The Annual Meeting of the Society
Introductory Remarks by President Edward B. Dunn
Before calling the meeting to order, I should like to say that this assembly at Planting Fields is one of the finest in the history of the A.R.S. and certainly emphasizes the national character of the Society. The officers and directors are most grateful to the New York chapter for acting the part of host so extremely well and for contributing so markedly to the mutual understanding and fellowship of the membership throughout the country. This beautiful arboretum, the kindnesses of the committee and staff will always remain in memory as a high point in the history of our Society.
It is my duty to bring up the matter of business. If you will bear with me, I shall now call to order the 21st. Annual Meeting of the American Rhododendron Society. The minutes of the last Annual Meeting, having been published in the Bulletin, will not be read and unless there is objection, will stand approved as published.
I should like to make a brief report on Society activities during the past year but first will call the roll of chapters. Our membership is now about 2500 and we have twenty chapters. When I call a chapter name will its members please stand and be recognized?
During the past year the Board has met four times. For some years your officers have studied and striven for means of obtaining more active representation of eastern members on the Board. The election of Mr. Martin of the Philadelphia Chapter, and his ability to attend some of the meetings, is a good and pleasant beginning in the solution of this problem.
As chairmen of most of the working committees are not here, I shall report briefly on these matters: Our membership has been growing, but slowly. A contest for new members has been initiated and some chapters are really working on this. I wish to encourage all to help. Things are far from static in our present world and the cost of operating the Society and publishing the Bulletin has risen, as I am sure you realize. Dues have not changed since 1947. As you heard from our Treasurer, we have lost a little financially, in the last year. So, the only way we can keep above water, pending an increase in dues, is by increasing membership. We feel sure there are many prospective members throughout the country who only need to be approached. Experience has shown that newly formed chapters tend to grow rapidly. I do not think chapters should be weakened by "spin-offs" but, where distance is a factor, cuttings taken from a parent plant seem to grow well in more local soil. For instance, a new chapter is in process of formation just outside of Portland. In the state of Washington, with a small population compared to the eastern states, there are six chapters - some quite small-but all enthusiastic and growing. Again, I am not encouraging the splitting of groups but, with the traffic of our present day life, I believe some interested prospects are discouraged from attending meetings. I do, however, wish to ask you to become missionaries for the Society. Surely anyone, even mildly interested in rhododendrons, would be grateful to be asked to join such pleasant company.
Advertising in the Bulletin has shown an increase which, we hope, will accelerate. The publication should not be over burdened with ads but the income is important and all members who advertise are encouraged to use the Bulletin pages. We are grateful to those who do so at present.
The meeting location for 1966 has not yet been decided upon. I feel that holding it in a different part of the country each year is most beneficial and I'm sure you will agree after what we have had this year. The Society is open to invitation for 1966.
Don Patrick is a new chairman for the Ratings Committee and needs a lot of help from you all. This work is very important to our Society, especially now that a new book is in process.
There is another important rating for rhododendrons that, perhaps, has not had the attention it deserves. That is Heat Resistance. There are many localities in this country where heat prevents the general culture of rhododendrons and there is a great need, it seems, for selection and breeding to provide rhododendrons for such blighted areas. Much of California and, I would think, of the eastern coast and interior, could be converted to a broader use of the genus if the heat problem can be licked. Several people have been working on this matter. Ben Lancaster of Camas, Wash., for one. A committee is being set up to work through the Rating Committee and findings will be published in the Bulletin. All members who have records, or will keep them, are encouraged to assist in this worthwhile project.
The Seed exchange program, under Mrs. Berry, has been most successful again but there is no final report, as yet.
I have appointed a By-Laws Revision Committee to examine our By Laws and to suggest any changes needed. With the passage of time, there is often need for revision and it is only healthy for an organization to keep its constitution amended as circumstances require. I strongly urge all members to help in this matter by offering suggestions through your chapter presidents and other directors. Each Chapter president is a member of the Committee. While there is no need for haste in the matter, I do feel that the committee should have recommendations to present to the membership prior to our meeting next year. It is hoped that all committee members will be able to present suggestions by next autumn.
The happy part of my participation in this program tonight will start with my calling on the chairman of the Honors Committee to make his report. Your genial vice-president Carl Phetteplace. (Dr. Phetteplace gave a brief discussion of A.R.S. honors and how they are awarded and then escorted to the head table, to receive Gold Medals of the Society, Dr. Henry T. Skinner and Mr. David G. Leach. See Citations following.)
Before adjourning our meeting I want, again, to thank the New York Chapter, its President Sidney Burns, his co-chairmen, Wm. C. Bowden, Jr., Gordon Jones, their committees and their wives for this unforgettable and totally delightful twenty-first annual meeting of The A. R. S. On behalf of the officers and the Board of Directors, I wish to express our extreme gratitude to all the speakers, to those whose gardens we have visited and have yet to see, and to Planting Fields Arboretum and Foundation. As a westerner, I hope you will all come out our way, soon, and let us try and reciprocate a bit.
It is my conviction that this weekend on Long Island has been immensely good for our Society, has brought us closer together, and has given us a marvelous send-off on our 22nd. year.