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Hugh Morton Photographs will be Topic of Summer Programs in Wilmington and Boone

Photographer Hugh Morton traveled North Carolina and the United States from the 1930s until his death in 2006. The half-million photographs of the people, places, and events he encountered are now part of the North Carolina Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This summer, free public programs in Wilmington and Boone, N.C., will allow participants to discuss Morton’s photographs with scholars and writers who know them well.

The programs

Monday, July 19, 5:30 p.m.
New Hanover County Public Library, NorthEast Branch, Wilmington
Information: Paige Owens,, (910) 798-6327

  • Susan Taylor Block: “Wilmington: Faded Glory to Fresh Achievement”
  • Rob Christensen: “Hugh Morton Among the Movers and Shakers”

Tuesday, Aug. 10, 5:30 p.m.
Watauga County Library, Boone
Information: Evelyn Johnson,, (828) 264-8784

  • Randy Johnson: “Hugh Morton the Environmentalist”
  • Richard Starnes: “Selling North Carolina, One Image at a Time”

The speakers will share insights from their contributions to the project “Worth 1,000 Words: Essays on the Photos of Hugh Morton.” The 13-essay collection, funded in part by the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is available at A View to Hugh, the UNC Library’s blog about the Hugh Morton Collection.

About the speakers

Susan Taylor Block (“Wilmington: Faded Glory to Fresh Achievement“) is an independent writer and historian, a native of Wilmington, N.C., and author of several books and articles on the history and culture of the Wilmington area, including a trilogy of photographic histories: Along the Cape Fear (1998), Cape Fear Lost (1999), and Cape Fear Beaches (2000).

Rob Christensen (“Hugh Morton Among the Movers and Shakers“) has been writing about North Carolina politics as a reporter and a columnist for 36 years for The News and Observer of Raleigh and The Charlotte Observer. His book The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics won the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association’s Ragan Old North State Award for the best work of nonfiction in 2008.

Randy Johnson (essay forthcoming) was the originator of the trails system at Grandfather Mountain and is also a journalist, photojournalist, editor, trail professional, and the author of numerous guidebooks.

Richard Starnes (“Selling North Carolina, One Image at a Time“) is associate professor of history and History Department chair at Western Carolina University, specializing in Southern history and Appalachia. His book Creating the Land of the Sky: Tourism and Society in Western North Carolina was published in 2005.

About Hugh Morton and the Hugh Morton Collection

Morton, who died in 2006, was best known to many in North Carolina as the owner of Grandfather Mountain, now a state park in Linville. He also was an avid photographer with interests in conservation, sports, politics, and tourism. He attended UNC from 1939 to 1942, then enlisted in the armed forces.

In 2007, Morton’s widow, Julia T. Morton, gave the UNC Library approximately 500,000 of Morton’s photographs, negatives, and transparencies, plus 60,000 linear feet of motion picture film.

The Library’s Photographic Archives has detailed its efforts to make the collection available for use via the blog A View to Hugh, and a partial finding aid is available online. The collection will be fully processed in 2010. For information about the Hugh Morton Collection, contact Elizabeth Hull at or (919) 962-7992.

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One Response to “Hugh Morton Photographs will be Topic of Summer Programs in Wilmington and Boone”

  1. Very neat I would like to check out this collection and would be interested to know if there are any photos of Western NC even the Cherokee area.

    Posted by Emily Kirby | August 10, 2010, 2:21 pm