Home > Departmental History at UND, Elwyn Robinson's Autobiography > Charles Morley, Ohio State, and the University of North Dakota

Charles Morley, Ohio State, and the University of North Dakota

When Charles Morley died in 2005, his status was secure as one of the leading figures in the study of Eastern Europe and Poland.  The most recent issue of Making History at the Ohio State University, the newsletter of the Department of History at Ohio State, reported that his widow has donated Prof. Morley’s significant collection of books on Eastern Europe to Ohio State.  Morley did his undergraduate work at Ohio State before going on to receive his Ph.D. from Wisconsin.

Morley is interesting to me on this blog because he taught at the University of North Dakota from around 1939 to, perhaps, 1942.  From 1943-1944 he served alongside many well-known scholars in the Office of Strategic Services.

At UND, he was part of a group of scholars who taught for a year or so in the department of history in the 1930s including Reginald Lovell, Clarence Matterson, John Pritchett Charles Centner.  Matterson would serve as Department Head at Iowa State University, Centner would publish numerous works on European/South American relations, Lovell published an important work on economic imperialism in South Africa.

Elwyn B. Robinson provides, in his customary way, a brief description of Morley during his time at UND:

“An unmarried young man of Polish origins from Cleveland, Morley was teaching in the European History Department.  I do not remember how long he was at the university, but I know he was later on the history faculty of Ohio State University.  That was a typical experience.  Generally faculty members who stayed only a few years at the University of North Dakota moved on to an institution of greater prestige.  North Dakota was a place where young men of good quality gained valuable experience or seasoning.  That in a sense was a recommendation for the quality of the faculty of the university.  In our early years at the university I was struck by the rapid turnover among the younger members of the faculty and their expectation of not staying long.  I used to say to Eva that so-and-so was “only camping,” meaning they would soon move on.”

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