Henry Alley, Sr. (1835-1908) was an innovator, author, and educator with wide-ranging influence in the field of apiculture. Although Alley was employed as a shoemaker into the 1870s, his affinity lay with bee keeping as early as the age of 23 when he acquired his first hive (circa 1858). By the mid-19th century, a market for young queen bees had developed. By 1861, Alley was one of just three beekeepers in the United States producing queens for sale. By 1880, Alley had established his Bay State Apiary and was working full time as an apiarist.
Alley eagerly shared his knowledge with apiarists worldwide. Alley wrote extensively on apiculture. For ten years beginning in 1883, Alley was a regular contributor to “The American Apiculturist,” a journal published in Salem, Massachusetts. Alley’s books on the subject include: The beekeeper’s handy book; or, Twenty-two years’ experience in queen-rearing. (1883); Thirty years among the bees. (1893); The national beekeepers’ directory. (1889); and, Improved queen-rearing or how to rear large, prolific, long-lived queen bees (1903). Alley was also a prolific inventor. Among his inventions are: the Alley Drone Trap, the Alley Shipping Cage, the Alley Smoker, and the Bay State Bee Hive.
In town, he resided in the house located at 14 Larch Row, Wenham, Mass.