Another presidential visit to UNC

John F. Kennedy at UNC speaking in Kenan Stadium on University Day, October 12, 1961

John F. Kennedy speaking in Kenan Stadium, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, on University Day, October 12, 1961

There is a buzz around the UNC Chapel Hill campus with today’s visit of President Barack Obama.  The line to enter Carmichael Arena already wraps from the entrance eastward along the playing fields to Country Club Road and then back westward along South Road. I suspect Hugh Morton would have been here with cameras in hand, just as he was for President John F. Kennedy’s visit on University Day on October 12, 1961 and President Bill Clinton speech during UNC’s bicentennial on University Day of October 12, 1993.  I got my ticket yesterday so I could make photographs for the collection during the “Remarks by President Obama” event.  I’m sure Hugh Morton would have been closer to the dais than I’ll be.

To mark today’s occasion, here’s an impressive list (with click-able links to images) of United States presidents—eventual, current, or past—photographed by Hugh Morton:

Two notes: the photograph of President Bush may be an asterisk.  Morton received the Roosevelt Award for Conservation from the president that day.  If he is the person onstage behind the president who is mostly obscured, then someone made the photograph.

Who am I? . . . Presidential Style

United States Capitol, Inauguration Day 1941?

United States Capitol, Inauguration Day 1941?

I stumbled upon today’s topic while searching for an anniversary around which I could build a blog post.  April 12th is the anniversary of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s’ death in 1945, so I searched the online collection, wondering if I might find something related to FDR.  What turned up are three negatives depicting what looks like a presidential inauguration, but the description for the event provided a possible time span of several years—between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman presidencies.  (There is a fourth negative, of people in the crowd, but it hasn’t been scanned.)  This makes for a perfect opportunity to see if we can collectively narrow down that range, or even get the specific date.

To start things off, I’m guessing that the event is Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s third inauguration in 1941 and here’s why:  it’s sunny.

OK, there’s a little more to it than that!

Here are the clues I’ve discovered thus far:

  • The negative film stock is Agfa Superpan Press. (The words “Agfa Superpan Press” are on the bottom edge of the negatives.)  Some background: according to a history of Ansco by William L. Camp, photographic manufacturers Ansco (United States) and Afga (Germany) merged in January 1928 and operated under the corporate name Agfa Ansco.  The company introduced Superpan Press, the first ultra-high-speed sheet film, in 1938.
  • FDR’s first inauguration on March 4th, 1933 predates Superpan Press, photographs of the event depict the capitol building more elaborately decorated with garlands, and Hugh Morton would have turned twelve years old just a couple weeks beforehand.
  • It rained on the 1937 inauguration.  A total rainfall of 1.77 inches fell on a cold day.  Between 11 am and 1 pm, 0.69 inches of rain fell with a noon temperature of 33°F.  Superpan Press would have been helpful on a gray day like that!  (Want to know more about past inauguration days weather?)  One fact that could support—or be a red herring—is that Hugh Morton went to Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va. before attending UNC in the fall of 1939.
  • It was sunny on Inauguration Day 1941.  29 degrees with a brisk wind chill of 10°F.
  • Agfa’s American assets seized during WWII and become part of Ansco in 1941.  In 1945, Agfa reemerges as a separate company in Germany.
  • Agfa Ansco dropped “Agfa” from its corporate name in January 1944, so it’s not likely that “Agfa” remained on its film stock much after this date.  (This probably also rules out Truman’s inauguration.)
  • It snowed on January 20th, 1945, and FDR gave his speech on the south portico of the White House, (and Hugh Morton was in South Pacific!).

As a side note, resolving the background of these corporate histories and their film stocks would probably be useful when identifying images based upon dating film type.

The clincher for identifying the year may reside in automotive history.  Can anyone identify the vehicles in the photograph?  If so, we might have the pièce de résistance!

2012 Democrats to convene in Crown Town

We have to thank, once again, Jack Hilliard for today’s post. . . . “Thanks again, Jack!”

What is one thing the following cities have in common?:

  • Chicago, Illinois,
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey
  • Miami Beach, Florida

How about a hint?  Next year Charlotte, North Carolina can be added to the list.

The answer: each of the four cities listed above has hosted the Democratic National Convention—and Hugh Morton photographed all four.

Adlai Stevenson supporters in crowd at the 1956 Democratic National Convention held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Ill.

Adlai Stevenson supporters in crowd at the 1956 Democratic National Convention held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Ill.

