Interview with Professor
Jorge Fontella Pereira,

Herbarium Bradeanum director.
Graduated in Natural History (UERJ) and titular professor at National Museum - UFRJ

ON: Fontella, could you tell about your companionship with Pabst and the travels you took together?

Fontella: Guido Pabst, although he always wore suit and tie since he was one of the executive director of Varig (Brazilian airline), he was a very simple person, a wonderful person always ready to help everybody, he did not know how to say "no" to anyone. Besides helping Brazilian and foreign researchers, even with their travel because by this time, it was possible to get free tickets at Varig, he lodged those people at his home and even traveled with them. Due to this way of being, he went on getting friendship from those foreign researchers that came to Brazil, opening possibilities to Herbarium Bradeanum (HB) because they showed their gratitude, buying and sending books and encouraging the interchange between their institutions and HB.

When did Pabst have time to study since he was so busy?

Fontella: At Varig, he worked from 7 or 8 o'clock in the morning until 6 o'clock in the evening. After this, he changed his suit and his tie, put a more ordinary cloth and went to HB, next to Varig.
As he was very bright person and published many works about orchids, he succeeded in getting support to HB through CNPq (National Committee for scientific researches), so he could hired specialized people who prepared, mounted and registered the material. Also to due to his sympathetic temperament, many institutions contributed with plants to HB collections. Until today, we have plants interchanges with Brazilian and foreign institutions.

How was the subsistence of HB guaranteed ? It was so hard as it is nowadays?

Fontella: Pabst succeeded in attaining many good things to HB and many things he did not get, he paid with his own money. He did many sacrifices for HB. Many times, there was not money to buy books or even to pay the salaries, he used his own money to solve those problems.
HB went on increasing, that was the problem, a room was not enough, then 2 rooms, then three and finally, HB should be moved. In fact, it became nomad due to its increasing, first, it was located at Rio Branco Avenue, then São Cristóvão quarter, then in a storage shed in Pharmacy School, then in a house lend by an associate, in Santa Teresa quarter, after in Barbosa Rodrigues house, at the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro. For long time it was located in a house owned by Guido Pabst's family. Edmundo Pereira, who lived in Jardim Botânico quarter, went there every day to receive people who needed to do researches. Finally, due to a convention signed between Rio de Janeiro University and the direction, Herbarium Bradeanum moved to the university campus (UERJ), since l989.

Back to Pabst's companionship, what could you tell about the travel you did to Rio Grande do Sul, in l964?

Fontella: It has a very interesting participation. This excursion has been wonderful and very profitable because, among us, there were renowned botanists, anatomists, geographers including many botanists from Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiroi, as Dr. Graziela Barrozo, for example. We left Rio de Janeiro in caravan in two kombis (Volkswagen vans), Pabst drove one and Edmundo Pereira, the other. They were like brothers, they loved each other.
Edmundo always helped a lot and was great concerned about HB. Pabst always listened to him.
He has been my companion at Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro. When I arrived there, he was botanist since long time ago. First he has been my superior and then, I have been his.
Back to the excursion, we did a true circuit, in São Paulo city, we visited Alexandre Brade. That was the only time, I saw him, his hair was white, he hardly saw but still publishing his works. Then we went to Curitiba city (in the state of Paraná) and Hatschbach, a great botanist of the city, also came with us. We collected many material until reaching Rio Grande do Sul. We attended National Botany Conference in Porto Alegre city (State of Rio Grande do Sul) and we got Argentine boarder, São Miguel das Missões, I think. We spent 20 days with Guido Pabst, he helped supporting many expenses because everybody was very poor, we, Botanical Garden's employees, never have had a good salary. Pabst bought food, paid lunches, he was a wonderful, extraordinary person.


Brade has been a very important person to Pabst and to HB

Fontella: Brade encouraged the foundation of the herbarium and donated many plants collections, included his collection of pteridophyta.
That is why Pabst named Herbarium Bradeanum and adopted a pteridophyta as a symbol.

Pabst wanted work exclusively to HB, did he do it?

Fontella: He died before, exactly when he retired. HB really suffered with this loss because he was a kind of person that put his soul into the work and got a lot thing for the herbarium. Herbarium Bradeanum is his work, the dream of his life and to it, Pabst did everything.

And nowadays, how is the HB maintained?

