Harry Truman and Hugh Morton’s Confederate flag negatives

In our previous post, Jack Hilliard recounted President Harry S. Truman’s participation in the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Winston-Salem campus of Wake Forest College.  We used the photograph below was to illustrate the story, and I mentioned in a parenthetical statement that we would look more closely at the subject in our next post.  On this day with a presidential visit to Chapel Hill, I hereby fulfill my campaign promise.

p0081_ntbs4_000906_02Seven weeks after President Harry S. Truman visited Winston-Salem for the groundbreaking ceremony for Wake Forest College on October 15, 1951, LIFE published a tightly cropped version (see below) of the Hugh Morton photograph shown above in its December 3, 1951 issue.  Morton’s photograph accompanied photographs by other photographers in an article titled, “Warmed Over Again: Politicians turn the Dixie flag into a Sour Gag.”  The brief article paired two other photographs depicting the Confederate flag used in the design of a necktie worn by Alabama Senator Harry Byrd, and as a conductor’s baton in the hand of Atlanta mayor William Hartford directing the city’s symphony playing Dixie.  LIFE published “Warmed Over Again” in a Sequel column as a follow-up to its 15 October article, The Flag, Suh!”

LIFE‘s caption for Morton’s photograph reads, “DUCKING HIS FLAG behind his back, bystander waves loyally at Harry Truman when the latter’s car passes him on its way to Winston-Salem, N.C.” The photograph illustrated a one-paragraph story which concluded with the sentence, “But in Winston-Salem, N.C. one flag waver felt suddenly silly enough to hide the rebel banner when his president passed by.”  On face value that is was appears to be happening.  Can Morton’s other negatives made during Truman’s visit provide some additional insight?  First, some background . . .

Hugh Morton's photograph cropped as it appears in LIFE, 3 December, 1951, page 107.

Hugh Morton’s photograph cropped as it appears in LIFE, 3 December, 1951, page 107.

LIFE‘s The Flag, Suh!”—a one-paragraph article with the subtitle “Confederacy’s banner reaches a new popularity”—stated that “the Confederate Flag last week was enjoying a renascence.”  As examples, the magazine published eight photographs depicting the Confederate flag, including

  • members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy pledging their allegiance;
  • Miss Dixie of 1951 wearing three flags combined to make a blouse;
  • a University of Maryland student’s car as wind-blown decorations as it drives along;
  • a southern division of the U. S. Army parading it along with other colors; and
  • as part of the design of a necktie, worn by southern United States senators’s employees.

The article surmised, “Some interpret all this as an anti-Truman gesture, others possibly more intellectual as a revival in states’ rights.  Most people, however, recognized a fad when they saw one.”

News reporters describing the president’s visit to Winston-Salem offered several nuggets of evidence that give credence to LIFE’s anti-Truman interpretation.  Under the headline, “Confederate Flags Furnish Off Note In Truman Visit,” W. C. Burton, staff writer for the Greensboro Daily Record, described the scene along the presidential route from the airport to Reynolda where the presidential luncheon was to be held:

Crowds lined both sides of the cavalcade’s route through Winston-Salem and the people were is such high spirits that some of them cheered the press busses.  Several of the spectators waved small ten-cent-store United States flags.  A small rebellious, but hardly subversive and probably waggish note, was observed in the Confederate flags which not a few of the onlookers waved.  It may or may not be significant that as the procession moved into the residential section of the better heeled the number of Dixie banners increased.  In any case the secret service men made no move and a hawker who was peddling the Confederate flags admitted that business was not exactly booming.

The Associated Press correspondent assigned to cover Truman, Ernest B. Vaccaro, wrote two articles covering Truman’s trip.  In one, Vaccaro observed that, “Many of the school children along the president’s route waved American flags, but here and there were some Confedete flags.”  Other reporters also took note.  Simmons Fentress of Raleigh’s News and Observer‘s wrote, “There were children by the scores and there were little Confederate flags, dozens of them.  One boy, in a high school band uniform, waved his flag vigorously and shouted, as the cars would pass: ‘The South will rise again.'”  Fentress also wrote, “At one point probably a hundred children were collected.  Perhaps 25 of them had little American flags.  Perhaps 35 of them had little Confederate flags.”

Marjorie Hunter of the Winston-Salem Journal, describing the crowd along the road to Reynolda wrote, “Hundreds of persons waved United States flags as the presidential car passed by.  A few jumped up and down with Confederate flags in their hands.”  Bob Barnard, also with the Winston-Salem Journal described many onlookers including “several little girls waving Confederate flags.”  United Press correspondent Merriman Smith mentioned that “Children and adults waved flags at [Truman’s] car—many of them Confederate banners.”

On a similar note, the Statesville Daily Record recounted the efforts of two young boys who wanted to meet Truman despite the “tight cordon about the President’s party, not allowing anyone to get too close.”  One lad, Charlie Wineberry, “dashed up to the president, proudly wearing his Confederate cap and got a nice handshake from the chief executive.  However, he turned down an offer by newsreel cameramen for a picture with Charlie and the Confederate cap.”

Not limited to the parade route, Confederate flags made their way to the dedication ceremony, too.  The Charlotte Observer noted that “Confederate flags as well as the Stars and Stripes were flying around the grandstand from which President Truman made his address.”  Only United States flags, however, can been seen in Morton’s negative depicting an overview scene of the platform (shown in the previous post).  Perhaps Durham Morning Herald reporter Russell Brantley’s picturing the scene explains it better:

The President, stocky and natty in a double-breasted blue suit, had nothing to say about past squabbles with Southern Democrats over civil rights.  And an estimated crowd of 20,000, many of them Baptists and a number of them sporting Confederate flags, responded with enthusiasm.

Additionally, certain versions of an Associated Press article include a sentence that begins, “The president told the crowd, dozens of whom carried Confederate flags, . . .” So perhaps it was in the grandstands were where the crowd sat, not where the president stood, where the Confederate flags flew.

Does Brantley’e description also shed light on why there were so many Confederate flags that day, namely a displeasure with Truman’s efforts to ensure civil rights for all citizens?  Among Truman’s initial undertakings to this end was the establishment, by Executive Order 9808, of the President’s Committee on Civil Rights in 1946.  The committee had a North Carolina touchstone: Frank Porter Graham, the first president of the consolidated University of North Carolina from 1930 until Truman appointed him to be a member of the committee.  In 1949 Governor W. Kerr Scott, a pro-Truman Democrat (pictured in the photograph above seated next to the president), appointed Graham to complete the term of United States Senator J. Melville Broughton after he died in office after serving only a few months.  In the 1950 race for the seat, Graham lost a primary runoff election to anti-Truman Democrat Willis Smith that was tinged with anti-segrationist sentiments from Smith’s supporters.

Returning to the Morton collection, what else did Hugh Morton photograph that day?  In the collection there are four negatives depicting a man holding a Confederate flag behind his back while waving or possibly saluting Truman.  Morton labeled two of these negatives; both include the name “J. D. Fitz” and “Confederate Flag.”  In addition to the motorcade negative shown above, Morton made three exposures at the airport, similarly posed, one of which is below.

A scan from one of Hugh Morton's 4x5 sheet film negatives labeled with the name J. D. Fitz and "Confederate Flag." Harry Truman is just visible, partially obscured by the left shoulder of the man holding the flag, presumably J. D. Fitz.

A scan from one of Hugh Morton’s 4×5 sheet film negatives labeled with the name J. D. Fitz and “Confederate Flag.” Harry Truman is just visible, partially obscured by the left shoulder of the man holding the flag, presumably J. D. Fitz.

Did Morton encounter this scene, too, with the same person at two different locations?  From the news articles we know this man wasn’t the only person carrying a Confederate flag that day.  Considering Morton’s labeling of the negatives, the “flag waver” mentioned in the LIFE caption is likely J. D. Fitz.  The existence of that many negatives suggests that Morton either preplanned these photographs, encountered Fitz during the event and then staged the similar scenes, or followed Fitz to two locations and then photographed Fitz and his antics.

And who is J. D. Fitz?  I have only a few clues thus far, based upon a United States Census search. In the 1940 census, there is a John D. Fitz, age 24, who lived in Shelby, North Carolina with wife Lina or Lena, who stated his occupation was “Sports Editor” for a “Daily Newspaper.”  The census also provides Fitz’s 1935 residence as Reidsville in Rockingham County.  The Shelby city directory for 1939-1940 lists a “Fitz Jos D (Lena T)” as sports editor for the Shelby Daily Star, but he is not listed in the previous or subsequent Shelby directories.  There is a “Fitz Jos D” listed as a clerk at Kroger Grocery & Baking Co. in 1932 Reidsville city directory, and again as a clerk at Piggly Wiggly in Reidsville’s 1935 city directory.  Given Morton’s love of sports and sports photography, did he know Fitz?

There are two other clues to consider.  In the above photograph, note the reporter-style notebook in the left pocket of the man on the right. Was he also a reporter?  And finally, notice the box at his feet. Could that have been Morton’s camera box?

Are there other possibilities?  What do you think?

Breaking new ground: a transition to Winston-Salem

Prolog
June 5, 1950 was a very special day on the old Wake Forest College campus in Wake Forest, North Carolina.  It was commencement day but it was also the day the College Board of Trustees met and selected Wake’s tenth President.  Near the end of commencement ceremonies, Dean of the College Dr. Daniel Bryan announced that the Board had selected Dr. Harold Wayland Tribble as the new President.  Wake’s college yearbook, Howler, closed its year-end summary for 1950 with these words:

Dr. Tribble enters his new service at the crucial time in both the world and local history. One of his chief jobs during the next few years will be to complete the proposed campus move to Winston-Salem; a move that could presage a new era of Wake Forest service to the South.

Introduction
October 15, 2016 marks the 65th anniversary of the groundbreaking ceremony for the Reynolda Campus at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem.  The special guest and keynote speaker that day was President Harry S. Truman.  The special ceremony received national media coverage. Like so many important events in North Carolina’s history, Hugh Morton was there with camera in hand to document the proceedings.  On this special anniversary, Morton Collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back to that day in 1951.

President Harry S. Truman giving a speech at a podium at the groundbreaking of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

President Harry S. Truman giving a speech at a podium at the groundbreaking of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

North Carolina’s lead story on March 25, 1946, was that the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem’s  had offered $350,000 a year in perpetuity to Wake Forest College, if it would move from Wake Forest, North Carolina where it had been since its founding in 1834, to a new campus in Winston-Salem. Included as part of the deal was 300 acres of land in the Reynolda area from Charles H. Babcock, a Winston-Salem investment banker.  Also in the package was a $2 million challenge grant from William N. Neal and his niece Nancy Reynolds Babcock to cover building expenses.  The Reynolds Foundation offer and the Babcock land deal would increase substantially by October, 1951.

