George Gmelch (B.A., Stanford and Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara) joined the Union faculty in 1982. He partially retired from Union in 2008, retaining a half line, shared with Sharon Gmelch. He did his early research in Ireland among a nomadic group known as Tinkers or Travellers. Since then he has done research on return migration in Ireland, Newfoundland and Barbados, studied the ecology of salmon fisherman in Alaska, ecology and nomadism of Gypsies in England, the culture of professional baseball players in the United States, and the working lives of tourism workers in Barbados and the Napa Valley, and work mobility among oil and gas workers in Newfoundland.
Professor Gmelch is currently studying culture change in rural Newfoundland and work mobility in the offshore oil industry, as part of a seven-year multidisciplinary team project.
He is the author and editor of 13 books and 75 articles dealing with his research topics. His most recent books are Playing with Tigers: A Minor-League Chronicle of the Sixties (Nebraska 2016) and Irish Travellers: The Unsettled Life(Indiana 2014, with Sharon Gmelch), an account of the contemporary settled life of the Travellers that the Gmelches first studied in the 1970s; Tasting the Good Life: Wine Tourism in Napa (Indiana, 2011, with Sharon Gmelch), a study of wine tourism in Napa, and In the Ballpark: The Lives of Baseball People (2006, Bison, co-written with former student JJ Weiner). He has also written for a general audience for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Psychology Today, Society, Stanford Magazine, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and has had nine articles published in Natural History.