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Philomene Asher Gates Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: HP 2010-013

Online Copies Available

Select materials from this collection have been digitized and are available through the FSU Digital Library as part of a larger photograph collection.


  • Created: 1934-1938
  • Other: Date acquired: 06/03/2010


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

To request permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from the archives, please contact Heritage & University Archives, Florida State University Libraries, Tallahassee, Florida. Researchers must obtain separate permission from the copyright holders of material held within University Archives collections for which the institution does not hold copyright.

Biographical or Historical Information

Philomene "Phil" Asher Gates (formerly known as Philomene Asher) was born on March 19, 1918 in Daytona Beach, Florida. She grew up in Orlando, Florida and after graduating from high school, attended Florida State College for Women in 1934. While a student at FSCW, Gates was active in Even activities, Pi Beta Phi Sorority, and other college organizations, events, and programs. Upon graduating in 1938 with her bachelor's degree in Commerce, she was recruited by the Orlando Sentinel to travel to Europe and the Soviet Union to report on developments there. Although disillusioned by conditions she saw in the Soviet Union and Germany, and the censorship of her weekly reports to the Sentinel, she remained interested in political and social issues. After returning and moving to Washington, DC, at the age of twenty she was one of only three women entering the George Washington University Law School, where she earned her law degree in 1941. Her legal career began as an attorney of general counsel in the Office of Price Administration, after which she moved to the office of the chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board.

Following World War II, she and her husband, Samuel Eugene Gates moved to New York City. Upon being admitted to the Bar of the State of New York, She began a long career as a private attorney. Gates was an active member of the Bar Association of the City of New York and was a founder and chairman of the Women's Division (now the Civil Division) of the Legal Aid Society. She spent her summers in Westhampton Beach, where she was active in the community, serving as a director of Southampton Hospital and the Greater Westhampton Association. In 1990, following the death of her husband in 1979, she published her first book, Suddenly Alone: A Woman's Guide to Widowhood. In 2001, her second book, a memoir entitled, A Soft Rebel Yell: From Grits to Gotham was published. She was active in numerous clubs and organizations, including the Girl Scouts Council of Greater New York, the Cosmopolitan Club, the Century Association, the New York Infirmary-Beekman Downtown Hospital, and the Grosvenor Neighborhood House. She served as a trustee of the Florida State University Foundation and endowed the Philomene Gates Award for Excellence in Communication at Florida State University, a major communications award to encourage excellence in that field. She passed away on February 17, 2009. According to her obituary, she was "considered by many the quintessential 'grande dame,'" and was known, "for her beauty, intellectual curiosity, energy, and hospitality."


0.5 Linear Feet (9 Folders in box 1813)

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

Donated by Sharon Stearns.

Processing Information

Entered 30 August 2010.

Philomene Asher Gates Collection
Tyeler McLean and Christine Bethke
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Script of description
Code for undetermined script
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Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US