Making a Difference in NC

Thus far, our student assistant David’s scanning efforts have been focused on what I call the “loose strips”—the unlabeled, unidentified masses of negatives that need to be inspected before we can decide what to do with them. (The inspecting, of course, becomes much easier when you can look at a positive on a computer screen versus a negative on a light box).

We decided recently, however, that since David is so darn good at scanning, we should probably have him work on some of the “good stuff” as well. (This term refers to Morton’s images of well-known people and events—it’s certainly not to say that the loose strips aren’t loaded with “good stuff”). So, I got David started on the images that were either considered for or used in Hugh Morton and Ed Rankin’s 1988 book, Making a Difference in North Carolina. As the book’s introduction reads:

The people, groups and events [depicted in the book] were chosen on the basis of the impact they have had, or are having, on life in North Carolina. Most of the photos have never been published before. And all have captions and text brimming with first-hand knowledge and experiences of the authors.

What could be better? Certainly a far cry from the jumble of “loose strips.” And the images themselves are beautiful. Take for example this portrait of Governor J. Melville Broughton, a cropped version of which appears on page 47 of the book (click the image to see the description):

NC Governor Joseph Melville Broughton, circa early 1940s

I also love this image of the “Iron Major” Governor, R. Gregg Cherry, with a group of (Miss North Carolina?) pageant contestants. This one wasn’t used in the book, so I don’t know the details. But I do wish they still made swimsuits like these!

NC Governor R. Gregg Cherry with pageant contestants, circa late 1940s

And then there’s that perennial Morton favorite, Luther Hodges (on crutches, below—this image wasn’t used in the book, either). That’s Grandfather Mountain in the background, and they appear to be on a golf course, so perhaps this image is somehow related to the Grandfather Golf and Country Club? Anyone know what’s wrong with Luther’s foot, or who these other men are? (Based on the IDs you lovely readers provided for this photo, I think that’s John Williams to the left of Hodges).

NC Governor Luther Hodges (on crutches) and others, at Grandfather Golf and Country Club(?), circa 1960s

7 thoughts on “Making a Difference in NC

  1. Could the Governor Cherry picture have been taken at the 1948 Azalea Festival? According to Susan Taylor Block’s 2004 book, “Belles & Blooms: Cape Fear Garden Club and the North Carolina Azalea Festival,” (page 33)
    there was some type of beauty pageant in 1950, long before the “Azalea Belles” program started in 1969. The young woman on the far right in the picture is wearing a banner that reads, “Post 203 Newport NC.” So was there a pageant in ’48 also, similar to the one in 1950?

    We know there is a famous Hugh Morton picture of Governor Cherry crowning the 1948 Azalea Queen. And that picture must have been one of Hugh’s favorites because it’s in three of his books.

    “Making A Difference in North Carolina” – page 64
    “Sixty Years with a Camera” – page 8
    “Hugh Morton’s North Carolina” – page 76

    The picture caption in each of these books tells about how Governor Cherry placed the crown on the Queen’s head upside down. Ms. Block also relates that story in her book on page 26. But the best explanation came from Hugh during the 2004 graduation/reunion weekend when he and Bill Friday presented a slide show as part of the “Saturday Morning in Chapel Hill” series.

    Hugh said that Governor Cherry had been in the National Guard with a group of Wilmingtonians and that he loved to get together with them and have a drink. The only problem was that he liked to have a drink with each one of the guys individually.

  2. If I may, Elizabeth, let me list three items that may or may not relate to the “Luther Hodges and others” photo in this post.

    In his 1962 book, “Businessman in the Statehouse,” on pages 251 – 260, Luther Hodges relates the events of a three-and-a-half-week tour of Russia that he took along with 8 other governors in the summer of 1959. The other governors were:

    Gov. Leroy Collins, Florida
    Gov. Robert Meyner, New Jersey
    Gov. Cecil Underwood, West Virginia
    Gov. William Stratton, Illinois
    Gov. George Davis, North Dakota
    Gov. Robert Smylie, Idaho
    Gov. Steve McNichols, Colorado
    Gov. George Clyde, Utah

    Could this be the group in the picture?

