Biography / Administrative History
Scope and Content of Collection
Title: American Bonsai Association, Sacramento records
Collection number: MS0022
American Bonsai Association, Sacramento
2.5 linear feet
Center for Sacramento History
Sacramento, California 95811-0229
Abstract: The American Bonsai Association, Sacramento (ABAS) contains scrapbooks, club meeting minutes, board meeting minutes, membership
rosters, newsletters, reports, correspondence, color photographs, and show ribbons. Founded in the spring of 1958, the American
Bonsai Association, Sacramento (ABAS) club is dedicated to providing opportunities, resources and inspiration to promote the
living art of bonsai. The documents and ephemera collected by the organization demonstrate the organizational history of
the club, its participation in shows, and the types of events it hosted.
Languages represented in the collection:
Collection is open for research use.
All requests to publish or quote from private collections held by the Center for Sacramento History (CSH) must be submitted
in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Permission for publication is given on behalf of CSH as the owner of the physical
items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the patron.
No permission is necessary to publish or quote from public records.
[Identification of item], American Bonsai Association, Sacramento records, MS0022, Center for Sacramento History.
A committee of members from the American Bonsai Association, Sacramento Chapter collected board meeting minutes, chapter minutes,
photographs, and other organization related materials in scrapbooks as the archives for the club. These archives were kept
by the club and donated to The Center for Sacramento History in 2009 (accession #2011-004).
American Bonsai Association, Sacramento records processed by Jennifer Janes, 2011. Finding Aid prepared by Jennifer Janes.
Biography / Administrative History
The American Bonsai Association, Sacramento (ABAS) is a regional organization dedicated to providing opportunities, resources
and inspiration to promote the living art of bonsai. The club has been in operation in the Sacramento area since 1958, and
continues to promote the art of bonsai today. The American Bonsai Association is a member club of the Golden State Bonsai
Federation, which is an organization dedicated to the promotion of services and activities which promote the art of bonsai
In the spring of 1958, a Sacramento resident Richard Geisreiter taught a class called the “Art of Creating Bonsai” at the
Sacramento YMCA. The class was popular, and the participants in the class decided to start a club dedicate to the art of
Bonsai. Richard Geisreiter and fifteen participants from his class at the YMCA became the charter members for the American
Bonsai Association. An organizational meeting took place among the charter members at Mr. Geisreiter’s house in the spring,
and the charter members exhibited at the California State Fair the following September. The club received sixth place in
their first exhibition.
Following the 1958 State Fair, the charter members began drafting a Constitution and by-laws, which allowed the first new
members to join. The club continued to recruit new members, and elected Mr. Marvin Blanchard as the first club president.
Club meetings were originally supposed to take place bi-monthly, but interest by new members in the club was so great that
the club increased meetings to once a month. The new club held their meetings at the Shepherd Garden and Arts Center at 3330
McKinley Boulevard in McKinley Park.
The ABAS participated in a number of other activities to promote the living art of bonsai. In 1961, the club began hosting
paid programs to drive up membership. The club developed a speakers’ series, which brought in outside guests to lecture and
demonstrate new techniques for sculpting bonsai. Notable guests included Mr. Fuji Yoshimura and his assistant Toshio Saburemaru.
Club members also took an annual bus trip to visit gardens or other organizations also interested in the art of bonsai.
Participation in expositions and garden shows was an important part of ABAS history since competition was believed to be an
important part of learning the art of bonsai. The club regularly selected members to exhibit on the clubs behalf at garden
shows, fairs, and exhibitions. The ABAS participates in the annual California State Fair and Exposition, and often received
high marks on their entries. The club also hosted bonsai shows at the Shepherd Art and Garden Center, which enabled a larger
portion of the club members to showcase their bonsai plants.
The club continues to regularly meet at the Shepherd Arts and Garden Center in Sacramento’s McKinley Park. The club also
continues to produce a monthly newsletter called The Bent Twig, and participates in the California State Fair. General meetings
are held every fourth Tuesday at seven o’clock in the evening.
Scope and Content of Collection
The collection is divided into six series: scrapbooks, photographs, ephemera, newsletters, reports, and artifacts. These
series hold materials from 1958 to 2007, and are held in four boxes.
Box 1 contains the scrapbook series, which is the largest series in the collection. The scrapbook series contains materials
from 1958 to 2004, and is arranged chronologically. The scrapbook series has minutes from general club meetings, minutes
from Board of Director meetings, membership rosters, various types of correspondence, information about club demonstrations,
trips, and shows, and newsletters prior to 1997. The scrapbooks also contain club by-laws, and are present in the club record
whenever revision was necessary. These scrapbooks were compiled by the Archives Committee of the Sacramento Club of the American
Bonsai Association, and were kept as the administrative records for the club. The materials in this series were originally
kept in binders with archival sleeves, but the storage facility where they were kept flooded. There was significant water
and mold damage to some of the materials, particularly those found in scrapbooks 1 through 5. A number of the documents were
fused together, and required humidification. For documents with irreparable mold damage, the papers were photocopied on archival
paper and the originals were destroyed.
Box 2 contains the photograph series, which spans various dates from 1958 to the late 1990s. This series contains photographs
from club shows, events, trips, and meetings, and are arranged chronologically when the dates are known. Many of the photographs
demonstrate the quality of the bonsai plants that the club displayed at fairs and garden shows. Photographs originally pasted
on non-archival paper were removed for preservation purposes. Three additional photo albums, kept in their original binding,
are located in Box 4.
Box 3 contains the ephemera series and the newsletter series. The ephemera series contains various materials from club events,
including event flyers and certificates from participation in fairs and expositions. The materials are from various dates,
ranging from 1958 to 2007. The newsletter series contains issues of the club’s monthly newsletter, The Bent Twig, from 1997
to 2007 and is arranged chronologically. Although the club printed a newsletter prior to 1997, it was not until this point
that the newsletter had a name and was sent to members at a regularly scheduled time. After 1997, the newsletter maintained
a standard template for relating information about club news and events, and was distributed on a monthly basis.
Box 4 contains the report series and the oversized photo albums. The report series contains an organizational history entitled
“Golden State Bonsai Federation Historical Research Committee Report, 1977-1980.” The report outlines the history of the
Sacramento Club, and includes copies of various rosters, meeting minutes, and correspondence from 1958 to 1980. The report
is kept in its original binding.
The artifacts series contains 10 ribbons from the club’s participation in state fairs and expositions. Since its formation
in 1958, the Sacramento Club of the American Bonsai Association participated in numerous shows, fairs, and expositions with
their bonsai plants. The ribbons in the artifacts series are a small fraction of the awards given to the club throughout
Series 1. Scrapbooks
Series 2. Photographs
Series 3. Ephemera
Series 4. Newsletters
Series 5. Reports
Series 6. Artifacts
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.