An early Morton view of Grandfather Mountain

The State, 8 March 1941, cover

It’s been quiet at A View to Hugh of late, as research for a news photography exhibit opening October 6th has become my primary focus the past several weeks.  There will most definitely be Morton photographs in that exhibit, but I’ve been digging into the 1920s and early 1930s which mostly predates Morton.  One item of interest for the exhibit that overlaps with Hugh Morton’s career, however, is The State, a weekly magazine launched by Carl Goersch on 3 June 1933.  Jack Hilliard and I will be writing about The State next year on the magazine’s 80th anniversary, which readers today know as Our State.

As I have explored Morton’s early career, I have looked at each issue of The State—page by page—from 1945 up to early 1963 (thus far).  I chose 1945 as the starting point because it marks Morton’s return from the South Pacific during World War II.  We have referred often in past blog posts to the Morton images that appeared in The State, and I’ve updated many images in the online collection as I’ve discovered them in the magazine.

Researching for the news photography exhibit, I jumped back to volume one, issue one, again looking at every page to see what I could learn about the magazine’s role in the development of news photography in North Carolina.  When I got to the 8 March 1941 issue, I saw what felt like a familiar Morton image on the cover, shown above.  The photograph is uncredited, so I searched the online Morton collection, but did not find it.  I then dove into the negatives for Grandfather Mountain . . . Bingo!

Read carefully the caption on the magazine cover.  Note again the date of the magazine, plus the leaves on the trees (and their tonalities) and the lack of snow!  All those clues suggest to me that Morton made this negative in the autumn of 1940 (or earlier) and not early March 1941.  If my deduction is correct, it’s one of Morton’s earliest published images.

This photograph also appears (again uncredited) in the 27 February 1943 issue of The State as an illustration to the article “Grandfather Mountain” written by Lula M. Weir.  In a prescient statement, Weir wrote “That the Grandfather-Linville area may be acquired for a state park someday is now regarded as a certainty.”  That “someday” did come true.  Grandfather Mountain officially became a state park in 2009.

2 thoughts on “An early Morton view of Grandfather Mountain

  1. Stephen, take another look at the negative. Hugh knew he would want photographs of the fall color to promote fall visits to Grandfather….but most newspapers published in black and white…and he needed the photos in advance of when the leave started to turn. His solution was to photograph the trees with infrared film to knock out the green. I am betting this photo was taken on infrared film.

  2. I am Harry Tuft Fisler’s daughter, and since my beloved father died in 1974, I cannot verify this fact, but as a child, I heard about Hugh Morton. You see, my father and this distinguished gentleman had an acquintanceship. Both graduated from UNC, both served in WWII in the South Pacific and when Mr. Morton looked into purchasing Pender County beach property he contacted my father, of the law practice (then) Moore, Corbett & Fisler. I don’t know that he made a purchase.

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