Fontella: As I said, the herbarium is placed UERJ campus, due to a convention and we have had another conventions that allowed us to carry out many things.
Elton Leme, who has been practically Edmundo's disciple and is one of the supports of the institution, succeeds in getting many help. When the current direction has been named in l995, he brought a letter from Boavista Bank's president where he promised to give financial support in order to help HB. Thus we succeeded in doing a big repair, bought bookshelves, new containers ,etc. However, unfortunately, we have already lost many plants.

Due to the lack of means to have a good conservation?

Fontella: Lack of money and lack of time. Just think, professor Margareth Emmerich who has been the director for 15 years, until l995 (she managed to place HB here, in UERJ campus), had another work, as I have. I work at the National Museum.
Until last year, I did not work so I could spend my entire time here but now my time shortened. I come in a hurry, by 5 or 6 o'clock in the afternoon and stay here late at night taking carrying of many things. Things are harder now.

It is really a devotion! Like Pabst, he left the work and came to HB. You leave your work and come to HB. That is a passion, isn't it?

Fontella: If you do not do it, if you do not fight, you can not make your ideals true and life is this. All those things are not mine, they owned to the community, to the humanity.
HB helps many people, many students, teachers, post-graduation students who are making their monographs. For example, Fernando prepared his thesis here as a trainee, Iranilda also prepared here her thesis in orchids. Pabst dreamed to prepare someone to stay here, taking care of the orchids but he did not get it, believe it or not. Pabst had never had a disciple to go on with his work. It is difficult to have someone because we can afford to salaries because there is no budgetary provision. However, there are some people here who work with orchidaceae family. Fernando loved orchids. What we can do? HB has the maintenance coming from associates contributions and also from the donations. Beside we sell post cards, Bradea bulletin and we will try to publish a book, with UERJ. Since HB can not afford, we, the authors, will pay the book.

The ideal situation is to have a sponsorship from an institution as you had from Boavista Bank. Can't you try it from another bank like Bradesco? or with big companies like CSN, CSN, Vale do Rio Doce?

Fontella: I do not know, it is very difficult. It depends on the knowledge you have. It is useless getting there without knowing somebody. If you have a friend who knows the president, it is different, it can work.

After the support HB received from Boavista Bank, you did not get anyone more?

Fontella: Last year, the municipality gave us a good help. This convention permitted us to do many things here. We up-graded the computers, we bought equipment, software, we paid the Venetian blinds, electric and hydraulics distribution systems. All those things could be done due to this convention with the municipality and due to efforts of the councilman Chico Aguiar, the only politician that cared about helping HB. The convention lasted for 6 months, that is the delay we have to spend the money, otherwise, it should be returned. We could pay people, buy many necessary things, move into the 2nd floor and this involved a lot of people. HB, thanks God, is in a better situation then it was in the 11º floor. However, nowadays, I afford almost every thing here.

Maintaining the tradition since, you are the new Maecenas. Does the saga go on?

Fontella: The saga goes on and if you do not do this, if HB is not running, it will be worst, if it willl close the doors, we will lose everything. If HB closes the doors, nobody will be concerned and no one will know about its existence. So, the Herbarium should stay open in order to make people be interested in.

So, you need financial support to restore works, to pay specialized people...

Fontella: That is, it is not useful, for example, get only material things if we do not have money to pay people. Our great need is human material and our great difficulty is how to pay them. Everybody needs to survive. However, all long its existence, HB have had many positive aspects, such as, for example, the legacy received from dr. Berta Lutz. She did a testament leaving part of her legacy and one house in Teresópolis to HB. Professor Margarete could maintained HB all those years with this legacy. Dr. Berta Lutz was zoologist, studied amphibious at National Museum of Rio de Janeiro, associate to HB and Pabst's close friend.

And in other countries, how the herbariums are maintained?

Fontella: It depends, there are private and governmental institutions.

How do the private herbarium assure their subsistence?

Fontella: Mainly by donations, for example, in USA, those donations are very important, it is a tradition. We do not have this here.

That is why I was amazed you told me about Bertha Lutz's legacy..

Fontella: She came from a German family, Adolfo Lutz family.

So the biggest problem is how to get money? Can the donation be deducted from the income tax?

Fontella: That is the problem and concerning the income tax, I did not have time enough to solve it because I take care of administrative area and do not have enough time to do this kind of thing. It depends more on me than on the other people. When there is something to decide at the federal departments, the director should go and take care of everything. We had someone who is a specialist in revenue taxes to solve this question but he hurt exactly against this problem, the constant presence of the director to bring documents and I do not have time for this. A very important step to take is to transform it in federal institution of public federal utility thus it will have the right of receiving donations that could be deducted of income tax. All those things depend on me, however we should run after them, if we stop, waiting, we will get nothing. When we ask someone to give a donation, that is the first answer: Can I deduct it on my income tax?

