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Morris photo collection

 Collection
Identifier: Collection 043

Scope and Contents

The Morris Photo Collection is said to have been compiled by Murch S. Morris, a photographer for the Grand Rapids Herald. Markings on the back of the photo prints suggest that these items were purchased from Morris by the Grand Rapids Public Library, for the Library’s early photo files. It is not known if these photos represent all of Morris’ work, or just a selection.

Each original photo print has a stamp on the back “Bill of M.S. Morris”, with the date & price of the photo, at that date. Each original photo print also has a stamped number, which may be from Morris, or from the Library. Subject identification notes, in a variety of later hands, are most likely from library staff members, but may also be from Morris.

Date note: The dates found recorded on these photos, either handwritten or stamped, provide ca. information, but may not be the actual date of the event or scene shown. For example, the image identified as Houdini in front of the Herald Building, has a handwritten date of 1928, which is after his death, and a stamped date of 1930, which appears to be the date of purchase of this particular print. Neither date appears to be accurate as to the event, but the 1928 date provides a closer ca. date, until further research might be able to provide us with the real date of the event. This presumes that the image is truly of Houdini, which is difficult to tell from this particular image.

The Morris Photo Collection documents various events in Grand Rapids (Mich.) primarily during the late 1920s. Of note are a series of photos of various churches, veterans meetings and parades, Veterans Parks, the 1928 gubernatorial campaign, the Grand Rapids Centennial celebration, street cars, the visit of Commander Richard E. Byrd to the city, the flood of 1926, and photos of other notable individuals who visited the city. The collection also has photos of the first telephone used in Grand Rapids and of the 1924 explosion at the post office. Images dated in the 1930’s, many of which are circa dates, include objects, but also American Legion activities. In 1931 a large number of images of churches were added.

The “bill” dates on most of the photos believed to have originated with Morris are either Aug. 26, 1930, Oct. 27, 1930 or Aug. 9, 1932. The bulk of the photos appear to have been $.30 each, while some items were $.05, $.10, or $.20, at the time of purchase. In some cases, an original photo print is no longer available, but copy photos may be available.

As the photographer, Murch S. Morris, is known to have worked to the Grand Rapids Herald, it might be assumed that these images were used in the newspaper at one time. To date this assumption has not been proved, and no project has been attempted to.
Arrangement A summary of the photo numbers and locations is given first in the “Contents” sections. Following this is a numerical list of the images, including a brief description. The new expanded descriptions will develop in this next section of the finding aid over time. Finally, a subject index to the brief descriptions is given at the end of the finding aid.

Some numbers are missing, and are believed to have been missing from the inventory during 1988 processing. Items found missing in a 1998 inventory or since are indicated by a “missing” note.
Description The brief description given next to the photo number, provides basic subject data, but not full information on the contents of the image. Occasional expanded descriptions incorporating visual and written data from the photos, providing fuller descriptive access to the images are now being added to the “Expanded Descriptions” section. Personal names of identified people found in the collections are currently listed under “People”, plus the inverted form of the name only.

An alphabetical list of the brief subjects is located at the end of the collection.

Dates

  • 1891-1931
  • Majority of material found within 1924 - 1931

Biographical / Historical

Little biographical information is found for Murch S. Morris. He was a staff photographer for the Grand Rapids Herald during the 1920s and early 1930s. Subsequently, he worked as an elevator operator and night watchman in various buildings in Grand Rapids. The copies in the collection were apparently printed by Morris and sold to the public in 1931 (source of this information unknown). An image of Morris, contemporary to this collection, can be found in image #324.

Biographical notes (added 2/9/06) Murch Morris resided in Grand Rapids from 1923 to 1945. (G.R. City Directories, 1921-1947). An article in the Grand Rapids Herald (12/24/33, p. 10) credits him with being a staff photographer for the Herald for 12 years, although the city directory lists his employer for some of these years as The Newspaper Engraving Company. Morris continued to be employed by the Grand Rapids Herald through 1934, after which he is listed variously as an elevator operator at the Pantlind Hotel, timekeeper at the Pantlind, and elevator operator at two other businesses (City Directories).

In the early years, 1923-1927, he lived on Lafayette SE, Burr Oak NE, and Lexington NW. In 1928 he moved to 1352 Mason, a residence he owned and where he continued to reside until 1945 (G.R. City Directories). While living on Lexington he married Madge Peterson (Kent County Marriage Index & City Directory 1926).

