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Collection Number: 05455

Collection Title: Geraldine Cate Papers, 1918-1996

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


This collection was processed with support from Elizabeth Moore Ruffin.

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Size 2.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 2000 items)
Abstract Geraldine "Gerry" Spinks Cate (1910-1998) was a musician, music educator, and social activist in chiefly in Raleigh, N.C. She studied at the University of South Carolina; Westminster Choir College; Teachers College, Columbia University; and the Juilliard School. Cate held positions at Silliman University in the Philippines, where she was sponsored by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.; Peace College, the Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, and Saint Mary's College, all in Raleigh; the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C.; and other institutions. Cate was especially dedicated to interracial reconciliation. The collection includes letters, photographs, printed material, and other papers related to the activities of Geraldine Cate. Travel materials chiefly consist of letters from Cate to her family in South Carolina during her time spent as an instructor at Silliman University in the Philippines and while traveling internationally with Nell Hirschberg, travel diaries, and other documents. Included is documentation of Cate's mother's trip to Japan in 1938. Also included are school records, performance programs, clippings, resumes and applications, awards and honors, letters, student work, and other papers relating the institutions in which she studied or taught. Photographs are chiefly of Cate and the choirs with which she was associated. There are also two photograph albums relating to her time in the Philippines. Note that there are no files related to Cate's activist activities.
Creator Cate, Geraldine (Geraldine Spinks), 1910-1998.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Geraldine Cate Papers #5455, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Elizabeth Cate Pringle of Chapel Hill, N.C., in February 2010 (Acc. 101255).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Geraldine "Gerry" Spinks Cate (1910-1998) was a musician, music educator, and social activist in Raleigh, N.C., and the Philippines. She held positions at Silliman University in the Philippines (sponsored by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.); Peace College, the Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, and Saint Mary's College, all in Raleigh, N.C.; the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winstom-Salem, N.C.; and at other institutions. Cate was especially dedicated to interracial reconciliation.

Born in Columbia, S.C., to Charles Jacob Cate and Florence Spinks Cate, Cate received bachelor's degrees from the University of South Carolina in 1931 and from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, N.J., in 1933. After graduation, she organized a music department and served as a voice teacher and choral director at Silliman University in the Philippines, where she was supported by the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions. She remained there until 1938 when she left to obtain her master of music degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also attended Juilliard School of Music from 1939 to 1940, after which she moved to Raleigh, N.C., to become the director of vocal music at Saint Mary's College, a position she held until 1976. Cate also was a visiting instructor in voice at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C., from 1968 to 1973.

Cate served as director of music at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C., from 1944 to 1985, where she was a member of the Board of Deacons and was also involved with the Organ Guild, the Raleigh Oratorio Society, Saint Cecilia Chorus, the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild, the North Carolina Symphony, and the North Carolina Bach Festival. She was a member of the National Association of the Teachers of Singing and served as national vice president, president of the North Carolina chapter, and governor of its southeastern and mid-Atlantic regions. Cate coached voice privately until she left Raleigh in 1997.

In 1985, Cate was the first recipient of the Medal of the Arts given by the Raleigh Arts Commission for her service to arts in the city. She served on the board of the Estey Hall Foundation at Shaw University from 1981 until her death in 1998. Cate lived with Dr. Nell Hirschberg for many years in Raleigh, N.C.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The Geraldine Cate Papers include letters, photographs, printed material, and other papers related to the activities of Geraldine Cate. Travel materials chiefly consist of letters from Cate to her family in South Carolina during her time spent as an instructor at Silliman University in the Philippines and while traveling internationally with Nell Hirschberg, travel diaries, and other documents. Included is documentation of Cate's mother's trip to Japan in 1938. Also included are school records, performance programs, clippings, resumes and applications, awards and honors, letters, student work, and other papers relating the institutions in which she studied or taught. Photographs are chiefly of Cate and the choirs with which she was associated. There are also two photograph albums relating to her time in the Philippines. Note that there are no files related to Cate's activist activities.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Travel materials, 1932-1982.

About 800 items.

Arrangement: Chronological.

Chiefly letters written by Geraldine Cate to family and friends in South Carolina during her time living in the Philippines. Also included are a few letters to Cate during that time, travel diaries and documents, and letters written during international travel with Nell Hirschberg. Also included is Florence Spinks Cate's travel notebook from a trip to Japan.

Folder 1

Letters from San Francisco trip, 1933 #05455, Series: "1. Travel materials, 1932-1982." Folder 1

Includes a letter from Cate's father, Charles Jacob Cate, to his wife, Florence Spinks Cate.

Folder 2-12

Folder 2

Folder 3

Folder 4

Folder 5

Folder 6

Folder 7

Folder 8

Folder 9

Folder 10

Folder 11

Folder 12

Letters from the Philippines, 1933-1938 #05455, Series: "1. Travel materials, 1932-1982." Folder 2-12

Folder 13

Travel diary, 1936-1938 #05455, Series: "1. Travel materials, 1932-1982." Folder 13

Documentation of Geraldine Cate's travel in the Philippines and Europe.

Folder 14

Letters from shipboard to Japan, 1938 #05455, Series: "1. Travel materials, 1932-1982." Folder 14

Folder 15

Trip to Japan recollections, 1938 #05455, Series: "1. Travel materials, 1932-1982." Folder 15

Florence Spinks Cate's travel notebook and a typed recollection by Geraldine Cate.