Next September 3rd, when the 46th Democratic National Convention gavels to order in Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena, the party’s presidential nominee will most likely already be known.  That wasn’t the case, however, back in 1956 when the Democrats gathered in Chicago.  Adlai Stevenson of Illinois, who had been the party’s presidential candidate in 1952, was again selected on the first ballot getting about 66% of the votes, but the real fireworks came when he asked the delegates to selected the candidate for vice president.  Thirteen names were offered, including Luther Hodges of North Carolina.  But in the end, two candidates were seriously considered: Estes Kefauver of Tennessee and John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts.  It took two ballots for Kefauver to gain the nomination.  As was the case in 1952, the Republicans swept the general election with Eisenhower and Nixon.

	Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy accepting presidential nomination at the 1960 Democratic National Convention.

Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy accepting presidential nomination at the 1960 Democratic National Convention at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Photograph cropped by editor.)

A few days before the 1960 convention opened in Los Angeles, John F. Kennedy, the leading candidate, received two new challengers when Lyndon B. Johnson, the powerful Senate majority leader from Texas, and Adlai Stevenson II, the party’s nominee in 1952 and 1956, announced their candidacies.  But in the end, neither Johnson nor Stevenson could match the talented Kennedy team headed by Robert Kennedy.  Giving one of John Kennedy’s nominating speeches was Duke University President and future North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford.  JFK won on the first ballot gaining 53 percent of the voting delegates, and went on to defeat Richard Nixon in the close 1960 general election.

Supporters of Lyndon Baines Johnson holding a large balloon at 1964 Democratic National Convention.

Supporters of Lyndon Baines Johnson holding a large balloon reading "N. Carolina for LBJ" at 1964 Democratic National Convention, held in Atlantic City, N.J.

The 1964 convention, held in Atlantic City, was a little more cut and dried.  The favorite going in was incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had been Kennedy’s vice president and became president in November of 1963 following Kennedy’s assassination.  Johnson was selected by acclamation.  The ’64 convention took place less than a year after John Kennedy’s assassination and on the final day of the gathering, Robert Kennedy introduced a film in honor of his brother’s memory.  When Robert Kennedy appeared on the convention floor, the delegates erupted in twenty-two minutes of uninterrupted applause, causing him to break into tears.  LBJ soundly defeated Barry Goldwater in the 1964 general election.

Politicians at podium during the 1972 Democratic National Convention.

Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, U.S. Senators George McGovern, Henry Jackson, and Edmund Muskie, then-Duke University president Terry Sanford. (Photograph cropped by editor.)

Eight years later, the Democrats gathered in Miami Beach for their 36th convention.  The convention itself turned out to be one of the most unusual political events in recent history.  A solid 57 percent of the delegates selected George McGovern of South Dakota as their presidential candidate, but the selection for vice president turned out to be somewhat of a joke.  Seventy-seven people were nominated for the position.  Some of the more famous names were Jimmy Carter, Shirley Chisholm, Ted Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy.  There was a group of North Carolinians on the ballot including Skipper Bowles, Jim Hunt, Terry Sanford, and Nick Galifianakis.  Then there was the list that included Dr. Benjamin Spock, CBS-TV anchor Roger Mudd, and “Joe Smith,” the fictitious character from the 1956 Republican convention.  In the end, Thomas Eagleton of Missouri was selected as the vice presidential candidate.  When it was disclosed that Eagleton had undergone mental health treatment (including electroshock therapy), he withdrew and was replaced on the ballot by Sargent Shriver.

Shirley Chisholm at the 1972 Democratic National Convention

Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, the first major-party black candidate for President of the United States and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination, at the 1972 Democratic National Convention, held at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photograph cropped by editor.)

The 1972 convention prime time sessions began in the early evenings and lasted until the wee hours, and the bizarre vice presidential balloting caused McGovern’s acceptance speech to begin at 3:00 a.m. (EDT).  The unorthodox behavior of the Democratic National Convention delegates was “rewarded” by voters in the November, 1972 general election.  The party’s nominees lost in the worst landslide in US history.

It is expected that the Queen City hosting the 2012 convention will generate more than 150 million dollars for Charlotte and surrounding metropolitan areas, and will bring in more than 35,000 delegates and special guests.  It will be the kind of event that Hugh Morton would have attended and documented in his own special way.

Charlotte, Noth Carolina circa 1970s-1980s

Charlotte, North Carolina circa 1970s-1980s

A Spark of Greatness, part 4

Today is the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, which A View to Hugh commemorates with the fourth and final installment of “A Spark of Greatness.” Using photographs by Morton, Edward J. McCauley, and Don Sturkey, “A Spark of Greatness” highlights some of the key events that led to Kennedy’s campaign visit to the Tar Heel State in September 1960. The story presented in A View to Hugh draws from contemporary newspaper accounts and the book Triumph of Good Will, John Drescher’s account of the gubernatorial contest between Terry Sanford and I. Beverly Lake that preceded Kennedy’s visit.

