Morgan, Lucy

From collection Member List

Morgan, Lucy
Lucy Morgan (Beta 1914/Central Michigan) was born in Franklin, North Carolina, and raised in Murphy, North Carolina. She attended Central State Normal School (now Central Michigan University), where she was initiated into Beta Chapter in 1914. After graduating in 1915, she taught school in several places, eventually ending up at the Appalachian School in 1920. 

In January 1923, while accompanying a former student to Berea College to help her settle in, Lucy learned to weave. She immediately loved it and became passionate about teaching others. Of those early days, she said “[I want] to bring about a revival of hand-weaving…[and] provide our neighbor mothers with a means of adding to their generally meager incomes without having to leave their homes….My mind wove fanciful visions while my tired, sore fingers were weaving tangible materials.” After some struggles to gain acceptance for her vision, a weaving program was established at the Appalachia School, with Lucy named as its director.

In 1929, Lucy founded the Penland School of Handicrafts, which is still in existence as the Penland School of Crafts. The school taught weaving and pottery, as well as other crafts. Lucy’s efforts taught local people who were impacted by the Depression new skills so that they could become more self-sufficient and pursue other forms of entrepreneurship. 

Lucy is known as one of the Craft Revival leaders in the United States. After founding Penland School of Handicrafts, she successfully worked to position the school on the national stage. In 1934, Lucy was named the Southern Mountain Handicraft Guild representative to the International Exhibition of Folk Arts in Berne, Switzerland. By the 1940s, Penland was receiving visitors from all over the world. Lucy retired from Penland in 1962, although she returned to the school many times throughout the remaining 20 years of her life.