In the shadow of the Moon: a path of darkness

Detail from a negative made by Hugh Morton during the September 1, 1951 annular eclipse from Grandfather Mountain.

Detail from a negative made by Hugh Morton during the September 1, 1951 annular eclipse from Grandfather Mountain.

It’s been 99 years since a comparable solar event of this 2017 magnitude occurred across the United States and it won’t happen again until April 8, 2024. Hugh Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a quick look at this current phenomenon and looks back to 1951 when Hugh Morton photographed an event similar to the one we’re celebrating this month.

On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. About 200 million people live within a day’s drive of the path of totality where you can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights: a total solar eclipse, a path on our planet where a person may experience the moon completely covering the sun such that the sun’s tenuous atmosphere, the corona, will be visible.  This will be the first total solar eclipse to cross the entire continental United States since June 8, 1918.  The path will cover 8,600 miles from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will see a partial solar eclipse where the moon will cover only part of the sun’s disk.

The path of totality is a relatively thin ribbon—a little over 70 miles wide (actually 71.5 miles in North Carolina), and will cross the United States from west to east at 1,500 miles per hour.  The first point of contact will be at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.  Totality begins there at 10:16 a.m. PDT.  Over the next hour and a half, it will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. The total eclipse will be visible in nine North Carolina counties: Cherokee, Graham, Swain, Clay, Haywood, Henderson, Macon, Jackson, and Transylvania.  Most everywhere else in the state will experience a partial eclipse of 90 percent or more. The spectacular show will begin in North Carolina at 2:33 pm Eastern Daylight Time.

The path of totality will pass across the western portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as well as the Brevard, Franklin and Murphy areas of North Carolina. Andrews will see the sun fully eclipsed by the moon for the longest of any city in the Tar Heel state: two minutes and thirty-nine seconds.  The total eclipse will end near Charleston, South Carolina at 2:48 p.m. EDT.  From there the lunar shadow leaves the United States at 4:09 EDT.  Its longest duration will be near Hopkinsville, Kentucky where the sun will be completely covered for two minutes and forty seconds.

This once-in-a lifetime-event would be perfect for photographer Hugh Morton, and he would bring some firsthand solar eclipse experience to the event.  Morton, who over the years had taken thousands of football photographs of his beloved UNC Tar Heels, was not on hand in Chapel Hill on September 1, 1951 when Head Football Coach Carl Snavely’s team first took the practice field to open the ’51 season.  Instead, Morton was atop Linville Peak at Grandfather Mountain. On that day, an annular solar eclipse was to be visible just at sunrise in a 30,000 square mile area of Virginia and North Carolina.  (An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon’s apparent diameter is smaller than the sun’s blocking most of the Sun’s light causing the Sun to look like a small ring.)

A group of eclipse enthusiasts gathered on Grandfather Mountain early in the morning on 1 September 1951. Do you recognize anyone in the photograph?

A group of eclipse enthusiasts gathered on Grandfather Mountain early in the morning on 1 September 1951. Do you recognize anyone in the photograph?

Grandfather Mountain, at 5,964-feet, was the highest point in the United States in the center of that 95-mile-wide annular eclipse path, a perfect spot for Morton and his camera.  Back then, the road did not extend to the top of the mountain, so Morton and about 225 hardy souls made the rugged hike to the top in the early-morning darkness, where they joined about 75 overnight campers. In the predawn hours, low hanging clouds gathered close to the horizon along with a slight wind. The clouds continued to hang around as the 5:51 sunrise time approached.

Then, six minutes after sunrise, at 5:57, the clouds broke revealing the moon already in position to make its trek across the sun’s surface. Bailey’s Beads—little flashes of light shining through the rugged valleys and canyons on the moon—became clearly visible. Scientists at the scene called the view “excellent,” even though those thin, light clouds drifted back by from time to time.  Most of the spectators remained until the moon had cleared the sun by 6:20.

A color-corrected scan of Hugh Morton's color transparency made during totality of the September 1, 1951 annular eclipse. The original Ektachrome Daylight Film transparency has severe magenta color shift, and the color correction is to the blog editor's personal taste. The transparency had been in a glass lantern slide, the 4x5 sheet film hand-trimmed by Morton to fit smaller format.

A color-corrected scan of Hugh Morton’s color transparency made during totality of the September 1, 1951 annular eclipse. The original Ektachrome Daylight Film transparency has severe magenta color shift, and the color correction is to the blog editor’s personal taste. The transparency had been in a glass lantern slide, the 4×5 sheet film hand-trimmed by Morton to fit smaller format.

Atop nearby towering 6,684-foot Mt. Mitchell, some 200 people viewed the spectacle through a thin layer of high clouds. In Asheville, haze obscured the view for many.  Across the state in Greensboro, folks greeted the first eclipse of this magnitude in 50 years with the moon hiding 96% of the sun’s light.

A cloudy overcast sky spoiled the show for many of the Eastern states. The eclipse would have been visible over virtually all of the United States east of the Mississippi River had it not been for the clouds. Pittsburgh, Boston, and Atlanta reported overcast and clouds that, according to the United Press “eclipsed the eclipse.”  The same weather conditions were reported in New York, but early risers there were able to see the show on their TV sets. WOR-TV had set up a television camera with an 80-inch reflector lens in North Bergen, New Jersey. The lens penetrated the overcast.

Sixty-six years after Morton made his 1951 eclipse images, Grandfather Mountain will once again celebrate the current solar spectacle of Monday, August 21st with a solar eclipse party.

Postscript by Stephen

You may be wondering why there is no mention here of the solar eclipses from the 1970 total eclipse and the 1984 annular eclipse, both of which traversed sizable portions of North Carolina.  There is no listing for either in the Morton collection finding aid, so it took a little exploring to determine the likely reasons. (Note: the two links in this paragraph lead to Google cached webpages depicting maps of the eclipse path.  Just about all Google searches on the NASA website for eclipses other than 2017 annoyingly take you to the NASA webpage for the 2017 eclipse.  There’s no guarantee on how long these links will function properly.)

There are no specific clues about Morton’s whereabouts during the 1970 total eclipse, which made landfall in the United States southeast of Tallahassee near Perry, Florida.  While much of Florida was cloud-covered, here in North Carolina both Fayetteville and Greenville reported perfect viewing conditions . . . as did Virginia Beach, Virginia.  The path of totality only skimmed by Wilmington.  The collection does not have one of Morton’s “executive planners” for 1970, and so we have another “Morton Mystery.”

Regarding the 30 May 1984 eclipse in North Carolina: the weather was clear in the Piedmont but not in the east. Morton’s appointment book places him in Wilmington for a movie shoot and he noted “Heavy Rain – Southpoint, Orton” without mention of eclipse.

An Epilogue
The U.S. Postal Service is issuing the Total Solar Eclipse Forever stamp to commemorate the August 21st event. The image changes when you touch it by transforming into an image of the moon from the heat of your finger.

