Professor Bertram Morris was a native of Colorado. After studying at the University of Colorado for two years, he went on to Princeton University, where he completed his undergraduate degree. He then received his PhD from Cornell University. Before coming to the University of Colorado, he taught at Northwestern University for ten years, and then joined the Department here in 1947, where he taught until his retirement in 1977. In addition to over 30 articles, his published works include four books: The Aesthetic Process;Philosophical Aspects of Culture; Institutions of Intelligence; and Science, Folklore and Philosophy.
Throughout his career, Bertram was noted for his teaching, for his participation in faculty governance, and for his committed involvement in the social issues of the community. Thus he initiated and, for a number of years, directed on a volunteer basis an outreach program that still continues at Manual High School in Denver. In addition, he served as a trustee of the State Colleges and University Consortium of Colorado. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the American Philosophical Association, a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Society for Aesthetics, and of the National Council of the American Association of University Professors, and also of the Colorado Federation of Teachers, and of the State Board of the Colorado Civil Liberties Union.
Edie Morris was born in Denver. She graduated from the CU Business School in 1944, a member of Beta Gamma Sigma honor society, with a BS in accounting and marketing. She and Bertram were married in 1971. Edie has been active for many years in the University and the Boulder community. She founded CU's Friends of the Libraries program in 1970, served as president of the Boulder Philharmonic for several years, and served for many years on the board of the Conference on World Affairs.
The Morris Reading room is located in Hellems 269 and also houses The Center for Values and Social Policy. The core of the Reading Room holdings comes from books collected over the years by the Center for Values and Social Policy, supplemented by generous donations from various emeriti faculty, including William Reinhardt, David Hawkins, Leonard Boonin, Forrest Williams, Gary Stahl, and Bertram Morris. In 2014 Bob Pasnau received $5,000 from the College of Arts & Sciences to update and improve the collection. The collection presently includes over 3000 volumes, including an extensive number of journals. The collection was initially catalogued by Christina Schulz, a philosophy graduate student, and continues to be catalogued through the efforts of other graduate students and student employees.
The furniture in the room was designed and built by craftspeople with some connection to the department. The conference table was built by Mary Moffett, whose husband received his PhD from the department in 2003. It is made from white oak with inlaid black walnut. The book shelves, made of the same material, were built by Andrew DeCoursey, a philosophy major at CU. The hardwood floors, of quartersawn oak, date from the original construction of Hellems Hall. They were discovered beneath three layers of carpet, tile, and tar paper, and restored and finished by Boulder Valley Hardwood Flooring. The Reading Room project was initiated and supervised by Bob Pasnau.