John Ingram has had a life-long interest in things botanical and has grown plants of various origins since the 1960s. His first orchids came to him in the mid-1980s from a student at William and Mary whose parents grew orchids at Atlanta. Originally interested in Cymbidiums and the Cattleya alliance, Ingram has now found his true orchid-related passion is for the large and very varied family of Dendrobiums, of which he currently maintains about 200 species and is on the constant lookout for additions to his collection no matter size, scent, or suitability for the growing conditions in north central Florida.
His other passion - and (a)vocation - has been books, and he has been involved with rare books, manuscripts, and research archives for more than thirty years. He was educated at Fordham University (AB and AM) and Brown University (PhD), receiving degrees in Russian Language and Literature and Slavic Linguistics. He has held various positions at academic and research special collections at Brown University and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
From 1994 until his retirement in June 2010, Ingram served successively as Chair of the Department of Special and Area Studies Collections, Director for Collections, Deputy Director of Libraries, Interim Director of University Libraries, and Senior Associate Dean of the University Libraries at the University of Florida. A tenured University Librarian, Ingram was awarded emeritus status by the University of Florida.
Ingram has spoken and written extensively on the value and preservation of rare and unique materials on both the institutional and private levels. He joined the American Orchid Society in 2001 and currently serves as the Chair of the AOS Library and Archives Committee. He has attended the last four WOCs as well as every membership meeting save one since 2002. He was privileged to present a paper at the 20th WOC in Singapore on the continuing value and necessity for books and archives in the wide world of orchids.His mentors in the field have been and continue to be Tom Sheehan and Ben Singer, each of whom has so generously shared their knowledge and passion for orchids and books about orchids.