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Neil Morgan Papers
MSS 0038  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Creator: Morgan, Neil Bowen, 1924-
    Title: Neil Morgan Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1941-2004
    Extent: 41.90 linear feet (21 records cartons, 29 archive boxes, 4 card file boxes, and 6 oversize folders)
    Abstract: Papers of Neil Morgan, prominent San Diego columnist, writer, editor, and civic commentator, who is best known for his column "Neil Morgan" that appeared in the SAN DIEGO EVENING TRIBUNE (1961-1992) and the SAN DIEGO UNION (1992-2004). Morgan was the associate editor (1977-1981) and chief editor (1981-1992) of the SAN DIEGO EVENING TRIBUNE and the associate editor (1992-2004) and senior columnist (1992-2004) of the SAN DIEGO UNION. He is the author of numerous books and magazine articles promoting San Diego and has written extensively on the culture and development of the contemporary American West. The papers contain scrapbooks of pasted-in clippings of Morgan's columns, travel articles, magazine articles, and reviews of his books; subject files for recent columns (1993-2004); typescripts for media projects, including early 1950s radio scripts; editorial memorabilia from his career in journalism; miscellaneous typescript drafts of columns and articles; drafts and notes for speeches and lectures; audio and videorecordings; and miscellaneous awards. Also included are programs and flyers from the Bohemian Grove Club and a small collection of Raymond Chandler correspondence and miscellany. The papers are arranged in sixteen series: 1) SCRAPBOOKS, 2) SUBJECT FILES, 3) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 4) MEDIA PROJECTS, 5) RAYMOND CHANDLER MATERIALS, 6) BOHEMIAN GROVE CLUB MATERIALS, 7) EDITORIAL MATERIALS, 8) COLUMN DRAFTS AND SPECIAL PROJECTS, 9) BOOKS, 10) MAGAZINE ARTICLES, 11) SPEECHES AND LECTURES, 12) AUDIO RECORDINGS, 13) VIDEO RECORDINGS, 14) AWARDS, 15) RICHARD NIXON, and 16) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
    Repository: University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
    La Jolla, California 92093-0175
    Collection number: MSS 0038
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English


    Collection is open for research

    Acquisition Information

    Not Available

    Preferred Citation

    Neil Morgan Papers, MSS 0038. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.