Morris was born in Allanakee County in Iowa in 1880 (Social Security Death Index and 1910 Census). In 1910 he was living in Allanakee County with his first wife, Olive E. Lankford Morris, and her parents and siblings. No information was found about what happened to Olive. At some time prior to moving to Michigan, Morris spent some time in Illinois where he was a bugler with the Fifth Illinois. This talent proved to be his "in" with the Herald when he moved to Grand Rapids. He coached the Herald Zouaves in bugling and took photographs of them. One day Ray Barnes took him to see the Herald editor, and he was hired as a photographer (G.R. Herald, 12/24/33).

After Morris' departure from Grand Rapids around 1945, no further information has been found until his death in 1963 in New York (Social Security Death Index).

Extent

0.63 Linear Feet (Two boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Overview

Murch S. Morris (1880-1963) was a photographer for the Grand Rapids Herald. This collection contains over 400 photographs of Grand Rapids (Mich.), believed to have been compiled by Morris. The images date primarily from 1924 to 1931 and concentrate on churches, streetcars, veterans, Veterans Park, the 1928 state gubernatorial campaign, the Grand Rapids Centennial celebration, the flood of 1926 and fires in the Grand Rapids area.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Believed to be library purchases, accession number 00.000

Alphabetical Brief Subject Index

Abie and Sam Radio Show - 284

Ada Covered Bridge - 423

Airmail Delivery of "Herald" - 038

Airplanes - 028, 031, 035, 037, 038, 039,

Airplane Hanger - 088

Airplane. Ford Tri-motor - 028

All Souls Universalist Church - 461

Allendale (Mich.) - 243

American Legion Band - 005, 256

American Legion Billboard - 004

American Legion Delegation - 001, 003

American Legion Parade Float - 193

American Legion. 40 Hommes 8 Chevaux - 002

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel - 382

Ann Street Bridge - 062, 063

Antiques - 016

Auto Refinishing Station - 074

Automobiles - 025, 044

Automobile Service Station - 076, 114

Automobile accident - 154

Bands - 005, 044, 049, 129, 245, 256

Banks - 094, 095, 096, 097

Barbecue - 213

Beer Delivery Truck - 042

Belknap Statue - 250

Berkey and Gay Co. - 045

Bethel Christian Reformed Church - 441

Bethel Reformed Church - 458

Birdhouses - 047

Blacks - 479

Blythfield Country Club Grounds - 057, 057a

Blythfield Country Clubhouse - 058

Blythfield Country Clubhouse. Interior - 058a

Bottling Milk - 463

Boy Scout Band - 049

Boy Scout Campground - 050, 051

Boy Scout Campground. Dedication - 052

Boy Scouts - 055

Boylan Funeral - 056

Brewer House - 288

Bridges - 057, 059, 060, 061a, 062, 063, 064, 066, 068, 069, 423

Bridge. Construction - 061b, 061c, 065, 067

Buggy - 009, 010

Burton Height Christian Reformed Church - 442

Burton Heights Methodist Church - 454

Burton School Playground - 481

Burton Street School- 070

Butterworth Hospital Cornerstone Laying - 318

Butterworth Hospital. Construction - 072

Calvary Baptist Church - 429

Calvary Undenominational Church - 460

Camp Fire Girls - 135

Camp Shawondossee - 050, 051

Campau Square View - 083, 094, 382, 383, 385, 388

Cannon - 018

Captive Whale Exhibit - 412

Cart. Japanese - 012

Central High School - 048, 482

Central High School Pageant - 271

Central High School Veterans Monument - 251

Central Reformed Church - 459

Charles A. Coffin Medal - 376

Cherry Tree - 405

Choir - 180a

Christian Scientist Church - 444

Christmas Dinner at Peninsular Club - 150

Christmas Party - 278

Christmas Seals Sale - 279

Christmas Tree. Veterans Park - 403, 404

Churches - 073, 074, 082, 085, 101, 119, 120, 127, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 436, 437, 438, 439, 440, 441, 442, 443, 444, 445, 446, 447, 448, 449, 450, 451, 452, 453, 454, 455, 456, 457, 458, 459, 460, 461

