Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans Collection
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Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans Collection

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30305. 404.814.4040. reference@atlantahistorycenter.com
Creator: Berckmans, Prosper Jules Alphonse, 1830-1910
Title: Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans Collection
Dates: 1828-2000, undated
Quantity: 2.5 linear ft. (6 document cases)
Identification: ahc.MSS961

Biographical/Historical Note

Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans, Sr. (1830-1910) was born near Brussels, Belgium and spent his childhood on the estates of his father, Louis Edouard Mathieu Berckmans, a distinguished horticulturist. P.J.A. Berckmans was educated in France and returned to Belgium in 1847 to work on his father’s estates and to study botany at the Botanical Gardens of Brussels. In 1850, P.J.A. Berckmans moved to the United States, followed by his father in 1851, both locating in Plainfield, New Jersey. Louis Edouard Mathieu Berckmans and his son, Prosper Jules Alphonse, moved to Augusta, Georgia to run a nursery on a property known as "Pearmont," which the Berckmans purchased from Benjamin Warren in 1857. In 1858, the Berckmans purchased an adjacent property and nursery, "Fruitland," from horticulturist Dennis Redmond. The Berckmans combined Pearmont and Fruitland, expanding the Fruitland Nursery. One of the first commercial nurseries in the South, Fruitland Nurseries was a world-class experimental station and botanical garden, growing numerous varieties of fruit trees and ornamentals and disseminating them throughout the United States. P.J.A. Berckmans founded the Georgia Horticultural Society in 1876, serving as the organization’s president until 1910. Berckmans was a lifetime member of the American Pomological Society and served as the editor of Farmer and Gardener, a horticultural journal, for several years. When P.J.A. Berckmans died in 1910, his three sons continued to manage the business until the late 1910s. The trade name was sold to Bailie and Gwin in the early 1920s and continued to operate until the 1960s. In 1931 the property on which Fruitland Nurseries was located was sold and later established as the site of the Augusta National Golf Club, the home of the Masters Golf Tournament.


Scope and Content Note

The Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans Collection contains personal and business records pertaining to Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans, Sr. and other Berckmans family members. The collection documents the activities of Fruitland Nurseries, one of the first commercial horticultural nurseries in the South. The collection contains family records, including correspondence, journals, newspapers articles, and photographs. The collection also has business records of Fruitland Nurseries, including correspondence, receipt books, photographs and seed catalogs. The collection includes materials about P.J.A. Berckmans, Sr.’s professional affiliations. The collection also includes nineteenth and early twentieth century agricultural journals and additional published materials concerning Georgia horticulture.


Arrangement

This collection is arranged in four series: Series 1: Family; Series 2: Fruitland Nurseries; Series 3: Professional Affiliations; and Series 4: Publications and Printed Materials.


Index Terms

Agriculture--Georgia--History
Augusta National Golf Club.
Barrett, Anne Berckmans, 1909-2000
Berckmans family
Berckmans, Louis Alphonse, 1857-1939
Berckmans, Louis Mathieu Edward, 1801-1883
Berckmans, Mary Craig, 1828-1897
Berckmans, Prosper Jules Alphonse, 1830-1910
Berckmans, Prosper Jules Alphonse, 1866-1938
Berckmans, Robert Craig, 1864-1950
Fruitland Nurseries (Augusta, Ga.)
Horticulturists--Georgia
Nurseries (Horticulture)--Catalogs
Nurseries (Horticulture)--Georgia
P.J. Berckmans and Co. (Augusta, Ga.)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation:

Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans Collection, MSS 961, Cherokee Garden Library, Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center

Acquisition Information:

Gifts, 1992 and 2001; purchase, 1984 and 2003

Processing Information:

Collection processed in 2005, with subsequent additions.


Restrictions

Restrictions on Access:

This collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use:

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.


Related Material

The Cherokee Garden Library also holds books from the personal library of Robert Craig Berckmans.


Container List

 

Series 1: Family, 1845-2000, undated

0.42 linear ft.
(1 document case).
This series contains biographical and genealogical information on members of the Berckmans family. The series has newspaper articles and excerpts from books and journals pertaining to the Berckmans family in Belgium, including a microfilm copy of Geschiedenis der Stad Lier, and regarding Louis Edouard Mathieu Berckmans, father of Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans Sr. In addition, the series has the 1850 travel diary of Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans, Sr. and the text book of his wife, Mary Craig Berckmans. The series also contains the 1884-trip diary of Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans, Jr. as well as newspaper articles about Robert Craig Berckmans, the second born son of P. J. A. Berckmans, Sr. The series is arranged by specific family member name.

Box

Fldr

11Louis Edouard Mathieu Berckmans, 1964-1997, undated
2Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans, Sr., 1850 Travel Diary (photocopies)
3Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans, Sr., 1887-1981, undated
4Mary Craig Berckmans, 1845-1933
5Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans, Jr.,1884 Trip Diary (typewritten copy)
6Robert Craig Berckmans, 1937-1974, undated
7Anne Berckmans Barrett, 1967-2000
 

Series 2: Fruitland Nurseries, 1858-1967, undated

1.26 linear ft.
(3 document cases).
This series contains business records of Fruitland Nurseries, including one order book, two receipt books, and correspondence, most notably a letter to P. J. A. Berckmans, Sr. dated 1895 for plants for the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta. This series also contains Fruitland Nurseries’ catalogs from 1859 to 1967 as well as forty-six photographs of members of the Berckmans family, the house and grounds at Fruitland Nurseries, and the Georgia State Board of Etymology in 1921.

