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American Truck Historical Society

A Brief History

Twenty-four years ago, in early 1971, a small group of men met to discuss the need for preserving the history of trucks, the trucking industry, and its pioneers. The result of that meeting was the formation of the American Truck Historical Society (ATHS), a not-for-profit corporation.

Shortly afterward, the Executive Committee of the American Trucking Associations, Inc. passed a resolution recognizing the new society "as the duly authorized organization founded to record and develop trucking industry historical data." In 1980 the society's newsletter was converted to the current bimonthly magazine, Wheels of Time, a 48-page, color publication which provides articles focusing on trucking history.

Progress was slow until 1977 when Harris Saunders, Sr. became President and moved the headquarters to Birmingham, Alabama. The society began to grow and currently has over 18,000 members. ATHS maintains a 3,335 square foot headquarters and library complex housing over 75,000 vintage truck photos; 900 hardback books related to trucking. It holds over 10,000 pieces of vintage truck sales literature; 20,000+ vintage trucking magazines; 5,000 owner repair, and sales manuals; a multitude of trucking memorabilia on display; and many films, videos, and slides.

At present, ATHS has 68 regional chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada. Annual conventions have been held since 1972, each one located in a different part of the country, and antique truck shows were added to that event in 1980.

There is only one requirement for membership in ATHS; a genuine interest in the history of trucks and the trucking industry. Dues of $25 per year include a subscription to Wheels of Time.

--Wade Gilbreath,