Rollie Massimino (1934–2017)

Rollie Massimino photographed by Hugh Morton, image cropped by the author.

Rollie Massimino photographed by Hugh Morton, image cropped by the author.

In today’s news we learned of yesterday’s passing of famed Villanova University basketball coach Rollie Massimino.  Above is a detail from a photograph of Massimino made by Hugh Morton on March 17, 1991 during the NCAA East Regional played in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY.  A View to Hugh post from 2009 titled UNC vs. Villanova: 1982 and 1985 recounts two Tar Heel encounters against Massimino, and another post, “When Carolina’s Roy Williams and Villanova’s Jay Wright were assistants” includes another Morton photograph of Massimino made during the same game as this photograph.

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).

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!)

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.

Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday

Ella Fitzgerald with the Chick Webb Orchestra, at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC.

Ella Fitzgerald with the Chick Webb Orchestra, at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC.

Today marks the 100 anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald’s birth.  In his book Making a Difference in North Carolina, Hugh Morton included a similar photograph to the one above with the caption,

Ella Fitzgerald, at age 18, sings A Ticket, A Tasket with Chick Webb’s Orchestra.  They played in North Carolina, but this photo is in the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Hm . . .

Fitzgerald would have been eighteen in 1935 to 1936.  According to Stuart Nicholson’s Ella Fitzgerald: The Complete Biography (2004) and Ella Fitzgerald: The Chick Webb Years & Beyond by Ron Fritts & Ken Vail (2003), Fitzgerald recorded that song for the first time on May 2, 1938 at Decca studios in New York.  Fitzgerald and the Chick Webb Orchestra first performed at the Howard Theatre for one-week engagement that opened on November 22, 1935.  Hugh Morton would have been fourteen years old.  Perhaps this photograph is from a later date?

Another Morton Mystery is at hand.  I learned late in the day that today was Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday, so this will need some follow up.  Can any readers of A View to Hugh fill in some of the story?

Addendum

According to Fritts and Vail, Ella Fitzgerald and the Chick Webb Orchestra also played a one-week engagement at the Howard Theatre from March 26 through April 1, 1937.  Fitzgerald would have been nineteen, just shy of her twentieth birthday., while Hugh Morton would have been sixteen.  It was billed as an “Easter Swing Session” and a “Gay Holiday Revue” with Bardue Ali, Charles Linton, and Taft Jordan.  Fitzgerald and the orchestra returned to the Howard Theatre for another one-week stand from January 28 through February 3, 1938.  The following week, the entourage began a five-week stint in Boston at the Flamingo Room at Levaggi’s Restaurant.  According to Nicholson, Fitzgerald “worked out the outline of ‘A-Ticket, A-Tasket'” at Levaggi’s.”

Fitzgerald and the orchestra’s next one-week stop at the Howard Theatre came on March 31, ending on April 6.  An advertisement for the engagement portrays her as “First Lady of Swing ‘Ella A-Tisket A-Takset Fitzgerald.'”  Webb, however, did not perform; he entered John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for a back operation.  He left the hospital the following week. Webb would died on June 16, 1939, but Fitzgerald continued to play with his orchestra—which playbills began to list as “her Chick Webb Orchestra” or other such variations. At some point soon there after the design and the initials on the front of the music stands changed to EF.

The next appearance by Fitzgerald at the Howard, according to Fritts and Vail is a one-week gig from March 7 to 13, 1941. This performance seems to be an unlikely candidate for Morton’s negatives. He attended Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia before enrolling at UNC in the autumn of 1939, so his proximity to Washington, D.C. coupled with the release date of “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” favors a twenty-one, soon to be twenty-two, year-old Fitzgerald. If so, then Morton’s negatives capture Fitzgerald on the cusp of an important turning point in her a career.

Taking “A Tisket A Tasket” to Task

In a 1981 interview by Ron Wellburn, Teddy MacRae spoke about the origins of “A-Tisket A-Takset.”  He said, “That was Ella own thing.  It was her own idea. That was her thing that she would sing up in Yonkers. . . . ”  Fitzgerald, born in Newport News, Virginia, was raised in Yonkers from the age of three until her mother died suddenly of a heart attack in 1932.  The lyrics are based up a very old nursery rhyme.  MacRae continued, “We [the orchestra] had nothing to do with that. We called Van [Alexander] to put it down on paper for her, and Van made the arrangements.”

