Morris Symposium History

The Alice V. and Dave H. Morris Memorial Fund

Managed by the New York Community Trust

Purpose :

"To further the scientific study and improvement of linguistic communications and particularly the improvement of international communication through an auxiliary language."


Dave Hennen Morris and Alice Vanderbilt Morris had a sustained intellectual and practical interest in human language and communication. Both individuals were members of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA). Alice V. Morris was in fact one of the 31 women Foundation Members at the LSA's creation in 1925, and remained active in the LSA for decades. Mrs. Morris showed a particular interest in linguistic research that addressed underlying grammatical and conceptual uniformities between languages. She financially supported Sapir's cross-linguistic semantic studies of totality (1930) and grading phenomena (1944); she also personally edited Sapir and Swadesh's 1932 cross-linguistic study of ending-point phenomena, and Collinson's 1937 study of indication. Mrs. Morris's interest in comparative linguistics had an important practical side. She was a long-time member and active supporter of the International Auxiliary Language Association (IALA), whose goal was the creation of a practical linguistic instrument for international diplomacy, commerce, scientific and cultural exchange. Mrs. Morris's support in this realm was largely devoted to the specific auxiliary language Interlingua, whose creation was the product of intense cross-linguistic research. The Morris Memorial Fund was established in the 1940’s to support work on Interlingua, and did so until quite recently, when the Interlingua Institute completed its work and concluded operations.


As a new initiative, the Morris Memorial Fund now supports the Alice V. and Dave H. Morris International Symposia on Language and Communication, which draws eminent scientists from around the globe to Long Island to discuss fundamental issues in, and implications of, current research in human language.