Although Wake Forest’s medical school had made the move to Winston-Salem in 1941, (now the Bowman Gray School of Medicine,) and set up on the Hawthorne Campus about four miles from the Reynolda site, there was still some opposition to the move.  Over its long history, Wake Forest College always seemed to have the right president in place when crucial events were at hand. That was never truer than on a spring day in 1950 when university leaders selected Dr. Harold W. Tribble to head the Baptist institution.  Dr. Tribble knew how to fuel the challenge-grant drive and quell the opposition.  He was able to do both with extensive travels to address alumni groups, preach sermons, and address gatherings such as Gordon Gray’s inauguration as University of North Carolina system president on October 10, 1950.

The university set a groundbreaking date for October 15, 1951.  Dr. Tribble knew the groundbreaking ceremony had to be special, something that would send a signal that the “move is on.”  He was able to utilize special contacts that Gordon Gray had made during his time as a White House assistant, along with the influence of alumnus Gerald Johnson, a columnist for the Baltimore Sun. Dr. Tribble sent a special invitation to President Harry S. Truman to join in the groundbreaking ceremony.  On the afternoon of October 2, 1951, he received word from Matthew Connelly, one of Truman’s White House aides, that the president had accepted the invitation.

Conservative Baptists weren’t exactly thrilled with the choice of Truman because of his rough language from time to time and his pro-civil rights inclinations.  But the importance of a Truman appearance would bring national media coverage and send that clear signal that Tribble wanted: this move is going to happen.

October 15, 1951 was declared a holiday for the 1,800 students on the old Wake Forest campus.  In the early morning hours, buses were lined up and ready to transport the students to Winston-Salem for the groundbreaking ceremony.  All four of Greensboro’s radio stations were in place to broadcast Truman’s speech, plus there was also a nationwide radio hookup.  And the market’s only TV station at the time, WFMY-TV in Greensboro planned to film the proceedings for later broadcast in their news programs.  By late morning, a threat of rain had disappeared leaving a perfect day for the presidential visit and some serious ceremonial spadework.

A crowd estimated at 4,000 was waiting for the president’s arrival at Smith Reynolds Airport.  The Mineral Springs High School Band entertained the crowd with the march “Our Director” and “The Washington and Lee Swing.”  At 10:13 North Carolina Governor W. Kerr Scott arrived from Raleigh, accompanied by Hugh Morton, member of the state board of Conservation and Development, and Joseph Crawford, former warden at Central Prison.

Two four-engine-planes preceded that of the president: the first carried North Carolina’s congressional delegation while the second carried the Washington press corp.  That second group brought the total number of press members to over 200, including the David Brinkley crew from NBC-TV.  Brinkley, a North Carolina native, had recently joined NBC News in the nation’s capital. Then, at 11:29 AM the president’s plane touched down. At that moment, President Harry S. Truman became the first United States president to visit Winston-Salem since George Washington’s visit during his Southern tour of 1791.  On this day, Truman was aboard a four-engine Air Force transport; his private plane, called the “Independence,” had experienced engine problems and had been left in Washington.

University of North Carolina President Gordon Gray (center) and North Carolina Governor W. Kerr Scott (left) welcoming President Harry Truman at the Winston-Salem airport, as he arrives to attend ground-breaking ceremonies at the new Winston-Salem, N.C. campus of Wake Forest University.

University of North Carolina President Gordon Gray (center) and North Carolina Governor W. Kerr Scott (left) welcoming President Harry Truman at the Winston-Salem airport, as he arrives to attend ground-breaking ceremonies at the new Winston-Salem, N.C. campus of Wake Forest University.

At the foot of the landing platform, Governor Scott, Tribble, Gray, and Winston-Salem Mayor Marshall C. Kurfees greeted Truman, who was accompanied by his aides from each of the military services.  Scott, Tribble, and Truman then made their way across the tarmac where special limousines were waiting.  Crowds lined both sides of the six-mile route to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Babcock, where the president was honored with a special luncheon.  Winston-Salem Police Chief James I. Waller led the motorcade followed by a car of secret service officers.  Along the route, several in the crowd waved small United States flags, and a few others waved the old Confederate flag. In its December 3, 1951 issue Life published a Hugh Morton photograph of a person holding a Confederate flag behind his back as Truman’s automobile passed by. (Our next post will look at that subject in more detail.)  About 240 North Carolina State Highway Patrolmen, assisted by Greensboro and Winston-Salem police officers patrolled the route. The presidential motorcade arrived at Reynolda at noon.

Hugh Morton's photograph cropped as it appears in LIFE, 3 December, 1951, page 107.

Hugh Morton’s photograph cropped as it appears in LIFE, 3 December, 1951, page 107.

At 1:55 PM, the motorcade reformed and headed to the future home of Wake Forest College where a crowd of about 20,000 was already in place. The ceremony began at 2 PM with an invocation by Dr. Ralph W. Herring, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. Dr. Herring was followed by the formal presentation of the land on which the new college would be located, by Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Babcock.  Dr. Casper Warren, Chairman of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention’s fund-raising committee, then presented a one-million-dollar gift for construction of the first campus building, which was to be a chapel.  Accepting both gifts was Judge Hubert E. Olive, President of the Wake Forest College Board of Trustees.  Gordon Gray then delivered greetings from the educational institutions of North Carolina.

p081_2-6-689_1_30_0001_crop

Detail from the image below of Harry S. Truman speaking at the podium.

At approximately 2:30, Tribble introduced the nation’s chief executive.  Truman, a fellow Baptist, then delivered what had been billed as a major policy address.  The president  began with a tribute to the 117-year-history of Wake Forest College.

It is a privilege to join my fellow Baptists in rejoicing at the enlargement and rebuilding of one of our great institutions.  It is a privilege to join the people of North Carolina in celebrating their devotion to freedom of the mind and spirit. . . Wake Forest College has given 117 years of distinguished service to education and religion in this state.  Over the years, the college has sent thousands of graduates out through the land to positions of leadership and trust.

Truman then talked about the tense international situation, saying that many Americans oppose the present costly defense efforts, which he insisted were essential for peace.  He  made an offer to work out a plan of atomic weapons control with Russia adding, “I cannot guarantee that we will reach our goal. The result does not depend entirely on our own efforts. The rulers of the Kremlin can plunge the world into carnage if they desire to do so. . . . The only way they’ll respect and live up to any agreement is because they know someone is strong enough to carry it out.”  This statement brought many in the crowd to their feet.  Truman closed with this: “Armed with faith and hope that made this college and this country great, you may declare in the words of King David, ‘through God we shall do valiantly.'”

p081_2-6-689_1_30_0001

Following the Presidential address, a dedicatory prayer was given by Dr. George D. Heaton, pastor of Myers Park Baptist Church of Charlotte.  Then it was groundbreaking time. The President was handed a decorated shovel and then yelled to the assembled photographers, “All y’all ready?” He then turned the first shovel full of dirt, followed by Judge Olive, then O. M. Mull, chairman of the college building committee.  President Tribble then turned that final shovel full, thus making it official: the construction of the Reynolda Campus of Wake Forest College in Winston-Salem was underway.

The President headed back to the airport for his return to the Nation’s Capital.  He would be home by 4:47 PM.  It would be almost five years before the completion of the first fourteen buildings, in time for the first students who arrived on the Winston-Salem campus in the fall of 1956.

Epilog:

Dr. Harold W. Tribble led Wake Forest College until his retirement on June 6, 1967.  In his seventeen-year term as president of the school, assets increased from about $10.5 million to more than $91 million and the number of students grew from 1,800 to 3.000.
When Dr. Tribble took office in May of 1950 he had two dreams for the school.  One of those dreams was fulfilled in the fall of 1956 when the first students arrived on the Winston-Salem campus. The second was to see Wake Forest College achieve University status, which it achieved on June 18, 1967—twelve days before Dr. Tribble retired.

World Photography Day, 2016

Scene photographed by Hugh Morton during a Grandfather Mountain Camera Clinic sometime in the early 1950s as attendees practice their portraiture technique. The photographers' models are (left to right) an unknown woman in Indian headdress, Osley Bird Saunooke, Chief of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians from 1951-1955, and golfer Billy Joe Patton. Grandfather Mountain still runs the clinic, which was held there last weekend. (Photograph cropped by editor.)

Scene photographed by Hugh Morton during a Grandfather Mountain Camera Clinic sometime in the early 1950s as attendees practice their portraiture technique. The photographers’ models are (left to right) an unknown woman in Indian headdress, Osley Bird Saunooke, Chief of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians from 1951-1955, and golfer Billy Joe Patton. Grandfather Mountain still runs the clinic, which was held there last weekend. (Photograph cropped by editor.)

Today is the sixth annual World Photography Day, established to honor the French government’s declaration on August 19, 1839 that made the daguerreotype process “free to the world.”  The French government acquired the rights to the process from Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre in exchange for a lifelong pension.

There are many ways to celebrate World Photography Day, and what better way while you are here at A View to Hugh than to read (or reread) some of the 368 previously published blog posts available from the home page either by clicking on one of the categories listed in the right column or entering a search in the search box near the top of the page.  You may also explore more than 7,500 photographs in the online digital collection, or search for your favorite topics in the finding aid that represents the approximately 250,000 items in the Hugh Morton collection.

And what if you find yourself in Raleigh today?  Then be sure to visit the exhibition Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective at the North Carolina Museum of History.

And by all means make a photograph today!

 

Ambassador William C. Bullitt visits UNC, 1941

William C. Bullitt, speaking at Memorial Hall, Univeristy of North Carolina, Chael Hill, January 7, 1941. Photograph by Hugh Morton; cropped detail by blog editor.

William C. Bullitt, speaking at Memorial Hall, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, January 7, 1941. UNC President Frank Porter Graham listening on stage in the background. Photograph by Hugh Morton; crop by blog editor.

At this time of danger each American must ask himself each day not what he can get from his country but what he can give to his country, and must ask himself each night: “Have I given enough?”

—William C. Bullitt, 7 January 1941

Eleven months to the day before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor—William C. Bullitt took to the UNC Memorial Hall rostrum.  The audience filled the auditorium to capacity.  Fronted by an NBC banner and flanked by two NBC microphones, National Broadcasting Company aired his speech across the nation.  Soon thereafter, it traversed the world by shortwave.

William Christian Bullit Jr. isn’t a household name in households today, but it was during his time.  Some readers may recognize the surname from the Brinkhous-Bullitt Building on the UNC medical campus, built in 1973 and named in 1983, in part, for James B. Bullitt, who became chair of pathology in 1913.  William C. and James B. were cousins, and during his visit the former stayed at the latter’s home in Chapel Hill.

William Bullitt’s biography is much too long and complex for this blog, so please see the bibliography at the end if you want to learn more.  Bullitt is the subject of three biographies held by Davis Library.  Biographer Michael Cassella-Blackburn called him, “perhaps the most charming, thoughtful, and devious person in the interwar and early postwar years of Soviet–American relations.”

