Fifty Years Ago This Year
Reflections on 1960

Ken Cobb
AHS Archivist/Historian

As 1960 began, President Hubert Fischer stated that the goal of reaching 3,000 members had indeed been achieved. He reiterated a statement he had made in the prior year, which has been paraphrased in modern times: "Visiting gardens and seeing new varieties is only part of the pleasure; it is the members one meets and friends one makes that is so rewarding. "Today we say, "Come for the flowers, stay for the people!"

The 1960 national convention was headquartered in Silver Springs, Ocala, FL. The unusual thing about this convention was not having nine tour gardens scattered over seven towns, nor sightseeing in the clear underwater springs, nor even having three days of garden tours rather than two. To the modern convention-goer, it might seem unusual that the convention started on a Monday with the Board of Directors meeting and finished with the Awards and Honors Banquet on Thursday no weekend involved!

An up-an-coming young hybridizer attracted a lot of attention during this convention. He also received a five page write-up in the journal. That, of course, was Bill Munson, who had been hybridizing for about ten years and who was yet to make a big splash in the world of tetraploid daylilies.

Although the covers of Issue No. 2 of The Hemerocallis Journal, better known as the Yearbook, had been in color for a few years, the 1960 Yearbook was the first to include color pages on the inside sixteen in all. These were courtesy of Gilbert H. Wild and Son, of Sarcoxie, MO. One half were the cultivars of David Hall, the rest from other hybridizers. (Two of Hall's cultivars are shown here, H. 'War Eagle' and 'Heart Throb'.)

War Eagle

Heart Throb

Two of the Society's most famous members passed away in this year. Hugh Russell had Issue No. 3 of the journal dedicated to him. It was stated that he had been the world's largest grower and distributor of hemerocallis. He named over 1200 cultivars. In just the first ten years of the award's system, he was the first to receive all the major awards of the Society: the Stout Medal, the Farr Medal, the Fischer Medal, the President's Cup, plus six Awards of Merit, ten Honorable Mentions, and numerous appearances on the Popularity Poll. Dr. Kraus was a world-renowned plant scientist who once headed the Botany Department at the University of Chicago. He helped develop 2,4-D as a weed spray and did pioneer work on plant growth regulators. His most famous daylily, 'Evelyn Claar', headed the Popularity Poll for four consecutive years. The 1961 Yearbook would be dedicated to him and more will be written about Dr. Kraus next year.

Science was very important in both the Yearbook and journals of 1960. There were many articles with a scientific bent. Half of journal Issue No. 3 was devoted to a nineteen page reprint of a 1946 article by the late Dr. A.B. Stout. The title alone was a mouthful: Types of Anthesis In Hemerocallis And Their Heredity in F1 Hybrids.

The Board of Directors made several key decisions in 1960. First, they approved that local clubs could be affiliated with the Society if 50% of their members and 100% of their officers joined the Society. Second, they accepted a definition of miniature daylilies for classification purposes, but not for incorporation in shows at that time. Thus, shows still had four rosettes 1) Registered and introduced; 2) Registered and unintroduced; 3) Seedlings; and 4) Popularity Poll winner of the previous year. The Commercial Grower's Association met and elected an executive committee to prepare by-laws, standards and practices. This group had a membership sub-class within the Society with its own dues.

Soon the Society would meet in Chicago for the 1961 convention, where the infamous tetraploids would arguably become the wave of the future! Yet, diploids are still with us!


See 50 years ago for 2009 here.

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