James Henry Morgan (1857-1939)

Portrait of James Henry Morgan

James Henry Morgan was born on a farm near Concord in southern Delaware on January 21, 1857. He prepared at Rugby Academy and entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in September 1874 as one of a freshman class of sixteen students. He elected to take the Scientific Course, became a leading debater with the Union Philosophical Society, and sat on the editorial board of the Dickinsonian. He won the Pierson Gold Medal for Oratory as a junior and gave the Latin Salutory at his commencement in 1878.

Following graduation, he taught at the Pennington School and at his old school of Rugby, before being named in 1882 to head the Dickinson Preparatory School. Soon after, he joined the faculty as an adjunct professor of Greek. He was librarian from 1893 to 1900, consolidating the three College collections into Bosler Hall. In 1890 he was promoted to full professor and also married Mary Curran, an alumna of 1888. He received an honorary doctorate from Bucknell in 1892 and entered the Methodist ministry in 1895. Beginning in 1903 he was the dean of the College under Presidents George Reed and Eugene Noble.

On Noble's resignation in 1914, Morgan became acting president and, in 1915, president of the College. After fourteen years he retired in 1928 and wrote a history of the College. Twice in subsequent years he was recalled to serve as temporary head of the institution, first in 1931 on the sudden death of Mervin Filler and then following the resignation of Karl Waugh in 1933. He also served a four year term on the Board of Trustees.

James Henry Morgan died in the Carlisle Hospital on October 17, 1939 at the age of 82, leaving three surviving children and five grandchildren. Morgan Hall is named in his honor.

Author of Post: 
Dickinson College Archives
Date of Post: 
Alumnus/Alumna Class Year: 
Faculty - Years of Service: 
President - Years of Service: 
1914-1928; 1931-1932; Acting, 1933-1934
Trustee - Years of Service: