The relatively swift passage of time as we get, older seems
to make progress in accomplishing projects infuriatingly slow. We haven't always
moved as rapidly over the past year's we would have liked, but some progress has
been made. Most of the good work has been clone by strong committees and
dedicated committee members.
Top honor for the most far reaching and monumental project goes to Mrs. Hugh Baird of
Seattle and her Twenty-five Year Index Committee. For all practical purposes, the first
twenty-five five years of the Quarterly Bulletin have now been completely
indexed and the future value to the Society of this work cannot be
overestimated. This valuable work will be published before the
end of the year and made available not only to our own membership, but to
other organizations and libraries.
Cost of the publication will preclude free distribution of this
Index but it can be sold at a modest cost along with other of the Society's Publications.
The Board of Directors at their May meeting gave enthusiastic preliminary approval to funding this
project. Since 1973 has already been indexed by the editor, only 1971
and 1972 will remain un-indexed and I hope that we can look to Mrs. Baird and her
committee to fill this.
Our registrar, Mr. Edwin K. Parker, has been especially
active and hard working. His correspondence file is reaching major dimensions.
All of us owe a great deal of gratitude to Ed for herculean efforts in working with individual
members, the International Registrar and the Plant Records Center.
What can one say about Esther Berry and the Seed Exchange
that has not already been said in the past. There are many in the Society who
feel that in the years to come this one thing may well be the most significant
accomplishment of the Rhododendron Society in this decade. One of Esther's main
concerns at the minute is the hope that the growing tendency toward Chapter Seed
Exchanges will not sap the vitality of the national program.
The Annual Meeting Committee with Dr. John P. Evans of California and Dennis Stewart of
New York has been especially active making it possible to schedule meetings through 1979.
Uncharacteristically the Board has had to make difficult decisions in selecting
sites from multiple choices. With action taken at the last meeting by Board
approval the 1975 meeting would be held in Seattle, the 1976 meeting in
Philadelphia (200th) the 1977 meeting in Eugene, the 1978 meeting in New York
and the 1979 meeting in Vancouver.
The Native American Species Committee has undergone a
complete metamorphosis over the past year under the chairmanship of Fred Galle of
Callaway Gardens. It is now called the Azalea Committee with three sections: Evergreen Azaleas
chaired by Dr. Franklin West of Philadelphia,
Native Azaleas headed by Fred Galle and Deciduous Hybrids and Species. This
committee has been very active in promoting literature for publication in the
Quarterly Bulletin and it is our hope that over the coming months a minimum of
one article on evergreen azaleas will be published in each Quarterly along with
additional material from the other sections.
We have also had a very active Editorial Board over the
past year headed by Jock Brydon. Due to the efforts of many people, our editor
Molly Grothaus, has been able for the first time to accumulate something of a
surplus instead of a shortage of material for the Bulletin. I believe that this
is probably the first time that an editor has had the problem of selectivity
rather than quantity. It would be perfectly superfluous for me to make any
comments on the Quarterly Bulletin itself and I have heard nothing but excellent
remarks on the publication and certainly this has to be the direct result of
Molly's outstanding efforts as an editor who has devoted almost full time to
The Ratings Committee headed by George Clarke and the
Publications Committee chaired by Bob Ticknor are working hard to complete the
next volume for publication by the Society on American Hybrids. This new book
should be published prior to our next annual meeting in Seattle. Incidentally, a group in
Philadelphia headed by Dr. Franklin West and Philip Livingston, is planning to bring out a
new book devoted to the work of Eastern hybridizers sometime during 1975. Among
the hybrids covered would be the Dexter hybrids and the work of Guy Nearing,
Tony Shammarello, Joseph Gable and B. Y. Morrison.
