Closely allied with the educational activities of San Jose since 1910, James William Harris, Ph. D., is recognized as a potent factor in literary circles. A native of Boyd County, Ky., he was born at Ashland, August 26, 1878, a son of John W. and Ellen Virginia (Roberts) Harris. John W. Harris, who comes of English descent, was born in Uhrichsville, Ohio, whither his parents had migrated from Maryland. The mother was of English and Scotch extraction, a native of Baltimore, and she is a descendant of a highly intellectual family. The father was prominent in the educational development of Boyd County, serving as president of the board of education and also as a councilman of Ashland for many years. He was a successful merchant, and because of his untiring and unselfish interest in the development of his local community, he was accorded the leadership in all advance movements. The early education of the subject of this sketch began in the public schools of Ashland, Ky.

 When sixteen years of age just after graduating from the high school he entered the office of the Floyd County Abstract Company, where he was employed for two years, receiving much practical knowledge of legal and abstract business. Later he entered Union College at Barboursville, Ky., where he was graduated in 1901 with the degree of A. B. He immediately removed to Aberdeen, S. D., where he had charge of records and passing on titles for a local loan company. While residing in Aberdeen Mr. Harris in 1902 was offered the position of superintendent of the town schools of Ipswich and given the authority to organize the high school, which he proceeded to do; this resulted in a permanent high school and he continued in the same capacity for three years. In 1905, Mr. Harris entered Clark University at Worcester, Mass., where he did graduate work, taking a course in psychology and education under President G. Stanley Hall. For one year he was on appointment as scholar in psychology and two years as a Carnegie Fellow in psychology. In 1908 the degree of Doctor of Philosophy was conferred on him and the same year he was appointed assistant professor of education at De Pauw University, Greencastle, Ind., remaining in this capacity until 1910 when he resigned and came to California to accept the Chair of Education in the College of the Pacific.

During 1913 Dr. Harris was given leave of absence and made an extended tour throughout England and Continental Europe for observation of educational institutions as well as pleasure, returning to America and California eight months previous to the outbreak of the World War in July, 1914. While in Europe he studied critically both the strong and weak points of foreign education and on his return introduced into his classes at the College of the Pacific much constructive criticism as the result of his sojourn abroad.

The summers of 1920 and 21 were spent by Dr. Harris at the State University of Iowa as lecturer in education, a position he will again resume in 1922. He is an active and interested member of the National Educational Association, and has been a delegate to national conventions upon several occasions. During his years at the College of the Pacific Dr. Harris has been closely associated with several phases of the administration of the school; he has been connected with endowment campaigns and publicity work for the college and has in every way fitted his life into the spirit of the institution. His influence on the lives of hundreds of young men and women cannot be overestimated, and those who have been privileged to be members of his classes, testify as to his keen mind, strict integrity and oneness of purpose. that being to give of his best that those who come in contact with him should give of their best to the world and humanity. The city of San Jose recognize in Dr. Harris a broad-minded, public-spirited citizen, and are justly proud of the influence he is wielding in the lives of the youth of the community.
Transcribed cferoben, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 729