Biographer Robertson, quoting liner notes from the 1986 Swingtime LP Ella Fitzgerald Forever Young, volume 2 (ST 1007) quoted Alexander as saying “I was terribly busy at the time so I did nothing about the tune. But Ella approached me again after about a month, and I went home and put the melody and her lyrics together, copying all the parts myself, and took it to Webb.  He rehearsed the song for about an hour in the afternoon and that very night, from the Savoy, he broadcast it. And that’s how ‘A-Tisket, A-Tasket” was born and popularized.”

For a version of the story from her at the time, we turn to The Ella Fitzgerald Companion (1998) that includes a 1938 New York Post article by Earl Wilson in which Fitzgerald said, “we was playing’ Boston in April, and I says to Al Feldman [the birth name of Van Alexander], our arranger, ‘Look here, I got something terrific! They’re swing’ everything else—why not nursery rhymes?’  I had most of the words wrote out, so we sat down and jammed around till we got the tune, and that’s the way it was.”  Well, that’s Ella’s version of the story.  Up next for yet a different take . . .  the biography First Lady of Song: Ella Fitzgerald for the Record by Geoffrey Fidelman (1994).

In that his biography Fidelman notes that the band had nightly broadcasts of their performances at the Levaggi.  His spin on the story is that Feldman said he was so busy because of the constant need for new material for the radio broadcasts.  “I turned her down flat,” said Feldman recalling when Fitzgerald approached him because of his workload.  Fidelman then notes that Ella again approached Feldman a few days later [not a month as Teddy MacRae recalled.]  Fidelman states Click Webb “put ‘Tasket’ on the air almost immediately and the band played it nightly for almost a month before the May 2 recording date for Decca, and this version has the song’s debut at Levaggi’s not the Savoy.

And of course there’s yet another version of the story that Fidelman refutes with his research.  I cannot sort out all the stories here, but in each of these accounts, “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” comes together after the February 1938 engagement at the Howard Theatre. If Hugh Morton photographed Fitzgerald then, she wasn’t singing the song that burst her into stardom.  Either that, or there was another performance by Ella and the Webb band not recorded in the extensive chronicle constructed by Fritts and Vail.

We may never know . . .

Note: The final two sections added on 26 April

He came to Chapel Hill to argue with someone

Leon Henderson (right), head of the Office of Price Administration established within the Office for Emergency Management of the United States Government by Executive Order 8875 on August 28, 1941. Henderson was the speaker for the Carolina Political Union's sixth anniversary on 15 April 1942 in Memorial Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This photograph appears in the May 1942 ALUMNI REVIEW with caption headline "Have a Cigar!" and caption, "Evidently Price-Administrator Leon Henderson is not having to worry about cigar rationing. Here he is conferring with student leaders Ridley Whitaker, chairman of the Carolina Political Union, who hails from Goldsboro; Hobart McKeever of Greensboro, who was one of the candidates for presidency of the University Student Body; and Lou Harris of New Haven Conn., vice-president of the CPU. Mr. Henderson was one of the series of speakers brought to campus this year by student organizations." A slightly different Morton photograph of this group appeared in the 10 May issue of THE DAILY TAR HEEL.

Leon Henderson (right), head of the Office of Price Administration established within the Office for Emergency Management of the United States Government by Executive Order 8875 on August 28, 1941. Henderson was the speaker for the Carolina Political Union’s sixth anniversary on 15 April 1942 in Memorial Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This photograph appears in the May 1942 ALUMNI REVIEW with caption headline “Have a Cigar!” and caption, “Evidently Price-Administrator Leon Henderson is not having to worry about cigar rationing. Here he is conferring with student leaders Ridley Whitaker, chairman of the Carolina Political Union, who hails from Goldsboro; Hobart McKeever of Greensboro, who was one of the candidates for presidency of the University Student Body; and Lou Harris of New Haven Conn., vice-president of the CPU. Mr. Henderson was one of the series of speakers brought to campus this year by student organizations.” A slightly different Morton photograph of this group appeared in the 10 May issue of THE DAILY TAR HEEL.

