The Times/1944/Obituary/Harris Rackham

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Mr. Harris Rackham: a Cambridge classic  (1944) 

Source: The Times, Tuesday, Mar 21, 1944; pg. 6; Issue 49810.


Mr. Harris Rackham

a Cambridge classic

Mr. Harris Rackham, Fellow of Christ's Church, Cambridge, died early yesterday. By his death Cambridge loses a fine classical scholar and Christ's College a loyal and influential member.

Born on December 22, 1868, the son of A. T. Rackham, Admiralty marshal, Rackham was educated at the City of London School and went to Christ's College as a scholar in 1887. After two first classes in the Classical Tripos he was elected a Fellow in 1894, and was afterwards appointed to various college offices. Under the statutes of 1926 he became a university lecturer in classics. He lectured also at Newnham, and has been a member of its council since 1905. Rackham was a most successful teacher of the classics, and in spite of the attraction which ancient philosophy had for him and his lucid powers of expounding it he lectured with equal success on a wide range of authors, and also on Greek history. His translations of Cicero's De Finibus and of Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics," supplemented by many notes in the learned journals, testify to his exact scholarship and sound judgment. In 1927 he published, with translation and notes, the early statues of Christ's College with the statutes of the prior foundation of God's House, a work of devotion to the college typical of his attachment and loyalty.

In his verse translations, of which he collected a volume in 1935, a vein of artistic feeling found expression, and his interpretation of the classics gained immeasurably from his love of other literatures and other forms of art.

Music, the stage, pictorial and plastic art, all had for him a more than passing interest. For many years he was president and an active member of the college musical society. Outdoor pursuits made an almost equal appeal to him; the years might advance, but he remained alert and young in spirit. He had visited Canada and the United States more than once, and through his old friends and pupils took a deep interest in education, administration, and party politics abroad and in all parts of the Empire. Still more closely he followed problems pf social welfare and economics and those fields of public service in which an active part was taken by his wife; in politics he sympathized strongly with the Labour Party.

When retirement gave him more leisure further translations of Aristotle came from his pen: of the "Politics," a second edition of the "Ethics," of the "Athenian Constitution" and the "Eudemian Ethics" and the "Rhetoric." All these were for the Loeb series, and for the same series where his Natura Deorum and the Academica, and Volumes 1 and 3 of Pliny's "Natural History." He lad his college under further obligation by collecting and republishing 1939 articles from the college magazine in a volume called "Christ's Church in Former Days,"

Rackham married in 1901, Clara Dorothea, youngest daughter of the late Henry S. Tabor.


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