Roy W. Morse papers, 1905-2000  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Morse, Roy W
Roy W. Morse papers
1905-2000 (inclusive)
1.12 cubic feet (3 boxes)
Collection Number
6089 (Accession No. 6089-001)
Professional papers and writings, including speeches, photographs, and scrapbooks, from Roy W. Morse's career as the City Engineer in Seattle, Washington
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Open to all users.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Roy W. Morse was born in Seattle in 1906 and earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Washington and his graduate degree at Harvard University. He married his college sweetheart, Elizabeth Hedges, in 1929.

Morse began his career at Boeing in 1934, where he worked as an engineer guiding the development of warplanes and commercial aircraft for ten years. When Chester Morse, superintendent of the city Water Department and Roy's father, died in 1949, Mayor William Devin hired Roy Morse. Roy Morse made a name for himself in the department, pressing the Water Department to build pipelines and secure reservoirs to supply clean water to Seattle and its suburbs. In 1957, Morse became Seattle's city engineer, a post he held for 14 years. In that role, he headed major civic projects including the permanent creation of Seattle Center after the 1962 World's Fair.

Throughout his career, Morse won numerous engineering honors. He was named Engineer of the Year in 1965 by the American Society of Civil Engineers and was president of the national and state chapters of the American Public Works Association. Additionally, he wrote two local histories of Fauntleroy, the West Seattle neighborhood where he lived for over 50 years, that drew on interviews with some of its oldest residents. While the neighborhood is known for its spacious homes and spectacular views, Morse wrote that it was "the church, the school and the community center" that held the community together.

Roy Morse died in 2002.


Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Professional papers and writings, including speeches, photographs, and publications, from Roy Morse's career as an engineer for the city of Seattle. The collection also contains a scrapbook Morse received upon retiring, as well as photographs of various engineering projects around Seattle both before and during Morse's career.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Status of creator's copyrights is unknown; restrictions may exist on copying, quotation, or publication. Users are responsible for researching copyright status before use.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
1/1 Dartmouth vs. Washington Stadium Opening Program
A program commemorating the first college football game played in Husky Stadium (then called Washington Stadium). The program includes images of construction of the stadium and a history of the project. Washington lost to Dartmouth 28-7 in the last game of the 1920 season.
November 27, 1920
1/2 Engineering Projects Photographs
Images of Washington Stadium being built from May 10-November 20, 1920, courtesy of P.S. Bridge and Dredging Co.; images of regrading projects: 3rd Avenue Excavation (1905), Denny regrade (1906-1907), Washington Hotel with Counterbalanced Trolley (1905), Hydraulic Boring into Denny Hill at Blanchard Street, and 7th Avenue Fill South from Stewart Street (1906); negatives of city maps.
1/3 Correspondence 1991-1998
1/4 Speeches 1950-1965
1/5 Speeches 1950-1965
1/6 Speeches 1966-1979
1/7 Speeches 1966-1979
1/8 Speeches 1966-1979
1/9 "Report on the Ravenna Sewer for Mr. R.W. Morse" by Robert H. Burns
Contains photographs, including an aerial photo of a sinkhole in Ravenna, photos of sewer pipes, and photos of men working on construction and engineering projects
1/10 "Seattle's Catastrophic Ravenna Cave-In" by Roy W. Morse November 1957
2/1 Roy Morse's Civil Government Award Nomination Packet 1971-1991
2/2 "Cedar River Watershed: Habitat Conservation Plan" May 1999
2/3 "Regrading Years in Seattle" by Roy Morse 1989
2/4 "American Society of Civil Engineers Seattle Section Membership Directory" 1991-1993
2/5 "The Engineers Club Roster" 1994
2/6 "Public Works Oral History Interview" Numbers 1-5, 7, 9 September 1980-October 1992
3 Scrapbook of Memories from Roy Morse's Service as City Engineer
Contains highlights, mostly photographs, from Roy Morse's fourteen years as City Engineer for Seattle. Images include Morse on sites at work, giving and receiving various engineering awards, at conventions, meeting significant people, in Engineering Department staff group photos, at openings, giving speeches, attending meetings, presiding over other retirements, and at luncheons, as well as a department organizational chart, a magazine cover featuring Morse, and letters of congratulations about his retirement from the Board of Public Works and Morse's daughter, Alice.
April 23, 1971

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Aeronautical engineers--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Buildings--Construction--Washington (State)--Seattle--Photographs
  • Football--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Sewerage--Photographs
  • Personal Names :
  • Morse, Roy W.--Archives
  • Corporate Names :
  • Husky Stadium (Seattle, Wash.)--Construction--Photographs
  • Geographical Names :
  • Ravenna (Seattle, Wash.)--Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Ephemera
  • Photographs
  • Records (Documents)
  • Scrapbooks

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)