Morton photographs of Augusta National

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

Roll Film Box P081/35C-6

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

Roll Film Box P081/120C-5

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

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

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

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

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

Wake Forest’s finest golfer: Arnold Palmer (1929–2016)

Arnold Palmer (center) shakes hands with Howie Johnson after the 1958 Azalea Open Golf Tournament at the Cape Fear Country Club, Wilmington, NC. Azalea Festival Queen Ester Williams smiles between the two good friends. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the author.

Arnold Palmer (center) shakes hands with Howie Johnson after the 1958 Azalea Open Golf Tournament at the Cape Fear Country Club, Wilmington, NC. Azalea Festival Queen Ester Williams smiles between the two good friends. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the author.

If I were to write a short story about this afternoon, I would title it “A Tale of Two Sweaters.”

Arnold Palmer, Wake Forest’s finest golfer who also was one of the game’s greatest players, course designers, and ambassadors, died yesterday.  Earlier today, the Wilson Library reference staff received a request from a Wilmington media outlet for two images from the online collection of images of Palmer at the Azalea Open.  Both images had dates of 31 March 1957; one scan came from a negative (cropped by the author) . . .


the other (below) from a print with no identifying information on its back.


I quickly noticed that Palmer was not wearing the same sweater in both images, and that the women were also wearing different clothes.  A bit of digging in newspapers on microfilm and online, plus a check with other Morton negatives that are not online (including the scan at the beginning of this post) led to the discovery that the first of these two images was correctly identified.  It depicts the check presentation from Azalea Festival Queen Kathryn Grayson to Palmer after he won the 1957 open, but Morton made the latter after the 1958 tournament.

Here’s is the short storyline for the 1958 Azalea Open finale: Arnold Palmer was the defending champion, but finished second to Howie Johnson after losing a playoff round by one stroke. Palmer and Johnson were reportedly very good friends at the the time.  The following week, Palmer won his first Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.

Ironically, Palmer and Johnson died almost exactly one year apart: Howie Johnson died September 21, 2015.



Hugh Morton’s first daily newspaper assignment

The previous post on A View to Hugh features a Hugh Morton photograph of Grandfather Mountain, published without credit on the cover of the 8 March 1941 issue of The State.  As the blog post revealed, I suspect the photograph dates from 1940 or earlier, which is relatively early in Morton’s career as a photographer.  January of that year saw Morton beginning his second semester as a freshman at UNC.  His camera had been stolen shortly after arriving on campus in the autumn of 1939, and it was not until sometime around January or February 1940 that he bought his next camera.  So, I wondered, “How early in his career would that have been?”  Today’s exploration unravels an uncertainty and mystery that I didn’t even have until two days ago.

This is an important photograph in Morton’s career.  At the time he made it, Morton was a UNC student with a summertime job as the photography counselor at Camp Yonahnoka.  Here’s one of his accounts about the photograph, quoted from the preface of his 2003 book Hugh Morton’s North Carolina:

In 1940, at nearby Linville, a fourteen-year-old kid from Tarboro named Harvie Ward embarrassed a lot of adults by winning the prestigious Linville Men’s Golf Tournament.  Burke Davis, sports editor of the Charlotte News, contacted the Linville Club for a photograph of Harvie Ward, and I was called to come up from camp to carry out what was my first photo assignment for a daily newspaper.  Davis liked my Harvie Ward pictures, and this led to many photo assignments for the Charlotte News during my college years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Because this assignment helped launch Hugh Morton’s career as a news photographer, and the early view of Grandfather Mountain was also likely made in 1940, I wanted to know when the Charlotte News published the Ward photograph(s) (two negatives are extant in the Morton collection) relative to publication of the early Grandfather Mountain view in The State.  I searched the Web for information on the Linville golf tournament and Harvie Ward for 1940, but only found a few bits and pieces—and nothing that said when they played the tournament.  So . . . off to the microfilm room.

I scanned through issues of the Charlotte News, Tarboro’s Daily Southerner, and Rocky Mount’s Evening Telegram published during the “golf-able” summer months through mid September, by which time Morton would have returned to Chapel Hill from Camp Yonahnoka and Ward would have already returned to Tarboro in time for their classes.  Nothing . . . at least not that mentioned Harvie Ward winning the tournament in 1940.

