People & Stories Oral History Project: Kevin Doherty

Kevin Doherty grew up in White Plains as part of the post-WW II baby boom, a group that, in his words, “causes problems wherever we go.”  Doherty has done much more than just cause problems though-he raised a family in White Plains and spent many years as an educator with BOCES.  A member of Union Hook & Ladder and a blues aficionado, Doherty also has strong connections to fascinating political and cultural strands of White Plains history.

In this recording listeners get a good dose of Doherty's sense of humor and prodigious memory for quirky stories.  His father worked as the real estate broker for the city and in the Parking Authority, and found himself at the center of a number of important changes in the city.  Taking after his father, Doherty also worked for the city.  He spent summers reading water meters in basements throughout White Plains (he likes to joke that he has probably been in your basement) and talks about how people used his readings to determine which numbers they would play that day.

Spend anytime talking with Doherty and you will hear about the blues sooner or later.  As a photographer and interviewer starting in the 1960s, Doherty had work published in Living Blues Magazine and later donated his collection to the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi.  His time in the music scene made him an expert on nightlife in White Plains, and this oral history has a few stories you might not have heard in the “official” histories of White Plains.

Doherty generously shared some of his favorite photographs with us, but wanted to make sure the first picture was of him with his wife, Susan, and daughter, Kaitlin.

 

Doherty's first newspaper appearance, in the New York World-Telegram and Sun on October 14, 1953.

Doherty's first newspaper appearance, in the New York World-Telegram and Sun on October 14, 1953.

Kevin in front of 59 Old Mamaroneck Road

Kevin in front of 59 Old Mamaroneck Road

Panthers basketball team in the Reporter Dispatch on March 27, 1956.

Panthers basketball team in the Reporter Dispatch on March 27, 1956.

Dan Smith, a blues harmonica player, who lived in White Plains.

Dan Smith, a harmonica player, lived in White Plains.

Clarence Gatemouth Brown at the 1977 Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Clarence Gatemouth Brown at the 1977 Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Peter Tosh performing in Boston in 1978.

Peter Tosh performing in Boston in 1978.

Benny Waters and the Harlem Jazz and Blues Band at the Emelin Theater in the 1970s.

Benny Waters and the Harlem Jazz and Blues Band at the Emelin Theater in the 1970s.

Categories: History and Oral History.