Yesteryear is filled with those whose names today mean nothing to most, but in their day were lightning rods.  Leon Henderson is one of those people.

Henderson became a member of Franklin Roosevelt’s inner circle, perhaps the result of his 1937 memorandum “Boom and Bust” written when he was Director of Research and Planning with the National Recovery Administration.  Roosevelt appointed him to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1939, and in 1941 to head the Office of Price Administration.  John Kenneth Galbraith, a historically important economist, public official, and diplomat, begins Chapter 8, “Washington, 1940,” of his autobiography A Life in Our Times: Memoirs (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981):

Leon Henderson was slightly under average height, of rather more than average width, and he seemed always to be adjusting his pants, pulling a little on his belt as though this would reduce his waistline.  Perhaps because they had to be so large at his stomach, his trousers were always very loose below.  They flopped when he walked or the wind blew.  The rest of Leon’s attire was somewhat more disorderly.  He shaved regularly but without precision.  His face altered between an expression of unconvincing belligerence and one of shocked, unbelieving innocence, and sometimes he affected both at the same time.  Mostly, however, he favored the belligerent expression, and this he sought to reinforce with a sharply jutting cigar that he rolled in his mouth but rarely smoked.  He was highly intelligent, with a strong retentive mind.  After a few minutes’ study of a paper on any subject, however complex, he not only had absorbed it for all needed use but could give convincingly the impression that he had written it himself.

It was during 1940 that Galbraith would become Henderson’s deputy when he served on Roosevelt’s National Defense Advisory Commission.  Among those serving on the commission with Henderson was Harriet Elliot, Dean of Women at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now UNC Greensboro).

Galbraith devotes many pages of his first-hand accounts surrounding Henderson and his role in determining American economic policies during the critically important years from the mid 1930s into the first year of the United States’ direct involvement in the second World War.  Galbraith attributes Henderson as the person “who first voiced the thought that having a little inflation was like being a little pregnant” during “the almost paranoiac concern of 1940 and 1941 over inflation.”

Word that Leon Henderson would visit the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill first appeared in The Daily Tar Heel on April 5, 1942.  Ridley Whitaker, chair of the Carolina Political Union, a non-partisan and non-political student group formed in 1936, announced that three important men had been sign to speak during the week of April 23:

Whitaker noted that past invited speakers had been “reluctant to talk,” but that these men would. “We’re having those men down to talk.  They were signed with that purpose.  Henderson has already wired that he’s coming here because he wants someone to argue with him.”  Harriet Elliot would introduce Henderson.

The Daily Tar Heel reporter Paul Komisaruk, who covered the Henderson story during the next two weeks, describe Henderson as “More colorful than Davis” and “clearly one of ‘America’s New Bosses,’ who with his control of prices profoundly influences the cost of living in every home in America.”  Komisaruk was not exaggerating, and he attributes Henderson’s “Boom or Bust” [sic] memorandum to Henderson’s rise to Roosevelt’s “inner-brain trust.”

Within a week, Komisaruk reported that Henderson’s visit would be moved up to April 15, a date which also marked the sixth anniversary of the Carolina Political Union.  Henderson’s “pressing duties in Washington” necessitated the change.  Komisaruk wrote, “Holding down the most difficult and delicate job in Washington, the quick-tempered Henderson will explain to students and visiting dignitaries, the Congressional battles over price-fixing that rocked the halls of Congress, and still, to develop into the biggest domestic issue of the war.”  He also reported that Whitaker had developed the evening’s program to include a banquet and a reception, and that attendees would include Governor J. Melville Broughton and Josephus Daniels, who had been the United States Ambassador to Mexico from April 1933 until November 1941 and who was at that time the editor of his family-controlled newspaper The News and Observer in Raleigh.

On the day prior to Henderson’s visit, The Daily Tar Heel editorial staff column included a segment titled “A Man Who Knows . . .” in which the editors wrote, “This is the man who can tell you why Lenoir Hall prices are going up and when they will stop.  He doesn’t speak with an accent and he can’t sing the praises of the fighting soldiers, but he can tell you the effect of the war effort on the consumer.”

