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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 earlier—February 20, 1926—an 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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. My 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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Rogers 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.
Back in 2009 Elizabeth Hull wrote a post on the anniversary of the Wilmington Terminal Company fire, which occurred sixty years ago on March 9th, 1953. The images she selected for that post are 4×5 color transparencies. Hugh Morton also made several black-and-white negatives of the catastrophe, two of which made the front page of the Wilmington newspapers. There are seven black-and-white negatives in the collection, plus the puzzler at the end of this post, are not currently in the online collection.
The headline for this post is the headline that accompanied a photographic essay of the event by the staff photographer(s) in the same issue of the Wilmington Morning Star. The photograph above was on the front page of the March 10th issue. It’s presented above as cropped for the newspaper, and below without cropping. (The stain in the upper right portion of the frame does not seem to be in the published version.)
According to the caption in the Wilmington Morning Star, Morton made these fire scenes approximately one hour after the fire began. The image below made the front page, top center, of the same day of the fire in that afternoon’s Wilmington News. The paper’s headline spanned the full page: “ADVANCE OF DOCK FIRE HALTED.”
The microfilm for the two newspapers doesn’t capture the quality of the photographs very well, so these are my visual interpretations of the images; the crops are as close as I could estimate to those used by the newspapers. Here’s the above photograph without cropping.
A sampling of other images made by Morton follow. I have not had an opportunity to check other newspapers to see if any of the images shown here may also have been published. Some of the negatives have pre-exposed numbers on one edge, giving you a clue to the order in which Morton photographed the event. Other negatives, however, are not numbered, so it may be that he had more than one camera with a different lens and/or film combinations. (Remember he shot color transparencies, too.)
I wondered as I worked with these photographs what made Morton take to the air. Did his military photography experience speak to his sense of the best perspective for the story? Did Morton recognize that the local newspapers’ staff photographers would flock to “ground zero” and so knew that his aerial views would be unique? Maybe both?
The last photograph (below) is a bit of a puzzler. It is a 3×4-inch negative—all the others are 4×5—and there is no sign of fire. The negative envelope is labeled “Fire, Waterfront” but I suspect the negative is much earlier—perhaps prior to WWII, as Morton tended to use the 4×5 format after the war, and the 3×4 format before. That’s not to say, however, that he didn’t use the smaller format after the war. Maybe someone with expertise on the Wilmington waterfront can explore this image and provide an accurate or estimated date. The bridge on the far right may also assist in dating the negative.
Today’s post comes from contributor Jack Hilliard with breaking news from today.
“The purpose of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame is to honor those persons who by excellence of their activities in or connected with the world of sports have brought recognition and esteem to themselves and to the State of North Carolina.”
On December 2, 1974 at Greensboro’s Royal Villa, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame staged its twelfth annual awards banquet. Hall President Woody Durham was Master of Ceremonies. On that Monday evening, UNC’s great All America end Art Weiner was introduced by his friend Hugh Morton. It is the custom for each inductee to present to the hall a memento or two of his or her career in sports. In addition to the 1949 Carolina–Duke game ball, Weiner presented an enlarged, framed, color photograph of himself and UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely, taken during the 1949 season by Hugh Morton.
On May 2, 2013, when the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be staged at the Raleigh Convention Center, eleven new inductees will be added to the list of 289 legendary sports figures at the 50th annual banquet.
Among those new inductees will be a man who has been associated with the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame since it all began in 1962. He was on the first board of directors, was vice president in 1974, and president in 1975—and probably attended more induction ceremonies over the years than anyone else. And yes he photographed them as well because his name is Hugh Morton.
When the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame inducts its Class of 2013, Hugh Morton will take his rightful place among the honorees. Joining Morton on that evening will be Kelvin Bryant, Wade Garrett, Bill Guthridge, Tommy Helms, Marion Kirby, Rich McGeorge, Bob Quincy, Marty Sheets, and Mildred Southern.