A final Wallace Wade win in Kenan

When Carolina met Duke on November 25, 1950 in historic Kenan Memorial Stadium, we didn’t know it at the time, but it would be Duke Head Football Coach Wallace Wade’s last coaching appearance against his rival from Chapel Hill. Over a 16 year period from 1934 through 1950, UNC Coach Carl Snavely met Duke Coach Wallace Wade seven times on the gridiron. Snavely won 5 of those games. Wade won in 1935 in Durham and his only win against Snavely in Kenan Stadium came on a cold day in November of 1950.

As official football practice gets underway today for Carolina’s 2017 football season—the 91st in Kenan Stadium, and the 104th meeting with Duke on September 23rd—Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard recalls that famous game from 66 seasons ago.

Stadium program for the 1950 Duke versus University of North Carolina football game (Courtesy Jack Hilliard).

Stadium program for the 1950 Duke versus University of North Carolina football game (Courtesy Jack Hilliard).

I remember, as a little kid, my dad telling my mom, as he left for work early Saturday morning, November 25, 1950, “I guess Carolina and Duke will play in the snow today.” Had it not been for the covering on Kenan’s turf, my dad would have been right.  On Friday the 24th, high winds, snow and bitter 15-degree temperatures moved into North Carolina.  The headline in Saturday’s Durham Sun, read: “Vicious Icy Storm Batters East.”

A check of the 1950 UNC football media guide, which was actually published in August, indicated the game was already a sellout. 40,000 of those ticket-holders braved the weather and came out for the game . . . the other 6,000 decided to stay home by the fire and the radio.  Photographer Hugh Morton was one of the former.

Head coach Carl Snavely’s North Carolina Tar Heels had beaten head coach Wallace Wade’s Duke Blue Devils the past four seasons and the Heels were made a slight favorite in this, the 37th meeting between the two rival schools.  Wade and Snavely had tremendous respect for each other.  In July of 1950 the two rival coaches appeared together in the North Carolina outdoor drama “The Lost Colony.”  They were special guests as part of Kay Kyser’s and Emma Neal Morrison’s “Celebrity Night” celebrations.  Going into the 1950 “battle of the blues,” the darker blue, Blue Devils were 6 and 3 on the season, while the lighter blue Tar Heels were 3-3-2.

As one might guess, wind was to be a factor in the game, so when the Tar Heels won Referee Orrell J. Mitchell’s toss, they elected to defend the west goal with the wind at their backs.  The Tar Heels moved the ball inside the Duke 25-yard-line twice in the first half, but couldn’t score.  Duke’s only first-half threat came near the end of the second quarter.  The Blue Devils went on a 44-yard drive to the Carolina 36-yard-line, mainly through the efforts of Duke captain Billy Cox’s running and passing, but they couldn’t score. The score at halftime was 0-0.

Because of the weather, there was no halftime entertainment on the field.  Fans had to be content reading through their game-day programs, which on this day featured a front cover Lon Keller image of radio and TV personality Arthur Godfrey.  You could read a column by UNC’s Jake Wade or Duke’s Ted Mann, and get their takes on the game.

Hugh Morton's photograph published in the November 27, 1950 issue of the Charlotte News with the caption, "Dick Bunting fights his way to the Duke 22 in the fourth quarter of the North Carolina game at Chapel Hill, but Blaine Earon is there to slam him down.  This threat, like five others, failed."  A search for this negative in the Morton collection did not turn up the negative.

Hugh Morton’s photograph published in the November 27, 1950 issue of the Charlotte News with the caption, “Dick Bunting fights his way to the Duke 22 in the fourth quarter of the North Carolina game at Chapel Hill, but Blaine Earon is there to slam him down. This threat, like five others, failed.” A search for this negative in the Morton collection did not turn up the negative.

At the 2:58 mark of the third quarter, Coach Wade decided to gamble.  Duke with the ball, fourth down at the Carolina 34 and needing seven yards for a first down, tailback Billy Cox took the direct snap from center J. E. Gibson . . . looked down field . . . spotted wingback Tommy Powers . . . and threw a perfect shot which Powers caught as he crossed the goal line.  Mike Souchak’s point-after made the score 7-0.

Scan of Hugh Morton's negative (as shot) of Duke's Billy Cox holding the game ball after a 7-0 win over UNC at Kenan Stadium, 25 November 1950. This image appears in the sports sections of the Wilmington Morning Star and the Charlotte News. The latter identified the woman next to Cox as Mona Booth, Miss Durham of 1950. Other Morton photographs appeared in those newspapers (shown below), but the negatives either have not yet been located in the collection or have not survived.

Scan of Hugh Morton’s negative (as shot) of Duke’s Billy Cox holding the game ball after a 7-0 win over UNC at Kenan Stadium, 25 November 1950. This image appears in the sports sections of the Wilmington Morning Star and the Charlotte News. The latter identified the woman next to Cox as Mona Booth, Miss Durham of 1950. Other Morton photographs appeared in those newspapers (shown below), but the negatives either have not yet been located in the collection or have not survived.

During the final quarter and a half, Carolina had three great opportunities, but the score remained 7-0.  The final game stats showed that Carolina had first downs at the Duke 22, 17, 28, 9, 7, and 20, but could not score.  In his post game interview, Wade praised Duke’s incredible defense.

As the game ended and the late November sky began to turn a darker shade of gray, the Duke players rushed to hoist their victorious coach on their shoulders; but as we had come to expect, Coach Wade wanted no part of anything like that.  Wade told his players, “No, no, boys there’ll be none of that. Let’s go shake their hands.” He then walked calmly across field for a final time and shook Snavely’s hand, just as he had done on six previous occasions when the two coaches had played one another.  It would be Wade’s first, final, and only win in Kenan Stadium against a Snavely-coached Tar Heel team.

Two post-game images by Morton appeared in the November 27th Wilmington Morning Star.

Two post-game images by Morton appeared in the November 27th Wilmington Morning Star.

When the field cleared, the Carolina cheerleaders, led by head man Joe Chambliss, rolled the Victory Bell across the cold Kenan turf to the Duke section on the North side of the stadium, as the Blue Devil fans cheered.  It was their first opportunity to ring the bell since its introduction following Carolina’s 1948 win. (That respectful type Victory Bell transition seems to have been forgotten in today’s world of overwrought fan and player hostility.)

The headline in Sunday’s Charlotte Observer, read: “Blue Devils’ Gamble Pays Off for Score in High Wind and Freezing Temperature.”  Coach Snavely, when asked in his Monday morning news conference about his impression of Saturday’s game, had this to say: “Duke was hotter than we were in several crucial moments. . . . You must remember that Duke played in the same weather we did.”

