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Saturday, 28 July 2007

Ted Morgan, Biographer

Count Sanche de Gramont

Author Ted Morgan, a Pulitzer Prize-winning newsman for the old New York Herald-Tribune, spent the summer of 1955 as a Worcester Telegram reporter. During that summer, as well as later at the Trib, Morgan sported a different byline, known then to his readers as Sanche de Gramont. Make that Count Sanche de Gramont, a descendant of French royalty. Think the Dowager Duchess Donna Maria Ruspoli de Gramont of Aix-en-Provence, for example.

De Gramont officially became Morgan in 1973, when he also renounced his title, all as a prelude to becoming an American citizen. He expects that to happen in September.

From his New York base, Morgan writes as a free-lance and as a biographer.

'I knew very little about Worcester when I first came here,' Morgan said in a recent interview. 'I had never been in New England before. I just knew Worcester was a manufacturing town.'

Morgan also knew that he wanted to be a newsman. Soon after graduating from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, the late Frank Murphy, the Telegram's legendary managing editor, offered him a job. Morgan leapt at the chance, and took up digs in a rooming house near 20 Franklin Street, where the Telegram was edited.

'My life then was centred around my job. I would stay quite late. And I didn't have many friends. My life was my job. It was my first newspaper job, and it was a very formative experience.'

When he did allow himself some free time, he wound up eating a 99-cent dinner at the Eden Restaurant, next door to 20 Franklin, or visit a girlfriend in Boston.

'There was a certain drabness about the city. It was always in the shadow of Boston.'

Morgan had plans to stay at the paper beyond his summer stint. The French Army had a different idea, however, drafting him to serve in Algeria. Quick on his feet, Morgan arranged with Murphy to do occasional war-related reports.
'I think I was the Worcester Telegram's only foreign correspondent at the time,' he said.
--- RDC

(This article was written in 1978 as part of series of six snapshots of personalities who had 'Worcester connections.' This article is being published here for the first time).