Hugh Morton dominated the state of North Carolina for seventy years as the Dean of Photographers, and photographing sports was his passion. Whether it be a game with his beloved UNC Tar Heels, or NC State, Duke, or Wake Forest, Morton was there for the big ones. His photographic portfolio has been captured in four major books and the entire body of his work is now a part of the North Carolina Collection at Wilson Library on the UNC campus. His images of hall members have become familiar to sports fans across the Tar Heel state: Dean Smith, Dale Earnhardt, Michael Jordan, Charlie Justice, Richard Petty, Bones McKinney, Wallace Wade, “Peahead” Walker, Billy Joe Patton, Jim Beatty, and “Ace” Parker. Morton became close friends with many of the Hall of Famers, and he not only photographed them on the field or court, but he also took images of them away from the game.
So come this spring, Hugh McRae Morton will join his buddies Dean, Dale, Michael, Charlie, Richard, Bones and a couple hundred others in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. An honor truly deserved.
I wonder what the Morton family will offer as Hugh’s memento to the Hall? Would you believe a photograph or two?
It’s that time of year again . . tie buying season! (I bought one myself this weekend, a holiday gift for myself.) Maybe Father’s Day is the only other time of year when men’s ties sell more? Perhaps a knowledgeable reader can fill in the statistics.
In 1952 a certain style necktie made its way into the wardrobes of North Carolina males: “The Original Tar Heel Tie.” Is the necktie now celebrating its 60th anniversary? (A celebration, that is, if anyone even remembers this tie!) Time prevents me from jumping too deeply into the topic, so perhaps our fellow readers can fill in some details and we can collectively revive this knot-worthy event.
Hugh Morton’s portrait of a smiling E. L. White appears with other photographs by different photographers in a short two-column spread in the December 6th, 1952 issue of The State. The most important clues on this page can be found in the group portrait by Frank Jones depicting Ira Julian of Winston-Salem (owner of Kent Bakeries?) showcasing his Tar Heel necktie.
Working backwards in time, I skimmed through previous issues of the magazine looking for other mentions of the necktie. The earliest I could find was a small listing (third from bottom) in the classified advertisements in the October 11th, issue:
Small classifieds for the necktie continued for an undetermined time. Illustrated advertisements in The State for the necktie soon appear, the first being on November 10th:
A few things pop out at me here. If it’s new and original, why did it need to say so? Were there impostors? If so, how far back does the “original” go? The caption for Frank Jones’ group portrait said that Ira Julian’s necktie had “recently” been a conversation piece. When was Hans Hiedemann’s recital at Salem College? And who or what is the “Downhomers?” Designer? Manufacturer? Distributor? There is no listing in the Raleigh 1952 city directory for that company. My last observation is that the necktie came in six different versions, three of which sport collegiate colors—presumably for wider appeal on campuses where wearing neckties was commonplace, and alumni, too.
The November 8th issue of The State contains a portrait by Bill Leinbach of Bart Leiper, then newly appointed executive director of Western North Carolina Highlanders, Inc. wearing the necktie with a dark shirt. The caption says Leiper now “sells his native State to tourists” by wearing the “Tar-Heel-splattered” necktie, “Just so no one could be in doubt as to his new mission.” The most prominent depiction, however, of the Tar Heel necktie in The State made its splash on the November 22nd cover:
Well that’s as far as I can take this for now.Keen readers of A Hugh to View may recall seeing this tie in a previous post, as Bill Sharpe and Orville Campbell both don the tie in 1956 for the Honorary Tar Heels gathering in New York City. Below is another scene from that event, Orville Campbell and Andy Griffith arm-in-arm.
I did check in the North Carolina Collection Gallery and none of the six flavors of The Original Tar Heel Necktie are among the other neckties in its holdings. Would anyone possibly still have one or more in their closet who would be willing to donate this seemingly one-time popular fashion statement to the gallery to add to its sartorial holdings?
On Saturday, November 24th the football teams for the University of North Carolina and the University of Maryland will meet for the 70th time. In light of Maryland’s recent decision to leave the Athletic Coast Conference, however, the two will meet far fewer times in the future. Of the sixty-nine previous games, thirty-four of them have been played away from Chapel Hill and one of those games stands out from all the others. It made front-page news as well as sports-page news and is often called “The Queen Game.” Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at that special Carolina–Maryland game.
On September 30th, 1957, Buckingham Palace released the itinerary for Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Canada and the United States. The visit was to include military and diplomatic ceremonies; luncheons, receptions, and dinners; a visit to an art gallery; religious services; and at the queen’s special request, a college football game. The United States State Department selected the game between the University of Maryland, coached by Tommy Mont, and the University of North Carolina, coached by Jim Tatum.
