As a teenager, Jacques de Morgan moved from school to school. Impetuous by nature, and despite his obvious potential, he refused to use his talents for anything other than to learn about the subjects that interested him most. 

Tumultuous school years

Jacques de Morgan spent his childhood in Biou. After the death of his mother, at the age of seven, he moved to a house belonging to his father’s family in Picardy. He then left the family home as a teenager to continue his education.

His father was keen for him to join the navy and enrolled him in the naval college in Cherbourg. Realising that his son was not cut out for a career on the waves, he sent him instead to a school in Douai. Morgan hated everything about it, including the teachers and even his fellow students. Summoned by the headmaster, he slapped him and made a swift escape. His chances of success at his new secondary school in Lons-le-Saunier were similarly doomed. Reprimanded by the deputy-head for throwing a cigarette into the school garden, he swore never to return.


He was then taught by private tutors and never returned to school, which he regarded as little more than prisons. Despite his new-found freedom, however, he still failed his baccalaureate exams. His father placed him in a “boîte à bachot” where failed students were sent to cram for exams. It worked. After a month of cramming, Jacques de Morgan passed with flying colours.

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