Folder 16

Travel letters and related material, 1959-1979 #05455, Series: "1. Travel materials, 1932-1982." Folder 16

Includes a travel itinerary and a letter written by Nell Hirschberg.

Folder 17

Passport (Geraldine Cate), 1977-1982 #05455, Series: "1. Travel materials, 1932-1982." Folder 17

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s.

About 800 items.

Materials related to Geraldine Cate's school and professional career, including school records, performance programs, clippings, resumes and applications, awards and honors, various letters, and other papers. Also included are performance programs, letters, newspaper articles, and photographs of Cate's students and their career work.

Folder 18

Letters and recommendations, circa 1918-1933 #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 18

Chiefly letters and postcards to Geraldine Cate from her friends and family regarding school, social, and family life. Also included are recommendations and audition information for Cate and a letter from Florence Spinks Cate to her husband, Charles Jacob Cate, describing the Westminster Choir College graduation.

Folder 19

School records, 1920-1940 #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 19

Records, report cards, and commencement programs from the University of South Carolina, Columbia University, and the Juilliard School of Music. Also included is Geraldine Cate's University of South Carolina diploma.

Folder 20

Performance programs, circa 1920s-1980s #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 20

Programs of performances in which Geraldine Cate performed or directed.

Folder 21

Clippings, circa 1920s-1990s #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 21

About Cate, her performances, and later, articles on performances of her students.

Folder 22

Letters from Westminster Choir College, 1932-1933 #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 22

Letters written by Geraldine Cate during her time as a student.

Folder 23

Musical programs, Silliman University, 1933-1938 #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 23

Folder 24

Employment material, 1933, 1940, 1973, and undated #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 24

Resumes; applications; letters regarding Geraldine Cate's resignation from the North Carolina School of the Arts, 1973; and documents from the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., including a letter of instruction to missionaries and Cate's letter of resignation and related correspondence.

Folder 25

Printed material, circa 1933-1938 #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 25

Chiefly Silliman University newsletters and publications. Also includes a map of the Philippines.

Folder 26

Miscellaneous letters, 1933-1990s #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 26

Chiefly letters to Geraldine Cate from students, fans, friends, and family.

Folder 27

Reports from Geraldine Cate, 1934-1938 #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 27

Yearly reports detailing activities in the Philippines.

Folder 28

The Philippine Presbyterian magazine, 1936-1941 #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 28

Folder 29

Letters to Cate from her choir, 1938 #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 29

Goodbye letters to Cate before she left Silliman University.

Folder 30-31

Folder 30

Folder 31

Awards and honors, 1940-1994 #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 30-31

Includes nomination letters for the City of Raleigh Arts Commission, 1985.

Folder 32

Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, circa 1960s-1980s #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 32

Church bulletins, letters to Cate, newspaper articles related to Cate's retirement, and other materials.

Folder 33

Saint Mary's College, 1942, circa 1969-1991 #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 33

Chiefly letters of appreciation written to Geraldine Cate. Also includes a letter from Cate to her parents, 1942.

Folder 34

Student work, circa 1980s-1990s #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 34

Performance programs, letters, newspaper articles, and photographs of Geraldine's students and their career work. Also included is a nomination form for the Raleigh Medal of Arts on which Cate nominated James Longmire, an award he received in 1989.

Folder 35

Cate's speeches and essays on the Philippines, undated #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 35

Folder 36

Other papers, 1983-1990 #05455, Series: "2. School and professional career, 1920s-1990s." Folder 36

Includes an article about Geraldine Cate and Nell Hirschberg entitled "Snug and Smug... with clef and chisel" by Margaret Jones Hoffman, undated; a poem by Patrick Elliott honoring Cate, 1983; a list of addresses; assorted notes; a document related to the Geraldine Cate Scholarship Fund for Westminster College, 1990; a typed essay by Lena Spinks Laton; and genealogical materials.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Photographs, 1918-1995.

About 400 items.

Arrangement: Chronological.

Photographs of Geraldine Cate and her choirs, her time in the Philippines, and annotated photographs of the home she shared with Dr. Nell Hirschberg.

Image Folder PF-5455/1

Circa 1918-1995 #05455, Series: "3. Photographs, 1918-1995." PF-5455/1

Chiefly of Geraldine Cate.

Image Folder PF-5455/2

1932-1933 and undated #05455, Series: "3. Photographs, 1918-1995." PF-5455/2

Chiefly of choirs.

Image Folder PF-5455/3-4

PF-5455/3

PF-5455/4

Philippines photograph album 1, circa 1933-1938 #05455, Series: "3. Photographs, 1918-1995." PF-5455/3-4

Includes enclosures.

Image Folder PF-5455/5-6

PF-5455/5

PF-5455/6

Philippines photograph album 2, circa 1933-1938 #05455, Series: "3. Photographs, 1918-1995." PF-5455/5-6

Includes enclosures.

Image Folder PF-5455/7

Philippines, circa 1933-1938 #05455, Series: "3. Photographs, 1918-1995." PF-5455/7

Several photographs are annotated.

Image Folder PF-5455/8

Geraldine Cate and Nell Hirschberg's home, undated #05455, Series: "3. Photographs, 1918-1995." PF-5455/8

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Processing Information

Processed by: Kiley Orchard, April 2010

Encoded by: Kiley Orchard, April 2010

This collection was processed with support from Elizabeth Moore Ruffin.

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