Harriet's History Corner
A Brief History of SCBF
On March 12, 1972, a group of Birman breeders and lovers met in York, PA with the purpose of forming a Birman Club. A Constitution was drawn up, officers were elected and the group applied to become a member club with CFA. The Sacred Cat of Burma Fanciers club was officially accepted on April 18, 1972.
Elections were held to replace the temporary officers with permanent ones. Frances Price became the first elected President, George Wehnau the Vice President and Ed Rindfleisch assumed the job of Secretary/Treasurer. Jerry Bartko took on the publication of a newsletter which became Harriet Rindfleisch's job in October, 1972. According to Harriet's records, the first charter members of the Club consisted of her family along with the Barkto family. Dues were set at $5.00 per year and a treasury slowly started to build up, with the goal of producing a show. Being composed of members who may have lived some distance apart, the SCBF newsletter was the tie that held everything together, much as it does today. The first issue was sent in May, 1972.
The original By-Laws state that since the Club had no treasury to speak of, the cost of producing the newsletter would be covered by Ed and Harriet until such time as the finances of the organization would permit spending money for one. Harriet's love for the publication from 1972 until she resigned as editor in March,1983 was obvious to all who received it. It was full of information sent to her by breeders and owners of Birmans from all over the world plus had many tidbits gleaned from her own daily experiences with her Birmans. During the 11 years that she was editor, the quarterly issues of the Newsletter were typed onto a stencil on her old typewriter and printed on a mimeograph machine, a far cry from today's computer-generated and commercially printed issues.
The amount of work involved during all those years is hard to imagine. SCBF was an integral part of her existence and it showed in her work. After being in existence for a year, the Club members decided it was time to put on a show spotlighting their breed. A show committee was selected, Judges were invited and a show hall was reserved. Many hours were spent to make sure everything was perfect.. The show filled with the limit at the time of 350 cats which included 3 Birman kittens and 13 adults. It was a very successful show and the members definitely wanted to do another the next year.
Since that first year, the SCBF show has continued to grow and Birman numbers have steadily increased. Recently, over 100 Birmans were exhibited. Birman breeders and fanciers from all over the country mark their calendar years in advance to plan for upcoming shows.
Ed and Harriet Rindfleisch were the backbone of the SCBF club through the years. Harriet was the Newsletter Editor and Ed was the Secretary/Treasurer until 1994. Various other members held other offices but it was these two that kept the Club going.
Between raising a family and earning a living, they found time to share their love of the breed and the Club with everyone who was interested. SCBF simply would not exist if not for them. When Harriet died in November, 1994 it was like a light going out in a small room. Lost in the darkness of that room, you eventually find your way to another source of light but it is dimmer, less lluminating. Ed remains with us and we hope that will last for many years yet. While he is no longer officially Show Manager, he still keeps an eye on things and gives advice.
Many wonderful people have followed the Rindfleisch's shining example of devotion and loyalty to the SCBF membership. You will see their names throughout this web site and we are all grateful for their time and effort. SCBF is the oldest national Birman breed club in America and we are very proud to be a part of it.
Several years after Harriet's death, Ed gave all of her files, notebooks, photo albums, and mementos to Gayle Blonar, who became the club archivist. Harriet's History Corner column in the newsletter was introduced as a way to share some of this valuable and precious information with the membership. And now, with the creation of the SCBF web page, we have the opportunity to share even more of this remarkable collection. Please take your time with a virtual walk through the pages of Birman history and development. Browse through the various articles and enjoy the old photographs. We hope our efforts in sharing this information will entertain and enlighten you.
An archive of historical information from Harriet's files can be found here
And the legend of the Birman can be read here
Thank you for visiting the Birman History pages. These pages will be updated with more archival material as it is sorted and prepared for display, so make sure to check back often to see what's new.
If you have any questions or comments about Harriet's History Corner or if you have articles or information about the development of the Birman breed, please contact Julie Collin, SCBF Club Archivist at: firstname.lastname@example.org