Progress Updates and Posts

Posted May 22, 2018:

The Archives and Library Committee of the Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America (SPAAMFAA), is pleased to announce:

Effective May 20, 2019, Dan Patterson has been hired as part-time archivist, for the SPAAMFAA Archives and Library. Following a lengthy career with Hallmark Cards in Kansas City in a variety of business and semi-creative roles, Dan returned to school and began pursuing a career in history and museum work.
Since earning his Masters in Art History from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, Dan has worked in various museum settings and in a variety of roles including provenance research at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, operations in an art gallery and gardens institution and historic and archaeological interpretation at a national historic site.
Some of his other interests include medieval art and architecture and vintage motorcycles. Deborah Davis, chair of the SPAAMFAA Archives and Library Committee, commented on this interest saying, “We like the fact that Dan collects and owns antique motorcycles. He understands the antique vehicle collector mentality. We are confident that he’ll quickly learn fire apparatus parts and details as needed, and will fit in well with SPAAMFAA folk.”
Dan will be in charge of the management, organization, expansion and digitization of the Archives and Library. He stated: “I am very excited about the opportunity to further develop and leverage the collection” to further the educational mission of SPAAMFAA.

Posted August 27, 2018:

We are sad to report that Adam Paxton (SPAAMFAA’s part-time, contract archivist) has tendered his resignation. Adam has been with us (working for approximately eight hours per week) for only about a year, but in that time he has made some significant contributions. Adam has helped house the Tom Scott Library Collection, and he developed and implemented best-practices for the monitoring and long-term preservation of photos from the Maxim collection — (a collection threatened by impending deterioration). Most importantly, Adam has established an organizational structure and procedures — a road map — which we can follow as we continue to better organize, catalog and preserve our collection.

We wish Adam well in his new (full-time) position, and we’re grateful to be receiving his assistance in recruiting, and hiring his replacement. With that said, the SPAAMFAA Archives is (soon will be) hiring! We are looking for a part-time person to work in Kansas City. A degree or commensurate experience in library science, or museums, or archives work is required, but if you know anyone with these qualifications, please contact us at:

As always, the financial needs of the archive are great, and our funding is small. We encourage you to make a tax-deductible contribution to the “Lee Soderbeck Memorial Fund” which directly funds and benefits the Archives and Library.

See our Financial Contributions Page for more details.

Posted April 3, 2018:

On March 15, 2018, the SPAAMFAA Archives in Kansas City took possession of a collection of books from longtime member, and fire bookophile, Tom Scott. Tom, and his wife Janet, began collecting fire books in 1955. Since 1973, they wrote the popular “On the Bookshelf” column for SPAAMFAA’s Enjine!-Enjine! magazine.   Together they amassed one of the largest firefighting history book collections in the world, with sections on general firefighting history, apparatus, specific fires, technical manuals, firefighting fiction, non-fiction biographies, and a significant number of history/yearbooks from individual fire departments around North America.   All-totaled, their library numbered more than 2,600 volumes!   After donating a number of books to the SPAAMFAA Archives several years ago, Tom decided to donate his ENTIRE collection to the SPAAMFAA Archives late last year.

It took lot of effort to pack, move, unpack, sort, and organize this amazing collection of books, but through the magic of volunteers (and some time-lapse photography), you can see how we did it in less than one minute!

Again, many thanks go to the volunteers from the Eastern Tennessee Fire Historical Society and the Metro Kansas City Chapter (Independence ’76 Fire Co.) for their assistance in making this happen!


Posted March 14, 2018:

Loaded up and Trucken!
Chief Darryl Kerley and Tom Scott, are loaded up and getting ready to depart Oak Ridge Fire Station west-bound for the SPAAMFAA Archives in Kansas City.

Longtime SPAAMFAA member, and fire bookophile, Tom Scott has chosen to donate his entire collection of fire service related books to the SPAAMFAA Archives. Tom’s library consists of more than 2,600 volumes! It includes books relating to general firefighting history, specific fires, fire apparatus, firefighter stories and anecdotes, histories and yearbooks of specific departments, firehouse cookbooks, children’s books, and more.

On January 25, 2018 Bill Killen and members of the East Tennessee Fire Historical Society chapter of SPAAMFAA packed and loaded these books into fifty-four boxes. Today Chief Darryl Kerley (Oak Ridge Fire Department, and ETFHS member) is driving a U-Haul cross-country to Kansas City, where a team of volunteers from the Metro Kansas City Chapter of SPAAMFAA is standing-by ready to unload and shelve the books in the archives.

. . . Stay tuned for more updates.

Posted October 2, 2017:

David Lewis and myself (Deborah Davis) just returned from a trip to the Archives.

We welcomed our new archivist, Adam Paxton, who spent two half-days with us. We introduced him to the collection, and turned-on the computer, and checked the copier, printer, and did some test scans. All is well and Adam is ready to get to work.

We ended up working at the archive in Kansas City for four days. During that time, we took lots of overall photos of the space, inventoried our fixed assets (IE: how many banks of shelving do we have). and of course added a copy of our new book,  “On the Ramp: Photos from the collection” to our library shelves.

The archives have received two collections/donations so far this year, 2017. Approximately four boxes of fire apparatus parts and service manuals (most from the 1970s and 80s). and six or seven boxes of miscellaneous photos, literature, delivery photos (and negatives), books and catalogs. While we didn’t have time to catalogue everything contained in the over-size boxes, we did put a dent in the task and placed some things on shelves.

