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Finding Aid to the Agnes Fay Morgan papers, 1904-1983 (bulk 1904-1967)
BANC MSS 75/63 c  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Agnes Fay Morgan Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1904-1983 (bulk 1904-1967)
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 75/63 c
    Creator: Morgan, Agnes Fay, 1884-1968
    Extent: Number of containers: 12 boxes, 2 oversize folders Linear feet: 4.7
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Contains personal files, correspondence, writings, research files, departmental and university files, and lecture notes documenting her education and career from 1905 to 1967.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Agnes Fay Morgan papers, BANC MSS 75/63 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    Photographs transferred to the Bancroft Pictorial Collections
    Identifier/Call Number: (BANC PIC 1975.057--PIC)

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Agnes Fay Morgan Papers were transferred from the Department of Nutrition at the University of California, Berkeley in December, 1974. Additions were received from Maresi Nerad in October, 1998.

    Biographical Information

    Agnes Fay Morgan was born on May 4, 1884 in Peoria, Illinois, the daughter of Patrick John and Mary Josephine (Dooley) Fay. She received her bachelors and masters degrees in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1904 and 1905 respectively. After marrying one of her students, Arthur I. Morgan, at the University of Montana and teaching briefly at the University of Washington, Morgan returned to the University of Chicago, where she was awarded a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1914.
    In 1915, Morgan joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley and organized the first scientific human nutrition courses there, at a time when the science was in its infancy. Her research subjects included the effect of heat on the nutritive value of protein, the nutritive value of wine, and the metabolic action of various nutrients, including B vitamins, ascorbic acid and carotene. Throughout her career, Morgan regularly taught courses on Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Nutrition of Development, and seminars in nutrition.
    For 22 years, Morgan was head of the Department of Household Science in the College of Letters and Science, until the Household Science and Household Arts Departments were combined in 1938 to form the Department of Home Economics in the College of Agriculture. At this time, her title was changed to Professor of Home Economics and she was named chair of the department and biochemist in the Agricultural Experiment Station as well, a post she held until 1954. In 1951, Morgan was the only woman on the nine-member Committee on Experiment Station Organization and Policy of the United States Department of Agriculture, which guided the national program of research.
    Morgan exacted strong scientific preparation from her students, who were required to take courses in physical and biological sciences. Her demands on her students were no more than her demands on herself. She continued to do research and produce articles well after she retired on June 30, 1954.
    The year following Morgan's retirement, the university administration moved the Department of Home Economics to the Davis campus. The Home Economics Building on the Berkeley campus was renamed Agnes Fay Morgan Hall in 1961. Morgan completed her History of Iota Sigma Pi and received the Phoebe Hearst Gold Medal as one of the 10 outstanding women in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1963. Morgan's 50th anniversary at the University of California, Berkeley was commemorated with a symposium in her honor in 1965.
    In addition to receiving multiple awards after her retirement, Agnes Morgan's dedication and energy persisted. Morgan continued to come regularly to her office until the time of a heart attack, two weeks before her death, July 20, 1968.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Agnes Fay Morgan Papers contain personal files, correspondence, writings, research files, departmental and university files, and lecture notes documenting her education and career from 1905 to 1967.
    Personal files and correspondence (Series 1 and 2) give little insight into the private life of this driven chemist who demonstrated the significant contributions women could make in academia in the early Twentieth Century. Feminist scholars may find her correspondence with former students enlightening regarding career choices of women in the first half of the century. Many of Morgan's awards and recognitions were received late in her career, including the naming of Morgan Hall in 1961, the Hearst Gold Medal in 1963, and the 50th anniversary symposium in her honor.
    The most extensive series is Morgan's writings (Series 3) which span five decades. She co-authored many papers throughout the course of her career, indicating her willingness to introduce students to the world of academic publishing. The chronological listing indicates the areas of research Morgan focussed on at various points in her career. Some files contain drafts and charts.
    Morgan's writings do not stand alone. Her research and project files (Series 4) from the Agricultural Experiment Station show the developments of key areas of Morgan's research over the course of several years. Many files contain extensive notes and charts. Some files contain reprints of articles based on that research. The research files in conjunction with Morgan's writings form the core of her papers.
    The departmental and university files (Series 5) give a modest indication of the controversies that surrounded the department. Morgan was central in the discussions on the organizational structure of Nutrition, Household Science, and ultimately Home Economics at the University of California. Her university files and correspondence display this. However, her files may not indicate the degree to which she struggled for funding compared to her male colleagues.
    Series 6 contains the lecture notes Morgan took while a student and shows the solid foundation in hard sciences, particularly organic chemistry, which she received as a student.
    The Agnes Fay Morgan Papers demonstrate Morgan's pioneering efforts in the scientific understanding of the household realm and her dedication and perseverance in the academic world.