Churches. Interior - 180, 334, 356, 439

City Clock Tower Works - 285

City Hall (Ionia) - 225

Clam Fishing on Grand River - 462

Clark Home for Aged - 112

Clown - 319

Commercial Drivers Ladies Band - 149

Corn Festival - 248, 249

DeLamarter House - 075

Dear Hunters - 153

Detroit‑Grand Rapids Airline - 031

Dirigible - 032, 034

Dirigible. Cabin - 033

Division Avenue Construction - 389, 390, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395 396, 397, 398, 399

Dog - 176

Drug abuse paraphernalia - 177

Drum Majors - 178

Dust Arrester - 180

East Congregational Church - 446

East Grand Rapids School - 077

Elk's Band - 044

Exhibitor's Building - 081

Exhibitor's Building. Construction - 079, 080

Explosion - 155, 168, 169, 170

Factory - 122, 128

Fires - 113, 165, 166, 167, 172, 173, 174, 175, 464, 464a, 465, 486

Fire Station - 078

Fire Station #4. Interior - 186

Fire Trucks - 183, 184, 185

Fire hoses - 182

Firefighters - 204

Firefighters. Recreation - 186

First Furniture Shipped by Air - 031

First Methodist Episcopal Church - 082, 455

First Traffic Lights in Grand Rapids - 384

Fish - 187, 322

Fishing - 462

Flood. 1926 - 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162

Flowers - 188, 189

Football Game Sideline - 365

Fountain - 254, 276

Fountain Street Church - 430

Franklin Christian Reformed Church - 443

Franklin School Veterans Memorial Fountain - 252

Franklin Street Bridge Construction - 408, 410

Franklin Street View - 409

Fulton Park Fountain - 276

Fulton Street Bridge - 059, 060, 064, 065, 066, 067

Fulton Street Bridge. Construction - 061a, 061b, 061c

Fulton at Lake Drive View - 384

Furniture - 007, 008, 015

Furniture Temple - 084

Furniture Train - 191

G.A.R. Fountain Dedication - 254

G.A.R. Parade - 196, 196a

G.A.R. Parade Floats - 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 205, 206

Galewood Church - 085

Gardens - 192

Gas Plant Explosion - 155

Godfrey House. Razing - 086

Goodyear Blimp - 032, 033, 034

Grace Episcopal Church - 451

Graceland Mausoleum - 087

Grand Rapids Airport - 001, 088

Grand Rapids Centennial Celebration - 137, 138, 139, 139a, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148

