Morford, Richard, 1903-1986

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Richard Morford Reverend Richard Morford (1903-1986) was born in Onaway, Michigan and graduated from Albion College in Albion, Michigan. In the summer after graduating from Albion College in 1925, Morford traveled in Europe under the sponsorship of the youth division of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Fellowship of Youth for Peace. During this trip he met with other youth groups to discuss ways to achieve a durable peace. In the fall of that year, Morford started as a teacher and principal of the high school in Romeo, Michigan, which he continued until 1928. Morford moved to New York City where he prepared for the Presbyterian ministry at Union Theological Seminary and was a student minister at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. At the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church he met Aileen Hutson, whom he married in 1932. In June of 1931 he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister. In 1932 Morford received a Master’s Degree in Philosophy of Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. From 1931 until 1936 Morford served as the Minister of Education in the Presbyterian Church of Morristown, New Jersey. In 1936 he and his family moved to Albany, New York, where he worked as the associate secretary of Protestant Family Welfare and as minister of the House of Friendship. The House of Friendship was a non-denominational mission church and community center with a low-income constituency. Additionally, he helped organize and was the executive secretary of the Federation of Churches in Albany and Vicinity. He was also president of the Albany Consumers’ Cooperative during the period 1938-1942. In 1942 the Morford family moved back to New York City. From 1942-1945 he was the Executive Secretary of the United Christian Council for Democracy, a national federation of six unofficial social, education, and action organizations in major Protestant denominations. In January 1946 Morford became executive director the National Council for American Soviet Friendship (NCASF), which was founded in November 1943. While Executive Director of the NCASF, Morford remained active with the Presbytery of New York City, serving as Chair of the Ministerial Fellowship committee during 1967-1971 and as Chair of its Committee on Social Concerns and Committee on Session Records starting in 1972. In the 1960s and early 1970s Morford was a member of the Executive Committee of the Methodist Federation for Social Action. In 1980, he became President of Chi Alpha, the oldest clerical club in the country, founded in 1829. In the 1960s and early 1970s Morford was on the National Advisory Committee of the Citizens’ Committee for Constitutional Liberties. In the mid-1960s Morford was an organizer and member of the Executive Committee of the National Committee to Repeal the McCarran Act. Morford was a founder and board member of the Consumer-Farmer Milk Cooperative of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania starting in 1945 and its successor organization, the Consumer-Farmer Foundation starting in 1971. By the 1980s the organization’s work included rehabilitation housing. The program of the NCASF emphasized cultural interchange and education as a means of strengthening the bonds of understanding between the American and Soviet people. The Council believed their most important project was to promote cultural exchange at the local level. The NCASF set up special committees that sponsored various conferences, exhibits, and cultural activities. The Council also issued numerous pamphlets and bibliographies about life in the Soviet Union, as well as information on American-Soviet relations. In November 1945, a few months before Morford started as Executive Director, the Council was served a subpoena to submit its membership and financial records to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Morford appeared before the committee but refused to turn over the records. NCASF contended it was not engaged in un-American or subversive propaganda activities and was not, therefore, subject Committee’s authority or demand for its private records. After legal proceedings which included an unsuccessful appeal to the Supreme Court, Morford served three months for contempt of Congress in August through November 1950. In 1947, the NCASF was indicted for failure to register with the Subversive Activities Control Board. In 1951, the Supreme Court ruled that the Attorney General acted arbitrarily and illegally by placing the Council on the List of Subversive Organizations. In April, 1953, the Subversive Activities Control Board found the Council to be a Communist front organization. Morford carried the issue to the Circuit Court where in May 1963, a unanimous finding overturning the SACB finding was handed down. In March 1974, he was awarded the Medal of Friendship of the Peoples by the USSR Supreme Soviet. He retired from the NCASF and was elected Executive Director emeritus in 1981. After retiring he served actively on the Council’s Executive Committee. Morford was awarded the Peacemaking Ministry Award by the Presbytery of New York in January 1981, which recognized his work for international reconciliation. Richard Morford passed away in September 1986. Kathy Kahn Kathy Kahn (also known as Skye Kathleen Moody) was a writer whose nonfiction works included Hillbilly Women (1973) and Fruits of Our Labor: Soviet and American Workers Talking About Making a Living (1982). Kahn worked with the Society for Soviet and U.S. Friendship and Richard Morford to carry out the research for Fruits of Our Labor. In the several years leading up to Morford’s death in 1986, Kahn worked with him with the intention of writing a biography. In the course of preparing to write his biography, Kahn produced several interviews with Morford and had custody of an autobiographical manuscript that he produced and many of his files. These materials were then transferred to Linda Anderson, Morford’s daughter. Kahn never produced a published biography of Richard Morford.

From the guide to the Richard Morford Papers, 1918-1986, (Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn National Council of American-Soviet Friendship Records, Bulk, 1943-1988, 1919-1990 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
creatorOf Guide to the Richard Morford Papers, 1918-1986 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Albion College. corporateBody
associatedWith Kahn, Kathy person
associatedWith Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971 person
associatedWith Lamont, Corliss, 1902-1995 person
associatedWith Melish, William Howard, 1910- person
associatedWith Morford, Aileen, 1901-1984 person
associatedWith National Council of American-Soviet Friendship (U.S.). corporateBody
associatedWith United Christian Council for Democracy. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Subversive Activities Control Board. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States |x Foreign relations |z Soviet Union.
Soviet Union.
New York (N.Y.)
Albany (N.Y.)
Moscow (Russia)
Morristown (N.J.)
Antinuclear movement


Birth 1903

Death 1986

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SNAC ID: 47822863