Special mention must be made of the preliminary work being
done by the Research Committee under the general chairmanship of Dr. August Kehr,
our Eastern vice-president. The fundamentals have been put together and now it
becomes the job of the Society to determine how far we want to go in the field
of sponsoring active research. Dr. Kehr and his committee have presented an
interesting group of twenty-eight possible projects to the Board. Funding the
minimum amount of $6,000 over a three-year period was approved at the May
meeting. The funds will come from the designated Educational Fund of the Society
and not from Current Income. The Middle Atlantic Chapter, sparked by Harry Nash
has undertaken its own two-year research project, "The determination of the
causes and control of dieback and wilt of rhododendrons grown in zones 6, 7, and
8 of Virginia." This project is being directed by Dr. R. C. Lambe of Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State University Blacksburg. Both the New York Chapter and Potomac
Valley Chapter have also instituted ambitious and valuable azalea projects.
Through the efforts of Dr. Kehr and Mrs. Jane Goodrich of the Potomac Valley
Chapter, the proceedings of the first Rhododendron Breeders' Roundtable in Pittsburgh
are now in final form for publication and sale to interested persons. The
publication of 500 copies of these proceedings was authorized at the May meeting
of the Board on recommendation of the Publication Committee.
Dr. Ned Brockenbrough of Seattle
and Dorothy Schlaikjer of New York
have a firm grip on the Society's Awards program. I am also glad to report that
Betty Hager of the New York Chapter, the chairman of the Shows and Judging
Committee, will soon have a recommended manual for any chapter wishing to avail
themselves of this type of assistance. There is no such thin as a national
policy on Shows and Judging, but a suggested guide would be helpful to many chapters.
Ted Van Veen has headed a very strong Honors Committee this
year in line with our belief that national and not local emphasis should be the
guiding factor in the awarding of the Society's Gold and Silver medals. Howard
Short fortunately has continued his devoted work to the Slide Library and with
the new programs being developed, more chapters than ever should avail
themselves of this service.
Our greatest emphasis over the past year has been the
attempt to establish better lines of communication between the national society
and the individual members and chapters. The results of the balloting on the
by-laws and the current election of directors would indicate that some progress
has been made. Almost a quarter of the membership participated in the balloting
for the election of directors to take office this year. This was considerably
higher than it has been for some time in the past.
Directors elected for three-year terms were: Esther Berry,
Grays Harbor Chapter; Dr. E. C. Brockenbrough, Seattle Chapter; George W. Clarke
, Portland Chapter; and Henry A. Schannen, Valley Forge Chapter. Our personal
thanks should go to all the nominees for their interest in the affairs and
direction of the Society. With the quality of the nominees, it seems a gross
misfortune that they cannot all be elected.
We were delighted that a third of the membership responded
to the January Questionnaire. A preliminary report has just become available and
a full report on the results of this survey will be in the October Bulletin.
This survey should be extremely important to us in assessing our immediate and
long-term goals for the Society. The final results will help thinking and
planning for almost every facet of the Society. After all, the main reason for
our existence is to best serve our membership. We were fortunate in being able
to have this rather expensive survey funded by interested individuals
and foundations. The cost would have been prohibitive for the current income of
I am delighted to report the substantial completion of
another public interest project. Just before leaving for the May Board meeting,
I signed the final papers for the Group Exemption Application of the Society and
its chapters under the provisions of the revised Internal Revenue Code of 1954
as amended. What started as a seemingly simple operation turned out to be
exceedingly complicated. Few, if any, plant societies have a group exemption
under the Code. Arthur Young and Company filed our application under Section 501
(c) (3) which provides the broadest possible coverage of the nineteen possible
sections. Section 501 (c) (3) covers corporations funds and foundations
organized and operated exclusively for religious charitable, scientific,
literary or educational purposes. One of the tests under this section is the
amount of public support received by the organization. Approval under this
section of Section 501 (c) (c) (1-4) would provide full deductibility for tax
purposes for any gifts or bequests to the Society and its chapters. Currently
some of the chapters are approved under Sections 501 (c) (6-19) which do not
provide the protection. Hopefully, the Service will rule on the application
favorably before the current year is over. This work was completed through
private funds and the cooperation of the Philadelphia office of Arthur Young and Company.