On the day of Henderson’s trip to Chapel Hill, Kamisaruk noted that Henderson was departing Washington “in the midst of a growing storm over issues pertaining to setting a ceiling on labor’s wages.”  He expected Henderson “to explain the stand he took last week before the War Labor Board, when he warned that a ceiling must be set or the country will be faced with ‘devastating inflation,’ that may cause the US to lose the war.”  Kamisaruk also noted that “political observers” say that “Henderson’s warnings about inflation and frozen wages are not to be taken lightly despite the violent recriminations they have brought from labor leaders throughout the country. They point to the depression of 1937 that Henderson anticipated and warned about, and was ridiculed for until the ‘Henderson depression’ came right along as he said it would.”  Kamisaruk concluded with an unattributed quotation: “his idealism springs out of the soil of harsh facts.  And the harshest of these facts are prices, prices, prices.”

An example of opposition to Henderson can be seen in Ray Tucker’s syndicated column “National Whirligig” for April 15.  In a section he titled “Sleuths” Tucker noted that since February 17, 1941 when the “first move to regulate the main factors underlying our artificial war economy,” Henderson had “issued one hundred and six permanent rulings and fifteen temporary decrees.” Tucker took exception to these, noting that “the rapidity with which prohibitions have had to be extended into the retail field is what reflects graphically the failure of the present philosophy.”  According to Tucker, between March 1941 to March 1942, wholesale costs had risen nineteen percent and living costs twelve percent.  Tucker feared the installation of a “more drastic regime will flood the country with a locustlike army of regulators and sleuths,” concluding “But this condition appears to be a necessary touch of totalitarianism.”

Komisaruk’s coverage of Henderson’s evening on campus noted that he delivered only “perfunctory remarks, and promptly announced that the floor was open to discussion.” Henderson had indeed come to Chapel Hill to argue. “Spectators fired a barrage of questions,” one of which concerned the forty-hour work week. The Associated Press picked up this nugget, as printed in The Burlington Times.  The AP noted that Henderson believed suspension of the 40-hour week would decrease production because, “I don’t believe human beings will respond a 10 per cent cut.”  He also said the nation might be forced to adopt a general sales tax, which he did not favor, unless wages were stabilized.

"Unaccustomed as I am . . . " is the quotation printed on the "Discussion Groups" opening section page in the 1942 YACKETY YACK. On the facing page is this Hugh Morton photograph, cropped here as it is in the yearbook. The photograph is not captioned. It depicts Leon Henderson (left) and Ridley Whitaker, Chairman of the student group Carolina Political Union. Whitaker was identified from other photographs in the collection and within the YACKETY YACK, but the identity of Henderson was unknown until researching this blog post.

“Unaccustomed as I am . . . ” is the quotation printed on the “Discussion Groups” opening section page in the 1942 YACKETY YACK. On the facing page is this Hugh Morton photograph, cropped here as it is in the yearbook. The photograph is not captioned. It depicts Leon Henderson (left) and Ridley Whitaker, Chairman of the student group Carolina Political Union. Whitaker was identified from other photographs in the collection and within the YACKETY YACK, but the identity of Henderson was unknown until researching this blog post.

Morton's negative without cropping.

Morton’s negative without cropping.

The Daily Tar Heel also reported that a Henderson answer to one questioner “drew roars of laughter” when asked for “a few words about that ‘great American patriot Martin Dies.'” (Martin Dies Jr. was a co-creator and chairman of the House Committee Investigating Un-American Activities.)  Henderson replied, “. . . it always happens once an evening—a question the speaker can not answer glibly.  I can only repeat what I have said on other occasions. ‘I will eat on the steps of the Treasury building at high noon any organizations I have belonged to that Martin Dies proves is subversive.” He added with a smile, “Of course there are some high school groups I belong to that his flat-feet haven’t gotten around to inspecting yet.”

Detail from the only other negative found thus far from Leon Henderson's speech in Memorial Hall. The woman in the background of each image is presumably Harriot Wiseman Elliot, Dean of Women at the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.

