I was born in New Jersey and am a graduate of The George Washington University with a BS degree.
I have worked as a local historian for a great number of years, teaching local history at Tompkins Cortland Community College and now at Cornell University where I am a Senior Lecturer. I have research and written about our area's history in a weekly newspaper column, in Heritage, the magazine of the NY State Historical Association, and in several books including The Peopling of tompkins County: A Social History and What They Wrote, a book of local documents.
In addition, I have lectured and written about the problems, joys, ethics, sources, and themes of local history. I wrote a series of articles for New York History (1980-1985) issued as Plain as Pipestem (Heart of the Lakes Press, Interlaken, NY). AASLH asked me to write a book about the problems and possibilities of local history and in 1985 that organization published On Doing Local History: Reflections on What Local Historians Do, Why, and What It Means which Alta Mira Press is reissuing later this fall along with The Local History Reader.
I have lectured in a variety of places and served as a historical consultant in NY state, and in other states by invitation of State Historical Societies, the National Humanities Faculty, and State Humanities Boards.
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