As the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial candidate, Terry Sanford believed that John F. Kennedy would win North Carolina in the 1960 presidential election, but to do so Kennedy would need to campaign in the state. As the Raleigh News and Observer reported on July 15th, 1960, Sanford “told newsmen he is sure that when Kennedy goes to North Carolina, ‘as he will,’ he will convince voters that he has a spark of greatness.”

The North Carolina delegates’ caucus that followed the formal nomination emphasized not only the need for vigorous campaigning in the state, but also a personal appearance by Kennedy. Kennedy did indeed campaign in North Carolina; perhaps just as importantly, as John Drescher notes, Sanford “made Kennedy’s campaign his campaign.”

There are many photographs of Kennedy’s daylong campaign tour in North Carolina in the North Carolina Collection by Hugh Morton, Burlington’s Daily Times-News photographer Edward McCauley, and Don Sturkey, chief photographer of the Charlotte Observer. Sturkey’s photograph of Kennedy, U.S. Congressman Herbert C. Bonner, and Terry Sanford riding in a convertible approaching the football stadium at the Eastern Carolina University in Greenville may be the quintessential photograph that captured that “spark of greatness” reflected by the enthusiasm of onlookers chasing the motorcade. Ironically, this image did not appear in the Observer’s coverage of Kennedy’s campaign swing through the state. (Morton and McCauley’s photographs can be seen by clicking on the links above. Sturkey’s photographs are not available online; the link, however, leads to the collection’s finding aid.)

John F. Kennedy campaigning in North Carolina. Copyright Don Sturkey, 1960.

Photograph copyright Don Sturkey, 1960.

After Richard M. Nixon’s nomination for president on the Republican ticket, pollster Lou Harris showed Nixon ahead of Kennedy in North Carolina by a margin of two-to-one. A month after Kennedy’s campaign swing through the state on September 17th, another Harris poll had Kennedy ahead fifty-one percent to forty percent. On election day, Kennedy won North Carolina with fifty-two percent of the vote.

Fast forward to January 20th, 12:51 P.M—the time Kennedy began his inaugural address. Among its memorable passages, Kennedy observed, “The world is very, very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life.” And among the memorable accomplishments of Terry Sanford during his governorship was the North Carolina Fund, Sanford’s innovative initiative to address the state’s dire poverty.

A Spark of Greatness, part 3

This is the third post on the story behind John F. Kennedy’s campaign visit to the Tar Heel State in September 1960, drawn from newspaper accounts and the book Triumph of Good Will, John Drescher’s account of the gubernatorial contest between Terry Sanford and I. Beverly Lake that preceded Kennedy’s visit. There’s an interesting story that photographs by Hugh Morton and other photographers in the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives can help tell. In light of the silver anniversary of that momentous campaign, and during the anniversary month of Kennedy’s assassination, I’ll be contributing a series of posts touching on that pivotal time in North Carolina and the nation.

Sanford chose Kennedy.

Sanford’s decision was a bombshell, and the reaction in North Carolina was explosive. Sanford made his decision while vacationing in Myrtle Beach after his run-off victory over I. Beverly Lake. When Sanford informed Robert Kennedy of his decision, John Kennedy was thrilled and he wanted Sanford to make one of the nominating speeches at the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Sanford, mindful of that his decision would not be popular with many North Carolinians, was reluctant. “Don’t do me any favors,” Sanford told Robert Kennedy. “He really needs you,” Robert Kennedy told Sanford. At the wishes of the Kennedy campaign, Sanford delayed announcing his decision until the Saturday before the DNC in Los Angeles in order to supply a boost to the Kennedy campaign going into the convention. Sanford also agreed to deliver a nomination speech, as seen below (photograph cropped by author).

Fifty-four North Carolina delegates cast their votes for Johnson; by comparison, only eleven Tar Heel delegates sided with Sanford to back Kennedy. North Carolina’s most prominent delegates were Lyndon B. Johnson supporters, including incumbent governor Luther Hodges (who had his sights on the vice presidential nomination) and United States Senator Sam Ervin Jr., seen below holding the Wednesday, July 13th night edition of the Los Angeles Herald Express.  In contrast to the larger headline stating Kennedy was slipping, a smaller headline above the two photographs reads, “‘Solid South’ is Wavering.”

