Wiggins Old Tavern? What does that have to do with EAIA?
Here’s what: On August 31, 1933, the EAIA was created!
“Lewis N. Wiggins was owner and Proprietor of the Northampton Hotel and Wiggins Old Tavern in Northampton, Massachusetts. He had an extensive collection of antique tools which he exhibited. One summer day as he was installing part of his collection, Stephen C. Walcott of Virginia introduced himself and struck up a conversation about tools and his acquaintances that collected them. He proposed forming an association for “mutual aid and pleasure” in furthering their interest and knowledge. Mr. Wiggins responded by inviting Mr. Walcott to gather his friends at the Tavern as his guest for luncheon and discussion. Thus was born the Early American Industries Association “to encourage the study and better understanding of early American industry in the home, in the shop, on the farm, and on the sea…”
“That small group of founders lost no time in getting the organization established, collecting artifacts and information, and publishing a quarterly journal, The Chronicle, to record and preserve that information. The Association grew rapidly, and its membership rolls soon included many of the leading antiquarians, historians, and museum curators of the day. The EAIA established itself as the leading organization for research and publication in the area of early American tools and trades. The membership continued to grow, and articles published in The Chronicle produced an ever-increasing resource of historical information in the field.
In 2016, the Early American Industries Association celebrates its 83rd anniversary. During this time interest in the history of tools, trades, and the mechanical arts has grown from a handful of antiquarians gathering up obsolete implements to a large company of serious collectors and scholars, knowledgeable and appreciative of the role that tools have played in the lives of those who made the United States a great industrial power. To this growth of interest and knowledge, the EAIA has constantly made a significant contribution. On our eighty third anniversary, we return thanks to Lewis N. Wiggins for his part in our creation.
This proclamation appeared at the 75th anniversary meeting in Albany, New York, it has been updated to reflect the fact that EAIA is now celebrating its 83rd year of existence. We look forward to a bright future for our organization.
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