Esther Morris Douty, 69, author of a dozen children's books and a longtime Washington resident, died of cancer Wednesday at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Mrs. Douty published her first book, a biography of song writer Stephen Foster, in 1954. Her second book, "Ball in the Sky," a biography of a pionneer American balloonist, won the Boys' Clubs of America certificate in 1957.

Her later works included "Patriot Doctors: the Story of Benjamin Rush," (1959), "America's First Woman Chemist - Ellen Richards," (1961), and "Forten the Sailmaker," the life story of a black civil rights leader in the 18th century (1968).

Mrs Douty directed the workshop in junior biography of the Georgetown University Writers' Institute in 1961.

She was president of the Children's Book Guild from 1961 to 1962.

Mrs. Douty was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and reared in North Carolina. A graduate of Duke University where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, she did graduate work at the University of North Corolina. She was a social worker in Orange County, N.C., before coming to Washington in 1939.

She is survived by her husband, Harry M., of the home in Washington; a daughter, Harriet Dwinell, of Washington, and three grandchildren. A son, Christopher, died in 1970.