Farewell, Brother Blue

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Dr. Hugh Morgan Hill, the official storyteller of both Cambridge and Boston, died Tuesday at age 88.

By Talia Whyte Globe Correspondent / November 6, 2009

Calling himself Brother Blue, he was best known for his passionate, uplifting storytelling, sensitive ear, and mentoring of other raconteurs in Boston and Cambridge.

Dr. Hugh Morgan Hill, an internationally renowned performance artist and official storyteller of both Cambridge and Boston, died in his Cambridge home Tuesday after a brief illness. He was 88.

“He believed deeply in the medium of storytelling because it brought people together, and he was delighted to be around others who liked to tell stories,’’ said Jay O’Callahan, a storyteller from Marshfield.

Born in Cleveland, Dr. Hill served in the Army in both Europe and Asia from 1943 to 1946 during World War II, leaving as a first lieutenant.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in social relations from Harvard University in 1948, a masters in fine arts in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama in 1953, and a doctorate in storytelling from Union Graduate School in 1973, which was a collaborative initiative between Harvard and Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge.

He started his career as a storyteller in the late 1960s, when he traveled to prisons throughout the state with his wife, Ruth Edmonds Hill.