Name: Elford Chapman MORGAN 1
Birth: 28 JUN 1905 in Spartanburg, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, USA 1
Death: 18 OCT 1962 in Charleston, South Carolina, USA 1
Occupation: College Professor 1
Burial: UNKNOWN West Oakwood Cemetery, Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA 1
Education: Wofford College B.A. '27, UNC M.A. '31 & Ph.D. '41 1
Reference Number: 1983
Dr. Elford C. Morgan of Converse
A Native-Born Educator
By Anne Davidson Malcolm
CONVERSE College's quaintly towered Main Building is flanked on either side by the bay windowed offices of the Dean of Women and the President. However, the real academic heart of this institution calmly but efficiently beats in a small, book
lined office directly behind that of the President. It is occupied by a well-groomed gentleman with steady blue eyes and a gracious, easy manner. This intellectual soft-spoken Southerner skillfully combines the genuine talents of
administrator, teacher, and scholar is one delightful personality; a merger rarely found so finely blended. Elford C. Morgan, the occupant of this informal, but capably run office has a decided appetite for work at jobs which call for these
varied talents. He is equally competent lecturing in the classroom, unsnarling a ticklish problem at a faculty meeting, or advising students on personal matters of academic scheduling.
In spite of the vast amount of diverse knowledge contained by Dr. Morgan, he is no pedant recluse. Contrary to the popular belief concerning professors, he has a head for business, finding time to supervise his nearby peach orchard and serve
as a director of a growing bank in a neighboring town. He is as well rounded mentally and socially as he is physically. His days, both on and off the job, are crammed with study, teaching, engagements, meetings, and a large correspondence.
Yet he finds time for a friendly chat with others and fun with his own family.
Dr. Morgan is a South Carolinian by birth and education who has chosen to wrestle with the scholastic problems of his native state. South Carolina has contributed many citizens to further the advancement of other states and the nation as a
whole. Notwithstanding the good these men and women have done, it is gratifying that Dr. Morgan cast his educational lot with his own surroundings.
Traditionally, teachers are born, not made. This phrase aptly fits Elford Morgan. As a youth, he was vitally interested in reading. His first job was at Du Pre's, the local book store in Spartanburg and the popular haven for the literary.
It was a regular spare time job which he held from grade six through college. At his graduation exercises from high school, he was declared the winner of the DAR scholarship for the highest average in history. In addition, he was named the
winner in oration. This combination marked him even then for success as a teacher.
Dr. Morgan's parents, Jo Elford and Nancy Gertrude Chapman Morgan, were native residents of Spartanburg, and when time for college came for their son in the fall of 1923, young Elford walked to Wofford from his home on East Henry Street.
Among the honors he received was Distinction in Scholarship during his last three years. Because of his scholastic excellence, he was bid to the International Relations Club when a freshman and served as its President his senior year. He was
President of the Honor System, President and Vice President of Carlisle Literary Society Vice-President of the YMCA, Chairman of the Senior Order of Gnomes, Senior Commencement Speaker, and Senior Class Poet. He was a member of the Blue Key, a
fraternity which recognized leadership, Sigma Upsilon, an honorary literary fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, a social fraternity, and editor of his college annual, The Bohemian. He is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
After winning his B.A. with majors in English and history, (and lacking only one unit of finishing in three years), Dr. Morgan went abroad for a summer tour. Not only was he able to see Europe through the eyes of his favorite authors, but he
had also the optical assets of Miss Mary Wilson Gee, then Dean of Women at Converse College, who regularly took groups to Europe during vacation, and in whose company he was traveling.
As many teachers have originally vowed, Elford Morgan promised himself that he would not teach. However, there was an opening in the Spartanburg City Schools in the fall for a teacher of English and, with persuasion he accepted the position.
From Spartanburg High School, Dr. Morgan returned in 1929-1930 to his Alma Mater, Wofford College, to teach. Next came a year at the University of North Carolina and an M.A. in 1931. Following this he began his Converse career as an
instructor in 1932. That year was an eventful one, for in June he married Miss Martha Hamilton, a gracious and charming member of the Converse faculty.
In 1934 Dr. Morgan achieved both his promotion to assistant professor and the chance to do the groundwork on his Ph.D. in the treasure vaults of literary antiquity in England and Ireland. His dissertation was on Joseph Addison, and he and his
wife meticulously dug for facts and quotations from May until September. Mrs. Morgan laughs, "He was pursuing Addison and I was pursuing him." In 1936 Dr. Morgan became associate professor of English at Converse and 1941 found him the
possessor of his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina and the responsibilities of dean of faculty and professor of English.
