Title: Angela Morgan Papers Creator: Morgan, Angela, 1874-1957 Dates: 1861-1957 Extent: 61 linear feet Abstract:
American poet and novelist (some with anti-war themes), pacifist and women's rights advocate, participant in the International Congress of Women at The Hague in 1915 and subsequent activities of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. The author of numerous poems and other literary works, she "projected a clear vision of a new social order". Throughout her work runs the prophecy of the triumph of new moral values and a strong identification with the "downtrodden masses". The papers of Angela Morgan document her long career as a twentieth century writer and social reformer. Papers include extensive correspondence with leading pacifists, literary figures and women's rights activists, manuscripts of Morgan's poetry, novels and other writings, clipping and subject files on pacifist activities and photographs.
Call number: 8629 Aa 2 Language: The materials are in English. Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave. Ann Arbor, MI
firstname.lastname@example.org Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid prepared by: William McNitt, 1975 Christopher Leonard, 1985 Olga Virakhovskaya, 2014 (Boxes 50-61)
Access and Use
The Angela Morgan papers were received with the papers of Rebecca Shelley (Donor No. 4218.)
The collection is open for research.
To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS
tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital
formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more
information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.
Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.
The Morgan papers were located in warehouses in Philadelphia and elsewhere at the time of her death. (Her letters of August 9, 1939 and October 22, 1943 describe the locations of her papers.) These papers were rescued from the auction block (where they had gone due to the non-payment of storage charges) by Angela's friend Rebecca Shelley in 1958 and removed to the Shelley farm in Battle Creek, Michigan. In 1963, Miss Shelley offered the papers to the University of Michigan, and the bulk of the papers were transferred to the Michigan Historical Collections in 1965 and 1966. Miss Shelley has made several small additions to the collection since that time.
Another group of Angela Morgan papers is housed in the Research Libraries of the New York Public Library. It consists of about 25 feet of manuscripts and correspondence from the 1940's and 1950's.
item, folder title, box no., Angela Morgan Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan
The Angela Morgan papers are organized in sixteen principal series:
Correspondence, undated and 1861-1957 (boxes 1-17, 59)
Very little is known about her early life. She was born Nina Lillian Morgan, but adopted the name Angela after she began writing. Her date and place of birth are not known, but her obituary in the New York Times seems to indicate that she was born around 1873 when her family was living in Yazoo County, Mississippi. In 1915, when she went abroad, she claimed to have been born in 1885, but that conflicts with her comments elsewhere about remembering Washington, D.C. as her childhood home. (The family left Washington around 1885.) On a later trip she gave her date of birth as 1889, but she published her first book in 1898 and was married in 1900, so the 1873 date may be correct.
Angela's father was Colonel Albert Talmon Morgan, a native of New York who was raised on a farm near Fox Lake, Wisconsin. His studies at Oberlin College and the Quaker ancestry of his mother apparently led him to strong anti-slavery views which caused him to drop out of college and enlist in the Union Army in 1861. He served throughout the Civil War, rose steadily through the ranks, and was finally mustered out as a Lieutenant Colonel on July 14, 1865.
Soon after the war, Albert and his brother Charles became "carpetbaggers" in Mississippi, taking over an old plantation. Albert later told the story of his adventures in Mississippi politics during Reconstruction in his book Yazoo, or On the Picket Line of Freedom in the South (New York: Russell and Russell, 1968) which was originally published in 1884. This book details his problems in the South, many of which resulted from his marriage to Carolyn Victoria Highgate, a teacher in a Freedman's Bureau school who was a daughter of a mulatto father and a white mother.
With the end of Reconstruction in 1876, the family was forced to leave the South. Albert received a minor patronage position in the federal pension service at Washington, D.C., as a result of his loyalty to the Republican Party. This job lasted until 1885, when the Democrats regained power and Albert was replaced. The family then moved to Lawrence, Kansas, where Albert was unsuccessful in a number of business ventures. Around 1890, he left his family in Topeka, Kansas and went to Colorado to prospect for gold and silver. Except for occasional visits with his family, he remained in Colorado until his death in 1922.
