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Bert Morgan (1904-1986) was a British born U.S. based photojournalist who specialized in coverage of American high society and horse racing.
A friend of the Rockefellers, Kennedys, Hearsts and Harrimans, Bert Morgan became the photographer of choice for high society starting in the 1930s. By promising never to publish an unflattering picture, he gained unlimited access to this rarefied post-gilded-age world, which he followed seasonally from New York and Long Island to Palm Beach, Newport, Saratoga, and the Hamptons.
Morgan came to America at age seven and was raised in Brooklyn. He began his career at fifteen working as a photo syndication salesman for the Chicago Tribune and the New York Daily News. By 1930, he began taking his own photographs with a camera he bought for a quarter. For five decades he would chronicle high society events and itís luminaries, as well as becoming the official track photographer of the New York Racing Association. His work was regularly published in magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Town & Country and The Social Spectator. In the 1950s he began visiting Palm Beach every year to cover the six week "social season" each January and February, eventually moving there full time and working with his son, Richard Morgan (1935-)
The Bert Morgan Archive consists of more than 800,000 negatives taken by Bert and Richard Morgan at parties, openings, fundraisers, sporting events, home sittings, weddings and other functions attended by the rich and famous including several generations of Americaís most prominent families - Vanderbilts, Whitneys, Dillons, Biddles, Phipps, Kennedys, Hearsts, Fords, Roosevelts, Astors, and Lauders - as well as European royalty and stars of the stage and screen. Recent books featuring Bert Morgan's work include: Dog Shows (2000), Horse Racing: The Golden Age of the Track (2001), and Young Jackie (2002).
[Text courtesy of the Morgan Archive, January 2010]