You said you work at the National Museum, when do you live?

Fontella: (Laughts).

  Primeiro número do BRADEA-19 de agosto de 1969
What do you point out as one of the most important thing in HB?

Fontella: The publication of Bradea although it not a regular publication, we do not have a predetermined annual number. Sometimes we have 1 or 2, sometimes we have 10, 12.
However, we have some another treasures and a very true preciosity is the original card-index by Pabst.
There are almost 30.000 cards, written down, with drawings, sometimes, we find the own pressed flower. A typical index car for orchids, with all information, original works, works that we do not have here in Brazil but Pabst got and took note of everything Another treasure is the orchids collections with many types. The collection of bromeliards is also very well represented with many types. Edmundo Pereira worked a lot with them and Elton Leme registers here all his types.
Last year, we received back a collection of 4.000 types of pteridophyta that was in São José do Rio Preto University because we did not have room enough to keep it. When we got a suitable place to put it, Dr. Paulo, the responsible gave it back to HB. The most three important collection are orchids, bromeliards and pteridophyta besides the other collections that are very important in the point of scientific view. When the researches come to Rio, they are always interested in visiting HB and study the collections. The library has many rare works that other libraries in Rio de Janeiro do not have it. HB is very rich in scientific information and we need exactly the financial support to pay people to take care of our patrimony, to maintain it. That is our great preoccupation.
HB promotes some courses, such scientific illustrations, as the one given by the professor Glória Gonçalves. She gives lesson on Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 5 o'clock in the evening until 8h30. I think we should form another group as there are a lot of people interested in. The organization is hard and HB receives part of the payment.
This is a way to help and make HB known.

So, now the situation is more stable?

Fontella: I think it has been worth but nowadays the material situation is better, not ideal, but better. Researches can be done, for example, now there is someone working here. The more complicated is to lend plants because it is very expensive, we should pack and send by post and all those things are expensive. Even to send abroad a bulletin like ours is not cheap. At this moment, I can not send any material abroad so if people write me asked for something, I just can say: Unfortunately, I can. Why? because money does not exist. I do not have means to do it. That is another survival difficulty.

Could you tell us what does Index Herbariorum mean and what is its importance?

It is a publication that lists all herbariums around the world which are registered at the IAPT (International Association for Plant Taxonomy).
This Index has the main information about them:
full name, institution, staff, number of the plants, names of the collectors, address, e-mail, telephone number, etc.
Herbarium Bradeanum is included in Index Herbariorum, as well as the herbariums coming from other Brazilian institutions.
The importance is to know if the herbarium does interchanges, what is its staff, address, etc.
A publication of a new species in Bradea is officially recognized since this description is according to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature's requirements. This Code establishes the necessary rules to rules to the validation of species, not only those published as new ones. To be brief, it is not enough publishing, Bradea should be send to national and foreign institutions and as a indexed bulletin, it is one of the most known all around the world.
The last International Code of Botanical Nomenclature is date from this year (2000) and has been debated and elaborated during the 16th International Congress of Botany, which took place in St Louis, Missouri, USA, between July and August.
In every international congress of Botany, the Code is re-discussed and modified, then it is published again.
The preceding code has been published in l994, and resulted of the International Congress of Botany realized.
in Tokyo City, Japan.

Is there anything you want point out?

Fontella: I would like point out the support given by UERJ. The convention is very accessible, it requires the participation of teaches and students, if there is any course or activities, the priority is always teaches and students from UERJ. This convention benefits us very much, we have a very good space, much better than we had in 11th floor, the rooms have better illumination, computers connected with UERJ network, two telephone extensions line. In order to compensate, we started the project "Flora da Ilha Grande" together with the University. There was a scientific study of the isle and we offered to do the survey of the flora included under phytosociological point of view. We are trying to get from FAPERJ grants to scientific initiation and technical support in order to accomplish other parts of the project..

What we should do to become an associate? In what way, we can help?

Fontella: You have just to contact us, fill up a form and pay an annual tax of R$ 50,00.
You can also buy the whole collection of Bradea bulletin or just detached numbers or our bromeliards post-cards with wonderful photos.
Exemplar do boletim Bradea
  cartões postais sobre bromélias

Herbarium Bradeanum
Rua São Francisco Xavier 524,
Pavilhão João Lyra Filho, bloco E, 2o andar.
Rio de Janeiro - RJ
Phones 587-7982 e 587-7979.