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Thomas M. Gately papers

Identifier: AKE-10-1

Scope and Contents Note

The Thomas M. Gately papers are a collection of historical photographs of prize-winning dogs, and materials related to the Gatelys' handling and kennel business.

The majority of Photographs series are "win shots" taken at the presentation of the prize at a dog show. In addition, there are many professional portraits of dogs, and a few casual pictures. The majority of photographs, both "win shots" and portraits, were taken by photographer William Brown. The photographs are a potentially valuable resource for those tracing changes to the breeds over time, as well as for researchers looking for images of particular judges, kennel clubs, and dog shows. The group most fully represented is the Terrier Group. The breeds most fully represented are Airedales, Wirehaired Fox Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, and Greyhounds. With the exception of photographs of Pugs, there are very few photographs from the Non-Sporting, Working, and Toy groups, with some folders having only one or two images. The majority of photographs are from the 1950's and 1960's, and most of them are black and white 8x10s, although there are a good number of smaller photographs as well, as well as Stud Dog Cards with photographs on them.

The personal photographs of the Gatelys, their friends, and their home, provide biographical illustration.

The Documents series chronicles the daily business of a kennel and handling operation. It gives a good sense of the scope of the Gatelys' business and the many people with whom they were in contact. Harold and Marion Florsheim, of Florsheim Shoe fame, were two of Gately's main clients, and are particularly well represented. In addition, the series contains a few periodicals and clippings which provide historical context on the sport of purebred dogs. Most notable are the 1955 issue of Holiday in which the reporter follows Gately at the Westminster show, and a December 1968 profile of Gately clipped from the Philadelphia Sunday Times Advertiser.


  • 1925-1989
  • Majority of material found within 1944-1968


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Access Restrictions

This material is open to research without restrictions.

Publishing and Use Restrictions

Many of the materials, particularly photographs, may still be under copyright and require permission of the AKC and/or the creator. Please consult the Archivist.

Biographical Note

Thomas M. Gately ("Tom" to his friends) was born on December 19, 1905 in Reading, Pennsylvania, the youngest of four children of Irish immigrant parents. He became interested in the dog world as a teenager and exhibited his first dog in 1924. Deciding to become a professional handler, he apprenticed under handlers Frank Brumby, Lew Worden, and Abe Swartz before starting his own business in 1927.

In 1931 he married Katherine Kilgore (born February 20, 1910, and known to all as Kay). She went into the handling business with him, and became a successful handler herself. As the owners of Gayterry Kennels in Wilton, Connecticut, they guided the breeding operations of many clients and bred their own Wire Fox, Kerry Blue, and Welsh Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, Brittany Spaniels, and other dogs. Kay Gately ran the business without her husband for two years during World War II, when Tom Gately served as Head Kennelman and Technical Sergeant in the War Dog Company of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Tom Gately was an extraordinarily busy and successful handler, usually participating in more than sixty-five shows a year. He was best-known as a terrier expert, but he was versatile, handling dogs in all six groups (the Working Group had not yet been divided into the Working and Herding Groups), including more than eight hundred champions. He never won Best in Show at Westminster, but he won five groups there, and won Best in Show or Group at many other prestigious shows. Because of his excellent judgment, he was often commissioned to purchase dogs for clients. He took particular pride in the fact that many of these dogs went on to become champions.

After undergoing an operation in 1967 and suffering a serious car accident in 1968, Tom Gately decided to retire from handling and breeding dogs. The Gatelys continued to breed harness horses, maintaining a racing stable at their farm in Pineville, Pennsylvania, and continued to hunt with dogs. Tom Gately also wrote regular articles for

Physical Description

11 Linear Feet (in 16 boxes (4 oversized mixed collection boxes, 2 small flat boxes, 7 doc boxes, 1 legal-sized doc box, and 2 half-width doc boxes))


The Thomas M. Gately papers collect photographs, correspondence, clippings, and other documents related to the Gatelys' handling and kennel business with a focus on photographs of their prize-winning dogs. The majority of the photographs are "win shots" and the majority of the documents are books, receipts, correspondence, and clippings related to the kennel and handling business. There are also some photographs and documents related to the Gatelys' personal life.


The Thomas M. Gately papers are arranged into two main series.

Manuscripts includes Business Notes, Certificates, and Other Documents.

Photographs consists of the Terrier Group, Hound Group, Sporting Group, Non-Sporting Group, Toy Group, Personal Photographs, Negatives, Slides, and Printing Blocks and Drawings


Thomas M. Gately's niece and/or nephew donated the materials following Gately's death in 1997.

Guide to the Thomas M. Gately papers
Originally processed by Cherie Acierno. Edits by Craig P. Savino, 2011.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the American Kennel Club Library & Archives Repository

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New York NEW YORK 10178 United States