David Morton Collection, 1914-1960

Descriptive Summary

Title
David Morton Collection, 1914-1960
Creator
Morton, David, 1886-1957
Extent
2 boxes, 22 folders, 1,045 items.
Finding Aid Author
Archives Staff
Repository
Western Kentucky University

Collection Overview

Biography / History
David Morton was born in Elkton, Kentucky, on February 21, 1886, the son of Thomas Beckwith and Mattie (Petrie) Morton. Following graduation from Vanderbilt University in 1909, he entered newspaper work as a reporter for the Louisville Evening Post, later being employed by the Associated Press; and then, he became an editorial writer for the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Louisville Herald. He contributed editorials to the New York Sun and the New York Evening Post, also.
From newspaper work, Morton turned to teaching in 1915, and he remained in this profession until his death. He taught English literature at the Louisville Boys' High School from 1915 to 1918, and from 1918 to 1924 he taught English and history on the secondary level in Morristown, New Jersey. In 1924 he became an English assistant professor at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts, achieving full professorship in 1926 and filling that role until 1945. Morton married Elizabeth Kidder Merrick in 1943. This marriage lasted only a short period of time as separation soon occurred.
After leaving Amherst, he was poet-in-residence at Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, Massachusetts, for a few years. Then in the early 1950s, Morton became Professor of English in the overseas branch of the American International College in the Azores. Ill health forced him to return to New Jersey in 1957, and death came to him on June 13, 1957.
His first published work was Ships in Harbor, 1921. Many other books of poems followed. Some of them were: Harvest, 1924; Nocturnes and Autumnals, 1928; A Man of Earth, 1930; Earth's Processional, 1932; Spell Against Time, 1936; All in One Breath, 1939; Angle of Earth and Sky, 1941; Poems: 1920-1945, 1945; Like a Man in Love, 1955; and Journey Into Time, 1958.
Morton compiled anthologies and wrote some books concerning poetry. He was a noted sonneteer, also. Throughout his career, Morton received many honors and won many prizes for his poetry. He lectured at various times at Western Kentucky University, and in 1949 he served as a vice president of The Poetry Society of America. The University of Kentucky conferred a honorary Doctorate of Letters upon Morton in 1952 as did the University of Massachusetts in 1953.
Scope and Content
The major portion of the collection is comprised of the writings (essays, books, poems, etc.) of David Morton. The correspondence includes that of the Morton family (sisters and brother of David) with Elizabeth Coombs, the librarian of the Kentucky Library, 1957-1960 (28 items); correspondence of Coombs with Margaret Carpenter, a friend of David Morton, who made arrangements for the publication of, and wrote the foreword to, the book Journey Into Time, 1958-1959 (25); letters to Morton from various friends and authors, 1919-1955 (8); and letters of Morton to his parents in Louisville, written from Ireland in 1929 (typescript, 9), to his sister, and to a friend, 1929-1956 (6).
Among the manuscripts of Morton's writings are the following: commencement addresses, 193?, 1942 (2); essays, 1952(?); 1956(?); (3); manuscript for book of sonnets to be called "Entries for a Diary," original typescript with holographic corrections, n.d., (56p.); original typescript with holographic corrections, typed copy, and carbon copy (unedited) of the first draft of "The Amateur Listener"--diary about music and musicians, June 1952-July 24, 1955 (3); poems--holographic and typescript, 1947-1957 (788); list of poems by Morton which are indexed in Reader's Guide, 1914-1937 (1); paper entitled "Works of DavidMorton, 1928-1940" by Katherine Morton, 1940 (1); pamphlets, 1918-1956 (4); photographs (8); and miscellaneous items.

Contents of the Collection

Correspondence

Correspondence of Morton family and Elizabeth Coombs. re: Giving of Morton's works to Kentucky…

  • Box 1, folder 1
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Correspondence regarding the Morton Collection. 1958,1959. 27 items.

  • Box 1, folder 2

Margaret Carpenter and Elizabeth Coombs. 1958,1959. 25 items.

  • Box 1, folder 2a
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From Kelsey Flower to Miss Coombs. 1958. 1 item.

  • Box 1, folder 2b
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ToKelsey Flower from Miss Coombs. 1958. 1 item.

  • Box 1, folder 2b
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Correspondence of David Morton. 1919-1955. 23 items.

  • Box 1, folder 3

From Rittenhouse, Jessie B. 1919. 1 item.

  • Box 1, folder 3a
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From Benet, Stephen Vincent. 1933. 1 item.

  • Box 1, folder 3b
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From Gogarty, Oliver St. John. 1934. 1 item.

  • Box 1, folder 3c
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From Braley, Berton. 1935. 1 item.

  • Box 1, folder 3d
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From James, Alice Archer Sewall. 1945. 1 item.

  • Box 1, folder 3e
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From niece, Martha. 1952. 1 item.

  • Box 1, folder 3f
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From Moore, Robert Thomas. 1954, 1955. 2 items.

  • Box 1, folder 3g
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To parents in Louisville written from Ireland. 1929. 9 items (typed copies).

  • Box 1, folder 3h
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To his sister Virginia and her husband, John Adams. 1932-1951. 5 items.

  • Box 1, folder 3i
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To George Abbe. 1956. 1 item.

  • Box 1, folder 3j
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Writings.

Commencement addresses. [193?],1942. 2 items (1 holographic; 1 typescript with holographic…

  • Box 1, folder 4
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Essays. [1952?],[1956?]. 3 items.

  • Box 1, folder 5

History of American International College, Azores. [1952?]. 1 item (holographic).

  • Box 1, folder 5
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A New England Devotional. [1952?]. 1 item (typed copy).