Four days after the game, Wade married Virginia Jones and after a honeymoon in New York, he announced his resignation from Duke in order to take the position of Commissioner of the Southern Conference. He would hold that position for ten years. Upon his retirement from the Southern Conference in 1960, words of praise came from media outlets across the country. One of those tributes came from an avid UNC Tar Heel, who broadcast UNC football games on the Tobacco Sports Network…Bill Currie, then the Sports Director of WSOC-TV, Channel 9, in Charlotte once said: “Nobody ever gets over being a Tar Heel. He also said this about Coach Wade:

“The true measure of Wallace Wade’s greatness as a man is not fully reflected in his overwhelming won-lost record on the field, nor in his patriotic devotion to our country in combat during two world wars: rather, it is reflected in the dignity and bearing of the man, which makes him a giant among his peers and successors.”

William Wallace Wade was inducted into the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame with the Class of 1955. Twelve years later, in 1967, Duke Stadium was renamed Wallace Wade Stadium in his honor.

He died on October 7, 1986. He was 94-years-old.

 

The birth of Gorges State Park

North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt signing the "Gorges Bill" on July 8, 1997. The second (fully visible) person from the left is R. Michael Leonard, recognized from another Morton image in the online collection and confirmed by a quote in the Asheville Times. At the time Leonard was an attorney with the firm Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge, and Rice. The others in the photograph are unidentified.

North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt signing the “Gorges Bill” on July 8, 1997. The second (fully visible) person from the left is R. Michael Leonard, recognized from another Morton image in the online collection and confirmed by a quote in the Asheville Citizen-Times. At the time Leonard was an attorney with the firm Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge, and Rice. The others in the photograph are unidentified.

This past Saturday, July 8th, marked the twentieth anniversary of North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt signing “An Act to Authorize the Addition to the State Parks System of Certain Lands Located in Transylvania County Adjacent to Jocassee Lake”—or, as Hugh Morton labeled his negatives, the “Gorges Bill.”  The act had been Senate Bill 537, then became Chapter 276 in Session Laws and Resolutions Passed by the 1997 General Assembly . . . [shortened title].  The legislators behind the bill were State Senator Tommy Jenkins, Democrat (possibly the person on the far right in the photograph above) and Representative William Ives, Republican from Transylvania County.

July 8, 1997 was a busy day for Governor Hunt.  Earlier in the day, he attended the memorial service for Charles Kuralt.  Morton’s negatives for both events are on the same roll of film.  Hunt wears the same tie in all of the photographs, and that was the tip off that both events occurred on the same day.  According to Session Laws and Resolutions it became law “upon approval of the Governor at 4:50 p.m. on the 8th day of July, 1997.”

Curiosity and thoroughness sent me back to the collection finding aid to see what else Hugh Morton may have photographed related to the Gorges.  I found another roll of film dated April 1997 with Gov. Hunt, Bill Grigg, and Gorges Park among the names written on the envelope.  Grigg was Chairman of Duke Power Company, which owned the land.  Inside the envelope are nineteen negatives and six prints including the two images below.

Chairman of Duke Power Company, Bill Grigg, and Governor Jim Hunt during a flyover to view the land that would become Gorges State Park, April 1997. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

Chairman of Duke Power Company, Bill Grigg, and Governor Jim Hunt during a flyover to view the land that would become Gorges State Park, April 1997. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

An Asheville Citizens-Times news article titled, “Hunt signs deal allowing Jocassee purchase” published on July 9, 1997 that reported the news story included a quote from Hunt saying, “I have flown over it.  This is wonderful property and the state ought to have it.”  The article mentioned that the bill contained no appropriation to acquire the land.  It simply permitted the state parks system to “pursue the purchase.”  The article also stated that “Hunt gave a pep talk to area lawmakers, including Sen. Robert Carpenter, R-Macon, state agency officials and environmentalists assembled for a photo op.”  Hunt “strongly suggested” that the state would “raise the money through a combination of publicly held grants, private sources and maybe a legislative appropriation.”  The article concluded with a statement that R. Michael Leonard of the law firm Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge and Rice (seen in the group portrait above) had received a commitment of $1.25 million from two anonymous private donors.  The state purchased the land and officially dedicated Gorges State Park in 1999.

Hugh Morton's bird's-eye-view of the many waterfalls on the Toxaway River.

Hugh Morton’s bird’s-eye-view of the many waterfalls on the Toxaway River.

 

A memorial tribute, twenty years ago

Early on the morning of Friday, July 4, 1997 we heard the sad news from New York that Tar Heel Charles Bishop Kuralt had died of heart disease and complications from lupus, an inflammatory disease that can affect the skin, joints, kidneys and nervous system.  Four days later, a memorial service was held in Chapel Hill. On this, the twentieth anniversary of Kuralt’s passing, Hugh Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard recalls that day when a group of North Carolina’s finest gathered to celebrate the life of “CBS’ poet of small-town America.”

"Chas Kuralt died"—Hugh Morton's entry for July 4, in his 1997 Executive Planner.

“Chas Kuralt died”—Hugh Morton’s entry for July 4, in his 1997 Executive Planner.

Charles really had the common touch.  He was so genuine and sincere.  I really believe he was the most loved, respected and trusted news personality in television.  —Hugh Morton

Shortly before noon on Tuesday, July 8, 1997 the old bell in South Building on the UNC campus rang for one minute. The bell is seldom used, reserved for marking such rare occasions as the installment of a new chancellor.  Earlier that morning Charles Kuralt was laid to rest in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery, the place where he wanted to be buried on the campus he loved.  On July 2, two days before he died, Kuralt had sent his friend Dr. William Friday a note seeking help in securing the spot.

“I seem to be recovering nicely; but this experience has given me intimations of mortality.  I know you have better things to worry about, but I thought I would ask if you have any way of finding out if there are a couple of burial plots in Chapel Hill . . . I should have thought of this forty years ago!  Sorry to ask you to look into such a bizarre question.”

Charles Kuralt's last letter, written to Bill Friday, in the Charles Kuralt Collection #4882, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Charles Kuralt’s last letter, written to Bill Friday, in the Charles Kuralt Collection #4882, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Before Friday got the note, he got a phone call.  It was 6:00 a.m. on July 4th.  Kuralt’s assistant Karen Beckers was on the line.

“I’ve called you because I must tell you that Charles is gone.”

Beckers told Friday about the note he would be getting.  Friday and Chapel Hill Town Manager Cal Horton met at the cemetery with a map and determined that Chapel Hill resident George Hogan had several plots.  Friday then called Hogan and explained his situation.  Hogan’s reply: “No, I won’t sell them, but I’ll give Charles two.”  Turns out Hogan had worked for the Educational Foundation at UNC when Kuralt was editor of The Daily Tar Heel.

Kuralt now rests in peace near the center of the old cemetery near the gravesites of former UNC President Francis Venable and botany professor William Coker.  Not far away lie the graves of others who made Tar Heel history: former UNC System President Frank Porter Graham, playwright Paul Green, and UNC Institute of Government founder Albert Coates.