SPAAMFAA has a fantastic collection to be proud of. However for a collection to be valuable, we need to create an electronic inventory (to be able to electronically search and find what we have), and be able to physically locate a requested document in the stacks. At this time, the majority of the collection is in archival boxes, but we do not have a list of the box contents. This will be Adam’s primary task. In the coming weeks/months we will also discuss how best to accession incoming collections, and the arrangement of the collection on out physical shelving.

There’s a lot of work to do, and it’s overwhelming at times, but we are excited about the treasures we have, and eager to share more of them with you.

Stay tuned, more good things to come

— Debby
Deborah Davis, Chair SPAAMFAA Archives Committee

Posted September 2017:

PRESS RELEASE – September 2017

SPAAMFAA Archives – Kansas City, MO

The Archives Committee of the Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America (SPAAMFAA), is pleased to introduce Adam Paxson as the society’s new archivist. Adam has an undergraduate degree from Kansas State University, and a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from University of Missouri. He brings a wealth of experience having worked as collections manger, librarian, and archivist for several collections and archives.

“Adam will be working to better organize, catalogue, and digitize the materials we have amassed over the last thirty years” says Deborah Davis, Chairman of the SPAAMFAA Archives Committee. “We are very pleased that Adam has answered our call. His efforts will make this tremendous collection more accessible.”

Steve Heaver, Sr. Vice President of SPAAMFAA remarked, “We are pleased to accomplish our corporate long range vision to transition from an all volunteer committee working in the collection to finally hiring a part-time contractor who can dedicate professional time to our archives.”

Established in 1985, as a program of SPAAMFAA, the archives consist of more than 120 feet of shelved materials, flat files, vertical files, and thousands of photographs, books, and fire service periodicals. The collections also includes informative materials such as sales literature, parts lists, operation and repair manuals, and, fire apparatus blueprints all relating to American motor fire apparatus, including hand-pulled (manual), horse-drawn (steam) and motorized (gas and diesel) equipment.

In 2015, the SPAAMFAA Archives collection was moved to a new space in Kansas City, MO shared with the Antique Truck Historical Society (ATHS). Adam lives in the Kansas City area, and when not working as a archivist, librarian, and historian, he is an accomplished musician holding a Bachelor of Music in horn performance.

Please join us in welcoming Adam Paxson.

For more information, contact:
Deborah Davis, Chair of the Archives Committee

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Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America, (SPAAMFAA) is an educational organization of people dedicated to the preservation, restoration, and operation of antique fire apparatus. Founded in 1958, SPAAMFAA has fifty chapters, and nearly 3,000 members from around the world. The organization provides to those with interest in antique fire apparatus, a variety of publications, resources, events, and related activities.

SPAAMFAA’s Archives Program was established in 1987 and was physically located in Hershey, PA at the Antique Automobile Club of America. Near the end of 2015, the Archives were moved to Kansas City, MO sharing space with another 501(c)(3), the Antique Truck Historical Society.

Posted May 2017:

Goals and Objectives of the
SPAAMFAA Archives Committee

  • Create a Mission Statement (purpose) of The SPAAMFAA Archives
  • With the establishment of a SPAAMFAA subordinate location, the Archives will file application forms, per nonprofit regulations, required to conduct business in the State of Missouri, and in the city of Kansas City
  • Establish Policies and Procedures (ongoing)
  • Expand on the recording of the approved 2017 Budget and report activity
  • Focus attention to inventory, catalogue, and, make the materials in the Archives more accessible to SPAAMFAA members, researchers and historians.
  • Having the approval of the Board of Trustees, hire an on-site archivist:
    • Create and approve the Job Description; and,
    • Open recruitment, interview, and hire an archivist
  •  At a minimum of once per year, one or more Committee Members visit the Archives in Kansas City, MO
  • Continue to enhance the working relationship with American Truck Historical Society (ATHS)
  • Formally acknowledge the retiring archivist
  • Further develop and support the efforts to fund raise

Posted January 2016:

What’s Happening In Kansas City

The SPAAMFAA Board of Directors and Archives Committee we were notified by the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA). to remove our material from Hershey PA and a decision was made to enter into as agreement and share space with the Antique Truck Historical Society (ATHS) based in Kansas City, MO.

SPAAMFAA Archivist, Ed Peterson began packing and recording immediately, and with a team of volunteers working under David Napier everything was boxed and loaded into a moving van on November 19, 2015.  The truck then headed for Tom Scott’s house in Tennessee to pick a large collection of books from his library. Those cartons were filled and loaded by local fire fighters. Once the truck arrived at Kansas City, another team, also working under Past-President David Napier, unloaded the truck into a space while still another team delivered, unloaded, and assembled shelving and storage cabinets.

As of January 2016, all of the SPAAMFAA materials are now shelved and can be easily found.  The next goal (2017) will be to begin detailing the contents of each box and file so that members will be able to search on line. How fast we can get how much material on line will be determined by the Society’s fund raising efforts to hire a staff member.

The library will continue to accept gifts of archival, two-dimensional, materials and the committee asks that you contact us to discuss such photographs or specifications that you have in mind.

Unfortunately the SPAAMFAA Archives is not prepared to handle any specific research inquiries at this time.