During the time between this official announcement and the queen’s arrival in Canada on October 12th, an event of epic proportions took place: the Soviet Union launched an artificial earth satellite on October 4th, 1957. The satellite would become known as Sputnik I, and the space race was on. The queen’s visit temporarily took a backseat.
Nonetheless, on October 12th Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s four-engine DC7C landed at Uplands Air Base in Ottawa at 4:21 PM (EDT), four minutes ahead of schedule on its thirteen and a-half-hour flight from London. As the doors opened at 4:30 (the scheduled time), a Royal Canadian Air Force band played “God Save the Queen.” As the 31-year-old queen stepped from the plane, a tremendous cheer went up from the 30,000 gathered for her arrival. Canada’s Governor General Vincent Massey and Prime Minister and Mrs. John Diefenbaker offered the official welcome.
After four days in Canada, it was off to the United States with a stop at the Jamestown Festival, held near Williamsburg, Virginia to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the founding of the first permanent English colony in America. The next stop was Washington, D.C. with President and Mrs. Eisenhower welcoming the royal party.
Saturday, October 19, 1957, was a blustery, chilly 54-degree day. Queen Elizabeth attended a 9:40 AM special reception at the British Embassy, then lunched with President and Mrs. Eisenhower. Following lunch, it was game time and the queen and prince boarded one of President Eisenhower’s bubble-top Lincolns for the 10-mile, 45-minute ride to Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland.
It would be a football event like no other. Fourteenth-ranked North Carolina would be a two-touchdown favorite, and the game would mark UNC head coach Jim Tatum’s return to the home stadium where he coached for nine years and led Maryland to a national championship in 1953.
There were reports that the game would be televised under the NCAA’s sellout rule, but ACC Commissioner Jim Weaver noted that Maryland had already made its two TV appearances for the year, so the folks back in North Carolina would only get a radio broadcast.
43,000 fans packed Byrd Stadium along with 480 accredited news personnel—which included Hugh Morton, and Life magazine’s Alfred Eisenstaedt, Hank Walker, and Edward Clark. Also there were Jimmy Jeffries of the Greensboro Record and Don Sturkey of the Charlotte Observer. Morton made several photographs during the festivities. At one point during the excitement, Morton turned his camera on the other photographers.
With 300 security personnel (Scotland Yard and FBI included) in place, at 2:10 PM, 20 motorcycles appeared at the field house end of the stadium followed by the queen and Prince Philip. The royal party took a lap around the stadium and then took seats in a special box at the 50-yard line on the Carolina side of the field. Already in place were University of Maryland President Dr. and Mrs. Wilson Elkins, Maryland governor Theodore R. McKeldin and wife Dorothy, British secretary Selwyn Lloyd, UNC president William C. Friday, and North Carolina governor Luther H. Hodges, who was on his way back home from a week of industry seeking in New York. Mrs. Hodges and son, Luther, Junior had flown up from North Carolina that morning. [Editor’s note: there is some photographic evidence to suggest that Morton may have been part of the governor’s trip to New York City. We are investigating!]
When the queen and her party were seated, the 420-member University of Maryland band took the field and put on quite a show along with the Maryland card section, which formed the letters “ER.”
Then, it was time for the teams’ co-captains to be introduced: Maryland’s Gene Alderton and Jack Healy, and Carolina’s Buddy Payne and Dave Reed. Each team presented the queen a special gift—Maryland gave her a game ball and UNC gave her the special coin used to start the game. Governor Hodges presented her with a miniature statue of Sir Walter Raleigh.
Then it was time for the game. As the teams lined up for the kickoff, the queen turned to Governor McKeldin and asked, “How many men on a team?”
“Eleven on each side,” he replied.
Late in the first quarter, Tar Heel halfback Daley Goff rushed 11 yards for a touchdown, much to the delight of the estimated 5,000 Tar Heels on hand. The touchdown set off a celebration that concluded with the Carolina band playing “Dixie,” which brought Governor Hodges to his feet. The 7-0 score remained through the second quarter.
The Carolina band performed at halftime and proclaimed the “North Carolina Parade of Industries,” followed by another rendition of “Dixie.” The queen joined in the applause, as the sun broke through the clouds. The Maryland card section formed the Union Jack.