After Albert left his family, his children began earning their livelihood by performing on stage. The four daughters performed as a quartet and the son, Bert, as baritone and manager for the group. At one time, they appeared as "The Morgans" and later the four girls performed as the "Angela Sisters". (Perhaps it was from here that Nina got the name Angela.) The performing career of the Morgans apparently came to an end with the death of Helen in 1898. Soon thereafter the other three daughters married and retired from the stage.
In the late 1890's Angela succeeded in getting a number of poems and two children's books published and turned her energies toward a writing career. Convinced that it would take some time before she could earn a living as a poet, she worked for a number of years as a journalist in Chicago, Boston, and New York. As part of her work she visited police courts and jails and the slums of the larger cities and came into contact with "the so-called lower strata of society". During this time she was also successful in getting a large number of poems and short stories published in the popular magazines of the time.
Although the Morgans had been Congregationalists before the turn of the century, Angela's mother (who lived with her) became interested in some of the new religious currents and became a Christian Science lecturer. Angela seems to have explored Swedenborgianism, the Bahai faith, and other religions at this time and throughout her career took a strong interest in metaphysics
Angela Morgan was married in 1900 to Peter Sweningson, but she apparently did not find that marriage suited her. The marriage ended fairly quickly, although they were not divorced until 1906. After leaving her husband, she lived with her mother in Chicago, Boston and New York until 1923, when they moved to London. After her mother's death in London in 1926, Angela returned to the United States and settled in Philadelphia.
Around 1914 Angela's literary work came to the attention of three wealthy women--Mrs. Emily Vanderbilt Sloane Hammond, Mrs. Kate M. Ladd, and Mrs. Louise W. Carnegie (the wife of Andrew Carnegie). They provided her with the support she needed in order to give up her newspaper work and devote all of her energies to the writing of poetry. Her first book of poetry was published in 1914 and other volumes followed in quick succession. Many of the poems in these books were published first in such popular magazines as The Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan Magazine and Hearst's Magazine. Among her best known poems were "Hail Man," "Work, a Song of Triumph," "The Battle Cry of the Mothers," and "God Prays."
The outside financial support she received was never enough to make life easy for her, however. Besides supporting her mother and sending occasional sums of money to her father, she had to provide much of the support for her two sisters who were in a sanatorium. The Depression finally made her financial situation so bad that she was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1933. Although things improved somewhat after that time, her financial situation was never too strong. Although her career probably peaked in the era from 1914 to 1930, she continued to write and publish poetry right down to her death in 1957.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The Angela Morgan papers document her long career as a twentieth century writer and social reformer. The collection includes extensive correspondence files, biographical and personal files, drafts of writings, pamphlets, newspaper clippings and other papers relating to her activities as a pacifist and her literary interests; also material on World War I peace movement concerning International Congress of Women, Ford Peace Ship, American Neutral Conference Committee, Emergency Peace Federation, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Bureau of Legal First Aid, People's Council of America and New York City branch of the Woman's Peace Party; also scattered papers, 1861-1922, of her father, Albert T. Morgan, who came to Mississippi after the Civil War; and photographs.
The collection contains much information on organizations such as the General Federation of Women's Clubs, (she served as poet laureate of this organization in the 1930's), the League of American Pen Women (she served as president of the Philadelphia branch from 1929 to 1931) and the Poetry Society of America.
Throughout her long career Angela Morgan kept up a correspondence with ministers (such as Fred Winslow Adams, Charles F. Aked, Harry Emerson Fosdick, John Haynes Holmes, Jenkin Lloyd Jones, Frederick Lynch, John Herman Randall and Arthur Weatherly), journalists and magazine editors (such as Kendall Banning, William F. Bigelow, Sewell Haggard, and Franklin B. Wiley) and literary people (such as Anita Browne, Ralph Cheyney, Edwin Markham, Corinne Roosevelt Robinson, Lucia Trent and Ella Wheeler Wilcox).