A member of Yale’s class of 1912, Bullit’s classmates voted him their “most brilliant.” He also won two of the student’s most valued social awards—a Phi Beta Kappa key and a membership on the Yale Daily News editorial board.  He was also “tapped” for a membership in the secret society Scroll and Key.  He was a member of the Mince Pie Club, a forum for wit and satire, along with his close college friend Cole Porter.  (Some sources say they co-founded the club, but there was a Hasting Eating and Mince Pie Club in the 1890s, so others can resolve that distinction.)  As a student Bullitt also overextended himself so widely that he suffered from exhaustion and had to delay his senior year to recuperate before graduating in 1913.

Bored and tormented while studying law at Harvard in 1914, Bullitt sailed to Europe in June with his mother after the passing of his father in March. They chose to visit Russia and were in Moscow when Serbian Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir presumptive of the Austria–Hungary, and Ferdinand’s wife in Sarajevo.  As the events leading to the Great War unfolded, the Bullitts left Moscow and Europe—but not until September, witnessing the early rumblings and preparations of World War I in Warsaw, Berlin, Paris, and London.  Those weeks in Europe significantly set the tone for the remainder of his life.

Returning to his hometown of Philadelphia, Bullitt soon obtained a newspaper job at The Public Ledger as a police beat reporter.  Bullitt also submitted articles on the war, and their high quality gave rise to a stellar journalistic career—so much so that President Woodrow Wilson solicited his advice on several occasions.  In December 1917 Bullitt became assistant secretary of state.  In 1919 he was a member of Wilson’s peace conference delegation and the president sent Bullitt to Russia as a special emissary to develop a peace plan with Vladimir Lenin.

In December 1923 Bullitt married Louise Bryant.  It was his second marriage, her third.  If you have seen the movie Reds (1981) then you may have recognized her name, for her second husband had been journalist John Reed—the couple portrayed by Diane Keaton and Warren Beatty—who wrote on the Russian Revolution as an insider and died in Russia in 1920.  During Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency Bullitt became the first United States ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1933, and ambassador to France in 1936.

In late July 1940 FDR asked Bullitt to deliver a foreign policy speech in Philadelphia on August 18th, knowing Bullitt would speak on the growing threat of the European war to the United States.  This would afford FDR a chance to asses the national mood.

The Bullitt quote from his call-to-action speech in Chapel Hill that begins this blog post sounds like a harbinger of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech twenty years later.  In fact, it’s a refinement from Bullit’s Philadelphia address:

When are we going to say to them [the U. S. government] that we don’t want to hear any longer about what we can get from our country, but we do want to hear what we can give to our country?

FDR and Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles vetted Bulliitt’s Philadelphia address, and had two million copies printed for distribution.  Essentially he said, “America is in danger.”  The isolationist United States Senate pilloried Bullitt. The New York Times applauded.  The movement to war soon escalated.

Germany, Italy, and Japan signed the Tripartite Pact on 27 September 1940—just one week after UNC freshman Hugh Morton and fellow students walked onto campus to begin their school year, and only eight days before Roosevelt defeated Wendell Willkie in the presidential election that kept him in the White House for his third term. After the election, Bullitt wrote his version of the customary pro forma, post-election letter of resignation on November 7th, to which Roosevelt replied, “Resignation not accepted.”

Sometime during the fall semester, the UNC students’ International Relations Club, led by president Manfred Rogers, invited Bullitt to speak in Chapel Hill at Memorial Hall.  Originally scheduled for December 10th, the December 3rd issue of The Daily Tar Heel announced that Bullitt needed to postpone until January 7th because “of pressing duties in Washington and a physician’s order that he remain inactive for three weeks.”

Behind the scenes, however, other events offer a truer picture. Roosevelt either deliberately or accidentally placed Bullitt in a situation where he decided he had no choice but to announce his resignation as ambassador on November 13th.  As Bullitt biographers Brownwel and Billings deduced, “Roosevelt chose to be devious.”  Bullitt had come to learn indirectly that FDR was going to appoint Admiral William D. Leahy to the post.  Bullitt called the president on November 9th: “I thought you said this afternoon that I was to remain as ambassador to France and go off on holiday until December 15.  It’s [the Leahy situation] all over town now and puts me in a fine spot.” FDR replied, “Bill, believe it or not, I forgot all about it.  It’s entirely my fault.”  On December 28th Bullitt sent a note to Roosevelt asking that his resignation be accepted. On January 7, the day Bulitt spoke at UNC, FDR wrote, “Your letter of resignation as ambassador to France is before me.  It is with great reluctance that I accept it.”

As biographer’s Brownell and Billings wrote, “Once Bullitt was cut loose from the government, he spoke out loudly and often, starting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”

Members of the head table during the International Relations Club dinner held before William C. Bullitt's speech. Left to right are Josephus Daniels, Bullitt, IRC president Manfred Rogers, Frank Porter Graham, and two unidentified women. This cropping is almost the same as the photograph was reproduced in the Yackety Yack, with just a touch more taken off the bottom.

Members of the head table during the International Relations Club dinner held before William C. Bullitt’s speech. Left to right are Josephus Daniels, Bullitt, IRC president Manfred Rogers, Frank Porter Graham, and two unidentified women. This cropping is almost the same as the photograph was reproduced in the Yackety Yack, with just a touch more taken off the bottom.

On Saturday, January 4th, 1941 in the DTH‘s first issue following winter break, one of three top-of-the-page headlines announced, “IRC Makes Extensive Plans For Bullitt Address Tuesday.”  In the accompanying article, the IRC disclosed that many prominent North Carolinians would attend, including North Carolina Governor Clyde Hoey; Ambassador to Mexico Josephus Daniels; Henri Haye, French Ambassador to the United States; Jonathan Daniels, editor of The News and Observer, Governor-elect J. M. Broughton; Julian Price, president of Jefferson Standard Life Insurance; [UNC Professor] Archibald Henderson, head of the William Allen White Committee for the Southeast [i.e., southeast chapter of the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies]; and South Carolina Governor Burnet R. Maybank.  Rogers reported that “a majority of 750 invitations mailed to city mayors and chamber of commerce officials over the state had been accepted.”  Rogers anticipated a capacity crowd and urged students to arrive early to get good seats, and he expressed their good fortune because Bullitt had selected UNC from among 250 requests from other schools and organizations.  A $1.25-a-plate banquet at the Carolina Inn at 7:00 p.m. would precede Bullit’s speech with faculty and a select group of students receiving special invitations.  Other students who wanted to attend could contact Rogers.  The women’s dormitories house mothers even granted a curfew extension until 11:00 “so that coeds could hear the speech” scheduled to begin at 9:30 (pushed to 10:00 two days later).  Rogers said Bullitt’s speech would be so important that photographers from magazines Life and Time and the Associated Press, “together with state photographers, had made plans to take pictures.”  (I reviewed issues of Life and Time published shortly after the speech and uncovered no coverage, written or photographic.)

Sunday’s DTH also had a front-page article on the upcoming speech.  Rogers stated “that recent reports from Washington” indicated that Bullitt’s talk would compliment FDR’s now-famous “Arsenal of Democracy” fireside chat on national security of December 29th.  On the morning of Bullitt’s visit, however, DTH readers learned the topic of the speech would be “America and the War.”  Bullitt was “expected to sound out specific administrative aims instead of delivering a Roosevelt-supplementary address” because the night before the president delivered his “Annual Message” to the United States Congress—known today as FDR’s “Four Freedoms” speech.  The IRC moved the starting time to 10:00 so that NBC “could air the entire speech,” and dignitaries would now begin their remarks at 9:30. Ironically, state radio stations would not carry the address, but Raleigh’s WPTF would broadcast a transcription later in the evening.

Daily Tar Heel Staff Photographer Jack Mitchell got the news assignment, which took him to the airport to capture Bullitt’s arrival with the UNC welcoming committee—and two front-page photographs for the next day’s DTH.  Morton, it seems, covered Bullitt’s visit as Photography Editor for Yackety Yack, the UNC student yearbook.  Four surviving Morton negatives document the dinner and the speech, one of each event appear in the IRC yearbook section. The DTH reported that Bullitt met with students in the Institute of Government building at 5:30, but no surviving photographs of that event have surfaced in the Morton collection.

Full view of another negative shot at the IRC dinner.

Full view of another negative shot at the IRC dinner.

What effect did Bullitt’s speech have on UNC students?  Here are two perspectives you might want to pursue if this question interests you.  The first can be found in the DTH on the Sunday previous to Bullit’s speech.  The DTH editorial board, writing under the initials “S. R.” (likely Simons Roof) espoused non-intervention in an editorial titled, “The Shift Toward War”:

As the new year and new quarter begins at Carolina, war threatens to disrupt our scholastic life.  Around us begins the great chorus of parrot-tongues — the men who derive their catch-words from such people as William Allen White. . . . But there is another campaign we might make.  We might deny that a group of pro-war politicians have the democratic right to say you and I must torture and murder—and be tortured and murdered—in a war where we run the risk of losing everything America has gained. . . You and I are being subjected to the most dangerous war propaganda ever conceived. . . .

The second viewpoint is that of DTH Associate Editor Bill Snider, writing two days after Bullitt’s speech, under the “Light on the Hill” column:

In less than half an hour and in exciting, poetic words Mr. Bullitt began where any ordinary citizen must begin and traced the situation through to its logical conclusion.  There was nothing to obstruct, nothing to confuse.  Everywhere the statement was cryptic, dynamic, thought-provoking. . . . There had been nothing very startling in all the vibrant words. . . With clarity and imagination they helped explain the rapidly consolidating vanguard of American public opinion.  Most importantly, however, though these words advanced the procession little, they bluntly told America where she stands now, and at this moment this is certainly what America wants to know more than anything else.  For these qualities, then, William C. Bullitt’s address in Chapel Hill at the dawn of 1941 should be remembered.

This is a view of the full negatives shot but Morton that appears in the 1841 Yackety Yack, which was cropped similar to the above version, though as a square.

This is a view of the full negatives shot but Morton that appears in the 1841 Yackety Yack, which was cropped similar to the above version, though as a square. Bullitt is looking at the podium so we do not see his eyes as we do in the exposure above. On stage in the shadows are Josephus Daniels, left, Frank Porter Graham below the NBC banner, who appears to be looking straight at Morton. To Graham’s left may be R. B. House, Dean of Administration.

Bibliography

Billings, Richard N. and Will Brownell.  So Close to Greatness: the First Biography of William C. Bullitt.  New York : Macmillan; London: Collier Macmillan, 1987.

Bullitt, Orville H., editor. For the President, Personal and Secret: Correspondence Between Franklin D. Roosevelt and William C. Bullitt.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1972.

Bullitt Admits America Does Not Want War,Chicago Daily Tribune, 8 January 1941, page 7, column 3.

Bullitt, William C. America and the War : an address delivered in Chapel Hill on the Occasion of the Third Anniversary of the International Relations Club at the University of North Carolina, an NBC Broadcast.  Chapel Hill: Y. M. C. A., [1941].