Two "afflictions" have contributed to his voracious literary appetite and consumption. A slight hypertension which curtails strenuous exercise and a constant insomnia combine to place his reading average at three books a week. His choice
usually centers around a central theme. If he becomes interested in a certain subject, such as South Carolina history of The War Between the States, he follows it through, devouring every book on the subject he can buy or borrow. Until he
finds an absorbing topic, the books he reads are chosen from varied fields. He does not find it advisable to follow a lecture outline for his two classes per week which he teaches in English Literature and Romanticism, but he reads constantly
in fields which he believes will give his teaching flavor and interest. His home bears witness to his great thirst for knowledge, for there are book cases even in the bedrooms. It is a delightful, English-type, gray shingle house on
Connecticut Avenue. His two sons, Elford, sixteen, and Charles, twelve, informally share their parents' deep sense of hospitality and apparently are imbued with a love of people by their convivial heritage. Each year the family invites Dr.
Morgan's students for dessert and coffee, an event which is eagerly anticipated.
Dr. Morgan works in his office at the college during the summer, except for one month during which the family makes a pilgrimage to some interesting spot. When the children were small the Morgans went to Edisto Beach and Ocean Drive. Now they
journey to places of academic interest as well, and often combine business trips with pleasure.
To the first-term freshman, Dr. Morgan is a relatively unknown quantity figure moving through orientation week and chapel programs. Except for his two classes a week, which are not open to freshmen, only infrequently is he able to emerge from
the office tasks and the long line of students waiting to thrash out the problems of majors, minors, and diplomas.
However, by the end of their first year, these freshmen learn from upper classmen and their own personal observation that his survey course in English Literature is among the best offered by an excellent Converse English Faculty. By the time
the freshmen have become sophomores, have finished his course, and have attended the annual party in his home, they have found English Literature and Dr. Morgan their favorite subjects. Contributing no less to the charm of the delightful
evening are the two boys and Mrs. Morgan, who is as youthful in appearance as she is in spirit and enters wholeheartedly into the enthusiasms of her many-faceted husband.
Dr. Morgan regularly attends Rotary in Spartanburg, has been a member of that organization since 1932, and is a past president. He is eagerly sought as speaker for civic clubs and colleges. "We try to spend at least two nights a week at
home," says Dr. Morgan. His church is the First Baptist on East Main street in Spartanburg. He has held the office of deacon and Chairman of the Board of Deacons and has taught a class of college girls "on and off for twenty years." His
reputation is such, that once at a meeting of the Student Council at Converse, a member asserted, "If we want to get this place declared 'on limits' let's tell the faculty that Dr. Morgan takes his family there for Sunday night supper."
Busiest in September and May during the customary chaos of opening and closing of school, he maintains an enviable poise. His modest, yet assured manner makes him highly respected by his students. "In eighteen years of teaching, I have had
only one minor disciplinary problem," he said. He is most careful never to embarrass a pupil. His lectures are made interesting through numerous pertinent illustrations and he eagerly seeks to bring out the diffident student.
From his college years stems his love of the Annual. He is and has been the faculty advisor to the college yearbook at Converse, "The Y's and Other Y's", for over fifteen years. To the editor he lends his valuable supervision of both the
financial and the overall program. His job as dean requires that he aid in the selection of new faculty members. In addition, he keeps a constant finger on the academic and social pulse of the school. Few athletic bonfires, college dances,
senior recitals, or concerts find him or his wife absent.
Dr. Morgan himself feels that his major contributions at Converse have been an increase in democratic faculty cooperation and a closer union between the teachers and their students. His job has been made even more difficult by a war time and
semi-wartime economy and a complex feeling of student restlessness and personal problems which has had repercussions over every college and university in the nation.
A faculty member comments on Dr. Morgan:
"Dr. Morgan's greatest asset as dean is that he always has time to listen, gives his full attention to the problem at hand, and appreciates the point of view of the speaker. Although he is not always able to agree or to remedy the situation,
the faculty member has a feeling that he has been understood, and that full consideration will be given to both the individual and to the problem. He never objects to a difference of opinion, and he thus finds himself surrounded by those who
speak openly and frankly. His success as administrator is shown by his awareness of the totality of every problem."
Through his intelligent supervision, patient tolerance, and sincere under standing, he has proved his genuine interest in all. His foresight is admired and his decisions respected.
South Carolina can indeed count her self fortunate to have retained such an individual.
SOURCE: South Carolina Magazine, July, 1952 pp. 8-9 and 25
Father: Joseph Elford "Joe" MORGAN b: 12 JUL 1873 in Polk County, North Carolina, USA
Mother: Nancy Gertrude CHAPMAN b: 15 APR 1881 in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, USA
Martha HAMILTON b: Private
- Marriage Beginning Status: Private
- Living MORGAN
- Living MORGAN
- Title: 11018 Cantrell.ftw
Text: Date of Import: 12 Jul 2000