American Orchid Society History
The availability and cultivation of orchids has changed dramatically since the early years of the twentieth century. Today, in part because of the activities of the AOS, orchids are popular houseplants that are available to anyone. Right on the heels of European “Orchidmania”, orchids were still exotic plants that could only be grown by a few, privileged enough to have the means and knowledge to succeed with these tropical rarities. On April 7, 1921, a group of thirty-five men and one woman met in the Treasurer’s Room of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society to hear a reading of the proposed constitution, bylaws and slate of officers for the newly formed American Orchid Society. The original bylaws sought to allow for importation of orchids, encourage a membership of amateurs as well as professionals, organize orchid exhibitions nationwide, issue orchid related publications and create a system for awarding orchids of superior quality. The goals of the American Orchid Society are still based on those set forth by our founders and have continued to expand and evolve to meet the needs of a changing world.
An organization is only as good as its members and the AOS is deeply indebted to the many talented and dedicated volunteers who have made valuable contributions to one of the most vital horticultural institutions in the world. From the members of the founders meeting in 1921 to today’s AOS trustees and officers, all have offered their time and service out of a love for the plants that bring us together. John Lager, George Baldwin, Thomas Roland, Oakes Ames, Oliver Lines, and the first president, Albert C. Burrage, could not have foreseen the day of mass marketed orchids, yet they no doubt would have been pleased with the popularity that orchids have reached.
Following is a short list of notable points in the history of the American Orchid Society.
The American Orchid Society
is more than just a flower club. Throughout its 85-year history the AOS, in keeping with its vision and mission, has strived to bring our members timely and state-of-the-art orchid information, support basic and applied research in orchids, and monitor and support conservation effort both here in North America as well as throughout the World.
The American Orchid Society will provide leadership in orchids.
The American Orchid Society's mission is to promote and support the passion for orchids through education, conservation, and research.
The Aims of the American Orchid Society are, generally stated, to extend the knowledge, production, use, perpetuation and appreciation of orchids of any kind and in any manner. These aims include research in all aspects of orchidology; collection and dissemination of information, and the establishment and maintenance of its awards system, the purpose of which is to recognize excellence orchids and the culture and hybridization thereof.