Said Friday, “He’s where I felt, and the others felt, he would like to be.”  Friday then added, “While he’s here with former presidents, he’s also here with the home folks of Chapel Hill.”  Charles’ brother Wallace said: “This is home for him.”

Dan Rather. Photograph by Hugh Morton, as cropped by the editor.

Dan Rather. Photograph by Hugh Morton, as cropped by the editor.

Following the private ceremony at the gravesite, people filed past the site all day.  Piles of flowers filled the spot where a future marker would be placed.  A teary-eyed Dan Rather, then anchor of the CBS Evening News, left the burial site emotionally shaken.  “I’m here in sympathy and support of his family.  He gave himself to America, and he gave it everything he had.”

Interior of Memorial Hall, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, during memorial service for Charles Kuralt. Photograph by Hugh Morton.

Interior of Memorial Hall, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, during memorial service for Charles Kuralt. Photograph by Hugh Morton.

Shortly after the service at Old Chapel Hill Cemetery, more than 1,600 people packed Memorial Hall for a celebration of Kuralt’s life, with UNC Chancellor Michael Hooker presiding.  WUNC-TV’s cameras were there to send the signal out across the Tar Heel state. Television personality Charlie Rose and WUNC-TV’s Audrey Kates Bailey anchored the broadcast.

The Memorial Hall stage was filled with an illustrious group of North Carolinians who came to share their friendships with Charles.  The group included UNC Chancellor Michael Hooker, North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, Kuralt’s special friend Hugh Morton, former UNC presidents William Friday and C.D. Spangler Jr, and Kuralt’s friend, composer Loonis McGlohon.  The North Carolina Symphony’s Brass Ensemble was also on hand to perform segments from North Carolina is My Home, which Kuralt wrote and performed with McGlohon.  McGlohon performed “The Farmer” segment that he called his favorite.

William C. Friday during the memorial service for Charles Kuralt. Photograph by Hugh Morton, as cropped by the editor.

William C. Friday during the memorial service for Charles Kuralt. Photograph by Hugh Morton, as cropped by the editor.

“The world knew Charles as one of the most respected and trusted newsmen of this generation, a master storyteller and a tour guide to the back roads of our nation,” said Chancellor Hooker.  “The university knew him as a stalwart alumnus who never forgot his roots—whether it meant talking to our budding journalists or giving his time and effort on behalf of the School of Social Work to help promote his late father’s profession.  He was a kind and generous man who never hesitated to lend his alma mater a hand however and whenever possible.  He will be greatly missed.”

Morton told the standing-room only crowd at Memorial Hall, “I begged him to cancel everything and come to the mountains and sleep all day or fish all day, whatever it would take to restore his health.”  Kuralt said he had too much to do.

Left to right: James G. (Jim) Babb, then Executive Vice President at Bahakel Communications, with Loonis McGlohon, and Charles Kuralt at Belmont Abbey College, May 10, 1997. Babb is a class of 1959 alumnus of Belmont Abbey College.

Left to right: James G. (Jim) Babb, then Executive Vice President at Bahakel Communications, with Loonis McGlohon, and Charles Kuralt at Belmont Abbey College, May 10, 1997. Babb is a class of 1959 alumnus of Belmont Abbey College.

Morton wasn’t surprised when he got a call telling him that Kuralt had died.  Less than two months earlier on May 10, Hugh Morton met with Kuralt at Belmont Abbey College.  It was probably their last time together.  Kuralt was the commencement speaker and received an honorary degree.  McGlohon also received an honorary degree that day, along with Catholic theologian and author, the Reverend Terrence Kardong, and the Reverend David Thompson, Bishop of the Charleston diocese.  Kuralt had been diagnosed with lupus and his treatment regimen had taken a severe toll.

"Belmont Abbey / Loonis & Charles"—Hugh Morton's entry in his executive planner for May 10, 1997.

“Belmont Abbey / Loonis & Charles”—Hugh Morton’s entry in his executive planner for May 10, 1997.

Through his world travels, Charles Kuralt never forgot his North Carolina roots.  Governor Jim Hunt called Kuralt North Carolina’s storytelling ambassador, then added, “He was born on the coast, grew up in the Piedmont, loved the mountains, but he belonged to America. He was a fine reporter.  But when he started telling us America’s stories, we smiled and sometimes cried when we saw the goodness.”

In July 1997, television personality Charlie Rose was hosting an interview program on Public Broadcasting (PBS), so it was a natural for the North Carolina native to co-anchor the TV coverage of the Charles Kuralt memorial broadcast on the University’s Public Broadcasting station WUNC-TV.  Rose called Kuralt “a genuine American hero.”

“There was almost no one who didn’t know him. People would say ‘I was always wondering when you would show up.’” Then with a smile Rose added. “There was one exception, a woman Kuralt walked up to interview asked him to leave two quarts of milk, thinking he was the milkman.”

“All of us, when we heard the story (of Kuralt’s death) wanted to say ‘Stop—one more story, one more conversation. Introduce me to one more person that reflects America. Give me one more gentle reminder of who we are and what the great fabric of this nation is about.’ ”

Former UNC System President Dr. William Friday said, “No matter where he was in the world, he would call Chapel Hill and ask whether the dogs were still chasing the squirrels across campus and the flowers still blooming.”

When UNC System President C.D. Spangler, Jr. got to the podium to add his remarks, he opened with these words: “To Charles and all his family here, I say welcome back to Chapel Hill.”

Supplement

William C. Friday’s papers in the Southern Historical Collection contain the following letters between Friday and Hugh Morton, written soon after the Kuralt memorial service.

Epilog

On October 12, 2012 (University Day on the UNC campus), former UNC System President Dr. William Clyde Friday passed away.  He, too, is at peace in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery.

Correction: A caption to a photograph in the original version of the story stated that the unidentified person on the left of the group portrait with McGlohon and Kuralt was thought to be Reverend David Thompson.  A reader’s comment identified the man as James G. Babb (7 July 2017).

Look at America: The South

Hugh Morton's photograph published in Look at America: The South.

Hugh Morton’s photograph published in Look at America: The South.

Some recent searching for “Hugh Morton” on newspapers.com led to a book review titled “Look Looks at The South in Pictures” by Bob Sain in the 19 October 1947 issue of The Daily Tar Heel. The very last paragraph parenthetically reads:

(Incidentally, North Carolina came off badly in space allotment; tobacco process shots took most of our space while Chapel Hill was ignored.  There was one picture of the Duke campus.  However, we recognized one photograph by Carolina man Hugh Morton: a misty Smoky Mountain shot.)

Of course I needed to know which Hugh Morton photograph, so I looked for the book in the University Libraries catalog.  Surprisingly UNC does not hold that book, so I submitted an interlibrary loan request and it arrived late last week.  Titled The South, the book is part of a series with nine volumes titled “Look at America” that was compiled by editors from the magazine Look with each book “written in collaboration with” various authors.   David L. Cohn is the author for The South.  [UNC does, after all, have the book; see the clarification below, which I added after I published this post.]

