American physician and journalist; born at Danzig, Prussia, June 11, 1815; settled in Philadelphia 1850; died there Dec. 13, 1893. He was given a thorough Jewish education in Danzig, then studied Oriental languages at Halle, but eventually devoted himself to the study of medicine, in which he graduated at the University of Berlin in 1840; he remained there as assistant demonstrator of anatomy until 1843. In that year, after a tour of the Continent, he established himself at Konitz, where he supplemented his practise as a physician by writing a history of medicine, published in two volumes, in 1848-49. Having taken part in the revolutionary movement of that period, Morwitz was compelled to emigrate. He invented a breech-loading mechanism for field-guns, and after an unsuccessful effort to exploit it in England and the United States, he settled in Philadelphia and resumed the practise of his profession. He took an active interest in political affairs, and after gradually becoming identified with the local German newspaper, the "Philadelphia Demokrat," as a contributor, he became its owner in 1853, and relinquished the medical profession for that of journalism. In 1855 the daily issue of his newspaper was supplemented by a weekly, which attained a wide circulation as "Die Vereinigte Staaten Zeitung," and by a Sunday edition named "Die Neue Welt" (the publication of the latter still continues). For a time he also issued a weekly periodical in English, called "The Pennsylvanian." As publisher and editor of these journals Dr. Morwitz soon gained a position of influence in the councils of the Democratic party of Pennsylvania, and became recognized as a leading "war Democrat" during the Civil war. At this period he was instrumental in reestablishing the dispensary of the German Society, which had been closed for years; in 1862 he led in the organization of the German Press Association of Pennsylvania, and in 1870 he instituted a movement in aid of the German cause in the Franco-Prussian war, which resulted in a large fund being raised for the purpose. Establishing a number of German newspapers in various cities of Pennsylvania, and one, the "Morgen Journal," in New York city, he finally developed the business into a "Newspaper Union," in which numerous journals in English were included, and through which he eventually attained the control of over 300 periodicals.
Dr. Morwitz was a member of various Jewish charity organizations in Philadelphia, but his most considerable share in Jewish communal affairs was as publisher of "The Jewish Record," which he took up in 1875, a few months after its establishment, and whose publication he continued for nearly eleven years, almost constantly at a financial loss. He was succeeded after his death by his only son, Joseph Morwitz.