“Joy Morton’s work is not just the sum of salt and trees. Those two notable but seemingly incongruous interests were bookends to a lifetime of achievement.” -James Ballowe, A Man of Salt and Trees
Born September 27, 1855, Joy was the eldest of four sons of Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902) and Caroline Joy Morton (1834-1881). His parents instilled a deep respect for nature within their family.
Joy perpetuated his family’s appreciation of nature in his establishment of The Morton Arboretum. As a Chicago industrialist, Joy would come to discover Lisle in the early 1900s and eventually build his family estate, Thornhill, in 1909.
The actual work of transforming his Thornhill estate would begin in early 1921, when Joy was 65 years old. The Morton Arboretum would be formally established on December 14, 1922. The Morton Arboretum Indenture establishes and outlines the creation of the Arboretum, describes Morton’s intentions surrounding its development, appoints trustees, and details the original tract of land designated as The Morton Arboretum.
Morton Family Correspondence Project
Staff and volunteers of the Sterling Morton Library, named for Joy's son, are working to digitize and catalogue the correspondence written by various Morton family members and their constituents. To view the work that has already been done, visit the Morton Family Correspondence page on ACORN!
The Sterling Morton Library also has a plethora of resources available should you be interested in learning more about the Morton family or other local history topics.
- Around the world by Margaret Gray Morton
- A man of salt and trees : the life of Joy Morton by James Ballowe
- Sterling's Carrie : Caroline Ann Joy French, Mrs. J. Sterling Morton 1833-1881 by Margaret V. Ott
The Morton Arboretum
- Around the arboretum by Richard A. Thompson
- A great outdoor museum : the story of the Morton Arboretum by James Ballowe
- DuPage at 150 and those who shaped our world by Jean Moore
- DuPage discovery, 1776-1976 : a Bicentennial view
- DuPage roots by Richard A. Thompson
- A history of the County of DuPage, Illinois by C.W. Richmond
- The Phoenix land : the natural history of DuPage County by Wayne Lampa
- Chicago by Gary Irving
- Chicago, 1930-70; building, planning, and urban technology by Carl W. Condit
- Chicago : a century of progress, 1833-1933
- Chicago gardens : the early history by Cathy Jean Maloney
- Chicago: growth of a metropolis by Harold M. Mayer
- Chicago metropolis 2020 : the Chicago plan for the twenty-first century by Elmer W. Johnson
- Chicago's progress : a review of the World's fair city by Glenn A. Bishop
- Chicago's urban nature : a guide to the city's architecture + landscape by Sally Anderson Chappell
- A compendium of the early history of Chicago to the year 1835 when the Indians left by Ulrich Danckers
- Creating Chicago's North Shore : a suburban history by Michael H. Ebner
- A guide to Chicago's historic suburbs on wheels and on foot (Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage, Will & Cook Counties) by Ira J. Bach
- Giants gone; men who made Chicago by Ernest Poole
- Millennium Park : creating a Chicago landmark by Timothy J. Gilfoyle
- A natural history of the Chicago Region by Joel Greenberg
- Plan of Chicago by Daniel Burnham
- The Plan of Chicago : Daniel Burnham and the remaking of the American city by Carl S. Smith
- Reminiscences of Chicago during the civil war
- Women building Chicago 1790-1990 : a biographical dictionary