A Message from the Editor

The historical society hosts energy education conferences and field trips.

A Personal Energy Education Mission

The American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) advocates the preservation of U.S. petroleum history through exhibition, preservation – and especially educational programming.

Bruce Wells founded AOGHS in 2003. He maintains the website, speaks at industry events and assists researchers, teachers, students and others interested in learning petroleum history.

A journalist and frequent contributor to industry publications, in April 2014 he became a regular commentator for Exploring Energy, an Oklahoma-based online radio program. He remains the society’s only staff member.


The historical society is seek new partnerships with leading industry organizations.

“I strongly believe many individuals from the oil patch, community museums volunteers, historical societies, and historic exploration companies not only preserve a remarkable history, they serve as ambassadors to an often skeptical public.”

An AOGHS Oklahoma City conference included a field trip to museums in Seminole and Tulsa — with a stop at the Golden Driller, built in 1953.

The petroleum industry’s history of social, economic and technological achievements provides an important context for teaching the modern business of meeting energy demand.

A new partnership with the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers has resulted in development of a unique “Petroleum History ” wall calendar – with daily milestones highlighted – ideal for young people and new employees.

To raise awareness of the industry history and increase energy education, AOGHS maintains a communication network of museums, historical societies and similar organizations.

View Bruce Wells's LinkedIn profile Learn more about Bruce A. Wells

Donations alone support the Society

Bruce-Wells-NCAC-AOGHSAOGHS is administered as a 501 (c)-3 nonprofit unfunded program of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) Education Foundation.

Please support the American Oil & Gas Historical Society with a donation.

The historical society documents petroleum history – including generations of oil patch families. Articles have featured East Texas, Ohio and West Virginia independent producers, profiling accomplishments of families, historic communities – and oil patch museums. Two 2004 energy education publications, commissioned by the Department of Energy, resulted.

The society published two more than 20,000 “American Oil & Gas Families – East Texas Independents,” and “American Oil & Gas Families – Appalachian Basin Independents.”

Each publication featured communities built on a legacy of petroleum, and the individuals and families who keep the industry productive, providing our nation with domestically produced energy.

Following this research – and recognizing that hundreds of petroleum-related museums and county historical societies lack a communication network, Wells founded the American Oil & Gas Historical Society in June 2003.

AOGHS published a 16-page quarterly newsletter, the “Petroleum Age” until 2009, when IPAA funding for printing and mailing ended. The society’s remaining resources have been directed to this website, which increasingly attracts “unique visitors” every month – more than 9,100 in January 2014.

Please support AOGHS with a donation.

Bruce Wells Petroleum History Honors

Bruce-Wells-PayPalKeeper of the Flame Award winner, Petroleum History Institute, Titusville, Pennsylvania, 2009. Co-chairman, Oil 150 Committee for the Sesquicentennial of America’s First Oil Discovery, Oil City, Pennsylvania, 2008-2009. Titusville Oil Sesquicentennial Parade and Drake Well Museum “Drake Day” VIP, Titusville, 2009. Honorary co-chairman 75th Anniversary of East Texas Oil Field Discovery Committee, Kilgore, Texas, 2005. Honored Guest, 35th Annual Sistersville Oil and Gas Festival, Sistersville, West Virginia, 2003.

 Except for on this website, where can you learn:

John Wilkes Booth and Dr. Seuss were once in the oil business; Maybelline cosmetics, Hula-Hoops, nylons, and Wax Lips were all petroleum product offspring; Harry Houdini patented a deep sea diving suit adopted by offshore drillers; “fracking” was the profitable brainstorm of a cashiered Union veteran of the battle of Fredericksburg; Florida’s first oil well was drilled after the state offered a reward; and countless thousands of obsolete stock certificates fascinate scripophily collectors – each has a tale of its own. Down the right-hand margin of these pages, you will find many more possibilities.