Skip to main content

Bromeliad Society International (BSI) Archive

Identifier: SC-097

Scope and Contents

Series I: Records, 1953-2006, contains biographies of Bromeliad Society International members and collected materials on conferences & symposiums, manuscripts, and various correspondence. Series also holds organizational files such as the minutes of the general meeting and the meeting of the board of directors, bylaws & standing rules of the Bromeliad Society, annual reports, financial statements, and affiliate shows committee reports.

Series II: Plants, 1942-2003, includes documents that pertain to the registration of cultivar names. Applications for registration of Bromeliad are arranged in alphabetical order first by genus then proposed name. Some of the registrations may contain sample images along with the applications either in print or slide format. Series also holds one folder of articles and clippings related to Bromeliad which are collected by Bromeliad Society International members.

Series III: Publications, 1951-2006, holds bromeliad publications from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Mexico, Switzerland, and United States. Publications are arranged in alphabetical order by country, and then arranged in chronological order.

Series IV: Photographs, 1949-2001, in three sub-series; Plants, People, and Digital Files. Most of the bromeliad cultivar photographs and registrar's files are stored in either floppy discs or CD-ROMs. Only one folder contains photographs of Bromeliad Society International members; such as Mulford B. Foster, Ella Kelly and Victoria Padilla.

Series V: Memorabilia, 1980-2004, includes Bromeliad Society International pins and posters that were issued for the World Bromeliad Conferences. A number of posters are signed and numbered by the artists, such as John Barbie Jr. and Steve Littlefield.

Series VI: Additional Materials, 1942-2018, This series holds additional materials received from the Bromeliad Society International (BSI) in 2015, 2016, and 2018. Some of these materials include a World Bromeliad Conference '72 schedule events and a letter sent out to BSI members from the chair, Patrick Mitchell; a manuscript called "Bromeliad Hybrids and Cultivars" compiled by Brian Smith in 1984; "A Preliminary Listing of All Known Cultivar and Grex Names for the Bromeliaceae" created by Bromeliad Society, Inc. and arranged by Don A. Beadle, includes named and unnamed grexes, names of collectors, hybridizers, developers, references, and dates; "First tentative Listing of Bromeliad Cultivars" prepared by Brian Smith in 1989; four copper color separations for one print; and various publications from Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.


  • Created: 1942-2018


Conditions Governing Access

The entire collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished records are protected by copyright. Permission to publish quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical or Historical Information

For many years, the bromeliad co-existed with the human, floral and animal inhabitants of the lush, tropical environment of the America. Each took advantage of what the other had to offer. Bromeliad history tells us that Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and bumped into a new world. With his boat filled with goodies from the tropics, Columbus sailed the ocean again and managed to bump into his homeland, Spain. His Queen sent him back to the new world, and on his return trip he took a vicious looking plant with long, spiny leaves and a luscious sweet fruit growing from the center of the leaves. Christopher brought his Queen a pineapple. The first bromeliad to leave the new world.

Other adventures and explorers followed and returned to their homeland with wonders never seen before. Some of the wonders were tropical plants and many of them became known as bromeliads. Thus, the Bromeliacea family was described; and slowly over the years, its popularity invaded the United States. Bromeliad Society began in 1948 when Mr. Joseph Schneider of San Gabrial, California asked the organizer of Round Robins for the Flower Grower if she could get a group together who were interested in bromeliads. She placed a call for members of her Round Robin which brought an immediate response from Miss Victoria Padilla and Mrs. Sue Hutchinson who were soon followed by seven others, and they in turn brought four more. This group formed a Round Robin, exchanging their experiences with bromeliads by correspondence with one another for approximately two years. In the spring of 1950, a call was sent out to all members of the Round Robin, and others interested in bromeliads to attend a pot luck dinner at the home of Mrs. Doroth Behrends in Los Angeles, California on May 21st to discuss the suggestion made by Mr. Schneider that a Bromeliad Society be organized. There were fourteen enthusiastic bromeliad people in attendance. The meeting was called to order by Victoria Padilla. It was decided to hold an organizational meeting the following September.