Cassella-Blackburn, Michael.  The Donkey, The Carrot, and the Club: William C. Bullitt and Soviet-American Relations, 1917-1942.  Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2004.  According to Cassella-Blackburn, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum has a copy of Bullitt’s entire speech at UNC in the John C. Wiley Papers (Box 6, General Correspondence, Bullitt, William C.).

Farnsworth, Beatrice. William C. Bullitt and the Soviet Union.  Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press [1967].

William C. Bullitt papers, Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University.

Over a ten-year period, he and his friend Sigmund Freud wrote Woodrow Wilson: a Psychological Study (1966).

Dismal Day in Dallas

Head Coach Larry Fedora’s 2014 Tar Heels are going bowling.

For the 31st time, going back to 1947, UNC’s football team will play in a post season bowl game—this time it’s the “Quick Lane Bowl” in Detroit on Friday, December 26th at 4:30 PM (ET).  The game will be on ESPN.

Of the 30 bowl games played, the Tar Heels have been victorious 14 times.  Of the 16 losses, the one on January 2, 1950 was one of the toughest.  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back on that dismal day in Dallas, almost 65 years ago.

The Apache Belles majorettes from Tyler, Texas during the 1950 Cotton Bowl festivities.  A caption in the Greensboro News identified the majorette as Iwanna Burk, sister of Baylor star quarterback Adrian Burk.

The Apache Belles majorettes from Tyler, Texas during the 1950 Cotton Bowl festivities. A caption in the Greensboro News identified the majorette as Iwanna Burk, sister of Baylor star quarterback Adrian Burk.

When UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely arrived at his 215 Wollen Gym office on Wednesday, November 23, 1949, a New Year’s bowl game was not on his radar. After all, Carolina had lost 3 games during the season and two of those losses were decisive: Notre Dame 42 to 6 in Yankee Stadium and Tennessee 35 to 6 in Kenan Stadium.

Coach was concentrating on the upcoming game with Virginia three days away.  Then, the phone rang and everything changed. It was Dan Rogers, Chairman of the Board, Cotton Bowl Athletic Association, calling from Dallas.  He told Coach Snavely that Carolina was on a short list for a Cotton Bowl invitation.  He then added, Virginia is on that list also. So the UNC vs. UVA game on Saturday, November 26, 1949 would now become the “Cotton Bowl Invitational,” with the winner going to the top of the list and getting the bid.

Snavely told his team about the phone call when the varsity was traveling by bus to the Duke–Carolina freshmen game in Durham on Thursday, the 24th. The next day the team voted to accept the bid if offered.

The Greensboro Daily News on Saturday morning featured a large Hugh Morton photograph of UNC All-Americas Charlie Justice and Art Weiner.  The headline caption read “Heading for the Last Roundup.”

19491126_GreensboroNews_Sec2page2On Saturday, November 26, 1949, the largest football crowd in Chapel Hill to date—48,000—gathered in ideal football weather to see Justice and Weiner play their final varsity game in Kenan Stadium.  Veteran CBS Radio broadcaster Red Barber was in town to call the game.

Tar Heel fans were not disappointed.

After a scoreless first quarter . . . two plays into the second quarter, it was Justice on a typical, zigzagging run off left guard for a 14-yard touchdown and Carolina led 7 to 0 following Abie Williams’ point after.  At the 13:30 mark it was Justice again, this time a 63-yard touchdown pass to Weiner.  Williams was true again on the PAT and Carolina led 14 to 0 at the half.

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Until yesterday, this photograph was only identified as a Charlie Justice negative amid hundreds of UNC football negatives. This photograph of Justice’s 14-yard touchdown run against the University of Virginia appeared in the Wilmington Star-News on Sunday, November 27th, page 12-A.

Twelve high school bands were on hand to entertain during halftime.  The game was dedicated to William Rand Kenan, Jr., who had donated the stadium in 1927.  He was a special guest on this day.

The third quarter, like the first, was scoreless, but in the fourth quarter, Virginia was able to put together a 43-yard drive and was finally on the scoreboard with 2:30 remaining in the game.  Carolina accidentally touched Virginia’s on-side kick and UVA took over at their own 48.  Four plays and two first-downs later, Virginia was at the Carolina 7-yard line with 0:32 on the clock. Three Cavalier passes failed; on fourth down they tried a double-reverse play, but Tar Heels Art Weiner and Roscoe Hansen stopped the ball carrier back on the 8-yard line to seal the victory.

Following the game, Sports Information Director Jake Wade made the announcement: the Heels had been invited to play in the Cotton Bowl, and the team and the University administration had approved.  Carolina, the Southern Conference Champion, would play Rice Institute (Rice University today), the Southwest Conference Champion on January 2, 1950.

Snavely ordered a break for his troops from November 28th until December 3rd.  A week of practice followed, then a break for exams.  Preparation for Rice would resume on December 16th and continue until the Christmas break on December 21st.

The Tar Heel team reassembled in Chapel Hill on December 26th and held one final practice on the 27th before departing for Big D.

It was cold and clear at Raleigh-Durham Airport at 9:35 AM on December 28, 1949, when the first of two planes carrying the Tar Heel football team took off for Dallas.  The Capital Airlines DC-4 was labeled “Cotton Bowl Special,” and carried Justice and Weiner plus 46 other UNC players and part of the coaching staff. Then at 2 PM, the second plane carrying the remainder of the team and staff took off.  On hand for both takeoffs was Chapel Hill Mayor Ed Lanier.

The first flight arrived in Dallas at 4:25 PM and was greeted by 3,000 Tar Heel fans and coeds from SMU plus Mr. SMU himself, Doak Walker.  Originally, Charlie and Sarah Justice were going to stay at the Melrose Hotel with the coaches and team, but Justice got a letter a week earlier from Doak Walker inviting them to spend the week at the Walker home.

UNC's Charlie Justice and SMU's Doak Walker inside Dal-Hi Stadium, Dallas, Texas.

UNC’s Charlie Justice and SMU’s Doak Walker inside Dal-Hi Stadium, Dallas, Texas.

December 29th was a practice day for Carolina . . . a workout at Dal-Hi stadium in the morning and movie viewing in the afternoon.  Walker was present for both sessions, adding coaching suggestions along the way since he had already played Rice earlier in the season.  Morton’s picture of Justice, Walker, and Snavely viewing game movies made the papers back in North Carolina on December 30th.

Carl Snavely, Charlie Justice reviewing football filmAlso, early on the morning of the 30th, the football team got the good news from Chapel Hill that Carolina’s basketball team had upset Duke 59 to 52 in the first annual Dixie Classic back in Raleigh the night before.

Following an afternoon practice, Coach Snavely said:  “Right now we are in the best condition for the ball game this season.  The boys are in good spirit and I know they are having a good time here in Dallas.”

UNC football team practice session at Dal-Hi Stadium.

UNC football team practice session at Dal-Hi Stadium.

The Carolina team and coaches along with photographer Hugh Morton attended the annual Cotton Bowl luncheon put on by the local Optimist Club on Saturday the 31st.  The keynote speaker was Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark, a native of Dallas.

The Sunday papers predicted clouds and a 7-point win for Rice on Monday.  Back home, The Greensboro Daily News published on the front page of the Sports section a picture of Justice and Bob Gantt at work on the practice field.  It was now time to get serious about the 14th Annual Cotton Bowl.

Monday, January 2, 1950 was a cold, damp day in Asheboro, North Carolina.  I remember sitting with my best buddy on the front steps listening to the game on his portable radio that he had gotten for Christmas.  Legendary NBC sports broadcaster Bill Stern was the play-by-play announcer with analysis and color by Kern Tips. We were listening to station WBIG in Greensboro. (The game was also on WSJS radio in Winston-Salem).  The Greensboro Daily News headline that morning read:

“JUSTICE ERA COMES TO AN END AS TAR HEELS BATTLE OWLS IN COTTON BOWL”

Charlie Justice runs onto the field for the last time for Carolina at the Cotton Bowl on January 2, 1950, Dallas, Texas.

Charlie Justice runs onto the field for the last time for Carolina at the Cotton Bowl on January 2, 1950, Dallas, Texas.

The University of North Carolina Band, under the direction of Prof. Earl Slocum was part of the pre-game festivities as Charlie Justice ran onto the field for the final time in a Carolina varsity uniform.  Morton’s image of Justice and the band is the first picture in the 1958 Quincy-Scheer Justice biography (on page 3).

Then as 75,347 fans watched, UNC Captain Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice met at midfield with Rice Co-Captains James “Froggy” Williams and Gerald Weatherly for Referee Ray McCullock’s coin toss.  Hugh Morton documented that scene as well before returning to his Carolina sideline position.

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Gloomy skies prevailed as neither team could do much in the first quarter of play which ended with neither team on the scoreboard.  Early in the second quarter, Rice quarterback Tobin Rote passed to Billy Burkhalter for a 44-yard touchdown.  Later in the quarter, Rice took possession at midfield and drove for a second score with fullback Bobby Lantrip going the final three-yards to make the halftime score 14 to 0.

Rice right halfback Billy Burkhalter (#12), UNC right tackle Bill Kuhn (#51), and UNC Right End Ed Bilpuch (#47).  Crop from Morton's original negative for this blog post, the image appeared evern more tightly cropped—and without credit—in the January 4th issue of the Wilmington Morning Star.

Rice right halfback Billy Burkhalter (#12), UNC right tackle Bill Kuhn (#51), and UNC Right End Ed Bilpuch (#47). Crop from Morton’s original negative for this blog post, the image appeared evern more tightly cropped—and without credit—in the January 4th issue of the Wilmington Morning Star.

The halftime show, directed by Frank Malone, Jr. featured the Rice Institute Band plus nine high school bands from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  The highlight of the show was a performance by the Apache Bells of Tyler Texas Junior College and finally the presentation of the 1950 Cotton Bowl Queen, Miss Eugenia Harris from Houston.

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When the third quarter began, Rice picked up where they left off, this time it was a 17-yard pass from Tobin Rote to “Froggy” Williams to make the score 21 to 0 with 15 minutes to play.

Early in quarter number four, following an interception at the Carolina 15, Rice, on two plays, scored their final points of the day when Burkhalter scored his second touchdown of the afternoon.  With 9 minutes remaining, the score was Rice 27 – Carolina 0.

At this point, Carolina seemed to come alive.  They drove 65 yards—the final 7 yard a touchdown pass from Justice to Paul Rizzo.  During this drive, Morton took one of his most famous Charlie Justice pictures.  The image is part of the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives exhibit, “Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective.”

P081_NTBF3_005643_07_fused_print1_13 copyThen Carolina put on another drive—this one 80 yards— and fullback Billy Hayes accounted for 41 of them.  The final play of the drive came when Justice went off left tackle, but Rice defensive end Billy Taylor grabbed him by the sleeve.  Justice tossed the ball to his left where Rizzo caught it and raced into the end zone.  Abie Williams’ extra point made the final score 27 to 13.  The Carolina comeback was too little, too late.

