Dave Hennen Morris

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dave Hennen Morris
David Hennen Morris 1902.jpg
United States Ambassador to Belgium and Envoy to Luxembourg
In office
July 6, 1933 – May 5, 1937
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded by Hugh S. Gibson
Succeeded by Hugh S. Gibson
Personal details
Born (1872-04-24)April 24, 1872
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Died May 4, 1944(1944-05-04) (aged 72)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Alice Vanderbilt Shepard
(m. 1895)
Children Dave Hennen Jr., Louise, Lawrence, Noel, Emily, Alice
Parents John Albert Morris
Cora Hennen
Residence 19 E. 70th Street, New York
Education Harvard University
Columbia University
New York Law School
Occupation Lawyer, businessman, diplomat, racehorse owner
Known for Co-founder of IALA

Dave Hennen Morris (April 24, 1872 – May 4, 1944) was an American lawyer, diplomat, and Thoroughbred racehorse owner who co-founded the International Auxiliary Language Association (IALA).[1]

Early life[edit]

Morris was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on April 24, 1872. He was the son of John Albert Morris and Cora Hennen, the daughter of prominent New Orleans Judge Alfred Hennen. His father was descended from the Colonial Morris family of Morrisania.[1] His siblings included Alfred Hennen Morris (1864–1959), a vice-chairman and steward of The Jockey Club, and Frances Isabel Morris, who married Lewis Cass Ledyard (1851–1932), the prominent attorney.[2]

He graduated, Magna cum Laude, from Harvard University in 1896, from New York Law School in 1901 and was admitted to the New York Bar. Later, he earned a master's degree in Constitutional law from Columbia University in 1909.[1]


Following his father's death in 1895, Dave Morris inherited considerable wealth and held business interests in railroads, hotels, and other enterprises. He was vice-president of the St. Louis Southwestern Railway Co. (Cotton Belt Route).

From 1933 to 1937, he was appointed the United States Ambassador to Belgium and Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Luxembourg by his friend, Franklin D. Roosevelt.[3] During this joint appointment, he resided in Belgium, where he and his wife continued to make international contacts for the language that would later take the name Interlingua. He also was Vice President of the Research Corporation and Counselor of the Belgian-American Educational Foundation, where Ezra Clark Stillman was Secretary.[4]

Morris was a founder of the Aero Club of America and of the Automobile Club of America.[5] Along with his wife Alice, he co-founded the International Auxiliary Language Association, which in 1951 would present Interlingua to the general public.[6] He was treasurer of the IALA from its establishment in 1924 to his death in 1944. His son, Lawrence, then assumed the position.[7]

Thoroughbred horse racing[edit]

His father was a prominent figure in Thoroughbred horse racing who owned Morris Park Racetrack in The Bronx, New York. Dave Morris and brother Alfred, a Vice-Chairman and steward of The Jockey Club, owned, bred, and raced a number of successful Thoroughbreds. Among their major racing wins were the 1898 Belmont Stakes with Bowling Brook, and the 1899 Kentucky Derby with Manuel.[8]

Personal life[edit]

In 1895, Morris was married to Alice Vanderbilt Shepard (1874–1950). She was the daughter of Elliot Fitch Shepard (1833–1893), a lawyer, banker, and owner of the Mail and Express newspaper, as well as a founder and president of the New York State Bar Association, and Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt (1845–1924), who did not approve of her daughter marrying Morris. Alice was a granddaughter of William Henry Vanderbilt.[9] Together, they were the parents of:

  • Dave Hennen Morris Jr. (1900–1975), who married Alice Agnew in 1926.[10][11] They divorced and he married Mary Josephine Dority (1907–1979).[10]
  • Louise Morris (1901–1976),[12] who married Dudley Holbrook Mills (1894–1987)[13] in 1922.[14]
  • Lawrence Morris (1903–1967),[15] who married Ruth Spafford Whittmeyer, daughter of Joseph H. Spafford, in 1953.[16]
  • Noel Morris (1904–1928), who committed suicide at the age of twenty-four in 1928.[17]
  • Emily Hammond Morris (1907–1995), who married Hamilton Hadley (1896–1975), son of Arthur T. Hadley, President of Yale University,[18] in 1929.[19]
  • Alice Vanderbilt Morris (1911–1986),[20] who married Walter Knight Sturges, Jr. (1909–1992), an architect, in 1939.[21]

