What is 337?
If we were playing Jeopardy!, that would be the question to the answer, “The number of photographs in the online collection of photographs by Hugh Morton with descriptions containing the word “unidentified” (as of May 20th 2011).” Of course, that answer was initially my question!
This roundabout foolery was prompted by an email I received last week from a person who sent me a message after viewing the above photograph. He wrote:
In the picture titled MacArthur at Binalonan, Luzon. The “Other man” does indeed look like General Mullins. I have pictures from my recently deceased uncle’s collection of pictures of General Mullins. My uncle was a Lt in the medical services attached to the 161st during the campaign that included Balete Pass Binalonan and San Manuel and was present at some of the meetings between Generals MacArthur and Mullins. I also have pictures taken by Hugh Morton of the signal corp and many others of that campaign.
I am currently researching the period of Morton’s photography prior to 1952 when he inherited Grandfather Mountain. During the past few weeks I’ve been going through issues of The State magazine, looking for a variety of things including Hugh Morton photographs. Also, during the last few weeks of the semester, two work-study students, (thank you Emily and Stephanie!) culled various UNC student publications issued during Morton’s years at UNC. We found many published images and have updated their records when for the images that appear in the online collection. The “unidentified” question above popped into my head after replacing that word several times while updating those records. To find the answer, I simply typed “unidentified” into the search box on the main page of the online collection of Hugh Morton’s photographs.
In most cases, it’s not that 337 images are totally unidentified. More likely, we know something about a photograph but it still contains some unknown element—person, place, plant, etc. There are indeed some photographs about which we know very little or nothing—and it could be you that knows “one more thing” that provides new information to those who use the Morton collection. If you see something unidentified in a photograph that you can identify, please let me know using the online feedback form on the front page of the online collection. Give it a try!!!