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The post-game handshake between Rice head coach Jess Neely—joined by his daughter’s Joan (left) and Mary– and UNC head coach Carl Snavely (right). This Morton photograph appeared in the January 4th issue of the Greensboro Record,

Following the traditional coaches handshake at midfield, each coach commented on the game.  Rice head coach Jess Neely simply said, “I had figured we could run against North Carolina.”  And run they did—226 yards to 174 for UNC.  Tar Heel head coach Carl Snavely said, “We simply did not have a bowl team this year.”

Charlie Justice, in a 1995 interview with biographer Bob Terrell, said, “We didn’t deserve the bowl trip.  The Cotton Bowl invited us so my playing could be measured against Doak Walker, who had a great season at SMU.  Texans had seen Doak play all season but hadn’t seen me, so this gave them the opportunity.”

Carolina and Rice each got a check for $125,951, while the players each got engraved Cotton Bowl watches and beautiful Cotton Bowl blankets.

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On Wednesday, January 6th, Hugh Morton’s post-game picture of Charlie Justice and Paul Rizzo graced the sports page in The Greensboro Daily News.  The picture also turned up in the 1950 UNC yearbook, the “Yackety Yack” on page 271.

The game was not national televised, but even if it had been, North Carolina’s two TV stations at the time, in Greensboro and Charlotte, would not have been able to carry it because the AT&T cable had not been completed in the state.  That would come nine months later on September 30, 1950.

So WFMY-TV in Greensboro made arrangements to get NBC-TV to film the game, then fly the film back to Greensboro for showing. WFMY Sports Director Charlie Harville would narrate the film. The showing was scheduled for 9:30 PM on Wednesday, January 4th.  However, rainy, foggy weather in Dallas prevented the plane carrying the film from taking off, so the showing had to be delayed until 9:30 PM on Thursday.  Folks from all across the state came into Greensboro to watch.  It turned out to be the largest single audience in the history of television in North Carolina at that time. The program was so popular, the station repeated the film on Friday, January 6th.  If Carolina could have won, the station probably could have made an unprecedented third showing.

Nixon and Graham though the voice of Halderman

Billy Graham and Richard M. Nixon, arm-in-arm, wave to the audience during "Billy Graham Day," Charlotte Coliseum, October 15, 1971.

Billy Graham and Richard M. Nixon, arm-in-arm, wave to the audience during “Billy Graham Day,” Charlotte Coliseum, October 15, 1971. H. R. Halderman appears to be next to Pat Nixon.

Yesterday on WUNC’s program The State of Things, host Frank Stasio interviewed Carolina Public Press reporter Jon Elliston, who has listened to the H. R. Halderman audio diaries recently released by the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library.  On Wednesday, November 12th, the Carolina Public Press website published Elliston’s article about the Billy Graham–Richard Nixon alliance as revealed on Halderman tapes. During the interview, Stasio and Elliston briefly discuss Halderman’s diary entry for “Billy Graham Day” in Charlotte on October 15, 1971.

Billy Graham speaking during "Billy Graham Day" in Charlotte, North Carolina, 15 October 1971.

Billy Graham speaking during “Billy Graham Day” in Charlotte, North Carolina, 15 October 1971.

As you might expect, Hugh Morton was there.  He was located stage left, slightly elevated and slightly forward of the podium—either seated in the audience just behind the press photographers platform or on the platform behind the television cameras.  He photographed using 35mm cameras loaded with black-and-white negative and color slide films, and was switching lenses.  Two of Morton’s color images appear in the book Making a Difference in North Carolina; those two original slides, however, are not in the Morton collection.

Several of the black-and-white negative frames are double exposures, but it’s difficult to say if they were intentional or accidental.  Broken sprocket holes on the film suggest Morton experienced a camera failure during the event. Below is one of the double exposures that produced an interesting result: Nixon and Graham’s sculpted face (from an unveiled historical marker) appear to be looking at each other.

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Postscripts

In recent months we’ve run two blog posts related to this time period, when Hugh Morton was an undeclared candidate for governor in the Democratic Party: the Governor’s Down-East Jamboree in Atlantic Beach in mid September, and The National 500 NASCAR race on October 10th in Charlotte.  Billy Graham Day was just five days after the race.

In addition to Morton’s photographs of the Billy Graham Day, the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives also holds forty-two 35mm slides by Charlotte Observer Chief Photographer Don Sturkey.

Richard Nixon’s speech can read at University of California, Santa Barbara’s “The American Presidency Project” website.

Thomas Wolfe in Hugh Morton’s time

The hands of Thomas Wolfe's mother Julia frame an array of portraits of her departed son, author Thomas Wolfe.
The hands of Julia Wolfe frame photographs of her departed son, noted North Carolina born author Thomas Wolfe.

While a student at Chapel Hill, Hugh Morton was given the assignment by a student publication to make photographs of Tom Wolfe’s mother, Julia, in Asheville.  The famous novelist had been dead about two years, and as every reader of Look Homeward Angel knows, Wolfe’s treatment of his mother in the book was not kind.  She had not welcomed the news media attention which resulted. When Morton appeared at the “Old Kentucky Home” and asked to make photographs, he was summarily dismissed by Mrs. Wolfe.  The next day he returned, was given a more promising audience and his entreaties gained her permission to make these two pictures. She also rode out to the cemetery to show Morton where her son was buried but she did not get out of the car.  Morton’s recollections of Julia Wolfe: “She was obviously proud of her son, proud of the success his works enjoyed … but she had mixed feelings about what he had written about her. Perhaps she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”  —Edward L. Rankin, Jr. in Making a Difference in North Carolina

The 36th Annual Conference of the Thomas Wolfe Society kicked off this Friday afternoon at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where it continues on Saturday.  This year’s conference theme is “Wolfe in his time, Wolfe in our time.”  As you might imagine, Hugh Morton photographed Wolfe-related images during Morton’s time.

Thomas Wolfe died on September 15th, 1938—around the time Morton would have been starting his senior year in high school.  When he was a junior in college—by then an accomplished photographer—The Carolina Magazine “especially sent” staff photographer Morton to Asheville on assignment to make photographs to illustrate an article by Don Bishop (Donald Edwin Bishop, class of 1941).  Simply titled “Thomas Wolfe,” Bishop wrote about Wolfe during his student years at UNC.  The magazine’s editors dubbed that particular issue, March 1942, as its “Baby-Esquire” and the cover donned the temporary title The New Carolina Magazine. [You may read either Bishop’s entire article (it’s very good), the full March issue, or the complete volume for 1941-1942 by clicking this link, then use the “Search inside” box just above the magazine or the sliding scroll bar below the magazine to navigate to Bishop’s article.]

The Carolina Magazine published three of Morton’s photographs: Wolfe’s gravestone, a portrait of his mother Julia Wolfe, and photographs of Thomas Wolfe on a table with his mother’s hands on the table’s edge (seen above).  “Returning with more photographs than could fill these pages,” the caption reads “our staff photographer confirmed the amazing similarity between parts of ‘Look Homeward’ and parts of Asheville itself.  Mrs. Wolfe generously took out all of Tom’s photos she possessed and permitted Morton to take the pictures above.”

Elizabeth Hull wrote a post about Morton’s Thomas Wolfe related images back in 2009 using a few images, including one of two close-up portraits Morton made of Julia Wolfe.  The second portrait she included depicted Mrs. Wolfe from farther back, a full length view as she stands on the porch of “Our Kentucky Home.”  Both of these portraits appear in Morton and Rankin’s book, Making a Difference in North Carolina.  The closeup portrait used by Hull, Morton, and Rankin however, is not the one published in The Carolina Magazine.  That portrait is below, which I scanned for this post.

Full negative scan of Hugh Morton's portrait of Julia Wolfe that appeared (cropped) in the March 1942 issue of The Carolina Magazine.

Full negative scan of Hugh Morton’s portrait of Julia Wolfe that appeared (cropped) in the March 1942 issue of The Carolina Magazine.

The main difference between the portraits in Making a Difference in North Carolina and The Carolina Magazine is Morton’s lighting.  Morton made the portrait above using an artificial light source placed to Mrs. Wolfe’s left, while he exposed the other negative using natural, available light.  You can tell by comparing the shadows: in the above portrait Wolfe’s shadow is behind and to her right, while the shadows in her portrait printed in the Morton/Rankin book fall beneath her chin and nose.

The photograph shown at the opening of this post was the largest of the three Morton images used with Bishop’s article—but, similar to the portrait above, the scanned negative viewable in the online Morton collection is a different pose made during the same sitting.  I cropped the opening photograph above as it was in The Carolina Magazine; the full negative can be seen in the scan below. P081_NTBS3_015401

The third and final published Morton photograph was Thomas Wolfe’s gravestone.  The cropping is mine, which gives the marker a bit more room around the edges of the frame than it has in the magazine’s crop.  You may see the full view of the negative by clicking on the photograph.  A link to all of the Wolfe related images scanned and available on line thus far can be seen by clicking here or the linked text in the opening paragraph.  For a complete list of all the images related to Thomas and Julia Wolfe, you may search the complete finding aid.

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“Mighty Mites,” Morton, and millions of azaleas

The 67th Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival will be presented in Wilmington April, 9 – 13, 2014.  World class entertainment and millions of azaleas will combine to welcome spring to the Tar Heel state again.  Wilmington’s celebration of spring began in 1948 and each year celebrity guests have been an important part of the festivities. Morton collection volunteer/contributor Jack Hilliard takes a look at a special group of celebrities that came to the New Hanover County port city back in the 1950s.

1949 Queen of the North Carolina Azalea Festival, actress Martha Hyer, with her court.

1949 Queen of the North Carolina Azalea Festival, actress Martha Hyer, with her court.

A Prologue:

When the 1950 College All-Star football team reported to training camp at St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin on Thursday, July 20, 1950, UNC’s great All America football star Charlie Justice met up with his old friend Doak Walker from Southern Methodist University (SMU) and new friend Eddie LeBaron from College of the Pacific (COP), which is now University of the Pacific.  Justice and Walker had become friends over the years when both were on most of the 1948 and 1949 All America teams and both had been pictured on the cover of Life.  Walker had been selected for the 1948 Heisman Trophy while Justice was first runner up.  And when UNC was in Dallas for the 1950 Cotton Bowl, Walker had helped the Tar Heels prepare for a game with Rice Institute (now Rice University).  Walker’s SMU team had played and lost to Rice, 41 to 27, on October 21st. Hugh Morton photographed Justice, Walker and UNC Head Coach Carl Snavely during one of the film screening sessions at the Melrose Hotel.  Also, Justice and Walker had gotten into the T-shirt business in early 1950 and Morton had done their publicity pictures.  Quarterback Eddie LeBaron had been selected All America in 1949 as well, and the three “country boys” hit it off.  All three loved watermelon and on the first day of camp they staked out a small country store which sold melons. “Put one on ice every afternoon,” Charlie told the store owner, “and we’ll come by and pick it up.” So every afternoon after practice the trio walked to the store, purchased their chilled melon, took it outside and sat on the curb enjoying the treat.

