After almost two decades at the helm, Patty MacLeish is retiring after the June 2018 issue as editor of The Chronicle, the Early American Industries Association (EAIA) scholarly journal. I could not be more pleased to have been selected as the new editor for the quarterly print publication, commencing with the September 2018 issue.
The EAIA was founded in 1933, when, according to the first issue of The Chronicle:
“At noon on August 31, 1933, there gathered at Wiggins’ Old Tavern, Northhampton, Massachusetts, a group of men and women interested in preserving for posterity the tools and implements used by our forefathers in maintaining life, as well as forming the adjuncts to life, now so sought by antiquarians….”
In other words, it’s a membership organization dedicated to preserving the implements that built this country, and sharing knowledge about their history and use.
As an avid student of material culture (and in particular the material culture of the 17th and 18th centuries in all things, and in 19th-century woodworking tools), I couldn’t ask for a better fit with my personal interests and editorial experience – and I’m very much looking forward to learning lots…and quickly.
Right now, I’m reading through all the back issues of the The Chronicle to better familiarize myself with the content. I’ve been a member for a couple years, so I’ve read the recent issues (The Chronicle, along with Shavings, the quarterly EAIA newsletter, are included as part of a membership), but it’s fascinating to go back to beginning and learn about hatter’s tools (issue 2), gilding equipment (issue 10), processing flax (issue 17) and the history of bathtubs (issue 23). Issue 23 was in 1937 – so I still have a ways to go!
I’ll be meeting with Ms. MacLeish in May, at the annual meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to learn more about the publication’s production process and schedule, and to meet the board and other organization members. But just going through the issues is like meeting up with old friends…in fact, I am meeting up with old friends via the pages – Don Williams and Willard Anderson just can’t escape me (sorry guys)! And the author index (which I’ll also be updating with every issue) is a veritable “who’s who” of tool-knowledge royalty (Jay Gaynor, Jane Rees and John Whelan, to name just a few).
You’ll be hearing a lot more from me about EAIA in the months (and I hope years) to come. The content is for the most part produced by members, so if you’re a collector or scholar (or both) of historic trades, tools and implements, and are eager to share your knowledge, I’ll be wanting to hear from you. And I’ll be working with the long-time contributors, to build on the solid foundation that Ms. MacLeish has shepherded and helped to shape since 1999. I am quite honored (and not a little bit cowed) to be following her as editor.
Still a Rude Mechanic
With only four issues a year, however, it is not a full-time position. So, I’ll still be working with Christopher Schwarz and John Hoffman at Lost Art Press, building (and with luck, also selling) furniture, editing for Joshua Klein at Mortise & Tenon Magazine, teaching a handful of classes (there are still two spaces available in my June 4-8 Traveling Tool Chest class at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking), working on my house, and developing a couple of personal publishing projects…to be announced soon.
The woodworking hobo life is grand.