Another valuable aspect of the paper is the material on Angela Morgan's involvement in the peace movement, especially during World War I. Her involvement was apparently due both to the fact that she agreed with many of the ideas of the pacifists and the fact that her office was in the same building (70 Fifth Avenue in New York) which housed the headquarters of almost every significant peace group in New York City. Included in her correspondence are letters from Crystal Eastman, Margaret Lane, Rebecca Shelley, Norman Thomas, the American Neutral Conference Committee, the Bureau of Legal First Aid, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and the Woman's Peace Party. One folder from 1915 contains notes on interviews with German pacifists conducted by Angela Morgan and Rebecca Shelley. The collection also contains much information on the International Congress of Women in 1915 (a meeting of pacifists to which Angela was a delegate) and the Ford Peace Ship.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.
General Strike, Great Britain, 1926.
New York (N.Y.)
Peace -- Societies, etc.
Strikes and lockouts -- Great Britain.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
Women -- United States -- Societies and clubs.
Women -- Suffrage -- United States.
Women's rights -- United States.
World War, 1914-1918.
Women authors, American.
Women and peace.
Henry Ford Peace Expedition (1915-1916)
International Congress of Women (1915 : Hague, Netherlands)
Morgan, Angela, 1874-1957.
Pierpont, John, 1785-1866.
Socialist Party (U.S.)
Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924.
Adams, Fred Winslow, 1866-1945.
Addams, Jane, 1860-1935.
Aked, Charles Frederic, 1864-1941.
American Neutral Conference Committee.
American Peace Society.
Authors' League of America.
Balch, Emily Greene, 1867-1961.
Baldwin, Ruth Standish.
Banning, Kendall, 1879-1944.
Barton, Bruce, 1886-1967.
Beckley, Zoe, -1961.
Bestor, Arthur Eugene, 1879-1944.
Bigelow, William F. (William Frederick), 1879-1966.
Booth, Evangeline, 1865-1950.
Bragdon, Claude Fayette, 1866-1946.
Branch, Anna Hempstead, 1875-1937.
Bridgman, Howard Allen, 1860-1929.
Bryce, James Bryce, Viscount, 1838-1922.
Bureau of Legal First Aid.
Burton, Ernest De Witt, 1856-1925.
Cadman, S. Parkes (Samuel Parkes), 1864-1936.
Carnegie, Dale, 1888-1955.
Carnegie, Louise Whitfield, 1857-1946.
Carruth, Hayden, 1862-1932.
Chamberlain, Samuel Selwyn, 1851-1916.
Church Peace Union.
Clark, Thomas Curtis, 1877-1953.
Coleman, George William, 1867-1950.
Conant, Isabel Fiske.
Condon, Randall J. (Randall Judson), 1862-1931.
Cooke, Edmund Vance, 1866-1932.
Costain, Thomas B. (Thomas Bertram), 1885-1965.
Crow, Martha Foote, 1854-1924.
Debs, Theodore, 1864-1945.
Debs Memorial Radio Fund.
Del Mar, Eugene, 1864-1941.
Dreiser, Theodore, 1871-1945.
Dutton, Samuel Train, 1849-1919.
Eastman, Crystal, 1881-1928.
Eastman, John Coates, 1862-1925.
Eaton, Lily W.
Elson, William Harris, 1856-1935.
Emergency Peace Campaign (U.S.)
Emergency Peace Federation (U.S.)
Erskine, John, 1879-1951.
Fagnani, Charles Prospero, 1854-1940.
Fellowship of Reconciliation (U.S.)
First Church for Animal Rights.
Fleischer, Charles, 1871-1942.
Fosdick, Harry Emerson, 1878-1969.
Frank, Henry, 1854-1933.
Friends of Freedom for India.
General Federation of Women's Clubs.
Griggs, Edward Howard, 1868-1951.
Guthrie, Kenneth Sylvan, 1871-1940.
Haggard, Sewell, 1879-1928.
Hammond, Emily V. (Emily Vanderbilt Sloane), 1874-1970.
