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William L. Morris collection

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-10.3.494

Scope and Contents

This collection contains Morris' certificate to Captain, photocopies of a letter and poem written by Morris, photocopy articles about Morris and the Spartan Spirit being shot down, and photographs of Morris and his plane during the war.


  • Creation: 1941-1946, undated


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives and Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

William Lewis Morris was born on January 14, 1920 in Port Huron, Michigan. He attended Michigan State College (now MSU) from 1939 – 1941 studying engineering. During those three years, Morris was part of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and participated with the Pistol Team and the Hesperian House. Morris left college and enlisted in the Army Air Corp on November 3, 1941.

In the Air Corp, he had a career as a fighter pilot and obtained the rank of Major. His P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft was nicknamed the “Spartan Spirit” and it had a spartan warrior painted on the nose of his plane. In the final days of the war, Morris’ plane was shot down in the China Sea. Luckily, he was able to eject from his plane, parachute into the water, and use his one-man raft to stay afloat. It wasn’t long before he was rescued and taken to a hospital off the coast of Okinawa.

After the war, Morris returned to MSC to complete his education. He graduated on December 19, 1946 with a degree in Chemistry. In 1951, Morris married Barbara Shipton. He would go on to work for Briggs Plumbing in Detroit and became the Vice President of Montgomery Ward in Chicago, Illinois. Morris retired in Florida and passed away on May 20, 2005.


0.1 Cubic Feet (4 folders)

Language of Materials


Legal Status

Copyright retained by the creator and copyright restrictions may apply. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

William Morris Collection
4 Published And Cataloged
Jennie Rankin
August 22, 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US