Exhibitions

These pieces show in intimate detail both Morse’s “curiosity . . . as a boy wanting to know what [ocean liners] were like” and the seriousness with which he pursued his passion in later life.

In his teens, Morse executed a number of fine pencil drawings of ships [A, B, E] and at least one painting [F]. His most ambitious project was the invention of the “Morse Line,” for which he drew a folder modeled on Jones’s patented folder [102-106].

In the 1980s, Morse planned to donate his collection to the free-floating Ocean Liner Museum [C], which in 1980 had mounted a major exhibit, including items loaned by Morse, at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt Museum of National Design. When it became clear that the institution would never find a permanent home—it disbanded in 2002—Morse was urged to keep his collection whole for posterity [D].

We are glad to have seen it done.

A. Morse Line

Norman Morse, Cabin Plan folder for “Morse Line” in the style of Jones’ patented
Printed Folder [98-102], ca. 1935. 30 × 46 cm.
Morse Collection, 2909

2002909.0001
B. Morse Line

Norman Morse, graphite on paper drawing of “Morse Line” ship named either Columbia Castle or Britannia Castle, ca. 1935.
22 × 28 cm.
Morse Collection, 2900

2002900.0001
C. Norman H. Morse

Letter to Stephen Lash, president of the Ocean Liner Museum, May 10, 1983.
28 × 22 cm.
Morse Collection, 2907

2002907.0001
D. John Maxtone-Graham

Letter to Norman H. Morse, November 16, 1997.
28 × 22 cm.
Morse Collection, 2908

2002908.0001
E. Holland-America Line

Norman Morse, graphite on paper section view looking astern of Volendam (1922-40),
ca. 1935. 35.5 × 25.5 cm.
Morse Collection, 2902

2002902.0001
F. Holland-America Line

Norman Morse, painting of unidentified Holland-America Line ship,
ca. 1935. 32.5 × 26.5 cm.

2002901.0001