Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)DA21
TitlePapers of James Rendel Harris and Helen Balkwill Harris
Extent54 boxes
DescriptionPersonal papers of James Rendel Harris (1852-1941) biblical scholar, orientalist and folklorist, including correspondence between Harris and his wife, Helen Balkwill Harris, 1880-1912, and his mother, Elisabeth Corker Harris, 1880s; correspondence with other scholars and students including Albert J. Edmunds and G. Lester Marriott; papers relating to his publications and research including typescripts and manuscripts of articles, lectures, publications etc and some correspondence and reviews, (eg relating to the Legend of Ahikar, 1898 and 'The Odes and Psalms of Solomon', 1910); scrapbooks; photographs of manuscripts; papers relating to his travel in the Middle East, his campaigning and relief work in Armenia, to the Society of Friends and his Presidency of the Free Church Council; diary, letters, and addresses of Helen Balkwill Harris.
ArrangementThe papers were first sorted and listed by James Rendel Harris's nephew, Harold Angus, who grouped them by subject, and gave each group a lot number. There is a copy of this list in the deposit file for the collection. The new arrangement divides the catalogue into two parts according to provenance: the papers of James Rendel Harris, the majority of the collection, and the papers of Helen Balkwill Harris. The James Rendel Harris papers have been arranged in five artificial series: research notes and scrapbooks; correspondence; articles; books; and miscellaneous. The arrangement of the files within these series follows Harold Angus's list and his original numbers are noted in the PhysicalDescription field for each file.

Old 'Lot numbers' used by Harold Angus correspond to the new references as follows:

Lot 1 DA21/1/1/26
Lot 1a DA21/1/1/25
Lot 2 DA21/1/3/2
Lot 3 DA21/1/1/3
Lot 4 DA21/1/1/21
Lot 5 DA21/1/3/1
Lot 6 number not used
Lot 7a DA21/1/3/10
Lot 7b DA21/1/3/8
Lot 7c DA21/1/3/9
Lot 8a DA21/1/1/9
Lot 9 DA21/1/1/11
Lot 10 DA21/1/1/12
Lot 11 DA21/1/1/7
Lot 12 DA21/1/1/8
Lot 13 DA21/1/1/24
Lot 13a DA21/1/1/22
Lot 14 DA21/1/1/20
Lot 15 DA21/1/3/5
Lot 16 DA21/1/3/3
Lot 17 DA21/1/1/1
Lot 18 DA21/1/1/13
Lot 19 DA21/1/1/6
Lot 19 DA21/1/1/4
Lot 19c DA21/1/1/5
Lot 20 DA21/1/1/2
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered readers.
Ancient Greek
Finding AidsA catalogue of this collection is available on the online archive catalogue. Click on the Finding Number to display the summary contents list of the catalogue and to view the full catalogue, or view the full catalogue as a PDF file by clicking in the document field below. A paper copy is also available in the Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections Department.
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryFor full biographical information, see entry for James Rendel Harris (1852-1941) in 'Who Was Who'; FBA, 1927 and Alessandro Falcetta, 'James Rendel Harris: A Life on the Quest', Quaker Studies 8 (2004): 208-225.

James Rendel Harris held many academic posts from 1882 including Professor, Johns Hopkins University, 1882-5, Haverford College, 1885-92; lecturer in palaeography, Cambridge, 1893-1903; First Principal and Director of Studies at the Friends' Settlement for Social and Religious Study, Woodbrooke College [the first Selly Oak College], 1903-1918 and Curator of Eastern MSS at the John Rylands Library, Manchester, 1918-1925. He was a prolific publisher of specialist studies and devotional writings. He also travelled extensively in the East in search of manuscripts, finding Syriac versions of Apology of Aristides (1889) and Odes of Solomon (1909). He married Helen Balkwill of Plymouth in 1880, who died in 1914.
Custodial HistoryThis collection was donated to the Selly Oak Colleges Library in 1976 by Rendel Harris's nephew. A second deposit was made in 1977 (letters to James Rendel Harris from other theological scholars, catalogued as DA21/1/2/1) and a third in 1987 (letters from Terrot Reavely Glover to James Rendel Harris, catalogued as DA21/1/2/1/20).

In 1995, a box of books by Rendel Harris and Helen Harris was deposited by the by the executors of the estate of Rendel Harris's nephew's wife (books by Rendel Harris have been catalogued as DA21/1/4/1; books by Helen Harris have been catalogued as DA21/2/2/2, 3, 5, 6, and 7). Finally, in 1998, a degree certificate was deposited (catalogued as DA21/1/5/2).

In 1997, the collection was transferred to the Orchard Learning Resources Centre, which was opened following the merger of the Selly Oak Colleges Library and the Westhill College Library. In 2000, the custodianship of all archive collections held at the Orchard Learning Resources Centre was transferred to the University of Birmingham

There is a substantial Rendel Harris collection at Woodbrooke College, which is believed to have been deposited there when Rendel Harris's house was bombed in the 1940s. It is not clear why some material was given to Woodbrooke while other material went to the Selly Oak Colleges Library. Correspondence in the deposit file suggests that papers relating to Rendel Harris's research on the Mayflower were given to Woodbrooke College when the rest of the collection held by his nephew was deposited in the Selly Oak Colleges Library in 1976.
Related MaterialCadbury Research Library: Special Collections holds a number of Rendel Harris letters in the LAdd sequence. This includes letters from Rendel Harris to William A Cadbury and letters to Rendel Harris from Sir Harold Idris Bell, Eric F Wills, and Robert W Rogers. The papers of Bishop Barnes also include some letters from or about Rendel Harris (EWB 4/11 and EWB 8/22/6-7).

Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections has many books from Rendel Harris's library.

Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections also holds the Rendel Harris Papyri, a group of manuscripts acquired in Egypt in the winter of 1922-3. These papyri and others were presented to the Selly Oak Colleges Library in Birmingham, and a first volume of texts from the collection was published by Enoch Powell in 1936. 'The Rendel Harris Papyri of Woodbrooke College, Birmingham'. Edited with translation and notes by J. Enoch Powell. Cambridge at the University Press, 1936. A copy can be consulted in our searchroom. A second volume, the work of several contributors, came out in 1985.

Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections holds other material relating to relief in Armenia in the archive of Save The Children (SCF)

Papers of and relating to James Rendel Harris previously held at Woodbrooke College (JRH)

Papers of Helen Travers Sherlock relating to James Rendel Harris (MS943)
Associated MaterialsOther materials relating to Rendel Harris are held at Haverford College Libraries' Quaker and Special Collections, Haverford, USA
Publication NoteSome of these papers were used by Alessandro Falcetta in his 'James Rendel Harris: A Life on the Quest', Quaker Studies 8 (2004): 208-225. A revised and updated version of that article has been printed in James Rendel Harris, New Testament Autographs and Other Essays (ed. Alessandro Falcetta; New Testament Monographs 7; Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2006), pp. 1-15.


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