    Neil Bowen Morgan was born in Smithfield, North Carolina, in 1924. He attended Wake Forest University where he edited the student magazine THE STUDENT. During his junior and senior years he worked as the assistant state news editor for the RALEIGH NEWS AND OBSERVER. Morgan graduated in 1943, at the age of 19, and was called up for military service into the Naval Air Corps training program in September 1944. He entered the U.S. Navy's three-month ensign school at Coral Gables, Florida, and was sent to the Western Pacific Command. He came to San Diego when the war ended, finished his military service at the Camp Kearny Naval Auxiliary Air Station, now Miramar, and was released from duty on March 15, 1946.
    The next day Morgan took a job as a reporter for the SAN DIEGO DAILY JOURNAL which ran his first local article on June 15, 1946. He became the JOURNAL's music and drama editor and started a daily column in 1947 called "Air Fare" which was written under the pseudonym Terry Nolan until July 1, 1948, when it was credited to him. In this column, Morgan reviewed the radio scene, commented on entertainment industry personalities and their activities, and suggested interesting nightly radio programming. In April 1947, he started a column called "Crosstown: It Happened in San Diego" which he later complemented with an evening radio broadcast on KFMB titled "Crosstown Column of the Air." Morgan also reviewed regional cultural performances and events in a column entitled "From Our Seat" and critiqued long-playing records in his column "Record Review." On May 27, 1950, the Union Tribune Publishing Company purchased the JOURNAL and began publishing "Crosstown with Neil Morgan" in the SAN DIEGO EVENING TRIBUNE on June 12, 1950. The last "Crosstown with Neil Morgan" column was published on August 17, 1961, and the first "Neil Morgan" byline followed the next day.
    In 1951, Morgan published MY SAN DIEGO, the first of a number of narrative guides that described and promoted the city's people and lifestyle in a collection of vignettes of longer than column length. Subsequent monographs included MY SAN DIEGO, 1960; NEIL MORGAN'S SAN DIEGO (c1963); SAN DIEGO: THE UNCONVENTIONAL CITY (1972); and SAN DIEGO: WHERE CALIFORNIA BEGAN...AND LIVES (1957), published by the San Diego Convention and Tourist Bureau.
    During the 1960s, Morgan broadened his research and writing interests to include the postwar American West and wrote a weekly, syndicated column titled "Neil Morgan: Assignment West." He also travelled in the western states and conducted numerous interviews for his three subsequent books WESTWARD TILT: THE AMERICAN WEST TODAY (1963), THE PACIFIC STATES: CALIFORNIA, OREGON, WASHINGTON (1967), and THE CALIFORNIA SYNDROME (1969).
    Morgan travelled extensively and regularly wrote articles for ESQUIRE, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING TRAVEL GUIDE, HOLIDAY, SATURDAY REVIEW, CARTE BLANCHE MAGAZINE, and WESTWAYS, as well as the inflight airline magazines MAINLINER and WESTERN'S WORLD. He covered the horseracing scene at Tijuana's Caliente Racetrack in a column entitled "Neil Morgan Writes About Caliente," published in THE NEW YORKER (March 1955-September 1956) and later in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (March 1957-February 1959).
    At the SAN DIEGO EVENING TRIBUNE, Morgan was associate editor (1977-1981) and chief editor (1981-1992). During his leadership, the editorial staff received two Pulitzer Prizes (1979 and 1987). After the merger of the EVENING TRIBUNE and the SAN DIEGO UNION in 1992, Morgan served as senior columnist and associate editor until March 2004.
    Neil Morgan is currently a director of "Voice of San Diego," an online news and information website in San Diego.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The NEIL MORGAN PAPERS document the journalistic and literary career of a prominent San Diego newspaper columnist, editor, author, and civic commentator. Morgan was well-known for his daily column "Neil Morgan." Since the end of World War II, Morgan has commented through his columns, magazine articles, and books on San Diego's people, their lifestyle, and their history. The papers include clipping scrapbooks of Morgan's newspaper columns and feature stories; his magazine articles, especially travel articles; writings about Morgan; and reviews of his books. Included are subject files, biographical materials, files related to radio and television projects; editorial materials; miscellaneous typescript drafts for his columns, articles, and books; speeches and lecture notes and drafts; awards; and videorecordings. Also included are programs, correspondence, and keepsakes from his membership in the Bohemian Grove Club and a small collection of letters from Raymond Chandler, a neighbor and friend.
    The SCRAPBOOKS series contains bound scrapbooks (1941-2003) that collect Morgan's columns, feature stories, magazine articles, and memorabilia. The series is arranged in three subseries: A) Newspaper Columns, B) Magazine Articles, and C) Reviews of Books by Morgan.
    A) The Newspaper Columns subseries, Scrapbooks #1-#45, spans Morgan's earliest work for the RALEIGH NEWS AND OBSERVER in 1941 to his column "Neil Morgan" for the SAN DIEGO UNION. Columns represented in the scrapbooks include "Crosstown: It Happened in San Diego," "From Our Seat," "Air Fare," "Record Reviews," "Crosstown with Neil Morgan," "Neil Morgan: Crosstown," "Neil Morgan's Assignment West," and "Neil Morgan." Also included are travel articles for Sunday editions and special features.
