The History of the Early American Industries Association: Our First Eighty-Five Years

By Van Pernis, Paul | The Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association, Inc., March 2018 | Go to article overview

The History of the Early American Industries Association: Our First Eighty-Five Years


Van Pernis, Paul, The Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association, Inc.


The Early American Industries Association was founded in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression. On August 31, 1933, sixteen men and women gathered at Wiggins Old Tavern at the Northampton Hotel in Northampton, Massachusetts, to form an organization of members interested in collecting, preserving, and studying the early tools and crafts of America. The meeting was the result of a conversation begun by Lewis N. Wiggins, the owner of Wiggins Old Tavern, and Stephen C. Wolcott of Nutall, Virginia, who had stepped into the tavern as Mr. Wiggins was hanging some old tools on the wall. In 1958, Mr. Wiggins wrote a letter to then-president of the EAIA Fred C. Sabin recalling the events that lead to its founding.

My memory is clear of our early days--the very first day in fact. I was in the north room of my "Wiggins Old Tavern"-the room that was later known as the "Kitchen." It was entered from the parking lot. The first room I had developed was known as the "Ordinary," the next room was the "Tap Room." On this very hot summer afternoon, I was working on the development of the "Kitchen." I was hanging on the east, whitewashed wall a number of treasured tools. In my hand was an exceptionally interesting hand wrought steel gouge with a wooden (butternut) handle.

Behind me a gentleman spoke, "I see Mr. Wiggins, that you are interested in preserving treasures. Do you know what that fine tool was made for?" I replied, "It is a gouge for woodworking." Then he asked me if I knew for what special purpose it was made and when I told him I did not know, he said, "It was especially made for gouging out wooden bowls." I thanked him and asked his name. "I am S.C. Wolcott and I live in Nutall, Virginia."

He was a charming, intelligent gentleman. We sat down in the kitchen chairs of the early 1700s and discussed the various articles in that room; things that were for display and for use, as I was about ready to open that room to the public and service of food, as was in the Ordinary and the Tap Room. Mr. Wolcott said, "I spend several weeks each summer browsing around New England. I have met several interesting men who are collecting, preserving and studying the early tools and crafts of America. We should get together and form an association for mutual aid and pleasure. I have a very fine collection of carpenter's tools that someday I shall give to the Williamsburg Restoration." [Wolcott did indeed donate his collection of more than 2,500 items to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.)]

I replied, "Please invite these gentlemen-as many as you like-to meet here at Wiggins Old Tavern as my guest for luncheon, then we can discuss plans for an organization. At any rate, we would like the opportunity of becoming acquainted."

To my joy, within a few days, he telephoned that W.B. Sprague and S.E. Gage, then at their summer homes in Litchfield, Connecticut, and Albert Wells, of Southbridge, Massachusetts, would be at hand on a certain day for a "get-together" luncheon. I telephoned a friend of mine, Earl T. Goodnow, of West Cummington, Massachusetts, an interesting intelligent collector of early Americana, to meet with us for luncheon. It seems to me it was July 1930. [Mr. Wiggins recollection here is incorrect, the date was August 31, 1933] After luncheon we held our first meeting.

William B. Sprague, after being contacted by Stephen Wolcott, circulated notices and letters to various collectors and other interested people and proposed a meeting for August 31, 1933, at the Wiggins Old Tavern to form the organization. Sixteen collectors met on August 31, 1933, and ratified the organization of The Early American Industries Association. The annual dues were set at $1 a year, and it was decided to have two meetings a year. At that first meeting, the twenty original members were admitted to EAIA, four of whom could not attend, but a vote was held and they were admitted in absentia. The original members of EAIA who met that day were:

E W Fuessenich, Torrington, Connecticut

J. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The History of the Early American Industries Association: Our First Eighty-Five Years
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.