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Morgan (Neil) Papers
MSS 0038  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Biography
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Languages: English
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla 92093-0175
    Title: Neil Morgan Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0038
    Physical Description: 41.9 Linear feet (21 records cartons, 29 archive boxes, 4 card file boxes, and 6 oversize folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1941-2004
    Abstract: Papers of Neil Morgan, prominent San Diego columnist, writer, editor, and civic commentator, who is best known for his column "Neil Morgan" that appeared in the San Diego Evening Tribune (1961-1992) and the San Diego Union (1992-2004).

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Papers of Neil Morgan, prominent San Diego columnist, writer, editor, and civic commentator, who is best known for his column "Neil Morgan" that appeared in the San Diego Evening Tribune (1961-1992) and the San Diego Union (1992-2004). Morgan was the associate editor (1977-1981) and chief editor (1981-1992) of the San Diego Evening Tribune and the associate editor (1992-2004) and senior columnist (1992-2004) of the San Diego Union. He is the author of numerous books and magazine articles promoting San Diego and has written extensively on the culture and development of the contemporary American West. The papers contain scrapbooks of pasted-in clippings of Morgan's columns, travel articles, magazine articles, and reviews of his books; subject files for recent columns (1993-2004); typescripts for media projects, including early 1950s radio scripts; editorial memorabilia from his career in journalism; miscellaneous typescript drafts of columns and articles; drafts and notes for speeches and lectures; sound and video recordings; and miscellaneous awards. Also included are programs and flyers from the Bohemian Grove Club and a small collection of Raymond Chandler correspondence and miscellany.
    Arranged in sixteen series: 1) SCRAPBOOKS, 2) SUBJECT FILES, 3) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 4) MEDIA PROJECTS, 5) RAYMOND CHANDLER MATERIALS, 6) BOHEMIAN GROVE CLUB MATERIALS, 7) EDITORIAL MATERIALS, 8) COLUMN DRAFTS AND SPECIAL PROJECTS, 9) BOOKS, 10) MAGAZINE ARTICLES, 11) SPEECHES AND LECTURES, 12) SOUND RECORDINGS, 13) VIDEO RECORDINGS, 14) AWARDS, 15) RICHARD NIXON, and 16) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.

    Biography

    Neil Bowen Morgan was born in Smithfield, North Carolina, in 1924. He attended Wake Forest University where he edited the student magazine The Student. During his junior and senior years he worked as the assistant state news editor for the Raleigh News and Observer. Morgan graduated in 1943, at the age of 19, and was called up for military service into the Naval Air Corps training program in September 1944. He entered the U.S. Navy's three-month ensign school at Coral Gables, Florida, and was sent to the Western Pacific Command. He came to San Diego when the war ended, finished his military service at the Camp Kearny Naval Auxiliary Air Station, now Miramar, and was released from duty on March 15, 1946.
    The next day Morgan took a job as a reporter for the San Diego Daily Journal which ran his first local article on June 15, 1946. He became that publication's music and drama editor, and started a daily column in 1947 called "Air Fare" which was written under the pseudonym Terry Nolan until July 1, 1948, when it was credited to him. In this column, Morgan reviewed the radio scene, commented on entertainment industry personalities and their activities, and suggested interesting nightly radio programming. In April 1947, he started a column called "Crosstown: It Happened in San Diego" which he later complemented with an evening radio broadcast on KFMB titled "Crosstown Column of the Air." Morgan also reviewed regional cultural performances and events in a column entitled "From Our Seat" and critiqued long-playing records in his column "Record Review." On May 27, 1950, the Union Tribune Publishing Company purchased the Journal and began publishing "Crosstown with Neil Morgan" in the San Diego Evening Tribune on June 12, 1950. The last "Crosstown with Neil Morgan" column was published on August 17, 1961, and the first "Neil Morgan" byline followed the next day.
    In 1951, Morgan published My San Diego, the first of a number of narrative guides that described and promoted the city's people and lifestyle in a collection of vignettes of longer than column length. Subsequent monographs included My San Diego, 1960; Neil Morgan's San Diego (1963); San Diego: The Unconventional City (1972); and San Diego: Where California Began...And Lives (1957), published by the San Diego Convention and Tourist Bureau.
    During the 1960s, Morgan broadened his research and writing interests to include the postwar American West and wrote a weekly, syndicated column titled "Neil Morgan: Assignment West." He also travelled in the western states and conducted numerous interviews for his three subsequent books Westward Tilt: The American West Today (1963), The Pacific States: California, Oregon, Washington (1967), and The California Syndrome (1969).
    Morgan travelled extensively and regularly wrote articles for Esquire, Good Housekeeping Travel Guide, Holiday, Saturday Review, Carte Blanche Magazine, and Westways, as well as the inflight airline magazines Mainliner and Western's World. He covered the horseracing scene at Tijuana's Caliente Racetrack in a column entitled "Neil Morgan Writes About Caliente," published in The New Yorker (March 1955-September 1956) and later in Sports Illustrated (March 1957-February 1959).
    At the San Diego Evening Tribune, Morgan was associate editor (1977-1981) and chief editor (1981-1992). During his leadership, the editorial staff received two Pulitzer Prizes (1979 and 1987). After the merger of the Evening Tribune and the San Diego Union in 1992, Morgan served as senior columnist and associate editor until March 2004. Morgan was a director of "Voice of San Diego," an online news and information website in San Diego. He died in 2014.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Preferred Citation

    Neil Morgan Papers, MSS 38. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 1973, 1999, and 2004.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    West (U.S.) -- Description and travel
    West (U.S.) -- Civilization
    San Diego (Calif.) -- Description and travel
    Morgan, Neil, 1924- -- Archives