When game day arrived on August 11, 1950, the three “Mighty Mites,” as they were called (each was under six feet tall and weighed less than180 pounds) took the World Champion Philadelphia Eagles down by a score of 17 to 7. Hugh Morton didn’t attend the All-Star game, but he always included a wire photo from it in his slide shows.

❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀

Back in Wilmington after the War, I left town for a week, and while I was gone the local folks elected me chairman of the first Azalea Festival in 1948. —Hugh Morton, 1996

The Dallas Morning News issue of Saturday, March 18, 1950 featured the storybook, Friday night wedding of Doak Walker and his college sweetheart Norma Peterson.  The story said the couple would leave for a wedding trip to Canada “early next week . . . and will take another trip to North Carolina soon after they return.”  That North Carolina trip would be to the 1950 Azalea Festival in Wilmington, held March 30th through April 2nd.

Hal Love, president of the Azalea Festival Committee; Mrs. Norma Walker; Doak Walker; former Wilmington mayor E. L. White; and Cherokee leader McKinley Ross (with "Unto These Hills" program in pocket) at Bluethenthal Airport, Wilmington N. C., 31 March 1950.

Hal Love, president of the Azalea Festival Committee; Mrs. Norma Walker; Doak Walker; former Wilmington mayor E. L. White; and Cherokee leader McKinley Ross (with “Unto These Hills” program in pocket) at Bluethenthal Airport, Wilmington N. C., 31 March 1950.

Hugh Morton photographed Doak and Norma soon after they arrived in Wilmington.  Hugh’s wife Julia said in A View Hugh comment back in 2009, “I do remember that Doak and Norma and Charlie and Sarah (Justice) stayed with Hugh and me.  The festival didn’t have as much available money back in those days, and they were our friends.”

Charlie and Sarah Justice had been part of the 1949 festival. Charlie had crowned Queen Azalea II who was movie star Martha Hyer and many remember how the photographers covering that event had insisted that Justice kiss the Queen and he very obligingly followed through on the request.  Morton’s photograph in The State for April 16, 1949 (page 5) showed Justice with lipstick on his face.  (The original negative for this shot is no longer extant, but there is a similar negative made moments apart.)

Walter Doak during the 1950 North Carolina Azalea Festival

Charlie Justice and Doak Walker during the 1950 North Carolina Azalea Festival parade.  This scan of Morton’s negative shows the entire scene, which is usually cropped in publications.

During the 1950 festival, Morton took several pictures of Doak and Charlie, and Norma and Sarah: a beautiful shot of both couples at Arlie Gardens, and a shot from the parade on Saturday, April 1st. The parade image was reproduced in the 1958 Bob Quincy–Julian Scheer book, Choo Choo; The Charlie Justice Story, on page 112.  The same picture was also included in the 2002 Bob Terrell book All Aboard, but with an incorrect caption.  That image is on page 182. And of course, The State magazine issue of April 15, 1950 (page 3) included a Morton picture of Justice and Walker at the crowing ceremony where Justice passed the crown to Walker who crowned Gregg Sherwood as Queen Azalea III.

When Charlie and Sarah arrived in Wilmington for the 1951 festival, Hugh Morton had put in place a new event. On Saturday afternoon, March 31st, there was a special golf match at the Cape Fear Country Club.  It was called “Who Crowns the Azalea Queen?” and it pitted broadcasters Harry Wismer and Ted Malone against football greats Charlie Justice and Otto Graham—nine holes—winners crown Queen Margaret Sheridan Queen Azalea IV. And the winners . . . Charlie Justice and Otto Graham.

The day following the 1950 All-Star game, Eddie LeBaron left for Camp Pendleton and Marine duty. He would spend nine months in Korea and would receive a letter of commendation for heroism, a Bronze Star and a purple heart. Lt. Eddie LeBaron was back home in time to accept Hugh Morton’s invitation to the 1952 Azalea Festival. Again, as in 1951, there was a “Who Crowns the Azalea Queen?” golf match. This time with ABC broadcaster Harry Wismer, writer Hal Boyle, bandleader Tony Pastor, and football greats Justice, LeBaron, and Otto Graham.  The football guys won and would be part of the crowning ceremony for Queen Azalea V, Cathy Downs. A tightly cropped version of Morton’s crowning shot is also in Chris Dixon’s 2001 book Ghost Wave (unnumbered center picture page).

Later, in November, 1952, Hugh Morton took in a Washington Redskins game and photographed Justice, LeBaron, and Graham at Old Griffith Stadium.

In March of 1953, Charlie and Sarah Justice made their fifth Festival appearance as Alexis Smith became Queen Azalea VI on Saturday, March 28th.

Eddie LeBaron would return to Wilmington for the ‘58 Festival, along with Andy Griffith who crowned Queen Azalea XI, Esther Williams on March 29, 1958. Morton photographed LeBaron with Andy and NC Governor Luther Hodges.

The “Mighty Mites” were special Azalea Festival guests and were special friends of Hugh Morton, who in 1997, at the 50th Festival was honored with a star on the Wilmington Riverfront Walk of Fame and was the Festival Grand Marshal.

An Epilogue:
Doak Walker’s marriage to Norma Peterson ended in divorce in 1965 and four years later he married Olympic skier Skeeter Werner.  They lived in Steamboat Springs, Colorado until his death as a result of paralyzing injuries suffered in a skiing accident. Walker’s death on September 27, 1998 came ironically 50 years to the day of his Life magazine cover issue.

Prior to the planning sessions for the Charlie Justice statue, which now stands outside the Kenan Football Center on the UNC campus, Hugh Morton visited the Doak Walker statue at SMU.  Morton decided, unlike the Walker statue, that Charlie would not wear his helmet so everyone could easily recognize him.

Charlie Justice passed away on October 17, 2003 following a long battle with Alzheimer’s.  Charlie’s wife Sarah died four months later.

Hugh Morton “slipped peacefully away from us all on June 1, 2006.”  Those words from Morton’s dear friend Bill Friday.

Eddie LeBaron played professional football with Charlie Justice for two seasons with the Washington Redskins.  After Charlie’s retirement, the two remained close friends.  LeBaron participated in a Multiple Sclerosis Celebrity Roast for Charlie in 1980, and both were Hugh Morton’s guests at the Highland Games in 1984. Justice and LeBaron were also celebrity guests at the Freedom Classic Celebrity Golf Tournament in Charlotte in 1989 and 1990.  LeBaron lives in Sacramento, California and continues to play golf in his retirement.  Due to his diminutive size, 5 feet, 7 inches, and his leadership skills from his military service, he is often called the “Littlest General.”

From Richmond to Chapel Hill . . . from Charlotte to the Moon

February 20, 1962 was an important day in United States space history.  On that day, US Astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth.  On that same date thirty-six years earlierFebruary 20, 1926an unsung hero of the United States space program was born in Richmond, Virginia.

On this February 20th, Morton collection volunteer and blog contributor Jack Hilliard takes a look at the life and times of that hero: Julian Scheer, who would have turned 88 today.

Julian Scheer posed next to Scheer Bluff sign

Julian Scheer posed next to the Scheer Bluff sign on Grandfather Mountain, date unknown.  This scan of a portrait by Hugh Morton comes from a machine-made print in the Morton collection.  The processing code on the back of the print includes the date 5 September 2001, just four days after Scheer’s death.)

The TV picture was slightly out of focus.  It was black-and-white and the camera was tilted a little. By 2014’s standards of high tech, high definition television, it would likely be branded “NBQ”—not broadcast quality.  Despite all of that, more than 700 million people around the world watched as US Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the surface of the moon.

And we almost didn’t get to see it.

In the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) chain of command during the lead up to the launch of Apollo 11, the first trip to land a man on the surface of the moon, one man stood firm with his commitment that a TV camera would be part of the lunar luggage: Julian W. Scheer from Richmond, Virginia, a UNC Tar Heel, and a friend of Hugh Morton and family.

At age 17, Scheer joined the merchant marine and later served in the Naval Reserve. Following that World War II service, he enrolled at the University of North Carolina, graduating in 1950 with a degree in journalism and communications.  He then became UNC Sports Information Director Jake Wade’s assistant, a position he held for three years, before joining The Charlotte News in 1953.  (In 1956 another UNC Tar Heel joined the staff at The Charlotte News.  His name: Charles Kuralt.)

Julian Scheer wading through debris after Hurricane Hazel (1954)During his early days in Charlotte, Scheer covered sports and news stories.  In 1954 he went to the North Carolina coast, along with a group of other North Carolina reporters, to cover Hurricane Hazel.  Also in that group was photographer Hugh Morton who, near the peak of the storm, took a picture of Scheer struggling against the rising water.  The picture earned Morton a prestigious award.  In the 1996 booklet, Sixty Years with a Camera, Morton described the circumstances on October 15, 1954:

Hazel was a very stormy thing.  And when it came ashore at Carolina Beach, Julian Scheer and I were covering it for The Charlotte News.  I asked Julian to walk through my picture, and the photo won first prize for spot news in the Southern Press Photographer of the Year competition.

That photograph is also on the front cover of the first edition of Jay Barnes’ 1995 book, North Carolina’s Hurricane History.

In 1956 Scheer received an invitation from an old college friend.  Nelson Benton, who first worked at Charlotte radio station WSOC following his UNC graduation in 1949 and then joined WBTV Channel 3 News (also in Charlotte), asked Scheer if he would like to join a group that was going to visit Cape Canaveral, Florida.  At that time, there was an Air Force base there and a few rockets had been tested, but very little news had come from the Cape. Scheer made the trip and was fascinated with what he saw and asked his editor at the “News” about a story of what was going on there. The editor didn’t show much interest, so Julian returned on his own time with his own money and did a series of stories.

As the space race heated up and with the creation of NASA in 1958, more and more stories turned up in the papers and on TV.  In 1959 Scheer wrote a book, along with NASA engineer Theodore Gordon titled First into Outer Space. The book was a best seller, but Scheer said the Pentagon took out some important content.  (This was Julian Scheer’s third book.  He teamed with Hugh Morton and Bob Quincy in 1958 for the Charlie Justice biography, “Choo Choo: The Charlie Justice Story.”  That book was published by Orville Campbell in Chapel Hill.  Also in ’58 he wrote Tweetsie, the Blue Ridge Stemwinder.)

Before he completed chapter one of his novel, he got a call from NASA administrator James Webb wanting him to come to Washington.  Webb was very familiar with Scheer’s reporting on the US space program and wanted to hire him as his public affairs assistant.   “We need your help,” said Webb. “I want you to write a plan for coordinating media coverage of the missions,” he added.

