Wells, Eric Steele (1912-) | Amistad Research Center
Eric Steele Wells was a graduate of Avery Institute in Charleston, South Carolina. Upon graduation, he moved to New York City, where he worked for Bell Telephone Laboratories and developed a collection of materials related to African-Americana and Africana.
Eric Steele Wells, was born in 1912 to Susie Gibson Steele and Thomas Wells of Charleston, South Carolina. He was raised by his material grandparents, Marie and Louise Steele. His siblings included Louise A. Allston and Thomas Wells. Eric Wells attended the American Missionary Association's Avery Normal Institute in Charleston, graduating in 1930. Following his graduation, he moved to New York City and lived in Harlem and Greenwich Village. Upon his arrival, he worked as a dishwasher, waiter, and chauffer. He studied machine craft at night at the Connecticut Technical School in Stamford, Connecticut, while working as a chauffer. Afterwards, he began works as a trainee-apprentice at The Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1943 and rose to Engineer-Associate at The Western Electric Company. He was employed as a skilled mechanical craftsman for over 26 years in the research laboratories at American Telephone & Telegraph Company. Beginning in Charleston and continuing into his New York days, Wells developed an interest in collecting materials related to African Americans and Africana.
Wells married Florence Gorden of New York in 1947; they had one daughter, Susan Marie, in 1954. Wells also had nine half brothers and sisters with the family name Herndon, many of whom lived in Cincinnati, Ohio.