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Felix Morley presidential papers

Identifier: HCB-001-006

Scope and Contents

This is a very small group of files, a portion of which are not from Morley's office, but from the files of Board member J. Henry Scattergood. Both Morley's and Scattergood's files consist primarily of correspondence and, although the quantity of material is not large, Morley was a prolific writer, and the content of his letters is exceptional. The files document Morley's efforts to bring government subsidized non-military programs to Haverford, including Pre-Meteorological Training, Pre-Medical Training, Army Specialized Training Program. Morley also established a Haverford Relief and Reconstruction program in cooperation with the American Friends Service Committee. The papers record Morley's efforts to mollify the criticisms that he was undermining the College's Quaker foundation by participating in war activities. There is some material on his appointment and resignation. There are files of his earlier speeches and articles and of letters responding to the invitation to his inauguration. An "autograph" file contains letters from prominent national and international figures to Morley while he was president and while he was editor of the Washington Post. A post-presidential miscellany includes correspondence on the painting of a portrait of Morley's father Frank for the Gummere-Morley room in the Library.


  • Creation: 1931-1980
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1940-1945


Conditions Governing Access

Permission for all access must be obtained from the College Archivist

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.


Felix Morley was inaugurated Haverford's president in the Fall of 1940. The son of a Haverford mathematics professor, Morley had spent some of his childhood with his two brothers on the campus and he, as well as both brothers, returned to the College, with Felix graduating in 1915. Following Rhodes Scholarship work, he spent several years studying the League of Nations and directing the Geneva office of the League of Nations Association of the United States. He was appointed Editor of the Washington Post by its new owner, Eugene Meyer, in 1933, where Morley was awarded the 1936 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished editorial writing.

In his inauguration speech, Morley challenged the college community "to give evidence that the activity of the campus is itself "work of national importance." On his resignation the Haverford News editorialized "While in no sense impairing Haverford's established position as a great educational institution, he brought it more closely in tune with the times and laid solid foundations for a brilliant post-war period in liberal arts education." However, his ambitions for improving the College were clouded by the challenges brought on by World War II. Faced with a student body depleted from enlistments and conscription and the attendant danger of insufficient financing to keep the college operating, Morley decided that the only way Haverford would survive would be to attract funding through non-combatant government programs. There was strong opposition to his plans from those who insisted on faithfulness to the Quaker peace testimony and eschewed any association—however removed--with military activities. Morley's plans prevailed and, with the added influence he had in Washington, several training groups were brought to the campus and the College's budget flourished.

Confident that he had brought Haverford safely through the danger and citing severe strain, Morley resigned in 1945. Morley went on to become "a public intellectual," voicing his conservative philosophy through his own weekly newsletter Human Events and other journals and magazines, radio commentary for NBC, and published books including Freedom and Federalism (1959) and his autobiography For the Record (1979). He died in 1982.


1.89 cubic ft. (5 boxes)

Language of Materials



This is a small group of papers, 1940-1945, primarily relating to Haverford President Felix M. Morley's efforts to balance college support of the war without militarization. A portion of the files are from the files of Board member J. Henry Scattergood. Both the Morley and Scattergood material consist primarily of correspondence on bringing government subsidized non-combatant units to Haverford, as well as Haverford's own Relief and Reconstruction program. There is some information on his appointment and resignation as College president and some post-presidential correspondence.

Other Finding Aids

See Morley Family Papers (HC.MC-807). Photocopies of Felix M. Morley's diaries are in boxes 15-19, with restricted access. The originals were donated in 2006 and closed until 2015.

Custodial History

Inauguration files "brought down from Dr. Lockwood's dept. on 5th Floor by Charles Welsh, April, 1965." Autograph letters were transferred to the library by Morley at different times from 1944 to 1945. See Morley Collection file for transfer letters. Previously Collection HC.MC-808. Provenance of the rest Morley files and the Scattergood files is unknown.


The Spirit and the Intellect: Haverford College, 1833-1983 (Haverford, PA, 1983) Publius: The Journal of Federalism 34:4 (Fall 2004) Felix Morley, For the Record (Southbend: Regnery/Gateway, 1979). Morley Family Papers (#807), Felix M. Morley Journals (photocopies), Boxes 16, 17.

Processing Information

Arrangement roughly chronological according to dates of wartime programs. Processed by Linda Stanley. Additional description and reboxing completed by Cole Hannah (Class of 2024) in summer 2022.

Felix Morley presidential papers
Linda Stanley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting repoductions from Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

370 Lancaster Ave
Haverford PA 19041 USA US