How daring was Sanford’s decision? Sanford’s support of Kennedy was an important symbolic victory for Kennedy because Sanford was a southerner willing to support a presidential candidate from outside the south. Sanford broke what most thought would be a solid bloc of southern support for Johnson. But Sanford’s decision may have been even more critical facing his upcoming race for the governorship. Back home the response was often vitriolic, so much so that Sanford and his fellow North Carolina Kennedy delegates came to be dubbed the “Dirty Dozen.”

A Spark of Greatness, part 2

Terry Sanford and others listening to Elizabeth "Buffie" Ives, Adlai Stevenson's sister, at the 1956 Democratic National Convention

This is the second post on the story behind John F. Kennedy’s campaign visit to the Tar Heel State in September 1960, drawn from newspaper accounts and the book Triumph of Good Will, John Drescher’s account of the gubernatorial contest between Terry Sanford and I. Beverly Lake that preceded Kennedy’s visit. There’s an interesting story that photographs by Hugh Morton and other photographers in the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives can help tell. In light of the silver anniversary of that momentous campaign, and during the anniversary month of Kennedy’s assassination, I’ll be contributing a series of posts touching on that pivotal time in North Carolina and the nation.

John Kennedy immediately sought out Terry Sanford at the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce meeting in mid January 1959. Sanford was one of only a few of the 1956 Democratic National Convention (DNC) delegates in attendance, and Kennedy knew Sanford was a potential delegate for the 1960 DNC in Los Angeles.  In the above photograph, Hugh Morton captured Sanford (lower right corner) and others listening to Elizabeth “Buffie” Ives, Adlai Stevenson’s sister, during the 1956 DNC. Charlotte Observer photographer Don Sturkey (whose collection is part of the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives) attended the Chamber of Commerce gathering, but Sanford is not depicted in any of the seven surviving negatives—one of which is shown below [cropped by the author].

John F. Kennedy at Charlotte Chamber of CommerceCopyright Don Sturkey, 1959. North Carolina Collection.

A year and a half later, Sanford was more than just a potential DNC delegate from North Carolina—he was the North Carolina Democratic Party’s candidate in the 1960 race for governor. Sanford had captured the most votes among five candidates during the primary on May 28th, but not enough to avoid a run-off election. On June 25th, Sanford defeated I. Beverly Lake after a month of near-rancorous campaigning. Sanford was now a de facto DNC delegate, and he had to choose between, essentially, Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson for the party’s presidential nominee. North Carolina did not hold presidential primary elections until 1972. Prior to that time, party delegates attending their national convention declared their support for a presidential nominee. Within the state’s Democratic Party the governor and party chairman, both de facto delegates, traditionally selected the remaining delegates—by electoral district and at-large—at the North Carolina Democratic Party Convention, which had been held in Raleigh on May 19th. The party’s candidates for governor and lieutenant governor also became de facto at-large delegates.

Kennedy had impressed Sanford in Charlotte, but now as a gubernatorial candidate his choice had the potential to make or break his upcoming election battle against Republican Robert Gavin—even in a historical one-party (Democratic) state. Sanford’s campaign manager told him, “History is knocking in this opportunity to associate with Kennedy,” while another aide cautioned, “You can’t be for Kennedy. It will kill you.”

A Spark of Greatness

I initially wanted to write a post for the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s campaign swing through North Carolina on 17 September 1960.  The story behind Kennedy’s trip to the Tar Heel State fascinated me, however, so I launched into Triumph of Good Will, John Drescher’s account of the gubernatorial contest between Terry Sanford and I. Beverly Lake that preceded Kennedy’s visit.  There’s an interesting story that photographs by Hugh Morton and other photographers in the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, can help tell. In light of the silver anniversary of that momentous campaign, and during the anniversary month of Kennedy’s assassination, I’ll be contributing a series of posts touching on that pivotal time in North Carolina and the nation.

September 17th, 1960—just nine days before this country’s first televised presidential debate—found Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy campaigning in the Tar Heel State.  Two months earlier, Kennedy had emerged victorious as the party’s nominee at the Democratic National Convention, held July 11th through 15th at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. The pivotal connection between these two events was North Carolina governor-elect Terry Sanford. The Kennedy–Sanford alliance crystallized during the Democratic National Convention, but first some back-story.

