(1920) Organization Of The American Iris Society
Journal Of The New York Botanical Garden p.39, February, 1920
The steadily increasing interest throughout the country in the cultivation and breeding of Iris resulted in the organization of The American Iris Society at the New York Botanical Garden January 29, 1920. A desire for such a society had frequently been expressed in the past, and definite suggestions appeared in The Garden Magazine late in 1919. Mr. John C. Wister of Germantown, Pa., had already formulated tentative plans for organization before he joined the military service, and after his return in 1919 he began active preparations. In these he was aided by several iris specialists throughout the country and was also given material assistance by the officers of the New York Botanical Garden.
Sixty-four persons appeared at the initial meeting, in spite of many discouraging circumstances, and letters from others at greater distances increased the list of charter members to over 150, representing all parts of the country from Maine to California. Mr. James Boyd, of Philadelphia, presided at the meeting, which was held in the Mansion. Luncheon was served at one oclock, and by the close of the afternoon session the society was well organized and ready to begin active work. The officers are John C. Wister, president; Robert S. Sturtevant, Wellesley Farms, Mass., secretary, and Frank M. Presby, Montclair, N. J., treasurer. The next meeting of the society will be held during the iris season, probably at Philadelphia.
The plans for the new society include research into the history of iris breeding and the parentage of the numerous horticultural varieties, the standardization of iris descriptions, the registration of iris varieties, with the elimination of duplicate names, investigation of iris pests and diseases, the promotion of general interest in iris cultivation, and the establishment in suitable cities of test and exhibition gardens. In the latter connection the proposed development of an extensive iris collection at the New York Botanical Garden is of especial interest.
Few plants offer such a reward to the gardener or such interesting possibilities to the experimenter as iris. Few plants are as easily cultivated or adapted to as wide a range of soil and climate. The enthusiastic organization meeting and the large membership list indicate at once the widespread interest in the plant, and the society will undoubtedly do for iris what similar societies have already accomplished for the rose, the peony, the gladiolus and the dahlia.
H. A. Gleason
For more information on historic Irises visit the Historic Iris Preservation Society at