    B) The Magazine Articles (1955-1989) subseries, Scrapbooks #46-#51, is arranged chronologically, and a selected bibliography of included articles begins the first four scrapbooks. Most of the articles are travel related or focus on the merits of San Diego. In addition to his own travel writing, Morgan also co-authored several articles with his wife, Judith Morgan, and published in magazines such as NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE, HARPER'S, and THE NEW YORKER. Included in this subseries (Scrapbooks 46-51) is Morgan's interview with Richard Nixon for ESQUIRE magazine (February 1962).
    C) The Reviews of Books By Morgan subseries, Scrapbooks #52-#55, contains newspaper clippings of reviews of MY SAN DIEGO (1959), WESTWARD TILT (1963), NEIL MORGAN'S SAN DIEGO (1963), THE CALIFORNIA SYNDROME (1967), and SAN DIEGO: THE UNCONVENTIONAL CITY (1972).
    The SUBJECT FILES series represents source materials Neil Morgan utilized for editorial writing and includes brochures, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and handwritten notes. While the first subseries contains miscellaneous dated files, the bulk of the subject files (1993-2004) date from the merger of the SAN DIEGO EVENING TRIBUNE and the SAN DIEGO UNION. The subseries are arranged chronologically in: A) Miscellaneous, B) 1993, C) 1994, D) 1995, E) 1996, F) 1997, G) 1998, H) 1999, I) 2000, J) 2001, K) 2002, L) 2003, M) 2004, and N) Undated.
    Included in the BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS series are photographs of Neil and Judith Morgan, as well as biographical sketches and other memorabilia.
    The MEDIA PROJECTS series is arranged in three subseries: A) KSDJ Radio Scripts, B) KFMB Radio Scripts, and C) NEIL MORGAN'S SAN DIEGO. The KSDJ, the San Diego Daily Journal station, and KFMB Radio scripts contain typescripts of the "Crosstown Column of the Air" which Morgan broadcast from the bar of Valle's Restaurant at 5th and Kalmia in San Diego. The series also contains correspondence, typescript drafts, and interview transcripts for the KCST-TV television broadcast special of NEIL MORGAN'S SAN DIEGO project in 1978.
    Neil Morgan was a friend of author Raymond Chandler's and corresponded with him between 1955-1957, while the writer resided in La Jolla and visited London. The RAYMOND CHANDLER MATERIALS series contain's Morgan's collection of letters from Chandler, Helga Greene (Chandler's literary agent), two short story typescripts by Chandler, and correspondence with various literary appraisers regarding the letters. Also included are materials related to the organization of a local Raymond Chandler literary festival, related correspondence, and a file containing biographical articles about Chandler.
    Neil Morgan became a member of the Bohemian Grove Club in 1983 on the recommendation of Walter Cronkite. The Bohemian Grove Club is a recreational members-only association established in 1872 for "gentlemen connected professionally with literature, art, music, and drama." The materials are arranged chronologically and include administrative and personal correspondence, member rosters, newsletters, theater playbills, event programs, maps of the campsite, and photographs.
    The EDITORIAL MATERIALS series largely contains correspondence, memoranda, and memorabilia related to Morgan's various promotions, programs he developed, such as monthly Roundtable Luncheons, and important events. The series is arranged in five subseries: A) SAN DIEGO EVENING TRIBUNE / UNION Merger Materials, B) Interoffice Correspondence, C) Promotion to Editor - EVENING TRIBUNE, D) Roundtable Luncheons, and E) Pulitzer Prize - EVENING TRIBUNE.
    A) After the merge of the newspapers in 1992, Neil Morgan became senior columnist and associate editor of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. The Merger Materials subseries contains correspondence concerning staff changes, announcements, related newspaper clippings, and photographs of Neil Morgan and the editorial staff of the SAN DIEGO EVENING TRIBUNE.
    B) The Interoffice Correspondence subseries is mainly administrative memos and internal communication notes from 1985-1996.
    C) In 1983, Neil Morgan was promoted to editor of the SAN DIEGO EVENING TRIBUNE replacing Fred Kinne (editor, 1971-1983). This subseries contains three folders of correspondence related to Morgan's promotion to the position of editor.
    D) The Round Table Luncheons were established in 1983 to facilitate the interaction of editors and reporters and members of the community for discussion. For his accomplishments, Neil Morgan won the Ring of Truth Award for Individual Enterprise Benefiting a Copley Newspaper. The materials are arranged chronologically by date of luncheon and contains agenda, lists of guest speakers, short introductions of guest speakers, biographical information, transcripts of discussions, articles about the Round Tables, thank-you letters from attendees and a few recorded audio cassette tapes of the sessions.
    E) The Pulitzer Prize Materials subseries contains a correspondence file related to Neil Morgan's selection as a juror for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in Journalism. Also included are materials related to SAN DIEGO EVENING TRIBUNE writer Jonathan Freedman's editorial series on immigration reform which won the prize in 1987 and includes congratulation letters, newspaper clippings, and photographs.
    The COLUMN DRAFTS AND SPECIAL PROJECTS series contains typescript drafts for selected published columns and articles not included in Morgan's scrapbooks, as well as files for special projects. The series is arranged in two subseries: A) Typescripts and B) Special Projects.
