I'm a writer, art historian, archivist, mother, knitter, raveler, researcher, philatelist, academic, newly-minted Francophile, and snapperup of unconsidered trifles. I blogged on and off from 2006 to 2013. I wrote Blue Mauritius: The Hunt for the World's Most Valuable Stamps, and I still love stamps and I still love Mauritius.
I have spent much of my time since 2010 as the research data manager and publisher for projects coupled with the Australian Women's Register: in particular, The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia, and some great exhibitions on Australian women's history.
I'm currently an academic Chief Investigator on the Australian government funded The Trailblazing Women and the Law Project (2012-16), focusing on the collecting, collating and curating of personal, private and public domain biographical, archival and bibliographical data and its publication online in a century of waning privacy.
I was intrigued by the story of the French schoolboy and the Bordeaux letter and imagined his delight after reading of the stamps' rarity and value, astutely searching through the archived correspondence of the French wine importing firm and discovering the 'Post Office' stamps.
“The extraordinary story of the world's most sought-after postage stamps makes fascinating reading in the hands of art historian Helen Morgan, who has turned what so easily could have been a highly-specialised treatise on the birth of philately into an intriguing slice of social history.”
The story had all the elements which appealed to me as a researcher, archivist and writer: the visual appeal of the stamps; their production and the early history of the postal service and communication in Mauritius; the philatelic detective work required to unravel their status as the first issue of Mauritius during the 1860s; philatelic research as a science; the provenance of the known examples and the history of collecting, both 'big game' and 'small'; those who have owned, lusted after and studied the stamps; the concepts of rarity, intrinsic value, true worth and fame; the role that accident, chance and determined hunting have played in the discovery of the known examples; the apocryphal stories surrounding the stamps, and their appearance in fiction from at least 1896 onwards, including the likes of Billy Bunter and the Blue Mauritius in the 1950s and an episode of The Avengers.
“Not just an entertaining and meticulously researched history of Mauritius and its stamps, but also an absorbing look at the early development of one of the world's most widespread hobbies.”
Sunday Business Post (Ireland)
The Research Companion website for my book brings together subject entries from the narrative, including a biography for each of the twenty-seven stamps, with bibliographical citations and related images. The navigational key to the website, and its utility, lies in the relationships between subjects and resources.
Gavan McCarthy and Helen Morgan, 'Rights and the commons: navigating the boundary between public and private knowledge spaces', Is Digital Different? How information creation, capture, preservation and discovery are being transformed, M. Moss and B. Endicott-Popovsky with M.J. Dupuis (eds), Facet Publishing, London, 2015, pp.171-187.
Robert Crawford, Gavan McCarthy, Christine Moje, Helen Morgan, 'Melbourne School of Design Building Archive: a unique learning resource', R.H. Crawford and A. Stephan (eds), Living and Learning: Research for a Better Built Environment: 49th International Conference of the Architectural Science Association 2015, The Architectural Science Association and The University of Melbourne, 2015, pp.824-835.
Helen Morgan, 'Die Blaue Mauritius', Die Blaue Mauritius: Das Treffen der Königinnen in Berlin, exhibition catalogue, Museum for Communication, Berlin, 2-25 September 2011.
Helen Morgan, 'Tropical Island Treasure: The Mauritius Collection in the National Library of Australia', Journal of Mauritian Studies, Mahatma Ghandi Institute, vol.4, no.2, 2009, pp.62-69.
Helen Morgan, 'Tropical Island Treasure: The Mauritius Collection', National Library of Australia News, vol.XVII, no.10, July 2007, pp.18-21.
Helen Morgan, 'Researching the "Post Office Mauritius"', Philately From Australia, vol.56, no.2, June 2004, pp.26-30.
Helen Morgan, in Australasian Science:
Kylie Percival, Francesca Zilio, Helen Morgan, 'Database Applications in an Imperfect World: the Necessity and Charm of Compromise', Archives and Manuscripts, vol.28, no.2, November 2000, pp.30-44.
Helen Morgan, 'Editorial' (pp.6-7) and guest editorship of Archives and Manuscripts, vol.27, no.1, May 1999.
Helen Morgan, 'Thea Proctor in London 1910-11: Her Early Involvement with Fashion', Art Bulletin of Victoria 36, 1996, pp.27-36.
Ailie Smith, Helen Morgan, 'Sharing knowledge in context: Linking the Encyclopedia of Australian Science into global online sources', 24th International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester, UK, 21-28 July 2013.
Helen Morgan, Ailie Smith, Joanne Evans, 'Standing the test of time: building better resilience into online archival descriptive networks', International Council on Archives Congress 2012: A Climate of Change, Brisbane, 20-24 August 2012.