According to Drescher, the first time Terry Sanford spoke to John Kennedy was in early 1959, when the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce invited Kennedy to address its members. Kennedy agreed and, in return, asked the Chamber to invite delegates who attended the 1956 Democratic National Convention (DNC). Sanford had attended the DNC, but supported Estes Kefauver. Kennedy and Kefauver emerged as the two top candidates for veep after presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson decided that convention delegates would choose his running mate. Delegates select Kefauver by a final margin of 755.5 to 589, with the third place finisher Al Gore, Sr. receiving 13.5 delegates.  North Carolina Governor Luther Hodges received 40 votes on the first ballot, but none after the final tally.  Morton photographed Kennedy speaking to the North Carolina caucus as a candidate for vice president at the 1956 DNC, as Luther Hodges, seated to Kennedy’s right, watched and listened.

Morton Among the Movers and Shakers

Note from Elizabeth: I’m pleased to present the very first essay from Worth 1,000 Words project, written by journalist Rob Christensen. Rob has been writing about N.C. politics as a reporter and a columnist for 36 years for The News and Observer and The Charlotte Observer; his book The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics won the N.C. Literary and Historical Association’s Ragan Old North State Award for the best work of nonfiction in 2008.

Update 2/9/10: This post has now been converted into its own “page” under the Essays section of A View to Hugh.

Gen. Westmoreland: Keeper of the Hearth

General Westmoreland, Sept. 1984
Hugh Morton cultivated many relationships in his various roles as photographer, publicist, land developer, and civic pillar. He became friends with paragons of athleticism (Michael Jordan, Ted Williams), beloved celebrities (Charles Kuralt) and, in the instance that is relevant to this blog post, people of great geopolitical significance. One of these people, General William Westmoreland, first met Morton on November 11, 1963 during a Veterans Day Celebration for the USS North Carolina.  A few months after, he was appointed by President Johnson as commander of the U.S. Military forces in Vietnam, a post that lasted until 1968.

Military Man

Gen. William Westmoreland and others at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, circa 1980s

Westmoreland is known primarily as a military man, and his public image was a stern one—sharp features, piercing eyes, powerful eyebrows, and a visible discomfort in plainclothes. He is shown here looking as natural and imposing as a granite cliff in his formal military attire at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Given his military demeanor, then, it must have seemed a daunting task to Hugh Morton when he was asked by Westmoreland’s Public Relations firm to take pictures of him living an entirely domestic life. Westmoreland needed PR assistance with a $120 million libel suit he filed against CBS in response to their 1982 documentary, The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception. This documentary, narrated by journalist Mike Wallace, accused Westmoreland of manipulating military intelligence to claim there were fewer communists in South Vietnam, thereby creating the impression that the war was being won. Westmoreland was upset at this assault on his character, and mounted a lawsuit against CBS and Mike Wallace.
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‘Rubbing Shoulders With History’

Note from Elizabeth: Today is University Day here at UNC-Chapel Hill, the oldest state university in the country. To help us celebrate, volunteer Jack Hilliard remembers some University Days past. (Further recollections of the Kennedy event and the full text of his speech can be found on the fabulous Chapel Hill Memories blog).

The TV viewing room on the first floor of Teague Dorm at UNC was small, but a dozen or so of us crowded our way inside. We had come to watch a speech by President John F. Kennedy, one that would be extremely important to several of us who were scheduled to graduate in less than six months. It was October 22, 1962, and we were being “recruited” by the big four — not Carolina, Duke  State, and Wake, but the other big four — Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. As I sat waiting for the address, my mind wandered back to one year and 10 days before, when I sat waiting for this same President to speak.

President John F. Kennedy at University Day 1961

October 12, 1961 was a beautiful fall day in Chapel Hill. About 32,000 of us had gathered in Kenan Stadium to observe University Day 1961 — the University’s 168th birthday. The highlight of the morning was an address by President John Kennedy, scheduled for 11 AM. Thirty minutes before the President arrived, the official 40-person White House Press Corp arrived and joined the local media in scrambling for good viewing positions. Among those scramblers was a man who had covered University events for more than 20 years — Hugh Morton.

At 11:05 AM, President Kennedy’s caravan arrived at the west end of the stadium, having completed a journey down Highway 54, which had been closed and well guarded by 50 North Carolina Highway Patrolmen. The President, with Governor Terry Sanford at his side, rode in an open top limousine. At 11:12, the academic procession, led by Faculty Marshal John Coriden Lyons, started toward the east end of Kenan Stadium. Greensboro Record staff writer Charlie Hamilton described what he saw:

“A warm sun whose heat was cooled intermittently by soft breezes, beat down upon the scene, as the President, in cap and gown and flanked by state, national, and university officials, made his way beneath the west goal post and down the gridiron to the speaker’s rostrum.”

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