H. Wayne Morgan, noted historian, author and longtime University of Oklahoma educator and administrator, died Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, at his home in Norman following an extended illness. He was 79.
Dr. Morgan was born May 16, 1934, in Ashland to Lee and Ura Morgan. The family moved to Mesa, Ariz., in 1936, and later to Phoenix, where his father was in the dairy business.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Arizona State University, a master’s from Claremont College and a Ph.D. from UCLA. He never forgot that his higher education was made possible by scholarships and a research fellowship that allowed him to pursue his doctorate. Later, he paid this benefaction forward by establishing, with his wife, the Anne Hodges and H. Wayne Morgan Fellowship to facilitate the travel and research of graduate students in history.
His teaching career began at San Jose State University in California, then the University of Texas at Austin, where he met and married a Ph.D. candidate from Dallas, Anne Hodges. In 1972, he began a 27-year career in the Department of History at OU, culminating in six years as chair of the department. He developed a devoted following as a teacher and administrator, known for his popular, entertaining lectures and especially for the individual attention he gave students, as well as colleagues, in achieving their academic goals.
Wayne was a voracious reader and prolific writer with dozens of books and professional articles to his credit. His special area of study was the history of the late 19th and early 20th century — The Gilded Age, but his interests ran the gamut of American historical, social and cultural issues.
Among his most notable books were “William McKinley and His America,” “From Hayes to McKinley: National Party Politics, 1877-1896,” “Drugs in America: A Social History, 1800-1980” and “Keepers of Culture: The Art-Thought of Kenyon Cox, Royal Cortissoz and Frank Jewett Mather Jr.” He edited numerous books of primary materials, including “Yesterday’s Addicts: American Society and Drug Abuse, 1865-1920,” “An American Art Student in Paris: The Letters of Kenyon Cox, 1877-1882” and “American Writers in Rebellion: From Mark Twain to Dreiser.”
He co-authored several books with his wife, Anne, “Oklahoma, a History,” commissioned as part of a series on the states and the nation in celebration of the Bicentennial of the American Revolution. He retired from OU in 1999 as George Lynn Cross Research Professor Emeritus.
Wayne was a consultant for the National Endowment for the Humanities and was chairman of the steering committee for the Oklahoma Governor’s Conference on Libraries and Information Services, a pre-White House Conference in 1977-78. He was editor in chief of “Newcomers to a New Land,” a series of 10 volumes on ethnic groups in Oklahoma, published by the University of Oklahoma Press. In 1997, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award as “Distinguished Historian” from the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.
He was a witty, convivial host to his many friends, colleagues and former students, whom he loved to entertain, the Morgan home becoming known for good food and lively conversation. Wayne was devoted to a succession of fortunate cats he and Anne rescued and who, henceforth, led enviable lives as part of the family. For those he could not rescue, he became an advocate through Norman’s Second Chance Animal Sanctuary, where he served the board of directors as a longtime member and president.
Wayne was preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Dr. Anne Hodges Morgan of the home; a brother, Richard Morgan of Pine, Ariz.; a sister-in-law, Sandra Hodges Gamal and her husband Saad Gamal of Cairo; two nephews, Sherif Gamal of Arlington, Va., and Hazem Gamal and his wife Elizabeth of West Orange, N.J.; and two nieces, Kelly Clark and Tracy Williams of Phoenix. The family wishes to thank their devoted friend, Maria Medina, for her loving care of Wayne during the last weeks of his illness.
The family has designated as appropriate for remembrances of Wayne, the Anne Hodges and H. Wayne Morgan Fellowship Fund at the University of Oklahoma Foundation, 100 Timberdell Road, Norman, OK 73072.