New Exhibits and Talk Highlight the Life of Senator Wayne Morse

Adobe Photoshop PDFTwo exhibits on Senator Wayne Morse, an Oregonian who was a proud and controversial figure in state and national politics for more than four decades, reveal much about his public and private life as one of the country’s most influential politicians.

Senator Wayne Morse, Fierce Independent: Political Cartoons, 1941-1966,” on display in Knight Library’s east and west entryways, recounts in graphic cartoon form the impact Morse had on the nation—in both the political and policy arenas–during his long stay in Washington, D.C. The hand-drawn, original cartoons signed by their creators and published by influential newspapers nationwide, are on display, along with historical background that puts the cartoons in context. The exhibit was made possible through an arrangement between the Wayne Morse Historical Park Corporation, UO’s Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics, and the library’s Special Collections and University Archives. You can see selected cartoons here on the Center’s website.

The second exhibit, “Wayne Morse: From Campus to Congress, 1929-1968,” on display in the exhibit cases on the first floor of Knight Library near the Browsing Room, traces the development of Morse’s influence not only on national politics but on state and campus politics as well. The spotlight was trained on Morse early in his career; he became a member of the UO’s law school in 1929 and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming the youngest law school dean in the nation at age 30 in 1931. He helped the UO navigate through several notable administrative disruptions throughout throughout his time on campus while simultaneously serving as a presidentially appointed labor arbitrator for much of the Pacific Northwest. Many of these items come various collections in Special Collections and University Archives, including the Wayne Morse Papers.morsecampustocongress

“The items displayed in the exhibit are an excellent reflection of the types of sources available for research in the Morse Papers,” said Linda Long, Manuscripts Librarian. “These primary sources provide many opportunities for researchers to study Morse or topics related to his tenure in the Senate. The collection is particularly rich in topics relating to Oregon and the West: natural resources (including extensive files on public works), fisheries, forestry and the timber industry. Broader topics of deep interest to Senator Morse, such as civil rights, the economy and finance, education, foreign relations, health and welfare are also well represented. These primary sources—the documents necessary for the writing of history—are essential to the research process, and are available to all researchers in the Special Collections and University Archives Paulson Reading Room.”

For exhibit viewing hours in Knight Library, visit

Both exhibits are in support of a free public talk on the impact of political cartoons by Jack Ohman, former Oregonian cartoonist and now editorial cartoonist for the Sacramento Bee, on October 3 at 7 p.m. in Gerlinger Hall on the UO campus. For more information on the talk, visit and

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