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

Father Maurice Tew and Children, 1961

Source: Daily Reflector Negative Collection East Carolina Manuscript Collection #741.26.a.7

Staff Person: Maury York

Description: Father Maurice Tew came to Greenville from West Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1935 to assist the priest at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. Charged with the responsibility of ministering to African Americans in the city, Father Maurice spearheaded the construction of a mission church on West Fifth Street. Named in honor of St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother, the church was dedicated on March 1, 1936. In 1956 the church built a school for African American children. The nuns who taught the eight grades lived in a convent across the street. Of the 170 students who enrolled in the school initially, most were not members of the Catholic Church. A man with good sense of humor, Father Maurice endeared himself to many, as this photograph would indicate. He employed both radio and television broadcasts as a means of outreach to the broader community. (Source: Greenville Times, June 26-July 9, 1991).

Father Maurice with Children

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

The New Era: Washington, N.C. Occupied March 1862

Source: North Carolina Collection (Uncataloged Rare Materials)

Staff Person:     Fred W. Harrison 

Description:      War officially reached the port town of Washington in March 1862, with the arrival of Federal troops escorted by the gunboat Picket. According to one account, “two companies and a band marched from the wharf to the courthouse playing national aires.” 

As evidenced by this rare edition of a Yankee newspaper dated June 25, 1862, and operating in Washington, Union forces quickly assumed control of business activity and general functions of the town. James H. Turner and A.W. Hahn are listed respectively as editor and printer of the paper.  Found within the four pages are reports of Rhode Island’s presentation of a magnificent sword to Gen. Ambrose Burnside and a speech by  Edward Stanley, Provisional Governor of North Carolina, appointed by President Lincoln.  Stanley delivered an address to the citizens of the state in Washington on June 17, 1862.

The Lost Children a poem by Randall Jarrell

 

 

Source: #1169.5 Wright Collection/ Randall Jarrell Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin 

Description: 

The Randall Jarrell Papers are dated 1913 to 1989. The manuscript collection includes correspondence, essays, manuscripts, printed poems, notes, original art, AV materials and books. He was an American poet of distinction, author and educator. Some of his notable instructors in college were Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate, and John Crowe Ransom.

The newspaper article is from The Carolinian, dated October 22, 1965. The review was written by Dr Robert Watson of Jarrell’s book “The Lost World.” The article has excerpts from the book and the poem “The Lost Children and a brief biography.

Thanksgiving at ECTC

Source: UA50.05.01 – East Carolina Teachers College News, December 8, 1924.

Staff Person: Kacy Guill

Description:  In the 1920s, East Carolina Teachers College students were only given one day off from classes for the Thanksgiving holiday and most students spent the day on campus.  Special events for students usually included a Thanksgiving service, special readings, music, and a basketball game.

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.

 

Imperial Tobacco Company Factory Employees

Source: Daily Reflector Negative Collection #741.11.a.7

Staff Person:  Martha Elmore

Description:  In this August 1956 image taken for the Greenville, N.C., Daily Reflector newspaper,  African American women are sorting tobacco at the Imperial Tobacco Company factory.  Many other images related to tobacco production from the field, to the barns, to the warehouse, and finally to the factories can be found in the Daily Reflector Negative Collection.

Baseball Has Come A Long Way At College

Baseball Has Come Long Way At College

Baseball Has Come Long Way At College

Source: University Archives

Staff Person: Brian Johnson

Description:

The image shown is of an article titled, “Baseball Has Come Long Way At College” by Lloyd Whitfield. It was printed in the May 11, 1951 issue of the Teco Echo, ECU’s campus newspaper. The article describes the first 20 years of baseball at ECU.  This and other articles are located in the University Archives.

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