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Douglas O. Morgan

Douglas O. Morgan died peacefully in his home on the morning of December 10th. He was a pioneering printer and publisher of some of the seminal photographers of the 20th Century, as well as a compiler of the countrys largest wood-type collection, whose playful and free-form spirit served as inspiration for the graphic design revolution of the 1960s. The cause of death was heart failure. He was 75 years old. Mr. Morgan began a career in printing and publishing as a child during WWII when he and his brother, Lloyd Morgan, hand set type and published The Fresh Egg, a small magazine distributed along with eggs from their chickens to neighbors in Scarsdale, New York. Along with their own stories about chickens, rabbits and fixing cars, the young brothers solicited articles from relatives and friends living abroad that vividly describe a war ravaged Europe. Mr. Morgan earned a B.S. Degree in Economics from Colorado College in 1954 and pursued graduate work in Printing Management at Carnegie Mellon in 1956. He spent two years in the military serving as a First Lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers culminating in a leadership assignment at the Fort Belvoir printing center where he was in charge of map-making. Despite his short stint, throughout his life he fondly recalled his Army days. Returning to New York in 1958, he and his brother established Morgan Press Inc. Printers and Typographers, in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. The Morgan Press Type Collection, amassed by Douglas and Lloyd and their Father, is the largest collection of 19th century wood type in the United States. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Douglas Morgan and Morgan Press developed a relationship with Pushpin Studios in New York. Pushpin and its founding members Milton Glaser, Seymour Chwast and John Alcorn sought to challenge the assumptions of modernism. The ornate wood type in the Morgan collection became a distinct element of the Pushpin style, according to Milton Glaser. The illustrator and designer John Alcorn, in particular, gravitated to the lively wood type as a complement to his designs of the 1960s. Alcorn and Morgan would form a relationship that lasted until Alcorns death in 1992. The Morgan collection, which also includes foundry type, along with printers cuts, ornaments, rules, and dingbats, is now housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, The Hall of Printing and Graphic Arts. Printing, photography, art and design were the life blood of the family. His mother, Barbara Morgan, was a pioneering artist who photographed Martha Graham, including the signature photograph Letter to the World, and numerous other dancers including Eric Hawkins, Jose Limon, Doris Humphrey, and Merce Cunningham. His father Willard Morgan was the first picture editor for Life Magazine, as well as the first Director of the Department of Photography at MOMA, and founder of Morgan & Morgan, Inc. (initially Morgan and Lester) publishers of photographic literature. Among the titles were the first Leica Manual, Ansel Adams Basic Photo Series and the Photo Lab Index. When Willard Morgan died in 1967, Douglas Morgan assumed management of Morgan and Morgan. He went on to publish many more books including a ground-breaking Monograph Series, with each book devoted to a comprehensive presentation of an eminent photographers work. The series included William H. Jackson, Andreas Feininger, Ansel Adams, Barbara Morgan, Wynn Bullock, James Van Der Zee and others. They were printed by Morgan Press with the innovative quadradot lithography process they developed for the printing of high quality black and white images. Douglas Morgan also published many other books that became classics in the field of photography such as The Keepers of Light, How to shoot a Movie Story, The Color Primer 1 & 2, and others. Mr. Morgan had a lifelong love of horses and the Adirondack mountains, an association that began as a child when he went to Camp Treetops in Lake Placid, and a passion for stoking the fire with wood he collected from the forest. For the last few years of his life, Douglas Morgan lived in the Adirondacks, in the town of Keene Valley and later Essex. He is survived by his wife Ruth Morgan; his brother Lloyd Morgan; six children (Jennifer Morgan, Seth Morgan, Lael Morgan, Eric Morgan, and Adele Morgan from his first marriage to Maureen Morgan, and Willard Morgan from his marriage to Liliane Morgan); and nine grandchildren. A Memorial Celebration honoring Douglas Morgan will take place at the Keene Valley Congregational Church on December 28th at 4:00 p.m. For information, you may email jmmorgan@verizon.net . In lieu of flowers, his widow wishes that contributions be made in Mr. Morgan's name to the Westport Bible Church for the African mission trip of Forrest and Bev Spaulding to take place in February 2008. For online condolences go to www.wmmarvins.com

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