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The University of Texas at Austin


Briscoe Center Acquires a Collection of Bruce Morton's Papers

Bruce Morton, 1974. Courtesy of CBS News.

The Briscoe Center has acquired a collection of Bruce Morton's papers. Morton was a legendary television correspondent who anchored "CBS Morning News" in the 1970s and was a national correspondent for CNN in the 1990s.

"This collection of Bruce Morton’s papers contains many important documents that speak to how news events were reported in the second half of the twentieth century," said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. "The collection is already being used in our exhibits and digital projects. Acquiring these papers underlines the fact that the center has some of the most important and extensive archival holdings related to news media in America."

Morton began his career in journalism while studying at Harvard University in the 1950s. He joined ABC News in 1962 as a London correspondent, working mostly in radio broadcasts. In 1964 he began his award-winning, 29-year career with CBS. Though he worked mainly as a congressional correspondent, he also reported from the front lines in Vietnam in 1966–67, covered NASA’s space program throughout the 1960s, and investigated racial unrest after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. In the 1970s he anchored "CBS Morning News" and covered  impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon in 1974.

The center's collection of papers includes Morton’s scripts used for broadcasting, reporting notes, correspondence and photographs. The collection also includes a 1990 commemorative notebook containing recollections and photographs from many CBS News personnel who, like Morton, reported from Vietnam in the 1960s and '70s. Currently on display in the center's exhibit Vietnam: Evidence of War is a set of notes related to Morton’s reporting in Vietnam, and a dramatic account of coming under fire for the first time while in the field with a company of Marines. (The account was written by Morton’s colleague Thanong Hirunsi, a soundman.)

The Briscoe Center is home to one of the largest collections of archival materials related to the history of the American news media. The Morton Collection joins those of other news media professionals including Walter Cronkite, Robert Trout, Sig Mickelson, Dan Rather, Harry Reasoner, Joseph and Shirley Wershba, Philip Scheffler, Morley Safer and Andy Rooney.