The title of this feature is misleading.
We’re not searching for James Edward Morrison Jr. so much as we’re looking for his family.
While cleaning out offices at the Rome News-Tribune recently, we came across a box containing old books and photographs. At some point in the past — we’re not sure when — someone sent or brought this box to the newspaper. For what purpose, we’re unsure.
What we know is that the contents of the box center around one man, James Edward Morrison Jr. The things inside the box may be of some historic value but we believe they may be of great sentimental value to James’ family. James died in 2003, but we’d like to find any local family members James might have who would treasure these very special photographs and books.
The contents of the box paint a vivid picture of a creative young man, possessed of many friends and active in a variety of school and social activities. James was born in 1921 and lived in Rome as a boy, attended Rome High School and graduated in or around 1940. As a young man he was active in drama and theatrical productions as well as the glee club.
It seems James lived in at least two locations in Rome — 1012 N. Second Avenue and 13 Elizabeth Street. Then at some point he joined the military. The box contains a photograph of an older James taken in Boston, Massachusetts when he was on vacation there. The back of the photo says “James E. Morrison Jr., Age 81, DOB August 23, 1921, DOD June 29, 2003. Moved to Atlanta from high school until death due to heart failure."
The box of belongings appears that it would be of great sentimental value to James’ descendants. There are hundreds of photographs of family and friends, many labeled in James’ own handwriting. Many are attached to the pages of beautiful old albums and scrapbooks.
The photos show glimpses of life from another era. They depict parties and friends, family and work, military life and nature scenes.
There is a small “autograph” book in which it appears that James’ classmates wrote messages to him at graduation. Friends such as Ruth Conn, Clifford Phillips, Herbert McClain, Eugenia McClain, Charlotte Williams and a slew of other Rome High students wrote funny and touching notes to him.
There are also numerous newspaper clippings where James or a family member saved announcements and news stories from a variety of events and activities surrounding his life — glee club performances, sports, graduations and theatrical productions.
There’s even an original Western Union telegram from 1940 wishing James congratulations and best wishes on his graduation.
We don’t know the reason the box was left at the Rome News-Tribune or how long it’s been here. Most likely James was featured in some way after his death.
But whatever the reason, we would like his family to have these very special photos and documents if they would like to claim them. It appears that James lived a life rich in experiences and acquaintances. It would be a shame if these memories were left hidden in a dark box and forgotten.
If no family member claims the box, its contents will be donated to the Rome Area History Museum. We think it contains several pieces that the public might find interesting and educational.
If anyone knew James Edward Morrison Jr. or his family, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 706-290-5255.