Presidential Photographs by Morris Martel

May 23, 2013

While researching the story of President Eisenhower’s 1963 visit to Pennsylvania Military College for the recent Widener Magazine, a number of fascinating color photos jumped out at me in the University Archives in Widener’s Wolfgram Memorial Library. All were taken by Morris Martel, a Delaware County supermarket owner who became an excellent photographer in his retirement. PMC hosted an exhibit that included Martel’s photos in 1967.

Martel took many pictures of Eisenhower on campus in 1963. The first one below features Robert Lofts, a junior cadet, standing behind President Eisenhower who sits between PMC President Clarence Moll and Maj. Gen. William Sheppard Biddle, PMC’s commandant of cadets. Martel, a resident of Haverford, also photographed Eisenhower’s return to campus to speak to the Greater Chester Foundation in 1965. I also found photos he took of President John F. Kennedy. The backs of these prints are stamped November 1963, the month Kennedy was assassinated. I haven’t been able to discover the backstory to the images, but if you know more about these, please post a message in the comments field.

–Sam Starnes, Editor

Ike with frame

Martel 1Kennedy



  1. What a great post, Sam. It’s so interesting that you were able to find out so much background information about these photographs. I grew up in Swarthmore, and as I remember there was a Martel’s market in the downtown area. I didn’t know Martel had markets all over Delaware County.

    I do hope someone can remember whether there was a visit to this area by John Kennedy around that time period.

  2. Sam in your piece regarding Gen. Eisenhower’s visit to PMC in 1963 (May 23, 2013) you stated that the Cadet Sgt. standing behind MG Biddle in the first picture was John Lance “Jack” Geoghegan. I’m afraid you may have to stand corrected. Jack Geoghegan, PMC ’63 was our Corps Commander during the General’s visit in 1963. The cadet standing behind MG Biddle was a Cdt. Sgt., a member of the Second Class, the class of ’64 (a Junior). His face is familiar to me because I was also Class of ’64, but I cannot not put a name to it.
    All best regards,
    Roy Collins, PMC ’64

  3. Thank you for your note, and my sincere apologies on the error in the caption information. It was, in fact, Robert Lofts, and I’ve corrected the text in the blog post. While reporting the story about Eisenhower’s visit, I learned that Jack Geoghegan was assigned to be with Eisenhower throughout the day, and when I discovered this image that did not have captions, I incorrectly assumed this was Geoghegan. To see Loft’s photo and scroll through the 1963 Sabre & Sash, you can visit this link. http://digitalwolfgram.widener.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p270801coll6/id/8258/rec/1

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