Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943

Memorials: Thad Tate

Thad Tate

Photo Credit: ©1988 Yousuf Karsh

In Memoriam: Thad Tate

April 21, 2017. This morning my wife brought to my attention that Thad Tate had passed away. In 1983 I was an undergraduate at the College, and was interested in writing an Honors Thesis on an aspect of Revolutionary America. Heeding Lud Johnson’s advice, I went to see Thad Tate to see if he might serve as my advisor.

He agreed to do so, and it was Thad Tate’s suggestion that I write a biography because of its self-contained nature. He helped me put together a list of background reading, loaned me books, and immensely improved my handwritten drafts with his editorial comments. However, it was not just his knowledge, but his welcoming demeanor, that set him apart. At least with me, he demonstrated patience and a true interest in actually wanting to teach. The fact that we shared the same unusual first name was not lost on either one of us, or anyone else in the History Dep’t; Jim Axtell once observed that it was incestuous.

While working with Dr. Tate was not the only highlight of my time at the College (after all, I met my wife there), my thesis was one of the best things I ever did as an undergraduate, and that was largely due to him. I will always be grateful.

Thad Weaver
B.A., William & Mary, Class of ’84