Kate Lee

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For other people named Kate Lee, see Kate Lee (disambiguation).

Kate Lee, born Catharine Anna Spooner, (9 March 1858 - 25 July 1904) was a singer and folksong collector.

She was born in Rufford, Nottinghamshire, the daughter of Lucius and Margaret Spooner; her cousins included William Archibald Spooner, who gave his name to the "spoonerism".

She entered the Royal Academy of Music in January 1876 with the ambition to become a singer; but her studies were at this time not completed and she married Arthur Morier Lee (1847–1909) in December 1877. She had two children, in 1879 and 1881, but retained the desire to become a singer. She studied at the Royal College of Music from 1887 to 1889 and became a professional singer in 1895. She also collected folksongs, notably from James and Thomas Copper. She was one of the leading figures in setting up the Folk-Song Society and became its first secretary. In 1900 however, she became ill with cancer, of which she died at Stubbings near Maidenhead in 1904.


  • C.J. Bearman, 'Lee, Catharine Anna (1859–1904)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: OUP, 2004, online ed. 2008)