The photograph above shows Hugh Morton’s photograph on page 81.  I immediately recognized it because I seriously considered printing a scan made from the negative for inclusion in the Hugh Morton retrospective exhibition (currently at the North Carolina Museum of History).  As much as I liked the image, it just didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the exhibition.

A scan of the same negative as the photograph published in Look at America: The South. Or is it?

A scan of the same negative as the photograph published in Look at America: The South. Or is it?

Upon closer inspection, the photograph in the book does not seem to be the exact same image as the negative.  You can see in the scan above that many of the leafs are moving. Morton may have made an additional negative at that location, but there’s not another similar negative in the collection, at least that I could find.

The comparison between the printed page in the book and the negative scan is a good example of two challenges we faced when printing the exhibition: cropping and representation.  Should we crop an image or print it fully?  We usually printed the negatives as fully as we could, but sometimes minor cropping enhanced the image.  I would turn to published photographs when known, but many times publishers crop photographs despite what photographers submit—often to fit the format the book or the allocated space for a page spread in a magazine or newspaper.  Had I seen this book before designed the exhibition I may have printed it that way, but with the “uncommon” theme I may have printed the full negative for its wider view.  The other consideration, representation of the negative as a print, usually concerns the print’s tonality.  For example, should a print have more or less contrast?  Likewise, should an image printed be darker or lighter?  Notice the difference between the darker printed page in the book and the lighter version we created.  When working on the image, we tried to stay “true” to the negative.  We also tried to recreate the foggy atmosphere of the forest by contrasting it to the silhouette of the foreground tree.  The book’s version has a darker mid and foreground, conveying a sense of the woods’ denseness in comparison to the sky’s lightness.

Which leads to another possibility for the question “Or is it?”: that it is the same negative, from which Morton printed a darker interpretation with a bit more contrast to mask the mirroring effected created by the leaf movement.  In the book, you cannot differentiate the branches from the leafs where they overlap; in the negative, however, you can clearly distinguish the lighter leafs from the tree. Combined with the printing technique for the book which makes the leafs and branches essentially black, the leaf movement may have just disappeared.

As in so many instances, we may never know which is the case—but now you know some of the considerations archivists and curators make when we create a exhibition of modern day prints from historical negatives.

Clarification:

As I was returning the book to Interlibrary Loan, I discovered that UNC has the book after all.  One UNC catalog record is for the “Look at America” series that states there are nine volumes but with no mention of the book titles for each of nine volumes.  After some exploration in WorldCat, where I found four different base catalog records for the book, I went back to the UNC catalog and discovered the North Carolina Collection does indeed have the book.

I updated the story soon after its initial publication to reflect the book’s proper short title as “The South” and not “Look at America: The South,” which is what is printed on the very first printed page after the flyleaf.  The full title of the book is likely The South: A Handbook in Pictures, Maps and Text for the Vacationist, the Traveler and the Stay-at-home.  Here’s a photograph of the title page from the NCC’s copy, showing the long title and confusing title page:

Final revision: June 12, 2017 at 14:35 p.m.

Always on call for his alma mater

May 13, 1989 groundbreaking ceremony for the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. (L to R): Ralph Strayhorn, fund raising chairman; George Watts Hill; Doug Dibbert, General Alumni Association Executive Director; Robert C. Eubanks, UNC Board of Trustees chairman; Tom Lambeth, chairman of the area campaigns; Chancellor Emeritus Christopher C. Fordham III; and Chancellor Paul Hardin.

May 13, 1989 groundbreaking ceremony for the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. (L to R): Ralph Strayhorn, fund raising chairman; George Watts Hill; Doug Dibbert, General Alumni Association Executive Director; Robert C. Eubanks, UNC Board of Trustees chairman; Tom Lambeth, chairman of the area campaigns; Chancellor Emeritus Christopher C. Fordham III; and Chancellor Paul Hardin.

On Tuesday, June 7, 2016—one year ago today—a special memorial service was held at the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery on Raleigh Road. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill had lost one of its strongest supporters. Three days before, Ralph Strayhorn Jr. had passed away in Winston-Salem. He was 93-years-old.  On this anniversary, Morton Collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back at Strayhorn’s amazing list of accomplishments.

Ralph Nichols Strayhorn Jr. at one time or another served his university as

  • cocaptain of the varsity football team;
  • member of UNC Board of Trustees;
  • President of the General Alumni Association;
  • General Counsel for the Rams Club;
  • chairman of the search committee charged in 1987 with finding a replacement for Head Football Coach Dick Drum (he and his committee found Mack Brown);
  • President and General Counsel of the Educational Foundation, Inc.; and
  • Fund Raising Chairman for the George Watts Hill Alumni Center building project.

As you will see later in this post, this list will continue.

A native of Durham, Strayhorn was recruited by UNC assistant football coach Jim Tatum and played three seasons with the Tar Heels before he entered the United States Navy and served in the Pacific theater from 1943 until 1946, completing his active service as a sub-chaser commanding officer.  He served twenty years in the U. S. Naval Reserve, retiring in 1962 as a lieutenant commander.

He returned to Chapel Hill in time for the 1946 football season where he was a cocaptain along with Chan Highsmith.  In a 2010 interview, Strayhorn described his returned: “It was a delightful time to be in Chapel Hill.  Everyone was glad to be home from the war, back in school where they belonged.”

The 1946 Tar Heels under Head Coach Carl Snavely won eight games during the regular season while losing only to Tennessee and tying VPI (formally Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, known today as Virginia Tech).  That record was good enough to earn a Southern Conference championship and Carolina’s first bowl game, the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 1947. Strayhorn’s trip to New Orleans was not a joyous occasion as it should have been. His father had suffered a heart attack back in Durham and was unconscious.

“My mind wasn’t focused on the game, needless to say.  I thought about not going.  My first cousin was a doctor and was very close to our family.  He said my father would want me to go and play in that game.  I stayed behind when the team left and then caught the last train to New Orleans. . . I was on the first train back out of town.  I returned to my father’s bedside but he never recovered.”

Strayhorn could have played one more season with the Tar Heels.  The 1943 season didn’t count against his eligibility because he had gone off to World War II; he chose, however, to graduate with the class of 1947 with a degree in commerce and enter law school.  He got his law degree in 1950 and joined the firm of Newsom, Graham, Strayhorn, Hedrick, Murray, Bryson and Kennon as a senior partner.  He held that position until 1978 when he assumed the executive position of general counsel of the Wachovia Corporation and the Wachovia Bank and Trust Company.  Strayhorn retired from that position in his 1988 retirement.  He then joined the law firm Petree Stockton & Robinson.