The September 17, 1950 meeting was held on a Sunday afternoon in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Overton in Glendale, California. Twenty one prospective members attended, with a surprise guest, Mr. Mulford Foster of Orlando, Florida. This group organized not just a local society, but an international society for the benefit of bromeliad enthusiasts all over the world. The first officers elected were: President, Mulford Foster; First Vice President, David Barry, Jr.; Second Vice President, Russell J. Seibert; Secretary, Victoria Padilla, and Treasurer, Frank H. Overton. In addition to the officers, Lyman B. Smith, H. B. Trau, Elmer J. Lorenz and Morris Schick were asked to serve on the Board of Directors. A Board of Honorary Trustees was elected, all of them from different countries.

This meeting was a fire of enthusiasm. In a very short time, the membership grew from less than thirty local Californians to an international group of nearly 100 charter members, representing the following countries; Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Canal Zone, Costa Rica, France, Great Britain, New Zealand and the United States. First year was used to establish By-laws, goals, to build a membership and a treasury. The first Life Member of this new Society was Franklin M. DeVoe of Gulf Hammock, Florida. In January 1951, less than a year later, President Mulford Foster because editor of the The Bromeliad Society Bulletin, a bi-monthly publication to be sent to all members. Annual dues for membership remained $3.50 until March-April 1963 when the dues were increased to $4.00.

In November 1951, a local group organized The Southern California Bromeliad Society and became the first Affiliate of The Bromeliad Society. Early in 1953, The Bromeliad Society announced that it had been duly incorporated under the laws of the State of California as a non-profit organization. The March-April 1954 issue of The Bromeliad Society Bulletin announced that The Louisiana Bromeliad Society had applied for affiliation with The Bromeliad Society. December 1955 Bulletin, acknowledged the third affiliate, The Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society, and in the May-June 1959 Bulletin, The South Florida Bromeliad Society was established with Nat DeLeon President.

In the ten year period, The Bromeliad Society had grown to a membership of over 400, 100 of which were members living in countries other than the United States. In the United States, three states led in membership and activity: Florida (90 members), California (80 members) and Louisiana (30 members). There were four Affiliates, 2 in Florida, one in California, and one in Louisiana.

In the ensuing years The Bromeliad Society followed the rugged path of progress. Victoria Padilla became Editor of The Bromeliad Society Bulletin, and color pictures were introduced in 1960. In 1964, all cover pictures of the Bulletin were presented in color. In 1971, The Bromeliad Society Bulletin was given a new name, Journal of the Bromeliad Society. Victoria Padilla continued as Editor. In 1970, plans were made for a 20th Birthday celebration to be held in Southern California and hosted by the five Affiliates in the Los Angeles area. It was to feature an "all bromeliad show". This celebration led to future Bromeliad World Conferences. The Bromeliad Society has sponsored and funded many exceptional improvements to the future of bromeliads, and strives to ever improve the knowledge and appreciation of bromeliads for its members and the general public.

List of past Bromeliad World Conferences:

1972 Houston, Texas - First acknowledged Bromeliad Conference

1975 25th Anniversary Celebration, Buena Park, California

1977 New Orleans, Louisiana

1980 Orlando, Florida - 30th Birthday celebration

1982 Corpus Christi, Texas - "Bromeliaceae Ole"

1984 Los Angeles, California - "Bromelympics"

1986 New Orleans, Louisiana - "One Mo' Time"

1988 Miami, Florida - "Miami Magic"

1990 Houston, Texas - Bromeliads in Space"

1992 Tampa, Florida - "Bromeliad Safari"

1994 San Diego, California - "Bromeliads in Paradise"

1996 Orlando, Florida - "Orlandiana '96"

1998 Houston, Texas - "Bromeliad Roundup"

2000 San Francisco, California - "50th Birthday Celebration"

2002 St. Petersburg, Florida - "Bromeliad Beach Party"

2004 Chicago, Illinois

2006 San Diego, California - "Bromeliads on the Border"

2008 Cairns, Australia - "Bromeliads Down Under"

2010 New Orleans, Louisiana - "Bromeliads in the Big Easy"

2012 Orlando, Florida - "Orlandiana '12"

2014 Honolulu, Hawaii - "Bromeliads in Paradise"

2018 San Diego, California - "Fiesta de las Bromelias"


7.25 Linear Feet (10 Boxes, 1 Flat File)

Language of Materials



The Bromeliad Society International (BSI) Archive consists of historical materials, including photographs related to cultivation of bromeliads; field notes related to the collection of bromeliads in the wild; list of plant entries in judged bromeliad shows; incoming and outgoing correspondence from early bromeliad growers; biographies; administrative records of the BSI such as, copyright registrations, copies of meeting minutes, annual reports, and bylaws; BSI publications; and ephemera, including posters and pins. The purpose of the BSI is to promote and maintain public and scientific interest in the research, development, preservation, and distribution of bromeliads, both natural and hybrid, throughout the world.

Method of Acquisition

The University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Department acquired these materials from Jay Thurrott in 2014 (CFM2014_04). Additional materials were donated in 2015 (CFM2015_08), 2016 (CFM2016_06), and 2018 (CFM2018_11).

Related Materials

The Michael A. Spencer Bromeliad Research Collection. Collector, Michael A. Spencer amassed this collection of publications, photographs, drawings, correspondence programs and other materials focusing on the discovery, taxonomy and cultivation of bromeliads. Mulford B. Foster, Racine Foster and Lyman B. Smith are among the significant bromeliad collectors whose work is documented in this fine collection.

The Michael A. Spencer Collection on Theodore Mead, who was a horticulturist and owned an orange grove in Eustis, Florida and developed a property in Oviedo, Florida to research and hybridize plants. The collection contains Mead's notebook and family correspondence, together with a brochure and news clipping about the founding of Mead Gardens in Winter Park, Florida.

Michael A. Spencer Collection on Julian Nally. Nally grew bromeliads and other plants on the property that had once belonged to Henry Nehrling at Gotha, Florida. This collection documents both his work at the property and his personal life.

Michael A. Spencer Collection on Henry Nehrling. These materials were collected by Michael Spencer because of his interest in botany and his links with Central Florida. Of particular interest are Nehrling's notebooks, correspondence, photographs and plant labels. The collection also contains a few materials, which belonged to Mr. Spencer concerning the attempts to save Nehrling's Palm Cottage Gardens.

Henry Nehrling Papers. Henry Nehrling was a horticulturist famous for his gardens in Gotha and Naples, Florida. These papers are primarily manuscripts of his articles in the American Eagle and other writings about plants. They include a few news clippings, plant lists, correspondence and other documentation of a business and personal nature.

Archival Collection of Dr. Henry H. Nehrling from the Collection of Michael D. Kahn. These materials were in the possession of Betty Pooler Mitchell Nehrling, Henry Nehrling’s second wife. The collection consists of letters, documents, photographs, postcards and monographs which provides insight into the familial and financial affairs of the Nehrling Gardens. It also offers a look at Henry Nehrling during the tumultuous years of Florida’s boom and bust, and a glimpse of his failing physical and mental state while he sought refuge in a quiet communal colony in Southwest Florida.

Bromeliad Society International

Affiliated Societies of Bromeliad Society International

Florida Council of Affiliated Societies

Processing Information

Collection processed by Suphi Burak Ogreten; finding aid prepared by Suphi Burak Ogreten. Materials were arranged in chronological order and then placed in pH neutral folders and boxes. Fragile and high use items were placed in polyester sleeves.

Bromeliad Society International (BSI) Archive
Suphi Burak Ogreten
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the UCF Special Collections Repository

Special Collections & University Archives
University of Central Florida Libraries
P.O. Box 162666
Orlando Florida 32816-2666 US
(407) 823-2576