Felix Morley, 88, a scholar, educator and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was a former editor of the editorial page of The Washington Post, died March 13 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Mr. Morley, who lived on Gibson Island, Md., had cancer.
Named to his editorial position a few months after Eugene Meyer bought The Post in 1933, Mr. Morley, who possessed a skilled pen, strong principles and a PhD, brought zest, verve and distinction to his page.
In 1936, his editorials, widely quoted and much discussed, won him a Pulitzer Prize, the first ever awarded to a writer for The Post.
He left the newspaper in 1940 to become president of Haverford College, in Haverford, Pa., where he was born in 1894, while his father was a professor of mathematics there. Mr. Morley's older brother was Christopher Morley, the poet, novelist and essayist.
Mr. Morley was reared in Haverford and in Baltimore. He graduated from Haverford College in 1915, served overseas during the early part of World War I in a British ambulance unit, returned for a reporting job on the Philadelphia Public Ledger, then entered an ROTC unit in 1917. Of Quaker background, he later did alternative war work with the Labor Department.
After the war he spent two years at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, and a third at the London School of Economics as a research fellow. Before joining The Post, he wrote editorials for the Baltimore Sun, studied the League of Nations on a Guggenheim Fellowship, wrote two books on world affairs and became a staff member of the Brookings Institution, where he earned his doctorate.
While at The Post during the first and second terms of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mr. Morley, who later described himself as an economic conservative who also opposed the centralization of power, often took editorial positions critical of FDR.
One editorial that helped him win his Pulitzer came after the Supreme Court nullified unanimously the National Recovery Act, a key New Deal measure. FDR said the Court had turned the Constitution back to the "horse and buggy days."
Mr. Morley wrote that the President "turned his back on the traditions and principles of his party and gave tremendous stimulus to the move for a complete political realignment in the United States."
As the international situation deteriorated, differences reportedly grew between the publisher and his editorial page editor over what course might be pursued to save Europe from fascism. A biography of Meyer said "Morley's Quaker background would not allow him to pursue his passion for international cooperation to the point of supporting war."
In 1940, Mr. Morley left the newspaper. He said later that he had believed it would not be possible to conduct an objective, far-sighted editorial page from the capital in wartime, and that he wanted more time to do research in American constitutional history and political theory.
After the war, Mr. Morley resigned from Haverford and returned to journalism, contributing to Nation's Business magazine and broadcasting for NBC. He was also a cofounder of Human Events. In addition, he wrote several books, including The Power in the People (1949), The Foreign Policy of the United States (1951) and Freedom and Federalism (1959).
Mr. Morley was involved in a variety of other cultural, civic, educational and literary enterprises, and once good-humoredly described himself as "too academic to be a good newspaperman and too journalistic to be a good educator."
In 1979 he published a memoir, For The Record, recounting what a reviewer called a life "of energetic endeavor punctuated with consistent success and capped with honors."
Survivors include his wife, Isabel M., of Gibson Island, a son, Anthony J., of Minneapolis; two daughters, Lorna J. Morley of Morristown, N.J., and Christina Borden of Annapolis, and eight grandchildren.