Frederick “Fred” Morgan was born in England in February 1865, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census; his birth year differs in later censuses. He has not been found in the 1880 census. So far, the earliest mention of Morgan, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, was on August 31, 1889; an advertisement for James S. Earle & Sons, an art dealer, listed a piece, “School Belles,” by Morgan. In the Inquirer column, “Everybody’s Column,” of May 21, 1904, there was an answer to Miss E.G.G.’s question about Morgan: “His name is Fred Morgan and he resides in this city. His father was an artist of renown in Great Britain….” There was a London artist Frederick Morgan (1846-1927), who might be his father. A biography at Rehs Galleries said
…Fred Morgan married three times. His first wife was the genre and landscape artist Alice Havers (1850-1890) and together they had three children. Their eldest son became an artist and exhibited landscape and figure subjects regularly at the Royal Academy under the name Val Havers. With his second wife, he had two children, one of whom also became an artist….
I believe the child from the second marriage may be Morgan the editorial cartoonist. The date of Morgan’s employment at the Inquirer is not known. The Inquirer of September 15, 1899 mentioned him.
…Several fine proofs had been pulled of the splendid portrait of Admiral Sampson which accompanies this paper and which was drawn from a very recent photograph by Rau, of Philadelphia, by Fred Morgan, of The Inquirer‘s art staff. The original pen-and-ink drawing was presented to the Admiral and then the famous officers attached their signatures to the proofs….
In the 1900 census he was boarding in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 931-933 Arch Street; his occupation was Inquirer artist. Also in the same building were an Inquirer editor and manager. The census said Morgan immigrated to the U.S. in 1875. The census also revealed that he married in the 1880s; his three children, Horace, Dorothy and Ruth, resided at the Five Points House of Industry, an orphanage, in New York City. The oldest, Horace, was born in New York in January 1890. The fate of Morgan’s wife is not known.
Morgan was thoroughly entrenched in the newspaper artists community. The Inquirer, on October 23, 1902, reported the following:
Newspaper Artists’ Exhibition
A special meeting of the Newspaper Artists’ Association was held at 1430 South Penn square yesterday, when preliminary steps were taken for holding its second annual exhibition in December. The following executive committee was elected to serve until the end of the present year: F.V. Wilson, Charles Bell, W.M.F. Magraw, John Sloan, Herman Rountree, Arthur Crichton, Jean Mohr, Walt McDougall, William Hofacker, F.R. Gruger, Fred Morgan, V. Floyd Campbell, Henry Gage and Mrs. Benson Kennedy. The manager of the last exhibition, C.W. Parker, was appointed to take charge of the coming show.
In the 1910 census, Morgan was reunited with two of his children, Horace and Dorothy. They lived in Philadelphia at 3331 Gratz Street. His occupation was newspaper artist, and his age was given as 48, which made his birth around 1862. The Inquirer published an advertisement in its July 14, 1918 issue, highlighting its coverage of the war. Near the bottom of the ad was a box about its comics and cartoonists.
FRED MORGAN, the leading cartoonist of the United States, not only draws cartoons on the war, but he also deals with national and State political issues and important events of every kind throughout the world.
Alone, Morgan remained at the same address in 1920. He was a newspaper cartoonist. His age was listed as 58. In the Inquirer’s “Everybody’s Column”, of May 26, 1921, was this item:
Size of Original Cartoons
Editor Everybody’s Column:—Would you please print in your wonderful column how large is the original cartoon which appears every day on the editorial page? Do these cartoons have to be drawn a certain size to fit 2 columns, 3 columns, 4 columns, etc? Hoping to see this in your column soon. Y.T.
A one-half reduction is the general rule. Our friend Fred Morgan, however, had long made it a practice to draw his cartoons about three times larger than the cut they are intended for, with a view, no doubt, to preserve the fine lines for which his work is noted.
Next time you pass by 1109 Market st., have a look at the original exhibited every morning in the Inquirer‘s window.
Morgan’s youngest daughter lived with him at the same address in the 1930 census, which recorded her as Florence (Rawlinson), her middle name. She was divorced. According to the census, Morgan was 70 years old, which made his birth year 1860. And the census recorded his age as 27, at the time of his first marriage. Further information about him has not been found. I believe the Inquirer published his obituary, but it has not been found.