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J. Rendel Harris lecture notes


Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

James Rendel Harris was born in Plymouth, England on January 27, 1852 to Elisabeth Corker and Henry Marmaduke Harris, and he married Helen Balkwill in 1880. Harris became a Quaker in 1885 after a ten year journey towards the faith. After graduating as a Wrangler in Mathematics from Cambridge he went on to lecture in mathematics in Clare College at Cambridge before becoming Professor of New Testament Greek at Johns Hopkins from 1882 to 1885. Isaac Sharpless recruited Harris to come to Haverford, where he remained from 1886 to 1891 serving as Professor of Ecclesiastical History. Harris was reportedly known for his intelligence and sense of humor, often demonstrated in his twice-weekly sermons. Supposedly he could also quote Shakespeare from memory. He was instrumental to the creation of the Haverford College Studies which began publication in 1889, and he contributed to the Haverford College libraries with the donation of the Gustav Baur collection in 1889. Harris took a leave of absence from Haverford during the 1889 school year during which time he gathered the manuscript collection described in this finding aid. In 1892 Harris began teaching again at Cambridge, however, he soon left this position to become the head of Woodbrooke, an education settlement started by George Cadbury to train young Quakers. Harris became curator of manuscripts at the John Rylands Library in Manchester beginning in 1918. While affected by a progressively impairing blindness starting in the 1920s, Harris continued his research until his death in 1941.

A regular traveler to the Middle East in search of manuscripts, Harris also participated in humanitarian work, supporting the Armenians during the Ottoman campaign of genocide. His largest scholarly contributions include beginning the study of testimonia, where he proposed that early Christian writers drew from one book of Biblical quotations. While working at the John Rylands Library he discovered among the manuscripts in his collection a copy of the Odes of Solomon which had been thought to be lost. Later in life he worked on issues of population migration particularly regarding Egypt.

The collection contains eight volumes with J. Rendel Harris' lecture notes from his time teaching Mathematics at Cambridge. They include notes on Geometry and Algebra, Differential Calculus, Solid Geometry, Heat Electricity, Hydrostatics, Light and Sound, Astronomy and Dynamics of a Particle. The notes are fully handwritten and include definitions, diagrams and calculations of appropriate concepts.

The materials are arranged thematically.

Processed by Alexa Horkava, completed November 2021

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Alexa Horkava
Finding Aid Date
November, 2021
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17)

Collection Inventory

Archival Resource Key. Geometry and Algebra .
Volume 1
Scope and Contents

The volume contains lecture notes on Geometry and Algebra. Included are topics like trigonometry, converging and diverging series, and sequences and fractions.

Archival Resource Key. Differential Calculus.
Volume 2
Scope and Contents

The volume contains lecture notes on Differential Calculus. Included are topics such as Leibnitz Theorem, fluid asymptotes, curves and the Fourier's Theorem.

Archival Resource Key. Solid Geometry.
Volume 3
Scope and Contents

The volume contains lecture notes on Solid Geometry. Included are topics such as surfaces, transformations and curves.

Archival Resource Key. Hydrostatics.
Volume 4
Scope and Contents

The volume contains lecture notes on Hydrostatics. Included are definitions and calculations pertaining to topics such as the atmosphere and hydrodynamics.

Archival Resource Key. Heat Electricity.
Volume 5
Scope and Contents

The volume contains lecture notes on Heat Electricity. Included are calculations and definitions pertaining to topics such as heat, thermodynamics, theory of gases, electricity and Ohm's laws.

Archival Resource Key. Dynamics of a Particle.
Volume 6
Scope and Contents

The volume contains lecture topics on the Dynamics of a Particle. The handwritten book with notes is divided into five sections, each of which explores the dynamics of a particle from a different scientific angle.

Archival Resource Key. Light and Sound.
Volume 7
Scope and Contents

The volume contains notes on Light and Sound. Included are topics such as optics, kaleidoscope, waves, friction and elasticity.

Archival Resource Key. Astronomy.
Volume 8
Scope and Contents

The volume contains lecture notes on Astronomy. The handwritten notes include diagrams, calculations and definitions of concepts.

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