The Life of Senator Robert Morgan

Senator Morgan attending the presentation of a new Wind Generator

Source: Robert Morgan Papers #268

Staff Person: Sherry Cortes

Description: Senator Robert Morgan was a North Carolina native, born and raised in Lillington, N.C.  This collection contains personal papers, Senatorial documents, newspapers, photographs and correspondence spanning Morgan’s life.

Senator Robert Morgan was born in Lillington, North Carolina in 1925.  Following his public school education, he went on to attend the Wake Forest Law School, became a skilled trial lawyer and quickly rose from Clerk of Court to the position of President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina State Senate.  He began donating his papers to East Carolina University in the mid-1970s and continuously donated his personal and professional works until he passed away in 2016.  I started working on the Senator Robert Morgan Papers Processing Project in April, 2017 for East Carolina University’s Joyner Library.  As the project archivist for this collection, it has been an exciting opportunity to chronicle the life and accomplishments of such a prominent figure in North Carolina history.  Senator Morgan served as a North Carolina State Senator from 1955-1969, and as a one-term US Senator from North Carolina from 1975-1981, but his prolific career beyond the political arena put a mark on so much of the State’s history.

The Robert Morgan Papers is the largest collection of personal and professional documents amassed by East Carolina University and is currently housed in the Special Collections Division of Joyner Library at East Carolina University (ECU).  The collection holds information regarding the Senator’s professional and personal life.  The Morgan archives chronicle his service in the Vietnam and Korean Wars, his rise to North Carolina Attorney General and his role in creating landmark consumer protection measures, his tenure as an ECU University Trustee and his fight to establish a medical school at East Carolina University, his controversial stance on the Panama Canal, his leading role in the Energy Crisis, and his repositioning of the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI).  These documents also shed light on his ideological metamorphosis from a “traditional Southern Democrat” to the national Democratic mainstream particularly in the area of desegregation.

Senator Morgan’s Papers include personal and family documents, legislative and campaign files, correspondence, North Carolina Attorney General and U.S. Senator files, ECU Board of Trustees and State Bureau of Investigations files.  Photographs, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, speeches, books, films, audiotapes, diaries, microfilms and oversized materials are in our archives as well.  We hired two graduate assistants in May, 2017, Daniel Hemme and Martha Mihich who have been invaluable in completing the description and arrangement of the collection.  In addition to the graduate assistants, Special Collection Curator, Dr. Jonathan Dembo and volunteer Dick Wolfe have been helping to move the process along quickly.  Between the four of us we have currently completed describing 1012 boxes of the 1075 total in the collection.  I am also collaborating with Justin Borer to help in the digitization of audio tapes, manuscripts and photographs of interest.  Conservator Lawrence Houston has been providing conservation advice and assistance in handling damaged or fragile documents. We are all working as quickly as possible to digitize the chosen objects so they can be fully accessible in the online Digital Repository.

Once we have fully completed the processing of the paper and digital elements of the collection we will work on the exhibit which will be available for viewing on the 3rd floor of Joyner Library in

Graduate Assistant, Martha Mihich, hard at work

early 2018.  As work continues, we will be sharing updates about our progress on an ongoing basis and what we are finding.  There will be future posts to provide more information about Senator Morgan and some of the interesting items we find during processing.  Researchers will be able to locate the collection’s finding aid online if they are interested in accessing Senator Morgan’s Papers.

For more information on Senator Morgan’s Papers and the continuing progress of the project, please contact Sherry Cortes, Project Archivist at or (252) 328 – 0276

Valentine's Day Card

SourcePittman – Coffield Family Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #1135.1.f

Staff Person:  Nanette Hardison

Description: Although greeting cards are normally not considered of great historical value, they can offer insight into the thought processes of people as well as a look at the types of greeting cards that were circulating during a given time period. This cute greeting card for Valentine’s Day is from the Pittman – Coffield Family Papers and although undated, appears to have been published around the 1920s.

Robert H. Wright Christmas Card



Source: Robert H. Wright Papers (University Archives: UA 02.01)

Staff Person: Arthur Carlson


This 1920 card sent by East Carolina President Robert H. Wright features the first President’s Home.  Located at 701 E. Fifth St., the building currently hosts The Career Center. Constructed in 1914, the bungalow style home housed the Wright family until Robert’s death in 1934.  Subsequent school presidents resided in the home until the 1949 purchase of the current Chancellor’s Residence, the former Dail House.  To learn more about East Carolina’s first president, view the Robert H. Wright Papers (UA 02.01) in Joyner Library’s Special Collections.

East Carolina Christmas Card

New Bern, North Carolina, 1908 Post Card

Source: Tabitha Marie DeVisconti Papers #480

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

Description: New Bern was founded in 1710 and is North Carolina’s second oldest town.  This post card, bearing a 1908 postmark, depicts a downtown view of New Bern including Christ Episcopal Church, the Courthouse, Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church, the Post Office and the First Baptist Church.

Women’s 1915 Basketball Team

Source: University Archives, Call Number 55-01-0082

Women's Basketball Team

Women's Basketball Team

Staff Person: Kacy Guill


Between 1909 and 1932, the only organized sports teams at East Carolina Teachers College were women’s teams. Women’s basketball was by far the most popular sport until 1932, when the number of men on campus allowed for the organization of a men’s basketball team. The image of the 1915 women’s basketball team can be found in the University Archives photograph collection, Call Number 55-01-0082.

Christmas Card by William Meade Prince, 1950

Source: Inglis Fletcher Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection 21.17.e

Staff Person: Maury York


The image on this Christmas card was drawn by William Meade Prince (1893-1951), an illustrator and author who lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. A native of Roanoke, Virginia, Prince studied art at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts. Prince illustrated articles in such magazines as Collier’s and Saturday Evening Post and later taught art at the University of North Carolina. He wrote and illustrated The Southern Part of Heaven (1950), a book about his youth in Chapel Hill. Prince probably knew best-selling novelist Inglis Fletcher, to whom the card was sent, through their participation in such groups as the North Carolina Writers Conference. The Inglis Fletcher Papers contain a wealth of information about her career and the work of other North Carolina writers.

You may access the finding aid to the Inglis Fletcher Papers at: Manuscript Collection #21

To view an enlarged version of this image, click on the image itself.

Christmas Card by William Meade Prince, 1950

Christmas Card by William Meade Prince, 1950