    A) While the scrapbooks located in Series 1A reflect Neil Morgan's extensive journalism career, this series includes additional newspaper clippings, some dated as early as 1952. The typescripts subseries includes clippings not included in the scrapbooks, as well as typescripts for articles written for the SAN DIEGO UNION and SAN DIEGO EVENING TRIBUNE, photographs taken by Neil Morgan accompanying the typescripts, and miscellaneous travel articles written by Judith Morgan.
    B) The Special Projects subseries includes writing and editing projects with which Neil Morgan was involved, in addition to daily journalism duties. The collection includes a partial manuscript written by Neil Morgan from an idea script from Raymond Chandler, brochures, and material related to the "Faces of San Diego" video supplementing the editorial series. Also included are correspondence materials for the Dr. Seuss Anti-Drug Poster printed for the SAN DIEGO EVENING TRIBUNE in 1989.
    The BOOKS series comprises eight subseries of writings Neil Morgan authored between 1963-1997, but it is not comprehensive of his entire published works. The series is arranged in eight subseries: A) NEIL MORGAN'S SAN DIEGO (1963), B) WESTWARD TILT (1963), C) PACIFIC STATES (1967), D) CALIFORNIA SYNDROME (1969), E) SAN DIEGO: THE UNCONVENTIONAL CITY (1972), F) ABOVE SAN DIEGO (1990), G) ROGER: A BIOGRAPHY OF ROGER REVELLE, and H) Miscellaneous.
    The materials represented are typescript drafts, galley proofs, plate proofs, correspondence, draft revisions, source material, notes, and book reviews.
    Aside from the magazine clippings included in the scrapbooks in Series 1B, the MAGAZINE ARTICLES series contains notes, typescript drafts and research materials for several magazine articles. The series is arranged in two subseries: A) Miscellaneous and B) NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.
    A) The Miscellaneous subseries contains typed notecards, typescript drafts, and a few copies of articles for various journals including GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, HOLIDAY, SEMINAR, and WESTWAYS. Notecards for the ESQUIRE magazine interview with Richard Nixon are also included in the subseries.
    B) The article entitled "San Diego-Where Two Californias Meet" was published in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC in 1989. Morgan has published articles in nine other issues of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC between 1976-1989. The subseries contains correspondence, preliminary drafts, page proofs, photographs, reviews, and research source material.
    The SPEECHES AND LECTURES series contains typescripts and notecards containing formal and informal speeches given between 1988-2003. There are also several folders containing incomplete sets of speeches; undated and untitled typescripts; and notecards.
    The AUDIO RECORDINGS series contains audiocassette and reel-to-reel recordings arranged in three subseries: A) Associated with Neil Morgan, B) Collected by Morgan, and C) Interviews by Neil Morgan.
    A) The first subseries, arranged chronologically, contains audiocassettes that feature Neil Morgan as a panelist for the American Society of Newspaper Editors, on-air radio interviews, as an announcer for SAN DIEGO EVENING TRIBUNE radio advertisements, and an audio copy of the "Faces of San Diego" Neil Morgan narration.
    B) Neil Morgan also collected several audiocassettes related to and advertising the SAN DIEGO EVENING TRIBUNE in the form of news spots and radio jingles.
    C) The Interviews by Morgan subseries, arranged alphabetically, contains audiocassettes of interviews conducted by Neil Morgan.
    The VIDEO RECORDINGS series contains videocassette and reel-to-reel recordings arranged in two subseries: A) Associated with Neil Morgan and B) Collected by Neil Morgan.
    A) The first subseries comprises of Neil Morgan as an interviewee on the KPBS "Conversations with Gloria Penner", as a narrator for the "San Diego: Our Historic City" and the "Faces of San Diego" documentary. The "Portraits of San Diego" contains a portrait video still of Neil Morgan by photographer Antony di Gesu.
    B) Neil Morgan collected a few videos of recorded local news stories that were done in partnership with stories featured in the SAN DIEGO EVENING TRIBUNE newspaper. Also in the collection is a copy of "San Diego: All in a Day's Work" produced for a San Diego Historical Society's photography exhibition.
    Included in the AWARDS series are correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia related to recognitions Neil Morgan has received from 1983-1999 including the Ring of Truth Award (1983), Fourth State Award (1988), American Jewish Committee Institute of Human Relations (1990), and Mr. San Diego (1999).
    The RICHARD NIXON series contains two letters from President Richard Nixon dated 1969-1970 concerning the ESQUIRE article.
    The ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES contains the originals of brittle or high acid content documents that have been photocopied.

    Indexing Terms

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


    Morgan, Neil Bowen, 1924- -- Archives
    West (U.S.) -- Civilization
    West (U.S.) -- Description and travel
    San Diego (Calif.) -- Description and travel


    Morgan, Neil Bowen, 1924- -- Westward tilt
    Morgan, Neil Bowen, 1924- -- California syndrome
    Morgan, Neil Bowen, 1924- -- San Diego, the unconventional city