Richard Lee Morton was born on September 20, 1889 in Prince Edward County, Virginia. He received his B.A. from Hampden-Sydney College in 1910 and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. He also received an M.A. from Harvard. He came to William & Mary as Associate Professor of History and Political Science and was made chairman of the History Department in 1921. Along with Prof. Grimes, he lived in the Alumni House in 1920.
Morton served as editor of the William & Mary Quarterly and wrote The Negro in Virginia Politics (1919), Virginia Since 1861 (1924) and Struggle Against Tyranny, Virginia 1677-1699 (1957) and Colonial Virginia (1960). Morton also edited an edition of Hugh Jones' Present State of Virginia. Dr. Morton's appointments were: Associate Professor of History and Political Science, 1919-1922; Professor of History and Political Science, 1922-1959; Chancellor Professor of History, Emeritus, 1959-1968.
He was awarded an honorary degree (LL.D.) at Charter Day in 1965. He retired in 1959 and died in 1974.
Boswell Hall was originally named for Morton, but was renamed as part of William & Mary's effort to examine and learn from the university’s role in slavery, secession, and segregation. Morton had authored several works with racist and white supremacist themes, including The Negro in Virginia Politics.
Material in the Special Collections Research Center
- The SCRC Collections Database includes a number of collections from and related to Morton.