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.
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