Hammond, John Henry, 1871-1949.
Harriman, Karl Edwin, 1875-1935.
Hays, Will H. (Will Harrison), 1879-1954.
Hearst, William Randolph, 1863-1951.
Hodgkin, Henry Theodore, 1877-1933.
Holmes, Burton, 1870-
Holmes, John Haynes, 1879-1964.
Holt, Hamilton, 1872-1951.
Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964.
Huebsch, B. W. (Benjamin W.), 1876-1964.
Industrial Workers of the World.
International Council for Patriotic Service.
James, William, 1842-1910.
Johnson, Robert Underwood, 1853-1937.
Jones, Edith Lloyd.
Jones, Jenkin Lloyd, 1843-1918.
Keyes, Frances Parkinson, 1885-1970.
Ladd, Kate Macy, 1863-1945.
Ladd, Walter Graeme.
Laidler, Harry Wellington, 1884-1970.
League for the Larger Life.
League of Small and Subject Nationalities.
Lengel, William C. (William Charles), 1888-1965.
Libby, Frederick J. (Frederick Joseph), 1874-1970.
Lynch, Frederick Henry, 1867-1934.
McAdoo, Eleanor Wilson, 1889-1967.
MacManus, Seumas, 1869-1960.
Markham, Anna Catherine, 1859-1938.
Markham, Edwin, 1852-1940.
Matthews, Brander, 1852-1929.
Mooney, Thomas J., 1882-1942.
Morgan, Albert Talmon, 1841-1922.
Morgan, G. Campbell (George Campbell), 1863-1945.
Musser, Benjamin Francis.
National Cathedral Association.
National Kindergarten Association.
National League of American Pen Women.
National Music League.
National Unemployment League (U.S.)
National Woman's Party.
Nearing, Scott, 1883-1983.
O'Hara, Geoffrey, 1882-1967.
Olmsted, Mildred Scott, 1890-1990.
Paine, Albert Bigelow, 1861-1937.
Paquin, Samuel Savil, 1868-1943.
Parkhurst, C. H. (Charles Henry), 1842-1933.
Peale, Norman Vincent, 1898-1993.
Pennsylvania Committee for Total Disarmament.
People's Chorus of New York.
People's Council of America.
People's Mandate to Governments to End War.
Phelps, William Lyon, 1865-1943.
Pillsbury, Parker, 1809-1898.
Poetry Society of America.
Randall, John Herman, 1871-1946.
Reynolds, Paul Revere, 1864-1944.
Rider, Fremont, 1885-1962.
Robinson, Corinne Roosevelt, 1861-1933.
Russell, Charles Edward, 1860-1941.
Sarett, Lew, 1888-1954.
Shaw, Mark Revell, 1889-
Shelley, Rebecca, 1887-1984.
Shelly, William Alfred, 1854-1930.
Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968.
Smith, George Jay, 1866-1938.
Stevenson, Burton Egbert, 1872-1962.
Stidger, William L. (William LeRoy), 1886-
Stoner, Winifred Sackville, -1931.
Tarbell, Ida M. (Ida Minerva), 1857-1944.
Thomas, Lowell, 1892-1981.
Thomas, Norman, 1884-1968.
Towne, Charles Hanson, 1877-1949.
United Peace Chest.
Van Dyke, Henry, 1852-1933.
Villard, Fanny Garrison, 1844-1928.
Vivisection Investigation League.
Wald, Lillian D., 1867-1940.
Weller, Charles Frederick, 1870-1957.
Wetherill, Samuel Price.
Wheeler, Edward J. (Edward Jewitt), 1859-1922.
White, Trumbull, 1868-
Wilcox, Ella Wheeler, 1850-1919.
Wiley, Franklin Baldwin, 1861-1930.
Woman's Peace Party.
Woman's Pro-League Council.
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
Women's National Committee for Hands Off the Supreme Court.
Women's Peace Society.
Wood, L. Hollingsworth (Levi Hollingsworth), 1874-1956.
World Court League.
