NORMAN — 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.”