At the 4:11 mark of the third quarter, Maryland quarterback Bob Rusevlyan scored on a one-yard sneak tying the score at 7-7. Then in the fourth quarter, Maryland took the lead on an 81-yard touchdown run by halfback Ted Kershner. The hometown crowd went wild . . . the Queen managed a smile. Soon after, Maryland fullback Jim Joyce put the game away with a 13-yard touchdown run making the final score 21 to 7.
Following the game, Coach Mont was congratulated by Coach Tatum at midfield, then got a shoulder ride from his team up to the royal box. The queen extended her hand and said, “Wonderful, just wonderful.” Prince Philip added, “Very wonderful.” Said Coach Mont, “Listen, I’ll revel in this one the rest of my life.”
And a long, long way from all the royal excitement, at the far end of the stadium, North Carolina Head Coach Jim Tatum began the long, slow walk to the locker room, his hands in his pockets, his head bowed. He never got to meet the Queen. The headline in the High Point Enterprise on October 20th read: “We Blew It,” Says ‘Not-So-Sunny’ Jim. Less than two years, on July 23, 1959, Jim Tatum died tragically at the age of 46. With his death, the hopes of UNC’s big-time football died also.
On Sunday, October 20, 1957, the queen and Prince Philip attended religious services at Washington’s National Cathedral, and on Monday the 21st they arrived in New York by train for a visit to the United Nations and to lunch with New York City mayor Robert Wagner. On October 22nd, Queen Elizabeth concluded her first trip to the United States as queen and the royal party flew back to London.
It is Election Day in the United States of America—which also means its election coverage day, too, although there’s no guarantee that will last fewer than twenty-four hours. As you might expect, there are some historically relevant images in the Hugh Morton collection. Two undated Ektachrome copy slides of photographs by an unknown photographer(s) depict the NBC newsroom set during coverage of the 1960 election between Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy. Were these NBC promotional photographs? This is likely a long shot, but does anyone know who the photographer(s) was? David Brinkley was a native of Wilmington, N.C, which is likely why Morton made the copy slides for some unknown reason. Maybe he made them for the “This Is Your Life, David Brinkley” slide presentation on January 7, 1971 mentioned in the book Making a Difference in North Carolina? Over to you, Chet . . . .
An even earlier election-results image likely comes from the 1956 North Carolina gubernatorial campaign. Two WUNC television cameras train their lenses on Luther Hodges. The blackboards make an interesting comparison to the high-tech graphics we will be viewing this evening! Does anyone recognize the location?
And on a concluding note . . . if you haven’t already . . .
Hugh Morton’s news photography makes a two appearances in “Photographic Angles: News Photography in the North Carolina Collection,” the exhibit currently installed in the North Carolina Collection Gallery. We had a “soft” opening earlier this month to accommodate a couple of events in the area, but Thursday, November 1st is the celebratory opening for the exhibition.
I’ve been researching the news-photography-related collections the past several months looking for images to include in the exhibit, which is why I have been a little quieter than usual here. Two Morton photographs are part of the exhibit. One is the scene of Julian Scheer walking through debris-filled flood waters during Hurricane Hazel in 1954, which we are using for publicity handouts and webpages. I picked this image for our announcements way before Hurricane Sandy her presence known! The other is Morton’s amazing capture of a caber toss with Grandfather Mountain perfectly in the background during the first Grandfather Mountain Highland games in 1956. (Don’t forget to look at the feet of the tosser and referee!)
The 5:00 gallery opening will be followed at 5:30 by the James A. Hutchins Lecture sponsored by the Center for the Study of the American South. The speaker will be Jim Wallace (UNC ’64), who, like Hugh Morton, was a student photographer for The Daily Tar Heel. During his time working for the newspaper, Wallace photographed events and activities that formed part of the “civil rights struggle” as those involved called their efforts for equal accommodations. His photographs from this important era are represented in a book published earlier this year, Courage in the Moment: The Civil Rights Struggle, 1961-1964.
Wallace’s lecture will be prefaced by an introductory presentation by Associate Professor Patrick Davison, UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication, on the current and future state of photojournalism. The theme for their talks will be, “That we may know by our eyes.”