I turned next to Morton’s booklet, Sixty Years with a Camera published in 1996, which I recalled also included the portrait of Ward.  As The Jetsons cartoon dog Astro would say, “Ruh Roh . . . .”

The first picture I took on assignment for a newspaper (the Charlotte News) was of Harvie Ward when he won the 1941 Linville Men’s Golf Tournament.  This was a very competitive event, and it was a surprise to everybody that a 15-year-old kid from Tarboro would win it.

Two different statements of fact.  What to do?  Well, I turned to a different newspaper, the Charlotte Observer and here’s what I found: Harvie Ward didn’t win the Linville Men’s Invitational Tournament in 1939, 1940, 1941, nor 1942.  (I didn’t go further, because Morton was in the army in 1943).  A detailed listing of the entrants in the Charlotte Observer revealed that Ward didn’t enter the 1940 tournament; he did, however, defeat Ed Gravell of Roaring Gap to win the “second flight” of the 1941 tournament.  I also found a congratulatory paragraph in the Daily Southerner on August 4, 1941 “for taking first place in second flight in Linville invitational golf tournament.  Harvie is having great time knocking off the little fellows.”  [For golf historians, Sam Perry emerged victorious in 1939, Charles Dudley won the championship flight in 1940, Hub Covington won the 1941 tournament, and Billy Ireland won the event in 1942.]

To be thorough, I searched for both years (1940 and 1941) through mid September.   There are no photographs of Ward in the Charlotte News.  I now even wonder if the newspaper ever published one of these portraits of Ward by Morton.

So in all likelihood, Hugh Morton had it right the first time in the 1996 booklet: the Harvie Ward, Jr. photographs probably date from 1941.  And here’s some supporting evidence: photographs began appearing in the Charlotte News sports section’s “Pigskin Review” articles with the credit line “News Photos by Hugh Morton” in mid September 1941, which is in agreement with Morton’s statement that the Ward pictures “led to many assignments.”  Morton photographed members of the 1941 football teams of UNC (published September 12th), Duke, (September 13th), NC State (September 15th), and Wake Forest (September 24th), plus two photographs made during and after UNC’s season opener on September 20th against Lenor-Rhyne that featured UNC’s standout running back Hugh Cox.  By comparison, there are no photographs in the newspaper credited to Morton in late summer or early autumn of 1940.

My conclusion? So far, the earliest Morton photograph that I’ve discovered to be published in a non-UNC publication is the early view of Grandfather Mountain.  Now, please tell me why I believe the story probably doesn’t end there?!

Billy Joe Patton

As mentioned in a comment earlier today, noted amateur golfer Billy Joe Patton of Morganton, N. C. passed away on New Year’s Day. Yesterday, the Golf Digest website published a tribute to Patton, which describe Patton as the “swashbuckler” of a handful of great players during “the last chapter of amateur golf’s golden era in the United States.”

Patton is pictured above (cropped by me) after finishing second at the 49th Southern Amateur Championship held at the Linville Golf Club from June 14th through 18th, 1955—a little more than a year after he nearly became the first amateur to win the Masters at the fabled Augusta National Golf Club, which ended in a showdown playoff between legends Sam Snead and Ben Hogan. A detailed account of the 1955 Southern Amateur Championship notes that after the preliminary rounds, “It was then up to Harrison and Patton and they came through with a fine match to reward the hundreds who puffed up the hills after them.” If you look closely at Patton’s left hand, you’ll see he had a puff himself afterward!

Have a look at more photographs of Billy Joe Patton in the Hugh Morton collection.

Who Am I?—Ryder Cup edition

I don’t follow or play golf myself, but I did hear the news this weekend that the United States won its first Ryder Cup since 1999. That reminded me of some Hugh Morton images from the 1951 Ryder Cup, played in Pinehurst, N.C. (which the U.S. also won).

Members of 1951 U.S. Ryder Cup team

I have a list of the team members (below), but can anyone help me attach names to faces in these images? I know a few of them, and could probably fill the rest in a bit of research, but I thought I’d test the golf knowledge of our readership.

Team United States (list from Wikipedia): Sam Snead (Captain), Clayton Heafner, Ed Oliver, Ben Hogan, Jack Burke, Jr., Henry Ransom, Lloyd Mangrum, Jimmy Demaret, Skip Alexander

Members of 1951 U.S. Ryder Cup Team