Detail from the only other negative found thus far from Leon Henderson’s speech in Memorial Hall. The woman in the background of each image is presumably Harriot Wiseman Elliot, Dean of Women at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.

A few days after Henderson’s evening in Chapel Hill, The Daily Tar Heel opinion column noted that “Memorial hall overflowed . . . for the CPU’s first speech of the spring quarter.  There were many who expressed disappointment at Mr. Henderson’s speech and then there were those who felt it to be the first speech of the year during which you had to think to be able to understand what was being said.  Regardless of what opinions are being batted around campus, Leon Henderson’s address goes down as one of the meatiest of the year.”

Henderson’s story looms larger than A View to Hugh can tackle.  In short, the midterm elections of 1942 saw Democrats lose nine seats in the United States Senate and forty-three in the House of Representatives.  Democrats still maintained a significant majority, but it was the smallest since Roosevelt’s first election a decade earlier. In V was for Victory: Politics and American Culture During World War II, author John Morton Blum cites a survey taken of “Democratic Senatorial and Congressional candidates, whether they were victorious or not” by Edwin W. Pawley, then Secretary of the Democratic National Committee.  Blum describes the polling as “probably the shrewdest and most self-interested postelection [sic] analysis that Roosevelt received.”  Pawley reviewed the replies and compiled a list of five factors that contributed to the Democratic Party losses.  Number three on the list was “Resentment of O.P.A. Particularly of Mr. Henderson.  This was the most universal and serious complaint of all . . . It appears from the letters that the complaint is directed rather at Mr. Henderson and his attitude and methods than at the abstract question of . . . rationing and price control . . . .”  Pawley suggested the complaints against Henderson were “correctable” and Blum states that “Roosevelt got the message.”

In December 1942 Henderson called Galbraith and others to his office where they learned of Henderson’s intention to resign.  He stated that his health, and particularly his eyesight, would not permit him to continue.  Henderson didn’t expect anyone to believe that, so he kept repeating it “with increasing emphasis and indignation. In fact he was persuaded that there would be ever more severe attacks on our front and that he could blunt them by removing himself from the scene.”

Looking back, Galbraith believed Henderson was “never completely happy again” and that “the debt owed to Henderson for preparing the civilian economy for World War II has never been even partially recognized.  Had it not been for his bold, intelligent actions and those he authorized, civilians would have suffered.  And so assuredly would those who did the fighting.”

CORRECTION: This post was edited on 17 April 2017.  In the opening quote from Galbraith, the word tentative was changed to retentive.

Morton photographs of Augusta National

Yesterday while looking through Sheet Film Box P081/C-24 in the Hugh Morton collection, I came across the above color negative labeled “Augusta Nat’l for John Wms.”  Today, coincidentally, is the opening round of the Masters Tournament, so I had the negative digitized for posting on A View to Hugh.  Turning to the finding aid to see what additional material on Augusta National might be in the collection, I found the following:

Roll Film Box P081/35C-6

  • Envelope 6.4-6-1, “Golf, Augusta,” 1971, Color 35mm roll film negatives, 35 images

Roll Film Box P081/120C-5

  • Envelope 6.4-4-1, “Augusta” (mostly scenic golf course), 1971?, Color 120 roll film negatives, 31 images
  • Envelope 6.4-4-10A, “Augusta National for John Williams” (golf course), 1970s-early 1980s, Color 120 roll film negatives, 6 images

Some of the images depict a foursome and others playing the course; many other negatives are scenic views.  The images didn’t seem to merit scanning them all just to select a few to use for the blog, but if anyone is ever looking for images of the Augusta National circa 1971 (the 35mm negatives are labeled Spring 1971 but the reaming dates are estimates), you may aways request to see them or have them digitized.  One of the negatives, however, depicted a gentleman sitting outside a door with the nameplate “John H. Williams.”

So two question remained: Who is John Williams and what is his connection to Hugh Morton? According to his obituary from May 2013, Williams “was recognized nationally as one of the great financial minds and deal-makers in America during the 1960s and 1970s.”    The portrait of Williams in his obituary looks very much like the man pictured above, so it’s safe to say this is photograph of Williams at Augusta National.

Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Williams was co-founder, president, and chief executive officer of The Williams Companies from 1949 to 1971, and chairman and CEO from 1971 to 1979.  When he retired, the company’s assets were $2 billion.  Listed among his many accomplishments and associations: Williams served on the board of Augusta National Golf Club . . . and “Grandfather Golf and Country Club and Linville Golf Club of Linville, NC.”  At the time of his death, Williams and his wife resided in both Tulsa and Linville.  And therein lies his connection to Hugh Morton.  Turning back to the Morton collection finding aid, there are thirty-one entries for John Williams spanning the 1960s through the 1980s.

That’s what I discovered after a little investigation.  Please leave a comment if you would like to add to the story.

Charlotte News photographer Jeep Hunter, age 91, passes

Lawrence G. "Jeep" Hunter

Lawrence G. “Jeep” Hunter

This morning’s Charlotte Observer reported that longtime Charlotte News photographer Jeep Hunter passed away yesterday at the age of 91.  Hugh Morton made the above portrait of Hunter circa the 1950s.  The negative is a deteriorated acetate negative, which is why the image has a mottled look and a crease in the upper right corner.

A personal look back in time on a very special day

Portrait of Hugh Morton by Wootten-Moulton Studio, circa 1941-42, in the Bayard Morgan Wootten Photographic Collection (negative WM-O-1517-1, cropped by the editor).

Portrait of Hugh Morton by Wootten-Moulton Studio, circa 1941-42, in the Bayard Morgan Wootten Photographic Collection (negative WM-O-1517-1, cropped by the editor).

On February 19, 2017, Hugh Morton would have turned 96 years old. And with this post, Hugh Morton collection volunteer and contributor Jack Hilliard is celebrating a personal “View to Hugh” milestone.

. . . you could not contain him [Hugh Morton]. . . There was never any negativism.  He was creative, forward thinking. . . As a promoter, he was North Carolina’s best.  His first love outside Grandfather Mountain was this place [UNC].  He loved this place with a passion.

Dr. William Friday, Windows (Fall 2007)

On February 19, 1921, 96 years ago today, Hugh MacRae Morton was born in Wilmington, North Carolina.  Morton’s first published photograph appeared in Time when he was fourteen, and over the next seventy-plus years, he took well over two hundred thousand pictures of life in “his” North Carolina and beyond.

During World War II Morton was attached to the 37th Infantry Division where he was a newsreel cameraman and photographed the South Pacific Theater, including an occasion to photograph General Douglas MacArthur at Binalonan and San Manuel on Luzon Island in the Philippines. While on the island of Luzon, Morton was injured by a Japanese explosive. He was later awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Upon his return from the war, Morton picked up where he left off, taking pictures across his native state. His work has been featured in hundreds of publications including Life, National Geographic, Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, and Collier’s. Two magnificent books of his photographs have been published, so far…one in 2003 titled Hugh Morton’s North Carolina and a second one titled Hugh Morton: North Carolina Photographer, published soon after his death on June 1, 2006.

It was at his memorial service at First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro on June 9, 2006 that I learned from Dr. William Friday that Morton’s photographic archive was going to be donated to the University of North Carolina and was to become a part of the North Carolina Collection at Wilson Library on the UNC campus. My first thought was that the Library would most likely just store the boxes of photographs, negatives, and slides in a safe place. And that was a comforting feeling, knowing that the images would indeed be safe.

Then, in early fall of 2007, I received my copy of Windows, a UNC library publication published by the Friends of the Library.  The lead, front-cover-story was about the Hugh Morton photography archive coming to the North Carolina Collection. The magazine called the estimated 530,000-item-collection a stunner and North Carolina Collection Curator Bob Anthony said it was the largest collection ever given to the library (to date).

The amazing article also indicated that the photographs would be cataloged, identified, and filed for easy use. North Carolina Collection archivist Stephen Fletcher along with his assistant Elizabeth Hull would lead a team of students and volunteers in doing the work. A sidebar article called “Processing the Morton Collection (Wrestling the Bear)” told of the challenges the team faced, since many of the photographs did not contain identifying captions. (Elizabeth wrote a blog post on the subject on November 7, 2007 titled “A Processor’s Perspective.”)