    In the same book, pages 263-271, Hodges tells about another trip he made in November of 1960. This time he went to Argentina and Brazil with a group of about 30 governors. As he relates the events of this trip on pages 267-268 there is this quote: “…I went for a walk on the beach and stepped on a rusty nail. It was a small nail and did not go too far into my heel. (It) soon got well, but was sore for a while.”

    So, could the picture be part of the traveling party for this trip with Hodges’ sore foot?

    Finally, there is this:

    http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/h/Hodges,Luther_Hartwell.html

    Manuscripts Department
    Library of the University of North Carolina
    at Chapel Hill
    SOUTHERN HISTORICAL COLLECTION

    Subseries 1.6. Death of Martha B. Hodges
    1969. About 1,800 items.
    Condolence letters, sympathy cards, memorial gift acknowledgements, and clippings after the death of Martha B.Hodges on 27 June 1969. The Hodgeses’ home in Chapel Hill caught
    fire the evening of 27 June 1969. Governor Hodges broke his leg jumping out of a second story window. Mrs. Hodges was killed in
    the fire. This subseries also contains some get-well cards to Hodges, while he recuperated from his injuries.

    Could this explain Hodges’injury in this picture?

  3. Great information as usual, Jack. The Cherry image is definitely from a beauty pageant, but I’m not sure which one. Miss NC? What pageant would have contestants representing “Post 203 Newport NC” and “…Post 45 Asheboro”? The sash of a girl on the left appears to read “Monroe.” Pics of Miss NC winners are posted here.

    Good guesses on the Hodges group, and foot injury too. Not sure about the Governors groups — I did quick image searches on some of the names you listed, and don’t see those people in the photo. Plus I really think the man to the left of Hodges is John Williams.

    I’ve seen photos in the Morton of the Hodges’ house after the 1969 fire, but hadn’t realized that his wife was killed. Thanks for reminding me of the Hodges Papers right here in Wilson Library! What a great resource.

  4. The person to the left of Governor Hodges is definately John Williams.

    The vieew of Grandfather in the background is more reminicent of the view from Camp Yonanoka in Linville. I believe it is probably the Linville Golf Course.

  5. Elizabeth, I checked the Miss North Carolina web page that you suggested, but I wasn’t able to match up any of the winners from 1946-1949 with the young women in the Gov. Cherry picture. The 1945 winner was not pictured on the site. (Those are the years when Cherry was governor).

    I also checked the Miss North Carolina Pageant program books for the years 1959 to 1964. During that era the contestants for the Miss North Carolina title represented cities, towns, counties, and sometimes colleges and universities in the State. I haven’t found program books for the Gov. Cherry era, 1945-1949.

    According to the following link, Post 45 could be the Asheboro American Legion Post 45 and Post 203 could be the Newport, NC American Legion Post 203.

    http://post_119_gulfport_ms.tripod.com/nc.html

    Gov. Cherry served in the US Army during World War I, so he might have been an American Legion member.

    So, could the contestants in the picture have been contestants in an American Legion sponsored beauty pageant?

  6. Yes, I think an American Legion Beauty Pageant is an excellent guess for the Gov. Cherry image (thanks to Jack).

    Regarding the Gov. Hodges on crutches image, I received an “indirect comment” (forwarded to me by Tim West) from Luther Hodges, Jr., who said: “Can’t recall the foot problem but it is John Williams on his left, and I would think it might be other members of the board of directors of Williams Brothers Companies, Tulsa, OK. They could have been meeting at Grandfather Country Club which John developed, along with Hugh.”

    So another good, educated guess. This could also be the Williams Board at the Linville Golf Course, as Catherine suggests. There are other images of the Williams Board in the collection, but they’re negatives, so I’ll have to wait until they’re scanned to make a definitive comparison.

  7. The Luther Hodges and others photograph was taken in the back yard of the Williams cottage in Linville NC.

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