Scheer spent the next thirty days back in Charlotte formulating a grand plan that would shape the structure and policies of NASA into a team approach and would be responsible for getting the astronauts out of their flight suits and into the public consciousness.  Scheer never lost sight of the importance of the fact that media includes both broadcast and print.

He sent the plan to Webb and was soon called back to Washington.  When he walked in the door, Webb said, “I accept your offer to go to work for me.”  Both men laughed, before Scheer finally said yes.  “I want you to run this program just as you’ve outlined it.  You’ll work directly for me,” said Webb.

Julian Scheer outside NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., September 1965.

Julian Scheer outside NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., September 1965. (This is a slightly different pose than the image in online collection. Photograph cropped by the editor.)

Scheer arrived back at Cape Canaveral just in time for the final mission of Project Mercury, astronaut Gordon Cooper’s two-day stay in orbit in May 1963.  Cooper would be the final US astronaut to go into space alone, because Project Gemini was next and would consist of ten successful two-man flights starting in March 1965 and continuing until November 1966.  Project Apollo and the moon would be next.

On Friday, January 27, 1967 the Apollo One crew, consisting of Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee, was training at the Cape for the first Apollo launch when tragedy struck.  A spark ignited a fire in the spacecraft, killing all three astronauts.  Scheer was faced with a media crisis.  To his credit, he withheld information until all the families involved were properly notified.

Twenty-one months would pass before Apollo would actually fly.  On October 11, 1968 US Astronaut Wally Schirra checked out a new system in Apollo 7.  The US space program was back on track and headed for the moon.  Apollo 8 flew around the moon on Christmas Eve 1968.  Who could forget Commander Frank Borman and crew reading from the Bible on that cold December night on live television?  In an interview after the Apollo program, Commander Borman would say, “the (Apollo) program was really a battle of the cold war and Julian Scheer was one of its generals.”

Apollo 9 in March of ‘69 and Apollo 10 in May were the dress rehearsals for the moon landing which would be next.

The blueprint for Apollo 11 has Julian Scheer’s fingerprints all over it.  He was responsible for naming the Apollo 11 command module “Columbia.”  He participated in discussions over whether the astronauts would place a US flag on the moon and he helped determine the wording on the lunar module plaque that reads in part, “We came in Peace for All Mankind.” But perhaps his biggest achievement was his fight with NASA engineers to get a television camera on board the lunar lander “Eagle.” Weight was a critical issue for “Eagle” and the engineers said a TV camera would just be extra weight.  Said Scheer, “You’re going to have to take something else off.  The camera is going to be on the spacecraft.”  And so it was.

Wednesday, July 16, 1969 began at 4 AM for about 150 CBS News personnel at Cape Canaveral. Preparations were underway for the launch of Apollo 11.  Two hours later, at 6 AM (EDT) came this:

“This is a CBS News Special Report, ‘Man on the Moon: The Epic Journey of Apollo 11.’”

It was the voice of CBS legendary announcer Harry Kramer in New York.  Anchors Walter Cronkite and Wally Schirra were on the air three hours and thirty-two minutes before the launch at the cape. The countdown went well as about 3,500 news personnel watched from the Complex 39 press site at Cape Kennedy (now it’s the Kennedy Space Center).  Among them was Hugh Morton. (According to the Morton collection finding aid, however, only seven 35mm slides are extant.)

An estimated half million space watchers lined the surrounding Florida beach areas.
Then at 9:32 AM (EDT) the mighty Saturn V (five) rocket, powered by 7,500,000 pounds of thrust, carrying Neil Armstrong, “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins began a slow climb to the moon.

As Cronkite watched on his TV monitor, he jubilantly cried out,

Oh boy, oh boy, it looks good Wally . . . What a moment! Man on the way to the moon!

Most of the CBS launch team then headed back to New York to get ready for the biggest show of all on Sunday, July 20, 1969.

As CBS signed on at 11:00 AM (EDT) on the 20th, the first voice we heard was that of Charles Kuralt, Julian Scheer’s co-worker at The Charlotte News in 1956:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  Some five billion years ago, whirling and condensing in the darkness, was a cloud of inter-stellar hydrogen, four hundred degrees below zero, eight million miles from end to end.  This was our solar system waiting to be born.

Kuralt had recorded his essay days before because on this day he would fly across the United States, stopping along the way getting people’s thoughts on this historic day.  His program would be called A Day in the Life of the United States, and would air on September 8, 1970.

Then, Cronkite and Schirra and about 1,000 CBS News team members began a “32-hour day” live from Studio 41 in New York. Among those team members was Julian Scheer’s old college buddy Nelson Benton, who was stationed at Bethpage Long Island at the Grumman Corporation where a full scale model of the Lunar Module was set up. Benton worked with Engineer Scott MacLeod who had tested the module.

During the next five hours, Cronkite and Schirra were at the center of a media frenzy as they introduced feature segments, interviewed space experts, and tossed to CBS News Correspondents around the world.

At 4:08 PM (EDT) the astronauts were given a final “go” for the flight down to the surface of the moon. It took nine minutes and forty-two seconds. Then came Armstrong’s famous words, “Houston, Tranquility Base here.  The Eagle has landed.” Cronkite sat speechless, glasses in hand, shaking his head from side to side.  Schirra wiped a tear from his eye.
In six hours, thirty-eight minutes, and thirty-eight seconds, a 38-year-old American astronaut from Wapakoneta, Ohio would set foot on the surface of the moon.

At 10:25 PM (EDT), Cronkite held up a copy of Monday’s New York Times with the banner headline “Men Land on the Moon.”  Never before had the Times printed a headline in such large type. Then came this exchange between Houston and Neil Armstrong:

Armstrong: “Okay Houston, I’m on the porch!”
Houston:  “Man, we’re getting a picture on the TV, we see you coming down the ladder now.”
Cronkite:  “Boy! Look at those pictures.”
Armstrong:  “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

It was 10:56:20 PM (EDT) on Sunday, July 20, 1969.

Cronkite:  “Isn’t this something! 238,000 miles out there on the moon, and we’re seeing this.”
Schirra:  Oh, thank you television for letting us watch this one!”

Schirra could have said . . . perhaps should have said (in my opinion):  “Thank you Julian Scheer for letting us watch this one!”

Following the Apollo 11 crew’s return safely to earth on July 24, 1969 after eight days, three hours and eighteen minutes, Julian Scheer was awarded NASA’s highest recognition, the Distinguished Service Medal. He then led the crew in exploiting its public relations potential. He orchestrated and led round the world tours. In a 1999 USA Today article, Scheer said, “The Apollo mission was the chance to show off U.S. technological superiority. Clearly the Russians were going to the moon. We were head-to-head. We emphasized that.”

Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, said, “He (Scheer) understood the needs of the media and also the needs of the flight crews. He was, in many cases, able to accommodate both.”

Following a successful Apollo 12 mission, Scheer was faced with another crisis during the flight of Apollo 13.  Two days into its flight an oxygen tank exploded crippling the service and command modules.  The lunar landing was cancelled, and for the next six days there was wall-to-wall media coverage until the crew landed safely on April 17, 1970.

When Apollo 14 launched on January 31, 1971, Hugh Morton along with wife Julia and daughter Catherine, were guests of Julian Scheer at the Cape. This mission saw astronaut Alan Shepard, America’s first man in space, return to space and land on the moon.
As it turned out, Apollo 14 was Julian Scheer’s final flight at NASA. Two days after his 45th birthday, on February 22, 1971, he left NASA and would become campaign manager for Terry Sanford’s 1972 run for the presidency.  Scheer remained a consultant to the space program in Washington and was a trustee of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.

Group portrait of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse committee members,  possibly outside the Carolina Club on the UNC campus. Left to right: Jim Heavner (CEO, The Village Companies of Chapel Hill and broadcaster); James G. (Jim) Babb (Executive VP, Jefferson Pilot Communications); Dr. William Friday (UNC President); unknown; unknown; Julian Scheer; and Hugh Morton.

Group portrait of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse committee members, possibly outside the Carolina Club on the UNC campus. Left to right: Jim Heavner (CEO, The Village Companies of Chapel Hill and broadcaster); James G. (Jim) Babb (Executive VP, Jefferson Pilot Communications); Dr. William Friday (UNC President); unknown; unknown; Julian Scheer; and Hugh Morton.

Julian Scheer and Hugh Morton crossed paths again in 1981 when Morton formed the “Save the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Committee,” in response to the growing concerns about the safety of the 129-year-old structure.  The committee read like a who’s who in North Carolina and brought together some of the best public relations/media minds in the world.  And of course Julian Scheer, with more experience with government agencies than anyone else Morton knew, topped the list.  The committee offered an alternative to moving the lighthouse as the US Corp of Engineers wanted to do. But Morton’s committee wasn’t able to keep the landmark in its seaside location.

On April 30, 1984, UNC’s great All-America legend Charlie Justice was the subject of a charity roast in Charlotte for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Scheer wasn’t able to attend the event in person, but he sent an audio tape poking fun at his dear friend. The audience loved it when Scheer said he and co-author Bob Quincy would have to answer “for all the lies we told” in that 1958 Charlie Justice biography.

In an interview in 2000, Julian Scheer said, “in my mind . . . I was always writing.  It never left me.  I always got a charge out of seeing my byline in the paper . . . .” Also that year Scheer wrote two children’s books, A Thanksgiving Turkey and Light of the Captured Moon.  He had previously written two other children’s books: Rain Makes Applesauce (1965) and Upside Down Day (1968).

The tragic news from Catlett, Virginia on Saturday, September 1, 2001 was that Julian Scheer had died in a tractor accident at his home.  He was 75-years-old.  The world will forever remember “the small step and giant leap” made by Neil Armstrong 238,000 miles away on Tranquility Base at 11:56:20 PM (EDT) on July 20, 1969; and the award-winning reporting by Walter Cronkite and Wally Schirra to millions of viewers watching CBS-TV; but neither of these historic events would have captured the imagination of the world without that seven-pound TV camera and the strong will of Julian Weisel Scheer, a true unsung hero of Project Apollo and the American space program.

Frank Borman at Scheer Bluff, Grandfather Mountain

Frank Borman at Scheer Bluff, Grandfather Mountain. Scanned from a print that’s not included in the online collection (cropped by editor).

An Epilogue:
In the early 1960s Hugh Morton paid tribute to his dear friend Julian Scheer by naming a nice overlook at the 5,000 foot level at Grandfather Mountain, “Scheer Bluff.” The Scheer family would often visit Grandfather Mountain and in the early 1980s, to his surprise, Scheer received a photograph of astronaut Frank Borman standing at the “Scheer Bluff” sign.  Said Borman, “Julian, this is the first time I’ve called your bluff.  We’ve been through a lot together and I’ve always valued your advice . . . many years of happiness to a true friend.”

If you check the dictionary for the word “bluff,” you’ll find this definition among others:  “rough and blunt, but not unkind in manner.”

