In early 2007, Julia T. Morton, wife of prominent North Carolinian, entrepreneur, tourism booster, conservationist, environmental activist, sports fan, and prolific image-maker Hugh MacRae Morton, donated his extensive photographic archive—estimated at the time of donation to contain 500,000 transparencies, photographs, and negatives, and 60,000 linear feet of motion picture films—to the North Carolina Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With very little existing internal order, and material dating from the the late 1920s through the early 2000s (with the bulk of the collection ranging from the 1940s through the 1990s), the Morton collection presented a major, multi-year processing undertaking for the staff of the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.
We initially created this blog at the outset of processing the Morton collection because it was a “high demand” collection that was going to take two or three years to process. Blog entries during the first three years provided information about our progress, provided glimpses into how photographic archivists work, highlighted interesting discoveries we made along the way, and fostered discussion and input from the many “Friends of Hugh”—residents of the state to which he devoted his life and any other interested parties.
In late 2009, the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities funded the hiring of a group of scholars and writers to produce thirteen essays (1,000-1,500-words long, based on 3-5 images), highlighting some of the predominant themes represented in the Hugh Morton photographic collection. These essay are a part of A View to Hugh. We highly encourage readers to comment on these essays to add your voice to the these in-depth analyses.
Now that the collection is processed and available for use, A View to Hugh now relates stories or provides background information about individual or groups of images within the collection, with the same goal of encouraging dialog among its visitors. The blog also serves as a springboard into the digital collection of more than 8,000 images available for viewing online.
So please visit often, make comments, help us identify people and places depicted in the Morton photographs, and enjoy treasures from this wonderful and important collection!