Finding Aid for William Tate Papers 1903-1980 (UGA 97-085)
Record Group: 6 (V.P.Student Affairs)
135 Boxes: 128 Cubic Feet
Collection is stored off site. Access may be delayed by retrieval time.
William Tate was born in Calhoun, Georgia on September 21, 1903 and raised on a farm in Fairmount. Although the Tate family had established the marble industry in Pickens County, William's father, Philip May Tate, decided to become a banker. He served as the first president of the Calhoun National Bank while at the same time taking care of the family's farm.
Following her husband's death, young Tate's mother, Edna Ferguson Tate, took over management of the farm at Fairmount. She also served as as president of the Fairmount Bank and principal of the local high school.
After graduation from Fairmount High School and the Georgia Military Academy, William Tate attended the University of Georgia. As an undergraduate at the University of Georgia, Tate was a champion miler, two-miler and cross-country runner. He was prevented by illness from running against Paavo Nurmi, the peerless Finnish distance runner, who had won the Wanamaker Mile at New York’s Millrose Athletic Club and gold medals in the 1924 Olympics.
Some of Tate's other accomplishments, while a student at UGA, included serving as President of the Phi Kappa Literary Society and as a holder of its speaking key. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Sphinx, Delta Tau Delta social fraternity, Gridiron, Omicron Delta Kappa and other collegiate honor societies.
Tate secured his A.B. degree in 1924 and his M.A. in 1927 from the University of Georgia. In addition to his studies at UGA, he undertook graduate work at Columbia, Harvard and the University of Chicago.
From 1924 to 1929 Tate was an instructor in English and Debate Coach at the University of Georgia. From 1929 to 1936, he was Head of the English Department and Track Coach at the McCallie School in Chattanooga.
In 1936, William Tate returned to the University of Georgia as Dean of Freshman and Assistant Professor of English. He went on to become the Dean of Students, Assistant to the President and, in 1946, the Dean of Men. Tate was to hold this last position for the next two decades.
Dean Tate was often described as "one of the University's ablest and most popular staff members"; serving as the communication bridge between the University's administration and its student body. During his tenure as Dean of Men, Tate had nearly unlimited authority over student conduct. He devoted most of his working hours to personal conferences with students both individually and in groups.
He is viewed by most historians as the reason that the 1961 desegregation of the UGA campus was generally peaceful. For insight into Dean Tate's activities during the desegregation of the University in 1961 see accession # UGA 00-016:1-3.
Upon his retirement in 1971, Dean Tate joined the University's Alumni Office and embarked on an intensive public speaking career. His goal, in addition to raising money for the University, was to enhance citizens' understanding of the profound social changes that were occurring on the University of Georgia's campus and throughout the state. Tate brought his deep understanding of human nature to his narrations. He was a gifted story teller who drew upon a rich memory of events.
The Tate Student Center on the University of Georgia campus is named in honor of Dean Tate. The McCallie School also honored his memory with naming of the Tate Academic Building.
Susan Frances Barrow Tate:
William Tate married Susan Frances Barrow, the granddaughter of Chancellor David Barrow, in 1932. Mrs. Tate was born in Athens, Georgia on November 23, 1908. and received her early education at the Lucy Cobb Institute. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a A.B. in 1930 and a M.A. in 1938.
Mrs. Tate was employed by the UGA Libraries from 1954 through 1969 as first a Library Assistant and then as the Assistant Special Collections Librarian with the Hargrett Rare Books & Manuscripts Library. She and Dean Tate had two children: Benjamin Barrow Tate and William Jefferson Tate.
Scope and Contents
The William Tate Papers are composed of both personal and administrative files from Tate’s tenure as Dean of Freshmen, Dean of Students, Assistant to the President, Dean of Men, Associate Professor of English, Dean Emeritus, and volunteer fund raiser with the UGA Alumni Society. These papers consist of: the personal correspondence of the immediate Tate family, relatives and friends (incoming and outgoing) for the period of 1924-1930 (5 cubic feet); the administrative fields of the Dean Tate spanning the years 1924-1971 (33 cubic feet); and Tate’s personal reference file for the years 1925-1980 (90 cubic feet). (A more descriptive resource aid for UGA 97-085 is available through the University of Georgia Archives located in the Hargrett Rare Books & Manuscripts Library.)
Please Click Here for Box Inventory*This collection is currently under revision. As a result, some materials located in the William Tate Papers may not be reflected in this inventory.
Inventoried by Susan Curtis and Carol Bishop.