Box

Fldr

21Bills and Receipts, 1885-1939, undated
2Business card, envelopes, and post card, 1926, undated
3Correspondence, 1895, undated, 1912, 1926, 1929, 1932, 1938, 1940
4Fever remedy for horses, undated
5Newspaper articles, 1960-1988, undated
6Nursery Catalogs (8), 1859-1860, 1861, 1865 Suppl., 1872, 1873, 1883 (3 copies)
7Nursery Catalog (1), 1892-1893
8Nursery Catalogs (5), 1910-1916
9Nursery Catalogs (5), 1916-1926

Box

Fldr

31Nursery Catalogs (7), 1926-1934
2Nursery Catalogs (6), 1934-1940
3Nursery Catalogs (5), 1940-1945
4Nursery Catalogs (6), 1946-1953
5Nursery Catalogs (8), 1953-1962
6Nursery Catalogs (7), 1962-1967

Box

Fldr

41Order Book, 1858-1860
2Photographs (47), 1882, 1917, 1921, undated
3Receipt Book, 1865-1882
4Receipt Book, 1919-1921
 

Series 3: Professional Affiliations, 1856-1948, undated

0.21 linear ft.
(.5 document case).
Members of the Berckmans family were involved in several organizations outside of Fruitland Nurseries. This series contains materials collected by members of the Berckmans family, including proceedings of the Georgia State Horticultural Society, which P. J. A. Berckmans, Sr. founded in 1876. The series also has a list of committee judges at the United States Agricultural Society Exhibition in 1856 with Louis E.M. Berckmans serving as a judge. In addition, the series contains the proceedings of the American Philosophical Society with a speech given by Charles Sargent, head of the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University and two letters to Robert Craig Berckmans from Charles Sargent, a contemporary of R. C. Berckmans.

Box

Fldr

51American Pomological Society, 1889-1948, undated
2Georgia State Fair Association, 1935-1936
3Horticultural Show committees, 1871, undated
4 List of the Committees of Judges, Exhibition of the United States Agricultural Society, October 7-11, 1856
5 Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. XXVI, No. 129, 1888, “Journal of André Michaux, 1787-1796” by Charles Sprague Sargent; letter dated May 5, 1914 to R.C. Berckmans from Charles S. Sargent, the head of the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University; letter dated May 7, 1914 to R.C Berckmans from Charles S. Sargent; and Arnold Arboretum pamphlet from 1928.
6 Proceedings of the Georgia State Horticultural Society, Macon, GA., August 11-12, 1877
7 Proceedings of the Georgia State Horticultural Society, Thomasville, GA, February 7-8, 1911
8 Proceedings of the Georgia State Horticultural Society, Athens, Georgia, January 17-19, 1916
 

Series 4: Published and Printed Materials, 1828-1972

0.63 linear ft.
(1.5 document cases).
This series contains published and printed materials pertaining to Southern horticulture, including various agricultural journals from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and an article on P. J. A. Berckmans, Sr. in The Georgia Review.

Box

Fldr

59“Development of Agriculture in Georgia from 1850 to 1920,” Georgia Historical Quarterly, 1922-1923
10“The Fig in Georgia,” Georgia Experiment Station Bulletin 77, November 1907
11 The Florist’s Scrap Book, 1908
12 Fourth Annual Report, Commissioner of Agriculture of the State of Georgia, 1877
13 Fifth Annual Report, Commissioner of Agriculture of the State of Georgia, 1878
14Newspaper clippings on horticulture, 1913-1972, undated
15“P.J. Berckmans: Georgia Horticulturist,” The Georgia Review, Volume VI, Number 2, Summer 1952
16"Principal Parasites of the Peach" by W. W. Chase with "Care and Management of Peach Orchards" by R. C. Berckmans, Georgia State Board of Entolomogy Bulletin 43, 1916
17 The Rural Carolinian, October 1870
18 The Rural Carolinian, February 1871
19 The Rural Carolinian, September 1871

Box

Fldr

61 The Southern Agriculturist, and Register of Rural Affairs, January 1828
2 The Southern Agriculturist, and Register of Rural Affairs, February 1828
3 The Southern Agriculturist, and Register of Rural Affairs, March 1828
4 The Southern Agriculturist, and Register of Rural Affairs, April 1828
5 The Southern Agriculturist, and Register of Rural Affairs, May 1828
6 The Southern Agriculturist, and Register of Rural Affairs, June 1828
7 The Southern Agriculturist, and Register of Rural Affairs, July 1828
8 The Southern Agriculturist, and Register of Rural Affairs, August 1828
9 The Southern Agriculturist, and Register of Rural Affairs, September 1828
10 The Southern Agriculturist, and Register of Rural Affairs, October 1828
11 The Southern Agriculturist, and Register of Rural Affairs, November 1828
12 The Southern Agriculturist, and Register of Rural Affairs, December 1828
13 Southern Architect and Building News, April 1925
14 Southern Architect and Building News, September 1925
15 The Southern Cultivator, October 1849
16 The Southern Cultivator, February 1895
17 The Southern Farm: A Journal of Practical Agriculture, July 1887
18 The Southern Farm: A Journal of Practical Agriculture, August 1887
19 Southern Floral Magazine, July 1891
20 Southern Gardens, March-April 1969
21 The Southern Planter, November 15, 1922