As one of Hugh Morton’s many gubernatorial friends, he was photographed throughout the years in various outfits, scenes, and positions (you’ll see). In nearly all of the photographs, he wore a smile and often traded handshakes with many of North Carolina’s most prominent citizens.
Here Scott is administering one of these handshakes and laying on that trademark smile with none other than Hugh Morton, much to the crowd’s satisfaction.
Scott, famously the son of North Carolina Governor and U.S. Senator W. Kerr Scott, was one of the younger governors to have served in North Carolina, and presented the photographers who happened to be following him with photo opportunities a less vibrant occupant of the office would not.
Hugh Morton photographed Scott often, and featured him in a chapter of his 1988 book with Ed Rankin, Making a Difference in North Carolina (pages 222-227). As Morton/Rankin write, “Scott, a husky young man with boundless energy, enjoyed traveling across North Carolina and meeting its people. . . he had the ability to mix and mingle with average people and learned a great deal from their opinions and suggestions.”
Here Scott is mixing with some local young men outside a shop in Watauga County. Notice how he is able to blend in — one might even go so far as to say that he is ‘Hangin’ Around,’ in direct violation of the sign.
The picture below of Scott and a St. Bernard is another example of Scott’s youthful exuberance. Yet, this photograph also presents a minor archival mystery: according to an obituary of Boone-area photographer George Flowers, it was Flowers who took this famous image (or a very similar one), and was allowed by Scott to use it in print “as long as everyone knew it was a gag and if it was not run on a Sunday.” This is great context, but it doesn’t explain why the negative for this picture is in the Morton collection.
The following photograph (by Hugh Morton) of Scott signing copies of the contested photograph lends credence to the notion that Morton did take the photo, or at least had a strong connection to it through Scott. Perhaps multiple photographers were on the scene at the time? Whoever took the picture(s), though, they captured and preserved for posterity the accessibility and warmth of Scott’s personal and political style.