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Finding Aid for the Donald R. Morris papers, 1941-2002
1806  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Donald R. Morris papers
    Date (inclusive): 1941-2002
    Collection number: 1806
    Creator: Morris, Donald R.
    Extent: 48 boxes (24 linear feet)
    Abstract: Donald R. Morris (1924-2002) was best known for authoring The Washing of the Spears: The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Nation (1965), a history on the Anglo-Zulu War. He also wrote two novels, China Station (1951) and Warm Bodies (1957), and a number of articles for publication in various periodicals. His spent his career in the Navy, the CIA, and, after retirement, as a news analyst for the Houston Post (1972-1989) and later, the Donald R. Morris Newsletter (1989-2002). The collection contains material from his naval career as well as his writing career and includes manuscripts, research correspondence, newspaper columns, letters and papers from readers of his works, book reviews and bound volumes of his published works.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Sarah P. Morris, 2008 March 18.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Phoebe Musandu in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Kelley Wolfe Bachli, Summer 2008.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Donald R. Morris papers (Collection 1806). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6156068 

    Biography

    Donald R. Morris (1924-2002) was best known for authoring The Washing of the Spears: The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Nation (1965), a history on the Anglo-Zulu War. He wrote two novels, China Station (1951) and Warm Bodies (1957), and a number of articles for publication in various periodicals. His spent his career in the Navy, the CIA, and, after retirement, as a journalist for the Houston Post.
    Morris was born in 1924 and raised in New York City. He graduated from Horace Mann, spent three semesters at the University of Michigan (majoring in Naval Architecture and Chinese) and enlisted in the Navy in 1942. He entered the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis in 1944 and graduated in 1948 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering.
    He served on three destroyers and an LST, and worked on the Victory at Sea television series. After Naval Intelligence School and Russian language training, he was detailed to the C.I.A. in 1956. He resigned his regular commission in 1960, remaining with the C.I.A. and continuing in the Naval Reserve until 1972, retiring as a Lieutenant Commander. He earned two battle stars in Korea and holds the Navy Commendation medal and a South Vietnamese decoration for psychological warfare.
    Morris served with the C.I.A. until 1972, retiring with a total of 30 years government service. His 17 years with the C.I.A. were spent almost entirely in Soviet counterespionage operations, with 11 years overseas. He was stationed in Berlin from 1958 to 1962, in Paris from 1965 to 1967, in Kinshasa from 1969 to 1970 and spent the last two years of his service in Vietnam with MACV/SOG.
    Donald Morris started to write for publication while at the Naval Academy and continued to do so for the rest of his life. His two novels, though works of fiction, were partly inspired by his general life and naval experiences. Warm Bodies was a Reader's Digest Book Club selection and was also adapted into a motion picture titled All Hands on Deck. However, he is better known for his book The Washing of the Spears that was first published in 1965 and reissued several times. Morris also wrote a number of articles for publication in various periodicals.
    He developed a career in journalism after retiring from government service. He was a news analyst for The Houston Post from 1972 to 1989, writing an op-ed column on national and foreign affairs four times a week. In 1989, he established The Trident Syndicate which published the Donald R. Morris Newsletter that continued his four weekly columns of news analysis. Morris also gave lectures on national and foreign affairs in addition to teaching writing and African history courses at some universities in Texas.
    Throughout his life, he remained interested in African, particularly South African current affairs. He wrote a considerable number of columns with his take on South African and African politics particularly in the The Houston Post, visited South Africa several times and worked as an election observer in Lesotho (1993) and South Africa (1994).
    Donald Morris died on 4 December 2002.

    Scope and Content

    The Donald R. Morris Papers contain material from his naval career as well as his writing career and includes manuscripts, research correspondence, newspaper columns, letters and papers from readers of his works, book reviews and bound volumes of his published works.
    The collection begins with documents and photographs relating to his life as a student at the United States Naval Academy such as class registers, manuals, class work, family correspondence, navy correspondence and papers. These documents offer one a glimpse at Donald Morris as a person, his experiences as a midshipman in the Naval Academy of the forties and later in active military service as well as his thoughts on the navy as a career. Class work but more so letters to his family enable one to see his development as a writer and some of the experiences that later inspired his writing. Similarly, his training and work experience between 1956 and 1972 provides a contextualizing platform of sorts for his journalistic career after 1972.
    The collection has a considerable number of papers arising from Morris's writing and journalistic career. They include numerous manuscripts and drafts of various published and unpublished articles, published works, research notes, research correspondence and some primary sources employed in the writing of The Washing of the Spears, correspondence with literary agents and publishers, legal documents relating to the publication of his works, book reviews, Houston Post cuttings, copies of the Donald R. Morris Newsletter, itineraries and some literature on African politico-economics. This material viewed in the context of his navy papers and the available material on his naval reserve career phase, offers the researcher the opportunity to see not only some of the experiences and literature that went towards informing Morris's writing process but also the writing process itself from its nascent stages to completion as he experienced it.
    The Donald R. Morris collection also has a limited number of papers relating to his family and a section dedicated to his other interests. They include artwork (sketches), poetry, aviation and items he collected as part of his interest in the First World War including a number of military manuals that belonged to Laurence T. Stallings Jr., the father of Morris's first wife Sylvia Poteat Stallings, World War I veteran, literary critic, screenwriter, novelist, photographer (among other things) best known for his book against war; The First World War: A Photographic History.

    Organization and Arrangement

    The collection is organized into the following series and sub-series:
    • 1. Navy (1940s-1972)
      • 1.1 Naval Academy
      • 1.2 Letters to Family and Relatives
      • 1.3 United States Navy and Naval Reserve
    • 2. Writing (1948-1998)
      • 2.1 Trident and Naval Academy
      • 2.2 Articles in Journals
      • 2.3 Manuscripts and Correspondence: Short writing
      • 2.4 Manuscripts: Unpublished Book Projects
      • 2.5 China Station
      • 2.6 Warm Bodies
      • 2.7 The Washing of the Spears (TWOTS)
      • 2.8 Correspondence with Publishers and Literary Agents
      • 2.9 Bound Volumes of Morris Publications
    • 3. Journalism (1972-2002)
      • 3.1 Houston Post
      • 3.2 Donald R. Morris Newsletter
    • 4. Teaching and Speaking Engagements (1977-1995)
    • 5. Election Observer Missions to Africa (1993-1994)
      • 5.1 Lesotho Election Observer Mission
      • 5.2 South Africa Election Observer Mission
    • 6. African Politico-economic Literature and Correspondence (1975-2001)
      • 6.1 South Africa: Political Correspondence and Papers
      • 6.2 South Africa: Political Literature
      • 6.3 Africa: Political and Economic Literature
    • 7. Family and Personal Papers (1945-2002)
      • 7.1 Alumnae and Membership
      • 7.2 Correspondence/Papers from friends and acquaintances
      • 7.3 Family
      • 7.4 Other interests
      • 7.5 Personal papers

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Morris, Donald R. --Archives.
    Africanists --United States --Archival resources.
    Journalists --United States --Archival resources.
    Intelligence officers --United States --Archival resources.