Richard A. Morse was born in Milton, Massachusetts, and graduated from the Milton Academy, Harvard University and the Harvard School of Design.
He practiced architecture in New York City for five years before moving to Tucson in 1932.
Morse’s work was influenced by the European Modern movement and the Bauhaus. In 1931 he wrote the article “Where are these Modern Buildings? Examples to be found in Holland and Germany,” for the magazine Pencil Points.
His architectural work, mostly in simplified Spanish-Revival, and early Modernist styles, were primarily residential, including the home designed and built for the Countess of Suffolk in 1937, and the demolished Charles Reynard home near Kolb Road and Broadway, which was built in 1939.
Morse joined the City of Tucson Planning and Zoning Commission in 1936, and was its chairman from 1938 until his resignation in 1942. Tucson architect Arthur Brown worked with Morse from 1939 – 1942. He was a founding member of the Arizona chapter of the American Institute of Architects and was president in 1941 and 1942.
After serving in the US Navy during World War II, Morse returned to Tucson in September 1945.
In the fall of 1945, Morse with associate William Y. Peters opened a firm at 3207 North First Avenue. In June of 1947 Morse partnered with Merritt H Starkweather, creating a new firm called Starkweather and Morse, with offices at 40 West Congress Street. In November 1947, the book “Your Solar House,” published by Simon and Schuster, featured plans for a Starkweather and Morse solar home.
During the 1960s, Morse served on the Historical Sites Commission, advocating for the preservation of historic properties in the path of urban renal.
Having served in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, he retired from the aviation branch of the Naval Reserve as a lieutenant commander in 1961.
He was also secretary and treasurer for the western mountain region of the American Institute of Architects from 1968 to 1970.
After retiring in Tucson in 1975, Richard A. Morse died in summer of 1982.