His name adorns the library entrance, extending a silent welcome to all in our community who seek to learn the law. Though he never utters a word aloud (it is a library, after all), his face faithfully greets us every day. He is a staunch promoter of our events. Around holidays, he reminds us to celebrate our good times, then he is wholly empathetic during our times of greatest stress.
Who was Arthur J. Morris before he became the name and the face of the University of Virginia Law Library? North Carolina writer and commentator Warren Bingham tells us about Morris in his article just published in the Winter 2014 issue of Carolina Banker. In “A North Carolina Native You Should Know: Arthur J. Morris,” Bingham shares that Morris had to finance his own education at the Law School (’01) after his father learned of his gambling and cut off finances. Morris went into banking after law school, eventually creating a new kind of bank that gave credit-seeking wage workers an alternative to loan sharks. The Morris Banks became established in 40 states and helped create the American middle class.
Bingham calls Morris “the father of consumer credit in America.” We’ll still call him AJM.
– Amy Wharton