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 cortess17@ecu.edu or (252) 328 – 0276

Petticoat Pilots Meeting

Source: Daily Reflector Negative Collection (Manuscript Collection #741)

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

Description:

For decades women faced tremendous hurdles in their desire to become pilots.  In the early years they weren’t allowed to enter into competitions such as the National Air Race because these races were thought to be too dangerous for women.  In 1929 women pilots held their first National Women’s Air Derby.  Humorist Will Rogers, who was the starter for the race, referred to the women pilots as “petticoat pilots and flying flappers” and nicknamed the race the Powder Puff Derby.

This photograph shows a group of women welcoming Petticoat Pilots to the airport at Greenville, North Carolina, in August of 1965.  I don’t know what the occasion was for this group of women pilots gathering, but it is interesting that the nickname for women pilots in 1929 was still being used in 1965.

Information about the Powder Puff Derby came from Karen Bush Gibson’s book titled, Women Aviators:  26 Stories of Pioneer Flights, Daring Missions, and Record-Setting Journeys.

New Social Security Building

Source: The Daily Reflector Negative Collection Manuscript Collection #741

Staff Person:  Dale Sauter

Description:  Social Security is a major concern in the United States today.  As a flashback, today’s pick features Edmond Harding receiving his first Social Security check from Leon Wilson at the new Social Security building in Greenville, 1962.

Grifton Clothing Company

 

 

Source: Daily Reflector Negative Collection (Manuscript Collection #0741)

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin

Description: This image was taken to highlight a time of tremendous growth in the City of Grifton, North Carolina. The Grifton Clothing Co. was working in the former furniture store in Grifton at this time, but they would soon be moving into a $225,000 plant under construction.  The garment firm employed 100 people, and would employ 350 when they moved into their new building.  Thanks to the Pitt County Development Commission for attracting new industry to the area and the people for raising nearly a quart-million dollars. The U.S. Census Bureau showed the population of this town grew from 510 to 1,827, between 1950 and 1960. The negative was dated May 28th, 1960.

Welcome to Falkland-Bruce School

The principal of Falkland School

Source:

Daily Reflector Negative Collection, East Carolina Manuscript Collection # 741.14.e.19

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin

Description:

The image is of the principal of the school, [Gaston Monk, Sr.?] who is standing next to a sign indicating “Welcome to Falkland-Bruce School.” The date on the negative envelop is April 22, 1958. The image is one of many that recorded the events in Pitt Co. from the 1920’s to 1960’s. David Jordan Whichard and Julian R. Whichard founded the newspaper in 1881. The Daily Reflector Negative Collection was a gift from Mr. Jordan Whichard and Mr. John Kent Cooke, Jr.

Pitt County Bookmobile

Source: Daily Reflector Image Collection (East Carolina Manuscript Collection #741.10.e.14)

Staff person: Matt Reynolds

Description:
This is an image of Pitt County’s second bookmobile from the spring of 1956.  Essentially operating as mobile libraries, bookmobiles were used to deliver books and other materials to areas that did not have traditional library buildings.  These programs were especially effective in granting access to rural and housebound people. This particular bookmobile was manufactured by the Gerstenslager Company.

Image of the Pitt County Bookmobile

Watching the Vote Tally

Source:   Daily Reflector Negative Collection #741.33.b.4

Staff Person:  Martha Elmore

Description:  In Greenville, N.C., before the era of quick electronic vote tabulations for election results,  people used to wait outside the Daily Reflector office and watch as vote tallies were posted and updated on the tally board.  This June 1964 photograph shows the vote tally being adjusted while citizens watch and wait for final tallies.

Merrill Moore X-Ray

 

Source: Stuart Wright Rare Book Collection 59-23

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description: X-Ray photograph of Merrill Moore, author of The Noise that Time Makes. Photograph is captioned “because his poems are chiefly about time Mr. Moore thought the x-ray more appropriate than the ephemeral face.” Photograph is inscribed to John Crowe Ransom.

Hurricane Donna Damage

Source:  Daily Reflector Negative Collection #741
Staff Person:  Martha Elmore

Description:  According to NOAA, Hurricane Donna is the only hurricane on record to produce hurricane-force winds along the entire Atlantic Coast of the U.S.  The 1960 hurricane reached Eastern North Carolina on September 11th when it made landfall at Topsail Island.  Although the Outer Banks took the brunt of the storm, damage was experienced as far inland as Goldsboro and Greenville.  The photograph below was taken either September 12th or 13th in the W. 10th Street area in Greenville.

 

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