company founder, Alexander Livingston of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, was well known for developing the first tomato varieties to become popular in the United States.

Alexander W. Livingston was born on October 14, 1822, near Reynoldsburg, Ohio. He grew up on his family's farm and received limited schooling. He could read and write and do simple math problems. While still a child, Livingston showed an interest in seeds and plants, and many Reynoldsburg residents viewed him as an authority on these subjects. Upon reaching adulthood, Livingston married Matilda Dickey Graham. The couple had ten children.

In 1852, Livingston purchased seventy acres of land near Reynoldsburg. Here he developed A.W. Livingston Buckeye Seed Gardens, a seed business. His business quickly prospered. At this time, Livingston began to try to improve the tomato. He succeeded in doing so in 1870. Livingston spent two decades breeding his "Paragon" tomato. Tomatoes existed before Livingston, but they were small fruits with a sour taste. Livingston's Paragon was much larger and had a sweeter taste. Over the next twenty-eight years, Livingston developed more than thirty other varieties of tomatoes. His work helped to make tomatoes more popular with American cooks.

A scientist until the end of his life, Livingston died in 1898.

See Also