Young, William Wesley, 1868-
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Container / Location
Correspondence 1861-1957 [series]
(16.5 linear feet)
The Angela Morgan correspondence series includes letters to and from a wide range of ministers, literary figures, editors and journalists and individuals and organizations involved in the peace movement and social reform. (See the Controlled Access portion of the finding aid for a listing of significant correspondents.) The series also includes scattered correspondence and papers, 1861-1922, of her father, Albert T. Morgan, who came to Mississippi after the Civil War. The correspondence is arranged chronologically.
(includes folder: Drafts of Letter to Mrs. W. G. Ladd, November 1, 1914)
(includes 9 folders of undated 1917-1918 drafts of letters to Rev. John Herman Randall)
1917 undated, January 1917-December 1918, 1919 undated
(includes 8 folders of May 1917-June 1918 drafts of letters to Rev. John Herman Randall, and 1 folder of drafts of July-August 1918 letters to Emily V. Hammond)
November 1920-February 1923
March 1923-May 1926
June 1926-October 1928
November 1928-December 1929
July 1930-May 1931
June 1931-December 1932
Undated, January 1933-June 1934
July 1934-June 1936
July 1936-December 1937
Undated, January 1938-September 1939
October 1939-September 1953
October 1953-March 1954
Biographical/Personal Files [series]
The Biographical series includes material on Morgan's personal and professional interests, a draft autobiography and papers relating to her father, Albert T. Morgan.
Lists of Poems and Stories
Inventories of her papers 1916-1923
Drafts of autobiography
Papers concerning Albert T. Morgan 1870-1923
Pamphlets on monetary questions by Albert T. Morgan 1908-1911
Pacifistic Activities 1915-1919 [series]
The Pacifistic Activities series contains extensive files documenting Morgan's interest and participation in the international peace movement.
Papers concerning the International Congress of Women and a trip to Germany 1915
Papers concerning the International Congress and a trip to Germany 1915
Notes on interviews with pacifists in Germany 1915
Papers concerning peace including material on a mass meeting in Detroit 1915
Printed material concerning the Women's Peace Party 1915-1919
Printed material concerning the Church Peace Union 1915
Printed material concerning the peace movement 1915-1918
Papers Concerning World War I and the Peace Movement circa 1915-1919
Newspaper Clippings 1894-1953 [series]
The Newspaper clippings series includes items relating to Morgan's literary interests and activities, the peace movement and other topics of interest to her.
Newspaper articles and stories
Book Reviews [series]
The Book reviews series contains copies of reviews of Morgan's books and related correspondence. Reviews of Morgan's works and tributes to Morgan are also found in the Manuscripts and Drafts series (box 51)
The Imprisoned Splendor 1916
Forward March 1918-1919
Hail, Man 1919
Because of Beauty 1922
Selected Poems 1927
Creator Man 1929
Heaven Is Happening 1933
Awful Rainbow 1933
Crucify Me 1934
Printed Material [series]
The Printed Materials series consists of copies of magazine and journal articles written by or about Morgan or about the various causes and organizations she was interested in. Printed material is also found in the Miscellaneous Papers series (boxes 59-60).
By or about Angela Morgan
Concerning the Poetry Society of America Undated, 1914-1940
Concerning the League of American Pen Women 1919-1942
Concerning the Community Church of New York
Concerning Woman Suffrage 1908-1913
By Emily V. Hammond 1919-1953
Concerning the Peace Movement Undated, 1920-1951
Concerning Miscellaneous Subjects
Notebooks, Diaries, etc. [series]
The Notebooks and Diaries include observations on Morgan's personal life, writing and literary activities, the peace movement and other causes she was involved with. Notebooks are also found in the Miscellaneous Papers series (box 59).
Notebooks and Letterbooks
(Additional notebooks acquired in the 1984 accession.)
The Poems series consists of poetry written by Angela Morgan. The poems are arranged alphabetically by title. Some poems are dated. Drafts and ideas for poems are also found in the Manuscripts and Drafts series (boxes 50-58)