Throughout his professional career, Ralph Strayhorn remained active in the life of his alma mater, especially its athletic programs and his beloved football Tar Heels. From 1973 until 1981 he was a member of the UNC Board of Trustees, serving as chairman in 1979 and 1980.  Additionally, he served on the Central Selection Committee of the Morehead Foundation, the Board of Visitors, and the NC Institute of Medicine.  In 1989 the UNC Board of Trustees awarded Strayhorn the William Richardson Davie Award.

Over the years, Strayhorn kept in touch with Coach Jim Tatum and in 1955 he wrote Tatum a four-page letter asking him to return to Chapel Hill to take over the football program.  “The football situation at Chapel Hill seems to have reached an all-time low,” Strayhorn wrote. The following year Tatum returned and led the program until his untimely death in July of 1959.  Ironically, in 1957 Strayhorn had prepared Tatum’s will and delivered the document to him the week before the Tar Heel were to meet Maryland for the first time since Tatum left—the famous “Queen Elizabeth” game. As the coach was signing the document, he asked Strayhorn if he was going to the game on Saturday.

“I told him I didn’t have tickets, transportation, a room or a baby-sitter.  He said, ‘Well, find yourself a baby-sitter.  I’ll take care of the rest. You be at the airport Friday at 2 o’clock.’ We got to the airport and everything was arranged for us.”

FOUR TAR HEELS—Ralph Strayhorn Jr., Charlie Justice, Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan, and Charlie Carr gathered on the sidelines before the 1997 Sugar Bowl. At that time Carr was the associate director of athletics at Florida State, which played against Florida in the bowl game.

FOUR TAR HEELS—Ralph Strayhorn Jr., Charlie Justice, Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan, and Charlie Carr gathered on the sidelines before the 1997 Sugar Bowl. At that time Carr was the associate director of athletics at Florida State, which played against Florida in the bowl game.

In December 1996 Carolina’s 1947 football team celebrated the 50th anniversary of their ’47 Sugar Bowl game with a train trip to New Orleans for the 1997 Sugar Bowl game.  An on-the-field pre-game ceremony included Charlie Justice and Ralph Strayhorn along with Charlie Trippi of Georgia.  Hugh Morton was a special invited guest at the ceremony.

Joe Neikirk, Georgia's legendary Bulldog Bill Hartman, Ralph Strayhorn Jr., Charlie Justice, Crowell Little, and Georgia All-American Charley Trippi.

Joe Neikirk, Georgia’s legendary Bulldog Bill Hartman, Ralph Strayhorn Jr., Charlie Justice, Crowell Little, and Georgia All-American Charley Trippi.

Seven years later, on November 5, 2004, Ralph Strayhorn and Hugh Morton were featured speakers at the dedication of Johnpaul Harris’ magnificent Charlie Justice statue which now stands just outside of Kenan Stadium.

The next time you visit the “Charlie Justice Hall of Honor” in the Kenan Football Center, notice the Harold Styers’ portrait of the 1947 Sugar Bowl coin toss featuring UNC’s Cocaptain Ralph Stayhorn #62, and Georgia’s Captain Charlie Trippi, also #62.

And oh yes . . . that list.  Ralph Strayhorn Jr. was President of the North Carolina Bar Association in 1971-72, and a member of the

  • Legal Advisory Committee of the New York Stock Exchange;
  • American College of Trial Lawyers;
  • American Bar Association;
  • International Association of Defense Counsel;
  • Newcomen Society of the United States; and the
  • Board of Visitors of the Wake Forest School of Law.

He also argued a case before the Supreme Court of the United States and served in the North Carolina General Assembly in 1959.

Ralph Nichols Strayhorn Jr., a Tar Heel treasure like no other.

UPDATE: caption for second photograph revised to reflect identification received in a comment on June 12.  Previously the caption began with “THREE TAR HEELS.”

UPDATE: On June 13, the caption was once again update with the discovery of more recent information about Charlie Carr.  Mr. Carr was a member of the UNC Class of 1968 and he received a master’s degree from there in 1970.  In 1971 he became a UNC assistant football coach.  He also served in various roles at East Carolina, Mississippi State before joining Florida State  in 1995. Carr left Florida State on October 1, 2007, when he became the athletic director at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.  On May 17, 2017 Mr. Carr entered phased retirement from MSU, and he will officially retire on August 31.  Also updated was the caption for the final photograph with the identification of Bill Hartman, the Georgia Bulldog’s team captain in 1937.  (Thanks, Jack Hilliard, for new info on Charlie Carr and the identification of Bill Hartman!)

A Benny Goodman score

"WHEN BUDDHA SMILES"—This is a marquee poster for a Benny Goodman Orchestra performance attended by Hugh Morton. The date for this performance was unknown, but no longer. Buddha smiles again. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

“WHEN BUDDHA SMILES”—This is a marquee poster for a Benny Goodman Orchestra performance attended by Hugh Morton. The date for this performance was unknown, but no longer. Buddha smiles again. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

I am a jazz fan, so Hugh Morton’s negatives of jazz musicians have interested me from the first time I saw them.  Morton began photographing jazz musicians when he was in high school and he continued throughout his life.  Clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman was his favorite musician.  In 1988 Morton wrote in Making a Difference in North Carolina:

Illustrative of my loyalty to Benny Goodman, I saw him and his band in the ’30s and 40’s in Washington, D. C., Baltimore, Detroit, New York, and Raleigh, and in 1979 in Greensboro and 1983 in Wilmington.  Each time I took pictures, and I deeply regret the cameras and film in the early days did not measure up.  It was virtually impossible to snap candid shots that are up to today’s standards.

It may be better to contextualize that statement with a bit of clarification.  I believe the camera technology was available, but perhaps not to a teenager.  In 1937, Leica 35mm cameras had been available since 1925, so I don’t think that cameras were the issue.  Morton photographed during this time with a camera that used the 127 film format, which is larger than the 135 format and its film cartridge that came to market in 1934.  Black-and-white negative films during that time, however, did not have sufficient light sensitivity (film speed) to capture an image without blurring caused by shaking a hand-held camera set with the slower shutter speeds needed to get a proper exposure.  Below is one of Morton’s negatives made at that Washington, D.C. concert . . .

. . . and here’s a cropped portion of the negative that illustrates softness from camera movement. (Look at the “G” on the music stand.)

Until very recently, the location and date Morton made the marquee poster negative was unknown.  A project I’m working on brought his jazz negatives to my attention, so I began to sort the Benny Goodman negatives into groups based upon the stage settings.  Luckily the marquee poster exposure is on a negative strip that also has an interior view of Goodman performing inside the theatre, so that group of images with the stage seen above formed the Washington batch.

Next I spent some quality evening and weekend time digging around for clues that might lead to more information.  For historical information I checked out the Music Library’s copy of Ross Firestone’s biography Swing, Swing, Swing: The Life and Times of Benny Goodman. (It was also a good excuse to borrow the 2-CD set Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall, 1938 to listen to while researching!)  But the definitive answer came from the University Libraries’ online catalog access to historical issues of The Washington Post.  A search through that newspaper revealed where and when Morton made that group of negatives.

