Meet the Historian -Tamara Gates


I’m a very excited historian who was appointed on Sep. 26, 2018 to be the Town of Nichols Historian.  Why am I excited?  History excites me.  I’m one of those who believe history is fun, and should also be accessible by others.

As a child I read histories from the children’s section of my local library. My life has been an enthusiastic chase for history that has led me to do genealogy, fashion history, and museum studies.  While I didn’t finish my degree in textile conservation (I’m not very good at chemistry), I completed certificate courses from respected associations that cover archives, museum collections, paper identification and storage, and climate control for small museums.  I did a lot of work at the Phelps Mansion Museum in Binghamton covering everything from newsletter articles, artifact identification and cataloging, and planning and installing exhibits.  I’ve also taught classes on genealogy, specializing on Quakers and Southeast Woodland Natives Peoples (I’m Cherokee and Quapaw through my mother).

I help my partner, Doug, to develop characters for his company which teaches American History through 1st person interpretation.  Through that, I portray a c. 1800 pioneer, a Native American Rights and universal education advocate, a Civil War widow, the wife of inventor George Westinghouse, and a Binghamton school teacher in 1917 teaching others how to support our troops overseas.  I take that passion into everything I write and present because if history’s boring, it’s historians who make it boring.

Doug and I live in an historic home in Owego with our small dog, TJ.  I sew a lot (including my own corsets and program costumes), and love historic needlework (I’m teaching a lot of tatting recently).  I enjoy French baking and look for an excuse to make a classic French dessert or classic Alsatian cuisine.

I will be at the Cady Library almost every Monday (weather and legal holidays permitting) from about 2:15 to 7:45.  I’m happy to help you with genealogy how-to (I’m not supposed to do it for you) and other research techniques, or how to care for an historic item (I don’t do value assessments).  In the meantime, I’m developing indexes for different available records that will become part of the Town’s collection so that researchers can have easier access to the people who have made up the history of this beautiful township.  Please feel free to drop in to say hello or ask questions.

Tamara Gates