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Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans Collection

Collection number: ahc.MSS961

Scope and Contents of the Records

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.


  • 1828-2000, undated


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Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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.

Administrative/Biographical History

Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans, Sr. (1830-1910) was born near Brussels, Belgium, to Louis Edouard Mathieu Berckmans (1801-1883), a distinguished horticulturist. P.J.A. Berckmans was educated in France, later returning 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 Plainfield, New Jersey, followed by his father in 1851. Later, the Berckmans moved to Augusta, Georgia, to run a nursery on a property known as "Pearmont," which they purchased from Benjamin Warren in 1857. In 1858, they purchased an adjacent property and nursery, "Fruitland," from horticulturist Dennis Redmond. The Berckmans combined Pearmont and Fruitland to create the expanded Fruitland Nurseries. 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.


4.25 linear ft. (six document cases, one oversize box, and one microfilm reel)



Arrangement of the Papers

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.

Acquisition Information:

Gifts, 1992 and 2001; purchase, 1984 and 2003

Related Archival Materials

Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans landscape architectural drawings, VIS 278, Cherokee Garden Library, Kenan Research Center

Related Materials

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

Processing Information:

Collection processed in 2005, with subsequent additions.

Prosper Jules Alphonse Berckmans Collection
Staci L. Catron and Jennie Oldfield
September 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305