The Washington Post column “Nelson B. Bell About The Show Shops” for June 5, 1937 covered Goodman’s gig in an article with a long title that begins, “‘Kid Galahad’ and Benny Goodman Score at the Earle.”  A bit more searching through other issues of the newspaper pinpointed that Goodmen and orchestra opened a one-week engagement at the Earle Theatre on June 3, 1937.  Bell listed in his review the performers’ names in the exact order they are printed on the marquee poster.  His list also revealed the proper spelling of the name Peg LaCentra (not Gentra, as in the poster).  Bell also noted that he believed it was Goodman’s “first visit to a Washington stage,” which is very similar to the wording on the poster.

Bell reported, “On the stage at the Earle this week, Benny Goodman and his orchestra are winning an ovation at every performance—and they are being put on so often they must think it is a continuous act they are doing. The Goodman band goes in largely for ‘swing’ rhythms and plays them with a zest that knocked the audience right out of their pews yesterday afternoon.”  The performance Bell attended suffered from a loudspeaker failure that prevented him from hearing the performers names as Goodman’s voice only carried to the sixth row and he sat farther back in around the twentieth.  The music, however, must have been loud and clear.

Firestone’s biography does not mention the Washington venue; it only states that the band left New York in the beginning of June destined for its third engagement at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles at the end of the month.  He noted that “aside from a few theater dates” the month was almost entirely one-nighters spread through Pennsylvania and several midwestern states.  Firestone’s book does, however, provide some prior context.  On March 3, just three months before the Earle Theatre performances, Goodman’s orchestra started a two-week engagement at the Paramount Theater on Times Square in New York City.

A sold-out crowd saw that opening night’s first performance “and the audience of restless youngsters was in unusually high spirits.”  They greeted the orchestra, Firestone recounted, “with an ear-shattering roar of clapping and whistling and stomping and yelling that sounded, Benny remembered, ‘like Times Square on New Year’s Eve.’  ‘It was exciting, [Goodman] recalled, ‘but also a little frightening—scary.'”

Firestone vividly described the band’s performance, then wrote,

It was apparent to everyone . . . that something truly momentous had just taken place, that the Goodman orchestra’s brief forty-three-minute sojourn on the Paramount stage was some kind of breakthrough that topped, and was different from, all its previous successes.  What started out as just another stage show had turned into a kind of celebration of the spirit, a love feast of communal frenzy that was, as Variety observed, “tradition-shattering in its spontaneity, its unanimity, its sincerity, its volume, in the childlike violence of its manifestations.”

Firestone then accounts for what he believed was the performance’s “stunningly obvious” cause.  “The school kids were among Benny’s most zealous fans, and this was the first chance they had to hear him in person,” he wrote.  Goodman’s usual New York venue was The Hotel Pennsylvania, which was “completely beyond the reach of the legions of ordinary youngsters who, up to now, could only listen to Benny on the radio or spring for an occasional record.”  A multitude of kids had lined up starting before seven in the morning to buy a twenty-five cent ticket.  By the end of the day, the Paramount has sold 21,000 admissions.

The orchestra’s next theater date was at the Metropolitan Theater in Boston in May, and they encountered there the same high-octane enthusiasm as inside the Paramount.  The Boston Morning Globe wrote that it seemed like the Metropolitan Theater held “every boy and girl in Greater Boston who could beg a school ‘absent’ excuse from a tolerant parent.  Benny Goodman, King of Swing, is in town, which means that the youngsters of the city are in their seventh heaven of rapture. What shrieks of joy as he played ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ in his own swingy rhythms!  What yells and whistles and stampings followed Gene Krupa’s drumming exhibitions!”

And so it must have been in the pews of Washington’s Earle Theatre during the first week of June.  Nelson Bell concluded his Washington Post review with, “Don’t miss this one.”  Sixteen-year-old Hugh Morton did not.

John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday anniversary

John F. Kennedy at North Carolina Caucus, 1956 Democratic National Convention

John F. Kennedy at North Carolina Caucus, 1956 Democratic National Convention

If John F. Kennedy were alive today, he would be celebrating his 100th birthday.  Hugh Morton, who was less than four years younger than JFK, photographed him on several occasions.  The above photograph is Morton’s earliest.

During the nearly ten years that A View to Hugh has been in existence, John Kennedy has been featured, represented, or mentioned in more that thirty blog posts  To mark this day, I encourage you to search the blog for Kennedy’s name and read an entry or two . . . or click on the link above to access nearly sixty images available of Kennedy in the online collection, including a dozen images from his 1961 University Day speech in Kenan Memorial Stadium at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Back at the track

Lining up for the start of the 1983 Mello Yello 300.

Lining up for the start of the 1983 Mello Yello 300.

NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the Coca-Cola 600, will be run at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 28, 2017.  This year’s event will mark the 58th running of the race that started back in 1960 when it was called the World 600.  That name continued until the 1985 race when Coca-Cola became a major sponsor.

In 1978 NASCAR held a supporting race, a Late Model Sportsman Series 100-mile race the day before the 600 miler. The following year NASCAR held the Sun Drop 300, and beginning in 1980 the Mello Yello 300.  In 1982 the 300-mile race became part of the Busch Series, with another sponsorship name change to the Winston 300 in 1985.  Today the race is called the Hitense 4K TV 300.

Back on May 7, 2010, Jack Hilliard wrote a post about the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, and Hugh Morton’s wife Julia added this comment: “I remember how anxious Hugh was to have Stock Car Racing ‘declared a sport.’”  Four years later, Jack wrote a post about the 1971 National 500 at Charlotte’s famous mile-and-a-half oval.  He wrote in the article that while High Morton is famous for his sports photography, there aren’t many NASCAR events represented in his portfolio.

Fast forward to earlier this year, when Jack noted in the Morton collection finding aid the following entry:

  • Slide Lot 008864: “World 600, Viaduct,” (NASCAR), June 1983 #P0081, Subseries: “Other events, 1940s-early 2000s”

With the 2017 Coca-Cola 600 approaching, Jack wrote an article looking back thirty-four years to the then World 600 of May 29, 1983.  This morning, as I was assembling the image scans and writing captions for the World 600 posting, all was well . . .

Neil Bonnett in car number 75 (front left) and car number 7, which in the World 600 would have been Kyle Petty, lead a pack of fourteen cars, with car number 32 separated from the pack ahead.

Neil Bonnett in car number 75 (front left) and car number 7, which in the World 600 would have been Kyle Petty, lead a pack of fourteen cars, with car number 32 separated from the pack ahead.

I dropped in another image . . .

. . . and moved on to the next.