As I read through the article, I thought, “What a great job, going to work each day and your duties included looking at Hugh Morton photographs.”  So I wrote Stephen and Elizabeth an email on December 12, 2007 and offered to help identify some of the football pictures since I have been a UNC fan since the age of 6.  I received a reply that said the team had not gotten to the identifying point yet, but I might be able to help later.  The article also mentioned the “processing blog” that offered readers an opportunity to comment. I immediately logged in and read each entry and comment starting with Fletcher’s first entry on November 1, 2007.  Then on January 21, 2008 I added my first comment. I have continued to add comments when I thought I could offer something of interest.

When the 2008 football season started, I suggested a blog topic.  Since Carolina was playing Notre Dame in Chapel Hill on October 11th, why not look back to the first meeting between the two teams in November of 1949.  Morton’s pictures from that day are classic. Stephen accepted the idea and wrote two really good posts about the game: “The Tar Heels against the Fighting Irish in the Big Apple” and “Justice’s Prayer.”

When the processing team got to the point where they could begin identifying UNC football photographs, I received an email on October 8, 2008, asking if I would like to become a volunteer.  Of course my answer was yes and I began to make weekly Friday visits to the collection starting on October 31, 2008.  Each Friday there would be a group of negatives for me to try to identify. There was something exciting about holding the very negative that had been used to print a newspaper picture that, as a little kid, I had clipped out of the paper and pasted in a scrapbook. I continued those Friday visits until August 17, 2010, and I still make periodic visits to the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

As the football season progressed, it looked like the 2008 Tar Heel team would be going to a bowl game, so I made a second suggestion: Why not do a piece on Carolina’s first bowl game played in the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 1947?  Elizabeth liked the idea and added, “Why don’t you write it?” I was surprised, but agreed to do it, but only if Stephen and Elizabeth would carefully review and edit it.  So on December 22, 2008 my first piece for “V2H” was posted . . . surprisingly enough with very little editing.  At the time I made the suggestion, I thought that Morton photographed that game, but it turned out that weather conditions prevented him from getting there.  Four years later, a post on December 28, 2012 revealed the “Morton mystery” surrounding the ’47 Sugar Bowl.

In early 2009, Elizabeth suggested that I do a piece on Morton’s run for governor. I did that piece, which was posted on March 24, 2009.  By now I was really hooked and I started to look for ideas to write about—and surprisingly I found some. So, on this special day, the day Hugh Morton would have turned 96, this post is the 100th for me.  With special thanks to Bob Anthony, Stephen Fletcher, and Elizabeth Hull . . . it has been a fun ride. I hope it can continue. It is indeed a genuine privilege and honor to help celebrate Hugh Morton’s magnificent photographic work.

Ida Howell Friday

Detail of Ida Friday, from a group portrait by Hugh Morton, with her husband William Friday and their daughter Betsy after Ida received the University Medal from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 4 December 1985. (Photograph cropped by the author. To see the alternate portrait visit http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/morton_highlights/id/972.)

Detail of Ida Friday, from a group portrait by Hugh Morton, with her husband William Friday and their daughter Betsy after Ida received the University Medal from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 4 December 1985. (Photograph cropped by the author. Click on the photograph above to see the alternate portrait without cropping.)

There is news today that Ida Howell Friday, widow of former UNC President William “Bill” Friday, passed away on Monday.  She was 97.  Bill Friday encouraged Hugh Morton to donate his photographic archive to the North Carolina Collection.  There are a handful of images of Ida Friday in the online Hugh Morton collection, one of which can be seen below.  An online obituary can be read at the News and Observer website.

(L to R, Front Row): NC Governor Jim Hunt, NC Lt. Gov. Jimmy Green, and unidentified. Behind them are UNC President William Friday, and Friday's wife Ida. NCAA Championship, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, 29 March 1982. (Cropped by the author.)

(L to R, Front Row): NC Governor Jim Hunt, NC Lt. Gov. Jimmy Green, and unidentified. Behind them are UNC President William Friday, and Friday’s wife Ida. NCAA Championship, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, 29 March 1982. (Cropped by the author.)