Yale University

In Memoriam

Morgan Phillips

Morgan Phillips
1964 graduation

Below are an obituary and a remembrance of Morgan Phillips.


The Recorder
Canajoharie, NY
Nov. 4, 1996

Morgan Wynne Phillips, 53, of Canajoharie, died Tuesday at home after a long illness.

Born Nov. 25, 1942 in New Rochelle, he was the son of the Rev. Wendell W. and Marguerite Roncevalle Phillips. Mr. Phillips was educated at Lawerenceville, N.J., and Rye High School in Rye. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in American Studies at Yale, Class of 1964, earned a master of arts in restoration and preservation at Columbia University in 1968, and owned his own business, Phillips Architectural Conservation, for the past six years.

He served as Lieutenant in the U.S. Army from 1964 to 1966.

His memberships included the Fellow American Institute for Conservation, Association for Preservation Technology, from 1968 to 1990 he worked in Boston as Architectural Conservator for the Society for the preservation of New England Antiquities, and was the first person nationally to use the title of architectural conservator.

Mr. Phillips is survived by a brother, the Rev. Wendell Roncevalle Phillips of Charlotte, N.C., and a sister, Mrs. Andree Phillips Conklin of Hartwick.

Cremation took place at the Leatherstocking Crematory Inc., Cherry Valley.

There will be a memorial service on Nov. 9 at 2 p.m., at the Stone Church, St. Albans, Schuyler Lake with the Rev. Albert K. Jungers officiating.

Burial and committal services will be in Norfolk, Conn., officiated by the Rev. Wendell R. Phillips.

Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one's choice.

Funeral arrangements are by the Ottman Funeral Home, Cherry Valley.

Here is a tribute from a colleague ...

Morgan Phillips will be deeply missed

To the editor:

Morgan Phillips, a resident of Canajoharie, recently died. This letter is in tribute to a man unsurpassed in the preservation field, to a man whose stature may have been unrealized during the past few years of his residence in the Mohawk Valley.

I graduated from the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Museum Studies in 1971 and began a to-date 25 year career in the preservation field. One of the first names I learned to respect was that of Morgan Phillips, who pioneered a new way of looking at, interpreting, and investigating historic paint finishes. He brought period interiors back to life and changed the way the professional and the visitor looked at a historic house. People across the United States, people in other countries sought his advice and admired his unending research. I always wanted to be able to meet Morgan Phillips - his name was synonymous with the kind of scientific research that gave historic house interpretation viability.

When I did meet this man, he was already wrestling with a debilitating disease that plunged him into continuous cycles of depression and intensification of the disease itself. Friends and family worked tirelessly to find an answer to his problems and to re-unite him with his soul and body. He continued to search for a perfection in his work that seemed beyond human capability and to search for a way out of a private torment that was beyond most of our imaginations.

All of us in the preservation field will always have before us the results of Morgan Phillips' research. All of us will miss him.