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First Cover, Jan/Feb 1970Early American Life began with its January/February 1970 issue as the membership publication of the Early American Society, Inc., located in Annapolis, Maryland. The founding editor was Jim Betts, who saw the magazine through its first two years of publication. Back then it was not as slick as it is today, printed mostly in black-and-white on heavy, rough-textured paper. 

The magazine really matured when Robert Miner took over as editor and publisher with the July/August 1971 issue, moving the magazine and society headquarters to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In mid-1979, the magazine joined several others as an affiliate of the National Historical Society, which became Historical Times, Inc., in 1981, with Miner remaining as editor. When he retired with the April 1982 issue, Frances Carnahan became editor. 

Cowles Magazines, Inc., bought both Historical Times, Inc., and Early American Life in early 1988, forming the core of the company's enthusiast magazines group. Carnahan continued as editor until the October 1993 issue, for which Judy P. Sopronyi acted as editor. Carnahan's replacement came with the December 1993 issue when Mimi Handler, long the managing editor of EAL, became editor. Handler infused with magazine with a reputation for solid scholarship and attention to detail that we continue today. 

First Early American Homes coverHandler also took note of the changing readership of EAL. When the magazine was first created, its focus was more on Americana and history, but it had become a magazine dealing with early American style. With the June 1996 issue, the title of the magazine was changed to Early American Homes to reflect the evolving readership. 

In mid-1998, Primedia, Inc., bought Cowles and its enthusiast magazines. The company evaluated its new purchases and determined that several did not fit its portfolio of mostly mass-market magazines. Primedia decided to close down Early American Homes  but Sherry Ritchie (a Primedia employee at the time) thought the magazine worth saving. She and her husband organized Celtic Moon Publishing, Inc., and bought the magazine in early 2000 (thus saving it from the great blue pencil of oblivion). Because the new name confused readers, Celtic Moon changed the magazine's name back to its former Early American Life.

When Mimi Handler retired at the end of 2000, Virginia Stimmel took over as editor with the February 2001 edition. Unfortunately, a downturn in advertising (caused, in part by Wall Street's suffering because of the bursting of the high-tech bubble) left the magazine industry in dire straits. Celtic Moon Publishing, Inc., filed for bankruptcy on June 18, 2003. The last issues published by that company was April 2003. 

First Firelands coverFirelands Media Group LLC bought all rights and interests to Early American Life from the Federal Bankruptcy Court with the sale confirmed in September 2003. Firelands resumed publication of the magazine with the December 2003 issue. Because of the bankruptcy, no issues for June, August, October, or Christmas 2003 were ever published. 

Since publication resumed, Jeanmarie Andrews has edited EAL. Jeanmarie was previously managing editor. Most readers have noted a continued improvement in both the editorial and artistic qualities of the magazine under her direction. Under her guidance we are now into our 43rd year and going stronger than ever.