Alvin E. Morria Papers

Summary Information

Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives
Morris, Alvin E., 1920-2004
Alvin E. Morris Papers
1940-1979 (Bulk 1940-1963)
0.5 Linear feet

Preferred Citation note

Alvin E. Morris Papers, 2005.0008, Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives, Emporia State University.

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Biographical/Historical note

Alvin Eugene Morris Alvin Eugene Morris was born January 4, 1920, to Dallas and Louise Mary Reichardt Morris, and raised on a farm near Allen, Kansas. His father was an Emporia city police officer and then a deputy sheriff; he died suddenly following an erupted appendix when Al was eleven years old. Al began working for other farmers and at a creamery to help support his mother, older brother, and younger sister. He joined the Kansas National Guard to make money for a college education and was attending Emporia State University when his unit was activated during World War II. When his unit was sent to Fort Ord, California prior to deployment, his girlfriend followed and they were soon married. Al and Helen Louise Morris were married for 59 years; she preceded him in death on November 6, 2000. Al’s Kansas National Guard unit, Rifle Company B, 137th Infantry, was activated in December, 1940. He served in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. He was awarded a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and a Combat Infantrymans Badge. His active duty in World War II ended December 8, 1945. Al continued to serve in Army Reserve units until 1979.

After the war Al returned to Emporia State University as a student where he participated in many activities. This included membership in Phi Sigma Epsilon, Xi Phi (a leadership fraternity), Kappa Mu Epsilon (national honorary mathematics fraternity), Kappa Delta Pi (national honor society in education), Pi Gamma Mu (national social science honor society), the Veterans Club, Social Science Club, and Mathematics Club. He also served on the Senate-Faculty Adjustment Board, which was organized to reduce friction between the faculty and the student body. Any student or faculty member could bring a complaint or suggestion, major or minor, before the Board and it would be considered from student, faculty, and administrative perspectives. The Board then made recommendations for action and assumed responsibility for ensuring that its recommendations reached their proper final destination. Student members of the Board were elected annually and limited to serving two terms. Faculty members were appointed by the University president, who also served as ex officio for the group. Al was also chosen to be President of the Student Council for one semester (as he graduated in January 1948) and listed among fourteen ESU students in Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities. As a pre-war student Alvin participated in basketball and track at Emporia State University. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree in 1948 and a Master of Science degree in 1952.

From 1949-1959 Al taught in the Education Department at Emporia State University. He also earned a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D) degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, graduating on January 29, 1959. A copy of his dissertation, A Critical Analysis of Types of Quantitative Data Requested by the Professional Teacher Education Accrediting Agency and the Six Regional Accrediting Agencies, is available from the Wayne State University Purdy Library. Dr. Morris served as Superintendent of the Wichita (Kansas) Public Schools from 1968-1984. One of his many accomplishments during that tenure was the implementation of a voluntary school desegregation plan in 1971 that became a model for many other districts across the United States. In 1986 Al received the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) Distinguished Service Award. He was further honored in 1999 when the Wichita Public Schools district named their new nine-story administration building after him, the Alvin C. Morris Administrative Center, despite a district policy requiring that buildings only be named for deceased persons. That school system also maintains a Dr. Alvin E. Morris Special Collection in their library. Alvin was a 33rd degree Mason. Following his death February 8, 2004, an endowment, the Alvin and Helen Morris Scholarship Fund, was established at Emporia State University.

Rifle Company B, 35th Division, 137th Infantry Regiment Emporia’s National Guard unit, Company B of the 137th Infantry, was called into active duty by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in December, 1940. 116 local men reported for duty. Not all members stayed with the unit throughout World War II; instead, many were reassigned to other units that served stateside while others were sent throughout the world. The 137th Infantry was sent to California and then to France, where its soldiers fought in the Battle of St. Lo, and as a part of General Patton’s 3rd Army participated in the capture of Orleans and Nancy, France, the Battle of the Bulge, crossing of the Rhine River, capture of the Ruhr Valley, and were near Berlin at the war’s end. One member, John Cooper, was killed in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. After the war his uncle, Alvin J. King, sought to change the federal holiday Armistice Day to Veterans Day, thereby creating a celebration of all veterans from all times. Under his initiation Emporia, Kansas, celebrated Veterans Day in 1953, and U.S. House of Representative member, and Emporia resident, Edward H. Rees submitted a bill in Congress seeking the change at the Federal level. On June 1, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill into law. In 2003 Kansas Congressman Jerry Moran sponsored a bill that officially recognized Emporia, Kansas, as the founding city of Veterans Day. Historically, members of Company B of the 137th Infantry have served in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, in World War I, World War II, Vietnam, on peacekeeping missions in Kosovo and Yugoslavia, and in Saudi Arabia following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection contains a scrapbook of Alvin E. Morris’s military career. Included are papers detailing his advances in rank from Private to Lieutenant Colonel, orders to report for active military service in 1940, discharges and reenlistments, and his retirement request submitted in 1979. Many papers are duplicated at the state and national levels and detail his career in the Kansas National Guard, the Army of the United States, and Reserve units. Some papers contain physical descriptions and genealogical information. Some documents explain awards, badges, and honors earned as well as training courses completed. The scrapbook is largely organized chronologically from 1940-1979 with the exception of the last 15 pages, which contain documents that are from the 1940s-1960s. Included are two group photographs of the 137th Infantry at Camp Ripley, Minnesota, in 1959 and 1962.

Folders contain papers relating to the 137th Infantry Regiment. One is addressed to “All First Battalion Personnel” and briefly describes the group’s experiences from enrollment in the Kansas National Guard to active service in World War II to returning home and again organizing the National Guard. It is signed by Alvin E. Morris. Some articles printed from the Internet contain information about specific World War II campaigns. Combat History, 137th Infantry Regiment, World War II has a key sheet and 8 maps showing operations along the Belgium-Luxembourg border through 12/31/44 and beginning 1/1/45. The greatest part of this item is declassified monthly reports which give a sometimes daily description of the activities, battles, and heroic actions of the 137th Infantry from July 1944-May 1945. A few photographs from Company B reunions circa 1980-2000 are also included in the collection.

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Arrangement note

Where possible original order has been maintained.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives July 2005

1200 Commercial St
Campus Box 4051
Emporia, KS, 66801
(620) 341-6431

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Alvin Morris’s Master’s thesis, A Comparison of the Rural High Schools of Lyon County with Emporia Senior High School, is available. He is very briefly mentioned in the A. Kirk Ramy interview of the Flint Hills Oral History Project. Sunflower yearbooks from 1939, 1947 and 1948 illustrate his participation in campus organizations.

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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Morris, Alvin E., 1920-2004


  • Soldiers -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • United States. Army -- History – World War, 1939-1945.
  • United States. Army. Infantry Regiment, 137th -- History.
  • United States. Army. Infantry Regiment, 137th. Company B -- History.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Western front.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- United States -- Regimental histories.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Veterans.

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Collection Inventory


Scrapbook undated 

Box Folder

Letter to “All First Battalion Personnel,” signed by Alvin E. Morris 1959 

1 1

Internet article: “The Ardennes: The Battle of the Bulge,” printed 2004 2004 

1 2

Internet Article: “The Final Battle: April 12-May 8, 1945,” printed 2004 2004 

1 3

Key and Maps of operations along the Belgium-Luxembourg border undated 

1 4

Combat History, 137th Infantry Regiment, World War II undated 

1 5

Photographs, Company B reunions c. 1980-2000   0.5 Linear feet

1 6