  • Box 1, folder 5
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"I Took My Thrombosis to the East". [1956?]. 1 item (typed copy).

  • Box 1, folder 5
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Manuscript for book of sonnets to be called "Entries for a Diary." n.d. 1 item. 56 pages (original…

  • Box 1, folder 6
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"The Amateur Listener" - Diary. June,1952- . 1 item. 95 pages (original typescript with holographic…

  • Box 1, folder 7
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"The Amateur Listener" - Diary. June,1952- . 1 item. 93 pages (typed copy).

  • Box 1, folder 8
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"The Amateur Listener" - Diary. June,1952- . 1 item. 93 pages (carbon copy--[unedited] of first…

  • Box 1, folder 9
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Poems. 1947,1948. 157 items (holographic and typescript).

  • Box 1, folder 10

Poems. 1947. 43 items (holographic and typescript).

  • Box 1, folder 10a
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Poems. 1949. 94 items (holographic and typescript).

  • Box 1, folder 11
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Poems. 1950. 74 items (holographic and typescript).

  • Box 2, folder 1
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Poems. 1951. 80 items (holographic).

  • Box 2, folder 2
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Poems. 1952. 95 items (holographic and typescript).

  • Box 2, folder 3
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Poems. 1953, 1954. 158 items (holographic and typescript).

  • Box 2, folder 4

Poems. 1953. 69 items (holographic and typescript).

  • Box 2, folder 4a
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Poems. 1955, 1956. 150 items (holographic and typescript).

  • Box 2, folder 5

Poems. 1956. 31 items (holographic).

  • Box 2, folder 5a
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Poems. 1956. 33 items (holographic and typescript).

  • Box 2, folder 5b
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Poems. n.d. 70 items (holographic and typescript), alphabetized.

  • Box 2, folder 6
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Poems - Rhyme sheets. 1947-1950. 30 sheets.

  • Box 2, folder 7
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Poems and miscellaneous items. 1914-1957. 34 items.

  • Box 2, folder 8

Poems, unpublished. n.d. 8 items (typescript).

  • Box 2, folder 8a
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Poem "Old Farmer's Almanac (k)". 1957. 1 item (holographic).

  • Box 2, folder 8b
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Poems, misc. n.d. 8 items (holographic and typescript).

  • Box 2, folder 8c
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Poems read at funeral service of David Morton. 1957. 1 item.

  • Box 2, folder 8d
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Poems by David Morton which are indexed in Reader's Guide. 1914-1937. 1 item.

  • Box 2, folder 8e
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Poem and sketch by David Morton for inscription on garden stone for his sister's garden. n.d. 1 item…

  • Box 2, folder 8f
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"Works of David Morton, 1928-1940" by Katherine Morton. 1940. 1 item.

  • Box 2, folder 8g
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Review of Angles of Earth and Sky, 1941. [1941?]. 1 item.

  • Box 2, folder 8h
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Article about Robert Frost written by David Morton and published in Outlook, Vol. 135, No. 16. Dec…

  • Box 2, folder 8i
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Newspaper clippings and miscellaneous items. 1932-1947. 10 items.

  • Box 2, folder 8j
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Photocopies of Morton's published poems from books in Jessie Wilmore Murton Collection. 1938-46. 4…

  • Box 2, folder 8k
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Pamphlets. 1918-1919, 1933, 1954, 1956. 4 items.

  • Box 2, folder 9

The Poetry Society of America. 1918-1919. 1 item.

  • Box 2, folder 9a
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A Canticle of Praise by Witter Bynner. 1933. 1 item.

  • Box 2, folder 9b
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Borestone Mountain Poetry Awards. 1954. 1 item.

  • Box 2, folder 9c
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Homage to Lajes Hospital Personnel by David Morton. 1956. 1 item.

  • Box 2, folder 9d
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Items pertaining to dedication of chapel door at Lajes Field, Azores. 1955. 3 items.

  • Box 2, folder 10
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Photographs.

Photo of the chapel door. 1955. 1 item.

  • Box 2, folder 10a
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Photographs. 8 items.

  • Box 2, folder 11
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Phonograph Records.

David Morton reading his own poems. New England Seasons in verse. Recorded for the Poetry Room, Harvard College Library, 1944. The Harvard Vocarium Records, Cambridge, Mass.

2s. 12in. 78 rpm. 1 item.

  • Volume Record 1.

Part 1: Spring.

1. "Spring Announcement".

  • Volume Record 1, Side 1
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2. "February Bird" (from Spell Against Time.

  • Volume Record 1, Side 1
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3. "Afternoon" (from Angles of Earth and Sky).

  • Volume Record 1, Side 1
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Part 2: Summer.

1. "Adoration" (from Earth's Processional).

  • Volume Record 1, Side 2
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2. "Matin" (from Angles of Earth and Sky).

  • Volume Record 1, Side 2
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3. "Petition" (from Spell Against Time).

  • Volume Record 1, Side 2
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2s. 12in. 78 rpm.

  • Volume Record 2.

Part 3: Autumn and Winter.

1. "Once When the Autumn Turned".

  • Volume Record 2, Side 1
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2. "To the Last Leaf Fallen" (from Earth's Processional).

  • Volume Record 2, Side 1
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3. "Example and Precept" (from Spell Against Time).

  • Volume Record 2, Side 1
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Four Love Poems - From a privately published group entitled "This Is For You."

1. "Invitation".

  • Volume Record 2, Side 2
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2. "Flight From Autumn".

  • Volume Record 2, Side 2
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3. "Journey Into Danger".

  • Volume Record 2, Side 2
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4. "This At Midnight".

  • Volume Record 2, Side 2
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