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Jack Morton papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS2044

Collection Scope and Content

The Jack Morton Papers consists of four series of materials. The materials cover the period from the 1938-93, with the bulk of these raniging in date from 1983-90. The collection relates to the history of Jack Morton Productions, a business entertainment and meeting production company, and to the life of its founder, Jack Morton.

In the first series of the collection are drafts, correspondence, photographs, and other items relating to the publication of Morton's autobiography, "The Jack Morton (Who's He?) Story" and other articles and pamphlets. The second series of the collection contains materials related to the history of Jack Morton Productions, Morton's company. Included here are materials such as correspondence, company brochures, programs of events, entertainment booking guides and client lists, clippings, in-house company publications, and company advertising. The most serious limitation of this part of the collection is that there are no complete sets of materials. While the items contained in this series will give the user some idea of the range of events produced by the company, there is not enough material to give a broad understanding of the company's development and influence on the entertainment world.

There are two small series at the end of the collection. In the first series are videotapes of a Morton interview and his remarks at a JMP meeting. The second series is a miscellaneous group of materials that did not fit elsewhere in the collection.

Dates

  • 1938-1993

Creator

Restrictions on Access

Some records may be restricted.

Restrictions on Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical Note

Jack Morton (1910-2004) was an event marketing pioneer who founded Jack Morton Productions in 1939 in Washington, DC. The agency has grown to become Jack Morton Worldwide (www.jackmorton.com).

Morton born on June 6, 1910, in Newport, North Carolina, the fifth child of Irvin Leonidas Morton and Gertrude Riggs Morton. Named Irvin Leonidas Morton, Jr., he was called I.L. for much of his childhood, but picked up the nickname Jack as a young man. For the first six years of his life, he lived with his family on a sharecropper's farm in Wilson, North Carolina. After his mother's death he moved from one relative to another, staying with each for short periods of time until he moved out on his own as a late teenager.

Morton's first job in the entertainment industry was at the World Theater in Wilson, where he worked as the ticket-taker, usher, music coordinator, and bill poster from the age of twelve. Undertaking these jobs at various theaters led to his assuming the management of the Carolina Theater in Hamlet, North Carolina at age seventeen.

Because of his family circumstances, Morton's education was repeatedly interrupted. He finished high school in the spring of 1932 and went to Washington, D.C. at the suggestion of his employer, Western Electric. There, he served as the liaison between theater managers and Western Electric engineers who installed early theater sound systems. While employed with Western Electric, he enrolled at The George Washington University and went on to graduate with a B.A. from the Columbian College in 1936.

While an undergraduate at The George Washington University, Morton began booking orchestras and bands for fraternity and sorority dances. After he married Anne Morton in September of 1936 he briefly left the booking business for a stint as a refrigeration equipment salesman. But in October of 1938 he returned to the Washington, D.C. area and founded an entertainment booking business known as Jack Morton Enterprises. While Morton continued to book orchestras for college dances, he went on to include other venues such as hotels, night clubs, and resorts. Here too, Jack and Anne Morton raised three children, Bill, Dianne and Mary Lou.

Morton's business continued to expand after World War II with the beginning of the large business convention. His first big convention job was a show for the American Trucking Association, where he began to develop a fine reputation as a convention producer. Jack Morton prided himself on booking skilled, professional talent and has had a personal association with many big names in the show business world, including Bob Hope, Jack Benny, George Burns, Bob Newhart, and Alan King. In the late 1940's Morton's business expanded beyond the Washington Metropolitan Region with the opening of additional offices in New York, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, and Atlanta.

In 1962, Jack Morton invited his son Bill to join him in the business and he helped in expanding the company to include audio-visual productions. Jack Morton Productions (JMP), as it is known today, has gone on to become a full-service corporate communication agency, producing entertainment programs, training programs, audio-visuals, and videoconferences for a variety of corporations and trade associations. Although he is retired from the business, Mr. Morton continues to offer his advice on company matters to his son and others at JMP.

He died June 28, 2004 at his home in Vero Beach, Florida.

Extent

2.5 Linear Feet

Language

English

Abstract

Jack Morton Papers consists of four series of materials. The materials cover the period from the 1938-93, with the bulk of these raniging in date from 1983-90. The collection relates to the history of Jack Morton Productions, a business entertainment and meeting production company, and to the life of its founder, Jack Morton.

Collection Organization

Organized into four series: Publications, Jack Morton Productions, Videotapes, Miscellaneous.

Creator

Title
Guide to the Jack Morton papers, 1938-1993
Status
Completed
Author
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Date
2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

Contact:
2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America