Grand Rapids Centennial Coins - 142

Grand Rapids Dairy. Interior - 463

Grand Rapids High School - 125, 126

Grand Rapids Junior College. Nurses Training - 483

Grand Rapids Medical College - 089

Grand Rapids National Bank. Interior - 095

Grand Rapids Public Museum - 090-094

Grand Rapids Savings Bank - 096

Grand Rapids Symphony - 209

Grand Rapids Trust Company Building - 097

Grand Rapids Views - 045, 048, 208

Grand Rapids Warehouse Furniture Co. - 424

Grand River View - 211

Grand Traverse Bay - 212

Grandfather Clock - 014

Great Northern Pike - 187

Griggs Street Evangelical Church - 453

Guidotti Hat Shop - 231

Gunn House - 098

Gypsum Mine - 230a, 360

Handicapped Person - 479

Hardy Dam Construction - 232a, 232b

Harrison House - 134

"Herald" on streetcar - 348

Hong Ying Lo Restaurant. Interior - 233

Horse and Wagon - 234

Hospital - 072

Hotels - 100, 107

Houses - 075, 086, 098, 103, 104, 108, 109, 110, 112, 123, 129, 288

House. Razing - 130, 131, 134

Housing Subdivision - 241

Ice Houses. Razing - 236, 237, 238

Ik's Barbecue Stand - 111

Illegal Alcohol Manufacturing - 247

Inn - 115

Ionia (Mich.) City Hall - 225

"Islander" - 210

Jail - 425

John Ball Park Pavilion - 117

John Ball Park Zoo. Deer - 152

John Ball Statue - 274

Kelloggsville (Mich.) Halfway House - 115

Kent County Jail - 425

Kent County Republican Committee - 240

Kent County Road Commission - 239

Korff Illustration - 242

Lake Drive Baptist Church - 101, 431

Lake Harbor Model - 368

Largest Tire - 402

Lauferski Auto Livery - 076

Leavitt House - 103, 104

Lee School Band - 245

Lexington School Pageant - 270

Liberty Theater - 105

Lilies - 188

Lindbergh Banner - 029

Lions Club Christmas Bell Ringers - 281

Livery Barn - 106

Livingston Hotel (after fire) - 107, 165

Lowe Garden - 192

Lowe House - 108, 109

Lowell (Mich.) Centennial - 416a

Luce House - 110

Lumber Yard - 118

Macatawa (Mich.) fire - 167

Majestic Radio Advertisement - 360

Majestic Theater. Interior - 209

Maple Grove County Facility - 428

Mausoleum - 087

McKay Tower. Construction - 094

McKinley Campaign Umbrella - 136

Mel Trotter Missions - 352

Mens Clothing. Hats - 231

Mertens Hotel - 100

Michigan National Bank - 097

Michigan National Guard - 342, 343

Michigan National Guard. Officers - 337, 338

Model Ships - 369

Monroe Center View - 387

Monument Square Building - 386

Monuments and markers - 251, 252, 254, 258, 259, 260, 261, 262,263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268

Moose Lodge. Women - 411

Morton House Razing - 426

Motorcycle Patrol - 329

Movie Theater - 105

Municipal House for Single Men - 466

Muskegon River View - 269

Newaygo County Aerial Photo - 467

News Vendor - 479

North Park Pavilion (after fire) - 113

Nurse Training Class - 483

Old Christian Reformed Church - 073

Orpheum Theater Fire - 464, 464a

Ottawa Hills School Shop Students - 269a

Ox Cart - 416a

Oxen Yolk - 417a

Parades - 196, 196a, 226, 228, 229, 230, 416a

Parade Floats - 193, 197, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 205, 206, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222

Park Congregational Church - 447

Pear Tree Blossoms - 189

People. Bierce - 286

People. Boltwood - 287

People. Brewer - 288

People. Brown - 289

People. Buffalo Bill's Double - 290

People. Byrd - 030, 040, 291, 292, 293, 294, 036

People. Campau - 296

People. Campbell - 295

People. Carroll - 297, 298

People. Diekema - 300

People. Dumond - 179

People. Durant - 301

People. Emery - 302

People. Fifield - 303

People. Francklyn - 357

People. Getz - 304, 340, 341

People. Gold - 305

People. Green - 306, 473

People. Greenway - 307

People. Groups - 036, 179, 190, 244, 299, 338, 340, 341, 352, 414, 416, 471

People. Guest - 309

People. Guidotti - 474

People. Hall - 310

People. Happy Jack - 232

People. Hart - 311

People. Hawk - 312

People. Hill - 313

People. Houdini - 315

People. Karel - 317

People. Kerrigan - 307

People. Lavardo - 319

People. Leenhouts - 475

People. Locke - 325

People. McClung - 477

People. McGinn - 322

People. Ministers - 308

People. Morris - 324

People. Neumann - 326

People. Palmer - 327

People. Pantlind - 001, 328

People. Ranck - 330-1

People. Retan - 332

People. Rickenbacher - 036, 030

People. Roden - 331

People. Rogers - 333

People. Sargeant - 334, 335

People. Schmidt - 336

People. School Children - 476

People. Schouten - 337

People. Seidel - 339, 478

People. Smith - 479, 190, 341

People. Soldiers - 314

People. Stewart - 342, 343

People. Sunday - 344

People. Swarthout - 345

People. Thurston – 316, 347

People. Tracy - 349, 350

People. Trotter - 352

People. Uncle Jerry - 311

People. Veterans - 195, 204, 207, 346

People. Viergever - 353

People. Walsh - 001

People. Waters - 036

People. Welsh - 001

People. Whittenmore - 334

People. Winsor - 355

People. Wishart - 357

People. Wurzburg - 358

People. Yong - 359

Plymouth Congregational Church - 448

Police Cadets - 283

Police Headquarters. Radio Communication - 472

Polish Veterans Monument - 263

Political Campaign - 214

Political Campaign Parade - 215, 216, 217 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 226, 227, 228, 229, 230

Radio - 360, 472

Radio Station WASH - 311

Radio Station WOOD - 284

Railroad Signal Tower. W. Bridge Street - 361

"Ramona" - 370

Ramona Park Railroad - 362

Red Scare - 168, 169, 170, 313, 314

Riverside Lumber Co. - 118

Road Construction - 389, 390, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 406, 407

Road building Machinery - 366

Rowe Hotel Dining Room. Interior - 235

Ryerson Gift Acknowledgment - 364

Sacred Heart Church - 434

Safe Combination Works - 046

Sailing - 363

Santa Claus Girls - 280

Schools - 070, 077

Scribner Avenue Baptist Church - 432

Seaplane - 026

Second Christian Scientist Church - 445

Second Congregational Church - 450

Second Methodist‑Episcopal Church - 456

Sheriff's Department Motorcycle Patrol - 329

Ships - 210, 370

Shipwreck debris - 171

Sigsbee School Shadow Picture - 272, 273

Smith Memorial Congregational Church - 449

Snow Plow - 381

Soldiers and Sailors Monument - 265

South High School Athletic Field - 484

Spanish‑American War Marker - 258

Spanish‑American War Marker Boulder - 262, 266

Spanish‑American War Statue - 267

"Spirit of St. Louis" - 039, 027

Split Rail Fence - 418

St. Adalbert's Church - 119

St. Adelbert’s … See St. Adalbert’s

St. Alphonus Church. Interior - 439

St. Andrew's Church - 435

St. Francis Xavier Church - 436

St. George's Church - 120

St. Isidore's Church - 437

St. James Church - 438

St. Marks Episcopal Church - 048, 452

St. Marks Veterans Marker - 264

St. Mary's Church - 440

Stagecoach - 011, 419

Stained Glass Window - 024

Star Transfer fire - 172, 173

Statue - 246, 250, 267, 274, 485

Statue. Belknap, Capt. - 485

Stickley Brothers Co. - 122

Stolen Articles at Police Station - 371

Storm damage - 163

Streetcars - 374, 491, 492, 493

Streetcar. "Campfire Girls" Dedication - 377

Streetcar. "Col. Charles Lindbergh" - 372, 490

Streetcar. "George W. Thayer" - 375

Streetcar. Entrance - 487

Streetcar. First - 378, 379

Streetcar. Interior - 348, 488, 489, 494

Streetcar. Tailor's Car - 380

Streetcars. Burning - 486

Streetcars. Models - 495

Strongheart - 176

Sugaring. Boiling the sap - 468

Sugaring. Collecting the sap - 469

Sugaring. Tapping the trees - 470

Sunflower - 400, 401

Symphony - 209

Table - 020

Telephone - 358, 472

Telephone Pole Setting Truck - 480

Telephone. First Call in Grand Rapids - 475

Thanksgiving Baskets - 277

Theater - 105

Thomson's Jewelry Store - 496

Traffic Lights - 384

Train - 191, 362, 409

Trinity Methodist‑Episcopal Church - 127, 457

Trucks - 042, 151, 480

United States Post Office explosion - 168, 169, 170

Veterans - 002

Veterans Memorials - 251, 252, 254, 258

Veterans Park - 255, 259, 261, 268, 403, 404, 479

Veterans Park Construction - 260

Veterans Park Dedication - 253, 257

Veterans. Polar Bears - 037

Volleyball - 186

"W.H. Barrett" - 019

W.R.C. Convention - 194

WASH Radio - 311

WOOD Radio - 284

Waddell Manufacturing Co. - 128

Wagon - 013

Washington Street Explosion - 465

Water main construction across Grand River - 417

Waters House - 129

Watson Building - 132

Watson House - 130, 131

Wealthy Street Baptist Church - 433

Wealthy Street Bridge - 068, 069

Welsh Auditorium Construction - 420, 422

West Michigan Fair. Grandstand - 497

West Michigan Fairgrounds - 367

West Side Ladies Literary House - 133

Winegar's Fire - 174, 175

Winegar's Fire Sale - 413

Wooden Indians - 021, 021a, 022, 023

YMCA - 427

York Motor Co. – 114
Title
Finding aid for the Morris photo collection
Status
Completed
Date
March 1988
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Grand Rapids History and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
111 Library Street NE
Grand Rapids Michigan 49503 USA