A freelance archival consultant, bibliographer, editor, and artist, Bill Morgan has an interest in the Beats that goes back to the early 1970s, when he was attending library school at the University of Pittsburgh.
For his master's degree thesis, he compiled a bibliography of the works of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet and owner of City Lights Books, the famous San Francisco bookstore and one of the most important publishers of the early Beat writers, most notably Allen Ginsberg. After finishing his thesis, Morgan was encouraged by the editors at the University of Pittsburgh Press to pursue this project with a view toward eventual publication. He did indeed continue his research, working in close collaboration with Ferlinghetti as his personal bibliographer, and, after a decade of research, he published Lawrence Ferlinghetti: A Comprehensive Bibliography.
By 1980 Morgan had moved to New York City. While he was still working on the Ferlinghetti book, the San Francisco poet had referred him to Allen Ginsberg, whose own personal library and archive were among the best sources of information in New York on the Beats. Early consultations with the poet grew into an enduring relationship that lasted from the early 1980s until Ginsberg's death in 1997. During these years Morgan served as Ginsberg's archivist and bibliographer, helping the poet to organize and maintain his ever-increasing library and records. As Ginsberg's bibliographer, Morgan spent fifteen years corresponding with and visiting numerous publishers, editors, scholars, and library collections in order to gather sufficient information to document the history of Ginsberg's prodigious output and the worldwide attention it has drawn. The results of his research appeared in a massive and authoritative two-volume bibliography: The Works of Allen Ginsberg, 1941-1994: A Descriptive Bibliography and The Response to Allen Ginsberg, 1926-1994: A Bibliography of Secondary Sources.