Any info on H. G. Harris?

Discussion in 'Horological Books' started by seanst8579, Aug 15, 2013.

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  1. seanst8579

    seanst8579 Registered User

    Aug 15, 2013
    Hi guys,

    I'm trying to hunt down contact info for H. G. (Henry Gordon) Harris, the author of Advanced Clock and Watch Repair, but he's an awfully difficult man to find. I understand he's British, but beyond that I have no leads. Does anyone know if he's still living? If so, where he might currently reside? Anything at all beyond that? Any help would be most appreciated.

  2. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
    NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Life Member

    Aug 25, 2000
    Horological Bibliographer -
    Sussex New Jersey USA
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    #2 Fortunat Mueller-Maerki, Aug 16, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
    In my own library I have 7 books by Harris:

    The oldest book which I have by him (Library of Congress Catalog: 63-9747 ) was published in 1963 by Emerson in New York, but carries a copyright notice of 1961.

    Further research shows that there is a 1961 edition under the same tile published by Arco (no town given, but later Arco editions say Arco is based in London). It is the only book that acording to Worldcat (the combined database of all the worlds research libraries) that was published under the name 'H.Gordon Harris' (all subsequent publications use only H.G. Harris') . The first UK edition was part of a series called "Handybooks"). The only copy of the 1961 edition is in a Dutch University library (which may indicate that Arco was not an established publisher.)

    There was a second British edition in 1969 published by Mayflower in London, also labled a s part of the HAndybook series. It therefor seems that Mayflower bought out Arco in the mid 1960s.
    Five out of six copies in major research libraries of the 1969 British edition are in libraries within the British Empire.

    The first American edition was published in 1963 by Emerson in New York. (I have it in its 'Fourth printing' state, publishedd 1967) (2nd printing was 1964, 3rd in 1966). In the preface the author thanks several UK based sources for their help, so he appears to be British.

    Worldcat lists 467 copies of the New York 1963 edition in major research libraries around the world, with over 100 copies within a few hours drive of my home in New Jersey, so this is the first mass market book by HArris.

    The second "Revised" edition in the USA was published 1972 ( I have have it in its third printing 1974), but it carries the same Library of Congress number as the 1963 edition, so the changes to the first edition seem only cosmetic (for instance the Appendix now mentions only the AWI as a resource, and drops the reference to the BHI). Theree are an additional 500 copies of the 1972 edition in public resaearch libraries.

    It seems that in 1973 Emerson Publishers felt the need for a new edition so they created "Advanced Clock and Watch Repairs" a significantly enlarged and updated enhancement. Bu subjectively I get the sense that the input of H.G. Harris to this process was minimal, and that the 'new' book was primarly created by the editors and publishers. This also raised in my mind if there ever was a H.G.Harris or the authors name all along has been a penname for an annonymous writer.

    That vague feeling got reinforced when looking at the two other books(0n collecting rather then on repair) again that say they are by H.G. Harris (They were later und much less successfull than the practical bench oriented books). They feel very impersonal and the style is different from the early books, they too could have been done by some team of annonymous writers/researchers working for the publishers rather than an engaged author.

    Anyway if Harris ever existe , he is unlikely to be alive now. If he was 25 years old when he first published in 1961 he must born before 1936, so he would be around 80 or older now.

    I am curious to find out more.
  3. seanst8579

    seanst8579 Registered User

    Aug 15, 2013
    Thanks for the information. Harris is quite the enigma.
  4. DanielLamy

    DanielLamy Registered User

    Jan 27, 2014
    hello. May I have the autorisation for the entrance on your site please? thank you very much.

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