Neckties

From daughter to father, this thoughtful collection reflects the ties that bind.



Bob Gale, who has written 48 reference books, began a tie collection with the help of his daughter, Chris.

Photos by Becky Thurner Braddock

You're familiar with the expression, "What do I give the person who has everything?"

Thirty years ago when Chris Gale was pondering a gift for her father, Bob Gale, for his birthday and for Christmas—both occasions being two days apart—the question was, "What do I give the man who has done everything?"

Bob Gale has led, and is leading, a remarkable life. A handsome man of only 90 with a twinkle in his eye and a sharp wit, the Oakland resident graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College, received his master's and Ph.D. from Columbia University and has written 48 reference books (under the name Robert L. Gale) on a long list of authors. In fact, with the exception of 2005, he has published a book each year since 1953—the most recent was a book about Truman Capote, with an upcoming title on Raymond Chandler.

The answer of what to give her dad was facing Chris Gale, a divorce and custody lawyer who lives in Squirrel Hill, all along: Her father loved to wear neckties. "The first tie I gave him had a 'great American authors' theme," says Chris. The tie, which had no pictures on it, was adorned with squares and authors' signatures-Mark Twain included.

Bob adds, "I loved the tie so much that she gave me one for each gift after."

necktie
Check out more neckties from Bob Gale's collection.

Each tie (Chris only buys silk) became a new chapter in his collection, every one representing a different interest. First, of course, was literature, and the ties included images of well-stocked bookshelves, a library card catalog, cowboy scenes (Bob has written books about cowboy literature), Mark Twain and great American authors (more subjects of Bob's books), Chaucer and Shakespeare—frequent subjects of Bob's teachings at the universities where he taught over the years.

Many feature Bob's personal passions, including opera and ballet, paper airplanes ("Dad likes to make them and throw them at people ... inappropriately," Chris jokes), beaches, baseball ("I'm a dedicated Pirates fan," Bob says), stamp collecting, ice cream (mint chocolate chip or butter pecan) and the U.S. presidents (he can name them in order and in rapid succession—a talent his mother taught him).

Others tie in Bob's personal history or fun miscellany, including ears of corn (he was born in Iowa), wartime airplanes (he was a second lieutenant in the Air Force division of the U.S. Army, serving in the Counter-Intelligence Corps during World War II), and the Pitt Panther (he taught a variety of literature-focused courses at the University of Pittsburgh for almost 30 years).

But his favorite ties, the ones with the greatest sentimental value, have to do with his wife, Maureen, who died in 2007. Bob met Maureen in London in 1943 while he was in the Air Force, and they were married for almost 63 years. Such ties in Bob's collection include a London road map (that coincidentally includes the spot where they lived), a map of New York City (they lived there while Bob taught at Columbia University), and the Book of Kells and Irish pubs, reflecting Maureen's homeland of Ireland. Chris also had a tie made for her dad that features a photo of her mom taken in London's Hyde Park, which, along with his Mona Lisa tie, Bob names as favorites.

Chris has purchased most of the ties through catalogs and some from local shops. Currently, Bob's collection boasts a total of 36 ties, which are hung on a tie rack in his bedroom closet. And Bob's love of chess and fencing means there are plenty more ties for Chris to find. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and head outdoors for 10 great walks for spring.
412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

Local nonprofit organization 412 Food Rescue is taking food that otherwise would be tossed aside and connecting it with those in need through-of-the-moment technology.
Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Fashion is white haute this spring with the best looks from local stores.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

It's a Sign: Could Pittsburgh Be the New Hollywood?

It's a Sign: Could Pittsburgh Be the New Hollywood?

Pittsburgh could be well on its way to replicating one of Hollywood’s most prominent landmarks.
Where in Pittsburgh to Dump Your Old TV or Computer

Where in Pittsburgh to Dump Your Old TV or Computer

You are going to want to print this list and keep it handy.
Watch: Jameson Taillon's Remarkable Recovery

Watch: Jameson Taillon's Remarkable Recovery

Sports media company Whistle Sports documented Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon's recovery workout regime.
Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

The Heinz History Center’s World War II traveling exhibit focuses on western Pennsylvania’s ties to history.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and head outdoors for 10 great walks for spring.
412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

Local nonprofit organization 412 Food Rescue is taking food that otherwise would be tossed aside and connecting it with those in need through-of-the-moment technology.
Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Fashion is white haute this spring with the best looks from local stores.
Restaurant Review: Pork & Beans

Restaurant Review: Pork & Beans

The latest restaurant from the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group brings Texas-style smoked meats and more to Downtown.
Daytripping: Brave the Cave

Daytripping: Brave the Cave

Go subterranean at Laurel Caverns, the largest cave in Pennsylvania.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


It's a Sign: Could Pittsburgh Be the New Hollywood?

It's a Sign: Could Pittsburgh Be the New Hollywood?

Pittsburgh could be well on its way to replicating one of Hollywood’s most prominent landmarks.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Dish Osteria and Bar To Close

Dish Osteria and Bar To Close

The beloved Pittsburgh institution will serve its last meal in April.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


The (Very Good) Brewery You Should Be Patronizing in Homestead

The (Very Good) Brewery You Should Be Patronizing in Homestead

Voodoo Brewery is an enticing alternative to the many chains in and around the Waterfront.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers’ Philosophy Back on Display After Hightower Flirtation

Steelers’ Philosophy Back on Display After Hightower Flirtation

Even as they entertained Dont’a Hightower for nearly seven hours during a free-agent recruiting trip to the South Side, the Steelers never lost sight of who they are or what they’re all about.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Turn Your Bath into a Spa with These Oils

Turn Your Bath into a Spa with These Oils

The miniature bath- and shower-oil collection from Aromatherapy Associates makes every shower a luxury experience.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The CMU Film Fest Opens with One of 2016's Best

The CMU Film Fest Opens with One of 2016's Best

Reviews of two films appearing at the 2017 Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival: "I, Daniel Blake," and "The Eagle Huntress." Plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Combating the Cold: How This Couple Pulled Off Their Winter Wedding

Combating the Cold: How This Couple Pulled Off Their Winter Wedding

Happy to see warmer weather? This gorgeous winter wedding may actually have you missing the snow.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Auction Alert: Own a Piece of Artistry

Auction Alert: Own a Piece of Artistry

Looking for a unique piece? Inventory from Artistry, which closed up shop in the Strip District after more than 25 years in business, will be sold at auction this weekend.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
New Club is a Hit at Thiel College

New Club is a Hit at Thiel College

The Outdoor Recreation Club becomes the newest student organization at the college.

Comments

Bob Gale's collection of neckties began as a gift from his daughter, Chris.