In the World 600, Hueytown, Alabama’s Neil Bonnett edged out Richard Petty by 0.8 seconds for the victory.  Could this image be the two dueling as they came out of the last turn?  Alas, no because the car is yellow and Jack’s article had a quote by Bonnett from after the race:

Richard was dictating how fast I had to run.  I knew I had to pick up the pace because every time I looked in my rear view mirror I saw that red-and-blue car and I knew that man meant business.

This slide, #17, shows a yellow "Wrangler" car (number not visible) with a slight edge on Neil Bonnett in car #75, the white car on the left.

This slide, #17, shows a yellow “Wrangler” car (number not visible) with a slight edge on Neil Bonnett in car #75, the white car on the left.

The next slide, #18, shows the yellow Wrangler car with a wider lead on Neil Bonnett.  The following cars are number 7, 28, and 17.

The next slide, #18, shows the yellow Wrangler car with a wider lead on Neil Bonnett.  The following cars are number 7, 28, and 17.

Then I placed the following photograph, Morton’s slide #19, and something was awry . . .

Slide number #19 depicts a pack exiting turn four lead by car 23, followed by cars 34, 76, and 5.

Slide number #19 depicts a pack exiting turn four lead by car 23, followed by cars 34, 76, and 5.

The above photograph, Morton’s 35mm color slide #19, depicts a pack of cars exiting turn four with car 23 in front of cars 34, 76, and 5.  To write a caption, I looked up on the Internet and found the race results with a list of the drivers’ names and car numbers.  That’s when I discovered that none of those car numbers raced in the World 600.  Digging a bit more, I learned about the Mello Yello 300 and found a list of drivers and car numbers for that race, then emailed the news and webpage links to Jack.  He found footage of the entire race on YouTube, and by comparing the beginning minutes of the film footage to Morton’s wide angle photograph shown at the top of this post, we confirmed that Morton’s photographs are of the Mello Yello 300 and not the World 600.  The race broadcaster mentions (at 4:20 on the video), “Dale Earnhardt in the Wrangler car, number 15.”  As the results webpage shows, Dale Earnhardt defeated Neil Bonnett to win the Mello Yello 300.

There’s still a little “Morton Mystery” left, though: some of the car numbers seen in slide 19 are unknown.  According to the list on the website Ultimate Racing History, the driver for car number 23 was Davey Allison while Joe Kelly drove the following car, number 34.  The next car, 76, is not listed . . . nor is car 47.  In between those two cars is car 5 driven by John Anderson.  Dale Jarrett is next in car 32, followed by Slick Johnson in car 46.  With two car numbers unaccounted for, is it possible that Hugh Morton attended the qualifying race the day before?  That’s not likely because car number 7 in the second photograph above is probably pole sitter Morgan Shephard. Or, more likely, is the list of drivers on the Internet list incomplete or contain some errors?

That’s what I could piece together this morning before today’s 1:00 starting time.  Any race fans out there who can add more to the story?

Addendum: May 28, 2017

Jack found a website, Racing-Reference.info, with the results of the 1983 Mello Yello 300 that include cars 76 and 47 driven, respectively, by Butch Lindley and Randy Tissot.

Another “Morton Mystery” (that we didn’t know we had) has been solved!

Another known unknown: Frank Lloyd Wright’s “The Research Tower”

North Carolina Governor Luther Hodges and several unidentified men pose in front of the globe on the grounds of S. C. Johnson and Sons Company in early May 1958. Frank Lloyd Wright was the architect for The Research Tower, opened in 1950, seen in the background. Photograph by Hugh Morton, May 1 or 2, 1958.

North Carolina Governor Luther Hodges and several unidentified men pose in front of the globe on the grounds of S. C. Johnson and Sons Company in early May 1958. Frank Lloyd Wright was the architect for The Research Tower, opened in 1950, seen in the background. Photograph by Hugh Morton, May 1 or 2, 1958.

Another serendipitous discovery unveiled itself last Friday afternoon, and so another Morton Mystery has been solved.  (Well at least partially, and not all by itself; I had to do some digging.)  Yesterday and today just so happen to be the fifty-ninth anniversary of the event depicted, so I’m afraid there’s not time for me to do an extensive story.  So I present the images “as is” with a bit of background.  We can all contribute to the story and possible identifications in the comments for this post.

Last Friday while I was examining 120 format negatives in the Morton collection, I saw an envelope labeled “Gov. Hodges — Racine, Wisc. (factory visit)” with a date of May 2, 1958.  As I looked through the negatives I immediately recognized one of the images as being very similar to a color slide (below), which happens to be in the online collection.

Until now, the description of this photograph was "NC Governor Luther H. Hodges being greeted by men, probably at a hotel. Taken on "industry hunting" trip with Hodges administration, circa 1960, possibly to Chicago or New York." There are twenty-two slides in the collection with similar captions, now known to be erroneous.

Until now, the description of this photograph was “NC Governor Luther H. Hodges being greeted by men, probably at a hotel. Taken on “industry hunting” trip with Hodges administration, circa 1960, possibly to Chicago or New York.” There are twenty-two slides in the collection with similar captions, now known to be erroneous.

After looking at all the color slides in that group, a bit of sleuthing led to the discovery that the event was a trip taken by Governor Luther Hodges and several North Carolina businessmen to Chicago with a side trip to Racine, Wisconsin.  Morton made the slide immediately above at the S. C. Johnson and Sons headquarters, probably inside The Administrative Building (built 1936 through 1939) or possibly The Research Tower (built 1944 through 1950).  The buildings are on the list of United States National Historic Landmarks and the United States Register of Historic Places.  Can anyone determine which building interior this?  Any Frank Lloyd Wright experts out there who can help us identify the rest of these images with more specificity? I’m a Frank Lloyd Wright fan (but by no means an expert!) and it’s killing me that I cannot spend more time researching them.

There are twenty-two slides in the lot, and you may examine nine of the “Industry Mission” slides online.  (The slide above is not in the online collection.)  The slides also include scenes of the emissaries’ visit to the Case Corporation factory, also in Racine, where the company made Case-o-matic tractors.  Below is a slide depicting some of travelers along with Governor Hodges, probably at Case.  This image currently is not in the online collection.

Luther Hodges and group, probably during its tour in Racine, Wisconsin. As slide 21 of 22, it's likely at the Case Corporation plant, but the entirety of their tour has not yet been researched. Slide 22 has a hand-written label "Industry Hunting."

Luther Hodges and group, probably during its tour in Racine, Wisconsin. As slide 21 of 22, it’s likely at the Case Corporation plant, but the entirety of their tour has not yet been researched. Slide 22 has a hand-written label “Industry Hunting.”

The following links are to PDF’s of news articles and announcements found thus far:

The_Racine_Journal_Times_Sunday_Bulletin_Sun__Apr_13__1958_

The_Racine_Journal_Times_Sunday_Bulletin_Sun__Apr_27__1958_

The_Gastonia_Gazette_Fri__May_2__1958_