The E.I.A., in its present form, is the outgrowth of a co-operative effort, initiated in 1943 by a handful of envelope companies. They included several members of the Envelope Manufacturers’ Association who were subscribers to a service offered by George Gaw, formerly President of Gaw-O’Hara Envelope company. It was known as the Direct Mail Research Institute.

At that time, A.J. Hopkins of Gaw-O’Hara Envelope company and George Moss of Western States Envelope company, were on the Executive Committee of the Envelope Manufacturers’ Association, when Roland Bliss was Executive Secretary. The president of the EMA was Howard Reineman of Rochester Envelope company. At a general meeting of EMA, he was instructed to form a committee to investigate and recommend programs that members could use to promote sales and upgrade envelopes after the World War Two let-down. Al Hopkins and George Moss were made Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively of this new Committee known as the Research and Merchandising Committee.

The new Committee worked with George Gaw because of his background in the Envelope Industry and the service he had provided a handful of envelope manufacturers through his Direct Mail Research Institute. The program they came up with did not seem to fit the widely divergent interests of the EMA members so Al Hopkins and George Moss decided to recommend it to those who were subscribers to Direct Mail Research Institute service and invite a few more hand-picked companies to join.

Invitations were sent out to these companies to attend a two-day meeting in Chicago in March, 1943. After two days of discussion a new envelope trade association was born, christened the Envelope Institute of America.

The founders of the EIA consisted of leaders in the industry, they had the urge to establish a small cohesive organization dedicated to improving every phase of envelope manufacturing by working closely together.