Morris died at his home, 19 East 70th Street in Manhattan,[1] on May 4, 1944.[22] His widow died in Bar Harbor, Maine in August 1950.[23]


  1. ^ a b c d "DAVE H. MORRIS, 72, LAWYER, DIPLOMAT; Ambassador to Belgium 1933-37 Dies--Sportsman, Musician, Friend of Roosevelt". The New York Times. May 5, 1944. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  2. ^ "L. CASS LEDYARD, DIED LAWYER, DIES; Friend and Associate of the Elder J. P. Morgan Victim of Heart Disease at 80. FORMED BIG CORPORATIONS Director on Many Boards Gave Large Sum to Charity Former Commodore of N. Y. Yacht Club." The New York Times. January 28, 1932. Retrieved 22 September 2017. 
  3. ^ "Dave Hennen Morris - People - Department History". history.state.gov. Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  4. ^ Profile of Dave Hennen Morris at the New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
  5. ^ "David H. Morris Residence - New York City". www.nycago.org. The NYC Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  6. ^ Bray, Mary Connell [1951] (1971), "Foreword", Interlingua-English: A dictionary of the international Language, Second Edition, New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Company. ISBN 0-8044-0188-8. OCLC 162319.
  7. ^ Biographias: Dave Hennen Morris, Historia de Interlingua, 2001, Revised 2006.
  8. ^ DiBrino, Nicholas. The History of the Morris Park Racecourse and the Morris Family (1977) Bronx Historical Society ISBN 0-941980-27-8
  9. ^ "Not at the Wedding: Mrs. Shepard Disapproves Her Daughter's Marriage to Dave Hennen Morris". San Francisco Call. 21 June 1895. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  10. ^ a b "Dave Morris Jr., Banker, 74, Dead". The New York Times. 2 April 1975. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  11. ^ "ALICE AGNEW WEDS DAVE H, MORRIS JR'; Ceremony in Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, With Reception at Colony Club, GRACE CHURCH CHOIR SINGS Bride Wears Her Mother's Wedding Gownridegroom's Sister Is Maid of Honor". The New York Times. January 5, 1926. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  12. ^ "Louise M. Mills, Leader in Girl Scouts, 74, Dies". The New York Times. 21 October 1976. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  13. ^ Princeton Alumni Weekly. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton Alumni Weekly. 1987. p. 47. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  14. ^ "MISS MORRIS WEDS ON HER BIRTHDAY; Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dave H. Morris, 21, Married to Dudley H. Mills by Rev. Dr. Coffin". The New York Times. 9 November 1922. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  15. ^ "Lawrence Morris Dead at 64; Lawyer Specialized in Trusts". The New York Times. 25 November 1967. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  16. ^ "MRS. WHITTMEYER IS WED; Becomes the Bride of Lawrence Morris, a Lawyer Here". The New York Times. 1 February 1953. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  17. ^ "VANDERBILT SCION ENDS LIFE BY SHOT; Body of Noel Morris, 24, Son of Dave H. Morris, Is Found Locked in Bathroom. DEJECTED BY 'TANNHAUSER' Philosophy Student Makes a 'Closing Entry' in Diary on Return From Opera". The New York Times. 2 November 1928. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  18. ^ "Hamilton Hadley, a Utilities Lawyer". The New York Times. 24 March 1975. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  19. ^ "EMILY MORRIS WEDS HAMILTON HADLEY; Bride a Member of New York Family--Bridegroom Son of Yale's President Emeritus. CEREMONY AT BAR HARBOR Madeline Childress Is Married In Scarsdale to T. Edmund Beck-- Other Weddings". The New York Times. 14 July 1929. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  20. ^ "Interlingua Institute records 1921-1990 [bulk 1930-1980]". archives.nypl.org. New York Public Library. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  21. ^ "Alice Vanderbilt Morris 2d. Is Wed to Walter K. Sturges". The New York Times. 14 May 1939. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  22. ^ November 12, 1928 TIME magazine death notice for Noel Morris
  23. ^ "MRS. MORRIS DEAD; ENVOY'S WIDOW, 75; Member of Vanderbilt Family Aided Y.W.C.A. and Backed International Language Was Radcliffe Graduate Honored By Belgians". The New York Times. 16 August 1950. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Hugh Simons Gibson
U.S. Ambassador to Belgium
Succeeded by
Hugh Simons Gibson