Below is an index of essays created as part of the project Worth 1,000 Words: Essays on the Photos of Hugh Morton, sponsored in part by the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Essays were first published between January and July, 2010.


Christensen, Rob: Hugh Morton Among the Movers and Shakers
“In 1971, Hugh Morton announced his short-lived candidacy for governor with all the public relations panache that he brought to his other projects, from promoting Grandfather Mountain, to salvaging the battleship USS North Carolina, to saving the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse….” [Download/print a pdf of this essay]


Holder, Janis: Covering the Beat: The University in the WWII Era
“Hugh MacRae Morton, as a student at the University of North Carolina from 1939-1942, served as either official photographer or photograph editor for almost all of the major campus publications. He covered everything from basketball games and pep rallies to speeches and conferences
…” [Download/print a pdf of this essay]


Chansky, Art: The Tar Heels’ ‘White House Photographer
“In the spring of 1985, I wanted to start an annual publication about UNC-Chapel Hill basketball. But the idea wasn’t a typical preseason magazine or a post-season coffee-table tome. It had to be special
, just like the Tar Heels who had won the 1982 NCAA Championship…” [Download/print a pdf of this essay]


Starnes, Richard: Selling North Carolina, One Image at a Time
“In 1937, the new Division of State Advertising launched a comprehensive campaign to attract more visitors – and their money – to the Old North State. Labeling the state a ‘Variety Vacationland,’ this program included print advertisements in leading newspapers
and magazines…” [Download/print a pdf of this essay]


Block, Susan Taylor: Wilmington: Faded Glory to Fresh Achievement
“Being a native with an absorbing mind and a privileged background, it was easy for Hugh MacRae Morton to recognize Wilmington’s cultural and architectural gems. With steady aim, over six decades, he arrested scene after scene that celebrates life along the Lower Cape Fear
.…” [Download/print a pdf of this essay]


Whisnant, Anne Mitchell: Roads Taken and Not Taken: Images and Story of the Blue Ridge Parkway ‘Missing Link’
“One of the most cherished and widely retold stories in recent North Carolina history is the tale of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s ‘missing link’ at Grandfather Mountain. This approximately seven-mile section of the road remained uncompleted for two decades
.…” [Download/print a pdf of this essay]


Denson, Andrew: More than Tourism: Cherokee, NC, in the Post-War Years
“In the 1950s, Hugh Morton trained his camera on Cherokee, North Carolina, documenting the substantial tourism boom that had developed on the Eastern Band of Cherokees’ Qualla Boundary reservation. He photographed Cherokee potters and basket-makers, along with the Cherokee ‘chiefs’ who posed for tourist snapshots wearing Hollywood Indian garb
….” [Download/print a pdf of this essay]


Swanson, Drew A.: Grandfather Mountain: Commerce and Tourism in the Appalachian Environment
“For more than fifty years, Hugh Morton and Grandfather Mountain were all but synonymous. Grandfather has existed as a peak in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains for millions of years, and Morton was more than simply the mountain’s owner.
….” [Download/print a pdf of this essay]


Cecelski, David S. and Timothy B. Tyson: Hugh MacRae at Invershiel
“We can’t stop looking at Hugh Morton’s photographs of his grandfather. We see these fond images through our own eyes as grateful grandsons, adoring sons, and as loving fathers who want to be grandfathers ourselves. We also see them, though, as historians of our beloved North Carolina, an affection which we share with Hugh Morton
.….” [Download/print a pdf of this essay]


Weakley, Alan S.: Hugh Morton and North Carolina’s Native Plants
“Hugh Morton took many photographs over his long life, and a large number of them are of natural scenes, wildlife, wildflowers, and trees. To those who knew Hugh from the more public and traditionally newsworthy of his activities and interests, his nature photographs may seem inconsequential or even incongruous
.….” [Download/print a pdf of this essay]


Haney, Dave and Lisa Baldwin: The Singing on the Mountain
“Although our current understanding of traditional music festivals is shaped by the
folk and bluegrass festivals that blossomed in the 1960s, both secular and religious traditional music had been performed in large outdoor settings in the Blue Ridge Mountains much earlier. Many of the largest of these events had inauspicious beginnings.…” [Download/print a pdf of this essay]


Ray, Celeste: Scottish Heritage at Linville
“In his 1997 proclamation of a state ‘Tartan Day,’ Governor James Hunt stated that North Carolina had more people of Scottish heritage than any other state or country in the world…While Americans of Scottish descent do outnumber Scots in Scotland, which has a population of just over five million, California now claims the greatest number of residents of Scottish descent
.…” [Download/print a pdf of this essay]


Johnson, Randy: The Grandfather Backcountry: A Bridge Between the Past and Preservation
“I first encountered Hugh Morton’s mountain during a quest to find the most alpine peak in the South. After driving to the Mile-High Swinging Bridge, I climbed ladders up the Grandfather Trail across rocky peaks nearly a vertical mile above the Piedmont. The view knocked my socks off
..…” [Download/print a pdf of this essay]


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3 thoughts on “Essays”

  1. My book, which is available at the above website (Grandfather Mountain, NC, Highland Games) has over 500 photographs–two thirds of them by Hugh Morton–which chronicle the first 50 years of the annual (now world-famous) event which I suggested and co-founded, with the help of the late Hugh Morton’s mother (the late Mrs Julian Walker (nee Agnes MacRae) Morton Sr) on the western slope of the Grandfather in 1956. On the Dedication Page I give credit to Hugh for his friendship, his free use of MacRae Meadows, and his remarkable talent. Two years ago I gave a copy of my book to the Library at my (and Hugh’s) Alma Mater, UNC Chapel Hill. The 497-page volume is entitled: America’s Braemar: Grandfather Mountain and the Re-birth of Scottish Identity Across U.S.A. I’m just back in my Edinburgh home after teaching Gaelic songs to many of the estimated 40,000 people who attended the 55th Games last weekend. Each year our audiences come from many parts of the world, including Scotland. .Wish I could be present to hear some of the compliments about Hugh’s excellence and his personality….I could add many tributes of my own, for he was among my truest friends as are his wife and members of their family. By the way, the photo from Celeste Ray’s book which you have used is of Yours Truly, one that was made by Hugh of me, attempting to dance the Highland Fling. The year was 1955, when we were beginning to publicize the forthcoming first Grandfather Mtn. Highland Games. Cheers, Donald MacDonald, ex-Charlotte News, ex-SCOTSMAN daily and weekly (Edinburgh, Scotland) and ex-professor of journalism at Edinburgh’s Napier University. (For 15 years I taught news, sports and leader writing to over 500 students from all over the UK and Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Namibia and LeSotho–after being recommended for the job by one of my old UNC profs, the late Walter Spearman.)

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