About the Society
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.
Although he remains the society’s only full-time staff member, Wells is assisted by the research and writing skills of his older brother, U.S. Air Force Col. (ret.) Kristin L. Wells, volunteer senior contributing editor, Naples, Florida.
“We 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.”
The petroleum industry’s history of social, economic and technological achievements provides an important context for teaching the modern business of meeting energy demand.
To raise awareness of the industry history and increase energy education, AOGHS maintains a communication network of museums, historical societies and similar organizations.
Donations alone support the Society
AOGHS 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
Keeper 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.