Correction: March 14, 2014:  An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the CBS announcer.  It is Harry Kramer, not Ted Cramer.  Kramer’s name is misspelled in a 1968 phone roster.

The State of OUR STATE at 80

There’s going to be a special birthday party at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh on June 8, 2013: Our State magazine will be 80 years old.  The celebration will begin at 11 AM and will include musical entertainment, exhibits, games and demonstrations.  A View to Hugh would like to congratulate Our State on this milestone.  Our volunteer contributor Jack Hilliard takes a personal look—through the filter of Hugh Morton’s lens—at some of the magazine’s fascinating history, which began as The State.
TheState_1948-12-04_coverMy first recollection of The State magazine was around Christmas time 1948 when I was visiting my grandmother.  She knew that Charlie Justice was my hero, so she had saved for me her copy of the December 4th issue, which featured a Hugh Morton cover picture of Justice following the ‘48 UNC vs. Duke game. I have been a fan of the magazine ever since that day.

At that time, the magazine was already 15 years old, but it was new to me and I didn’t know that there had been a previous cover with a photograph of Justice by Morton about a year before.  (I was able to get that earlier issue about 5 years later when I was working on a fund-raising scrap paper drive.)

Firts issue of THE STATE magazine

Cover of the first issue of THE STATE, June 3 1933. The North Carolina Collection has Carl Goerch’s personal copies of the publication for its first seventeen years.

WPTF (Raleigh) radio broadcaster Carl Goerch had started the magazine back in the late spring of 1933.  In the midst of the Great Depression he proposed a magazine that would be “a weekly survey of North Carolina, dedicated to cause people to be more appreciative of their state by becoming better acquainted with it.”  In order to publish his dream, Goerch needed advertisers, but times were tough so he told his prospective clients, “let me run an ad for you in the first four issues . . . if at the end of the month, you find that the publication isn’t worth anything, you can discontinue.  On the other hand, if you think it really is worthwhile, I hope you’ll continue using space.”  His first prospect was S. Clay Williams, president of R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.  Others who were willing to invest were Julian Price of Jefferson Standard Life, Robert M. Hanes of Wachovia Bank, Louis Sutton of Carolina Power & Light, Norman Cocke of Duke Power, W. D. (Billy) Carmichael of Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co., and Durham banker John Sprunt Hill.

The first issue hit the streets on June 3, 1933 for ten cents a copy, or three dollars for a year’s subscription.  Pictured on that first cover was North Carolina Governor J. C. B. Ehringhaus and inside were the first of Goerch’s long-running departments such as “Funny Experiences” and “Just One Thing after Another.”

The magazine “met a very favorable impression and kept right on growing,” according to Goerch, selling 2,500 copies.  Goerch and his magazine started out in an office in the Lawyers Building in Raleigh with a staff of two, including himself.  Inez Gehring took care of the office and Goerch did just about everything else, with help from some trusted freelance writers who sent in articles for which they were paid $2.50 per article.  Among those freelancers were W. O. Saunders, Tom Bost, Paul Green, Billy Arthur, H. G. Jones, Bill Sharpe, and others.

Moss-draped oaks on Walter Parsley's place on Masonboro Sound, near Wilmington

Captioned “Moss-draped oaks on Walter Parsley’s place on Masonboro Sound, near Wilmington,” this is Hugh Morton’s first credited photograph in THE STATE. Notice, however, how the credit line reads: “Photo by Pvt. Hugh Morton, Camp Davis.”

In addition to the impressive freelance writers were equally talented photographers like Aycock Brown, John Hemmer, and Hugh Morton.  Morton would go on to become a most prolific contributor with dozens of photographs and more than sixty photo covers between March 8, 1941 (uncredited) and December 3, 1949.  Three of the four issues published in January 1950 featured Morton photographs on their covers.  In the January 28th issue, The State named Charlie Justice “North Carolina’s Man of the Year for 1949,” with a Morton portrait of the Justice family on the cover.

When the magazine celebrated its tenth anniversary with the issue of June 5, 1943, the front cover consisted of a letter to Goerch from Governor J. Melville Broughton.
“This unique magazine under your able leadership has lived up to its name in the highest degree.”  Inside, in an editorial, Goerch said, “the last ten years have been the happiest of my entire life.”  Carl Goerch published the magazine for eighteen years before turning it over to Bill Sharpe on September 1, 1951.  A party was held in Sharpe’s honor when he took over the magazine and Hugh Morton was there and took pictures.

Party in honor of publicist Bill Sharpe

Party in honor of publicist Bill Sharpe (being held up on men’s shoulders) on the occasion of his retirement from the public relations staff of Carolina Power & Light Company to become editor of THE STATE magazine. Also shown are (L to R): Carl Goerch, R. Bruce Etheridge, Joe Lowes, Lynn Nisbet, John G. Hemmer, Norwood “Red” Pope, Carl Sink, Josh Horne, John Harden, and Bob Thompson. (Photograph cropped by editor.)

Sharpe’s stated philosophy for the magazine was:

North Carolina is settled by a whimsical race, forever busy at something interesting.  Somehow they continue to live in the most fascinating places, do the most ingenious things, have the most incredible experiences, catch the most outlandish fish and invent the most fantastic instruments.

Goerch continued to write columns and handle advertising.  Sharpe added his well-written columns—“Travel Topics,” “From Manteo to Murphy,” and “Remember.”  The magazine published its first full-color cover with the September 13, 1952 issue, featuring a photograph by Sebastian Sommer of a family picnicking along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the fall with Grandfather Mountain in distance.  In December the new “Down Home in North Carolina” slogan replaced the old “A Weekly Survey.”

In 1954 the magazine switched from a weekly to a bi-monthly.  W. B. Wright joined the team as advertising manager.  A Raleigh native, a navy veteran, and a Duke graduate, Wright fit right in.  Under Sharpe’s leadership, the magazine became somewhat of a lightning rod for conservative thought.  Sharpe was noted for his editorials against “centralization of power in the federal government.”  Wright became co-publisher with Sharpe in 1965.

TheState_1962-01-06_cover

In the January 6, 1962 issue, the magazine announced Hugh Morton as its “North Carolinian of 1961.”  Morton had continued to make a huge photographic contribution to the magazine, but was likely selected because of his efforts to bring the battleship USS North Carolina home to Wilmington.  In the October 1, 1968 issue, Hugh Morton listed his favorite ten photographs.  His 1968 top-ten list turned out to be a good cross-section of what would become his almost-seventy-year portfolio.

On January 6, 1970, Bill Sharpe died suddenly and the logical choice to take over was W. B. (Bill) Wright, who had earlier worked for Sharpe during his efforts to establish a weekly newspaper in Winston-Salem in 1940.  Wright followed in the footsteps of Goerch and Sharpe with little change to the magazine.

The sad news on Monday, September 16, 1974 was that Carl Goerch had died at his home in Raleigh.  He was praised for “accurately informing North Carolinians of their history and progress” during his 55 years of work for newspapers, magazines, radio, and television, and as a public speaker.  Carl Goerch was 83 years old.

Cover of The State, August 1978

By the time the August, 1978 issued arrived on the scene, the magazine was published monthly and that August issue featured a Morton cover image of Grandfather Mountain’s most famous citizen, Mildred the Bear, feeding a cub. The issue turned out to be one of the most popular and Bill Wright staged a contest for readers to title the Morton photograph.

The State cover, November 1980

With the November, 1980 issue, there was yet another Hugh Morton cover photo of UNC’s Charlie Justice.  Morton was having a photo exhibit in the Morehead Planetarium and the magazine was promoting the event. The Justice image selected for the cover was a familiar one and was described as Justice running onto the field at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, his last varsity game at UNC.  The enlarged image on the cover gave one the ability to see the Justice uniform and it was clearly a 1948 style—not the one worn at the Cotton Bowl on January 2, 1950.

In a 1984 interview, I asked Justice about the uniform discrepancy, but he couldn’t explain it.  When Justice passed away in October of 2003, the same image was used in several North Carolina newspapers with the same caption. Then in 2008, Elizabeth Hull sent me a series of Justice images for additional identification and this image was part of the group; however she had scanned the entire negative image and the background was clearly Kenan Stadium.  It seems that somewhere along the way, two similar negatives had gotten switched and for more than thirty years this image was incorrectly identified.  It is now correct in the Morton online collection.

Cover of The State, January 1982

The January, 1982 issue cover featured a Morton bird’s-eye-view photograph of the Cape Hatteras Light.  At the time, Morton was heading up a committee to save the historic structure from being swept into the sea.

In its fiftieth anniversary edition, actually published in January, 1984, Bill Wright said:
“The magazine hasn’t changed a great deal over the years, and therein might lie an explanation to its success.”  The front cover of that fiftieth issue contained a montage of magazine covers from years past, including the Morton image of Mildred from 1978.

Bill Wright continued to publish The State until 1987 when he sold it to Shaw Publishing Company of Charlotte. New publisher Sam Rogers brought a new design with fresh typefaces and eye-catching color.  These changes brought letters, pro and con, but Rogers insisted “the flavor is still present.”

The November 1992 issue featured a Hugh Morton profile, complete with a picture of Morton on the cover.

Cover of The State, November 1992Rogers continued publishing the magazine for the next nine years.  Then, in the spring of 1996—enter Bernard (Bernie) Mann.   A native New Yorker, like Carl Goerch, Bernie Mann, president of Mann Media, Inc, bought the operation, moved the editorial offices from Charlotte to Greensboro, and expanded the staff from four to fourteen. Soon after Mann took over the publishing duties, he was presented some amazing information.  A well-known research firm presented him a report that said at most magazines, 35 to 37 percent of the readers renewed their subscriptions when they came due.  A rate of 50 percent was considered phenomenal.  The State’s rate was 87 percent. One of the researchers told Mann, “you didn’t buy a magazine, you bought a public trust.”

Mann made several changes to the magazine, and when the August 1996 issue arrived, readers first noticed a name change.  Gone was The State, and replacing it was Our State.  “I thought it was more inclusive,” Mann said of the change.  “I thought it gave a more personal feel.”

I remember in early May 1998 Lee Kinard, “Good Morning Show” executive producer and my boss at WFMY-TV, called me in one morning and said, “We need to do a feature on Our State magazine.”  I called marketing director Amy Jo (Wood) Pasquini, and she graciously set up a time when we could come over for an interview.  On the morning of May 26, 1998 Kinard, photographer George Vaughn, and I went over to the magazine office and met with Pasquini, Mann, and editor Mary Ellis.  I remember how impressed we were with these folks who went out their way to provide us with a fantastic segment for our show.

The June 2003 issue celebrated the magazine’s 70th birthday with a 188-page collector’s edition.  Now in June, 2013, issue number 2047 is out with a keepsake edition celebrating another milestone: an 80th birthday.  I was not surprised that the photo essay featuring many of the magazine’s covers, which is on pages 78 through 103, includes numerous Hugh Morton cover photographs.