Today the Society is really at the crossroads. We can
remain as many members rightfully wish, a good socially and chapter oriented
society gathered exclusively to talk about rhododendrons and watch the world go
by. Alternately, we can become a cohesive force to promote the fundamental aims
of the Society's founders and try to influence the environment that surrounds us
with all possible determination. The second choice is neither an easy nor a
comfortable one. During the past year, I believe that the officers, directors
and committees of the Society have shown that work and responsibility are not
foreign to their nature.
Back in 1969 in his final presidential remarks at Callaway Gardens,
Edward Dunn listed a number of primary consensus objectives for the Society.
These included a permanent office, expanded membership, increased publication
activity, increased investment in research studies, establishment of a Society
Library, sponsorship of plant explorations and scholarship aid. Few of these
objectives have been substantially implemented nor are they likely to be
completed at our present level of operations. The current revenues of the
Society at this point are barely capable of maintaining the status quo without
regard to inflation and rising costs. The financial report looks healthier than
is really the case since the funds shown in the United States National Bank and
Oregon Mutual Savings are restricted usage accounts for annual meetings,
publications and education.
At the national level, the current dues structure yields
seven dollars per member. The bulk of this is returned to the individual members
through the Quarterly Bulletin. Despite substantial economy measures by the
Editor this year, the cost of the Bulletin is rising and will continue to do so
next year in all probability. Without breaking down fine details, it would
appear that it is costing the National Society approximately $5.00 annually to
furnish the Quarterly Bulletin to each member.
Other fixed expenses such as telephone, stationery,
postage, auditing and legal fees, payroll taxes, executive secretary's salary
will add somewhere in the vicinity of $1.85 per member annually. Obviously, this
leaves little cushion even at current level of operations.
This is the problem that the current Finance and Budget
Committee is working hard to resolve. A final report will be ready for the fall
Board of Directors' meeting. If only we were a political entity, it would be
simple to promise all of you more service and less taxes.
Fortunately, there are a good many viable programs that can
be considered as possible alternatives to raising dues. Both the Finance
Committee and the Board considered many of these at their recent meeting. It was
a good time since there were forty-six out of the fifty-five possible members
present. All but nine of our thirty-eight chapters were represented. It was
something beyond my wildest dreams and almost double any previous meeting I can
remember in the past decade.
Many of the best suggestions would require a change in the
by-laws which would mean that fiscal 1976 would be the earliest possible date
for implementation. These included dropping chapters' share from $3.00 to $2.00
which, considering the number of chapters present at the May meeting, enjoyed
relatively strong support. Another suggestion was to change the classes of
membership to include individual, family, sustaining, contributing, sponsor and
life. This would provide tax-deductible shelter for increased individual
support. Also discussed was changing the fiscal year date to September 1.
One of the finest methods of increasing income would be by
increased membership which automatically decreases the cost of overhead and
publications per member. After all, our membership has remained static for some
time while interest in our aims has grown. The Quarterly Bulletin could also
safely carry more advertising and reduce the per-issue cost.
The treasurer will take immediate steps to review the
income derived from savings deposits and if advantageous, will move the money
into short-term and medium-term government obligations to insure maximum return.
The success of all of our programs rests ultimately on you, the individual members. You are
the Society and we exist solely as your corporate instrument. Without your
backing, we are nothing. We are working hard to formulate programs aims and
objectives cooperatively and in consonance with your desires. We do not like to
follow the adage that silence gives consent. Speaking for the officers
particularly, we want to hear from you at any time negatively or positively but
In short, all of your officers
and directors look forward to the coming year with anticipation that progress
will continue and that the next annual report may show substantial achievement
toward both long and short-term goals, and make this group of great people the
best and most service-oriented Society possible.