Edgartown library honors essayists, Ted Morgan

On Sunday the Edgartown Library Foundation gathered 200 of their closest friends under white tents at the Field Club for a brunch to raise funds and celebrate Edgartown’s most distinguished citizen and three young essayists.

One of the themes of the event was to bring together the summer and year-round Edgartown communities in support of the library’s planned expansion and renovation, which has been a source of considerable debate, some of it rancorous, in the town. Chris Scott, director of the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust and member of the design committee for the new library, outlined the goals of the committee and solicited participation in the committee’s work. He held up as a model the renovation of the West Tisbury town hall, which was for many years a controversial project but which ultimately was brought to fruition.

Former Edgartown School principal Ed Jerome announced the winners of the library’s essay contest, “The Edgartown Public Library & Me: What’s My Story?” The winner in grades 1 to 3 was third-grader Lukah Vieira; a fifth-grader, Ennis Foster, won the grade 4 to 6 competition. The winner in grades 7 and 8 and the overall winner was seventh-grader Gabriella Hoxsie, daughter of Chris and Pam Hoxsie of Edgartown. A poised and articulate Ms. Hoxsie read her essay, which is reproduced here. She is the granddaughter of retired physician and frequent MV Times columnist Russell Hoxsie, who was in attendance with his wife, Mary Ann.

The highlight of the party was the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Fred B. “Ted” Morgan. Steve Ewing, a local contractor, praised Mr. Morgan for his service to his country in World War II but more especially because, “He helped shape the course of the town and the Island for more than 40 years.”

Mr. Ewing noted Mr. Morgan’s commitment and perseverance in seeing projects through to their completion, such as the Morgan Woods affordable housing project which is recognized nationally as a model of excellence. “Whenever Ted Morgan got involved,” Mr. Ewing said, “the project was better for it.”

Charles Blair also spoke, commenting that he and Mr. Ewing were two men who had “butted heads” a time or two with Mr. Morgan and who had extraordinary respect for him. Both Mr. Ewing and Mr. Blair, unbeknownst to each other, had written poems, which they read.

The Edgartown selectmen, Bailey Norton, and library and other town officials presented Mr. Morgan with Andrew Carnegie’s autobiography, “The Gospel of Wealth,” and a signed copy of “Truman” by David McCullough, who was in attendance.

“Ted’s love of Edgartown has led him to contribute in many ways, and always with passion,” said Mr. Norton, the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. “Ted will never let us forget that our freedom and way of life have been made possible by those who served our country in time of war. I am pleased to see the Library Foundation honor him at their summer event.”

Mr. Morgan addressed the gathering briefly, saying that he was speechless, “and that’s unusual,” which drew laughter. He gave a tearful nod to his wife, Floss, and stressed the cooperative aspects of all his achievements. “You never do things alone,” he said.