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Gerry Smith To Retire As Broome County Historian

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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -

Broome County Historian and City of Binghamton Historian Gerry Smith is stepping out of both roles and into retirement. It's been nearly 40 years since a 23 year old Smith was hired by what was then the Binghamton Public Library (now Broome County Public Library). He still distinctly remembers his first day on the job: March 13, 1978.

"My office was in the basement of the court house, where the only other thing down there was the men's room," says Smith, "The side doors were still unlocked because it was prior to 2001 and we would have an interesting assortment of clientele that would come in asking where the men's room was... I don't think they were there for historical research."

Ten years later, in 1988, Smith was appointed Broome County Historian. At age 33, he was the second youngest county historian ever appointed in New York State. 

Smith in 1988, newly appointed as the Broome County Historian.

Smith says the most rewarding experience to come from the last 31 years as county historian is the creation of the history center at the library where collections from all over the county have been consolidated into one location that's easy for the public to find and use.

"It makes it more accessible," says Smith.

Smith did step down once before, but that was only for two weeks and he was back at it again. This time, he says it really is retirement. Smith planned to retire at the end of 2019, but some recent health issues forced him to take a step back a little sooner than he had planned. His last day will be January 24th.

While you won't be able to find him at the library three days a week anymore, Smith says he's not going far. He'll continue to play an active role in the Broome County Historical Society, research at his home office, write, and teach. As he puts it: "I've still got about 20 or 30 years left in me. You can't get rid of me that easily."