Nikki Henningham, Helen Morgan, Shurlee Swain, 'Collecting, Analysing and Presenting Life Stories in the 21st Century', Framing Lives: 8th Biennial International Auto/Biography Association (IABA) Conference, Canberra, 17-20 July 2012.
Ailie Smith, Helen Morgan, 'The Encyclopedia of Australian Science and the role of the online biographical register', Framing Lives: 8th Biennial International Auto/Biography Association (IABA) Conference, Canberra, 17-20 July 2012.
Joanne Evans, Nikki Henningham, Helen Morgan, 'Naming the Unnamed, Speaking the Unspoken, Depicting the Undepicted: The Australian Women's Register Story', Digital Humanities 2010 Conference, King's College, London, 10 July 2010.
Joanne Evans, Nikki Henningham, Helen Morgan, 'Content, Compliance, Collaboration and Complexity: Creating and Sustaining Information', Workshop, Digital Humanities 2010 Conference, King's College, London, 6 July 2010.
Joanne Evans, Nikki Henningham, Helen Morgan, 'Australian Women's Archives Project: Content, Complexity and Web 2.0 Services', Workshop, Australian Society of Archivists 2009 Conference, Brisbane, 14 October 2009.
Joanne Evans, Nikki Henningham, Helen Morgan, 'Out of the Shadows: Using Technology to Illuminate Women's Archives', Women's Memory Symposium: Women's Library and Information Center, Istanbul, Turkey, April 2009.
Joanne Evans, Helen Morgan, Barbara Lemon, 'eScholarship', Asia Pacific ECR Leadership and Management Workshop, The University of Melbourne, 10 December 2008.
Eve Young, James Williams, Helen Morgan, 'OJS Journal and Simultaneous Print on Demand: a Case Study at the University of Melbourne', 'Open Access Publishing: a two-day Public Knowledge Project Workshop', APSR, The University of Sydney, 4-5 December 2008.
Helen Morgan, 'Australian Women's Archives Project 2.0 : Next Generation Infrastructure for Women's Studies (Harnessing Social Media Tools to Enhance and Evolve your Existing Taxonomies)', Taxonomies 2.0, Keyforums, Sydney, 30 October 2008.
Helen Morgan, 'Social Networking and the Implications for Recordkeeping', Technology and Standards in Action for Recordkeeping' Seminar, Australian Society of Archivists, 1 May 2008.
Joanne Evans, Nicola Frean, Helen Morgan, 'Empowering Archivists with Technology: the HDMS Community of Practice', 'Archives and Communities', Archives and Records Association of New Zealand and the Australian Society of Archivists 2005 Conference, Wellington, New Zealand, 6-8 October 2005.
Cate Elkner, Helen Morgan, 'Keeping Archives and Creating Communities: the Santospirito Collection Project', 'Archives and Communities', Archives and Records Association of New Zealand and the Australian Society of Archivists 2005 Conference, Wellington, New Zealand, 6-8 October 2005.
Shannon Faulkhead, Joanne Evans, Helen Morgan, 'Is Technology Enough? Developing archival information systems in community environments', XVIII Bi-Annual ESARBICA General Conference on 'Archives and Records in The Information Society: The African Agenda', Gaborone, Botswana, 25-29 July 2005. Published: Esarbica Journal, vol.24, 2005, pp. 88-113.
Helen Morgan, 'How do I Appraise Thee? Let Me Count the Ways: The Archival Imperative and the Constructs of Appraisal', 'Working With Knowledge' International Archives Conference, Canberra, 6-7 May 1998.
Lisa Cianci, Helen Morgan, 'Beyond the ADS', Archives and Reform : Preparing for Tomorrow, Proceedings of the Australian Society of Archivists Conference, Adelaide, 25-26 July 1997, The Society, O'Connor, ACT, 1998, pp.152-63.
Helen Morgan, 'Flickr, Picture Australia, and Metadata : the Rainbow Connection', State Library of Western Australia, Perth, 7 August 2008.
Helen Morgan, 'Flickr and Picture Australia: a Participant's Perspective', Celebrate Images, History and Invention, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 14 July 2008.
Helen Morgan, 'Thea Proctor Fan Painting 1906-1930', Art and Life seminar, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 9 April 2005.
Helen Morgan, entry on Charles Curtis in Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century British Scientists, Bernard Lightman (ed.), Thoemmes Continuum, Bristol, 2004.
Helen Morgan, entry on Thea Proctor's 'The Rose' in On Paper: Australian Prints and Drawings in the National Gallery of Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria, 2003.
Helen Morgan, (ed.), Federation and Meteorology, Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, 2001.
Helen Morgan, (ed.), Science and the Making of Victoria, Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, 2001.