John Harrison d.1642

From Book Owners Online

John HARRISON -1642

Biographical Note

Harrison’s career is not known before 1630, when he became Head Master of Eton College; he was a native of Worcestershire. He became a fellow (and ceased to be Head Master) in 1636. He was acquainted with Sir Henry Wotton, and his good influence as a teacher was later commented on by Robert Boyle, a pupil of his in the 1630s.


Harrison bequeathed his library, sextant and dials to Eton College; at least 120 volumes can be identified there today, mostly concerned with science, mathematics, astronomy or astrology (Birley considered it “one of the earliest English scientific libraries which is still kept together”; the size of the non-scientific element is not known). A little over 70% are 17th century imprints, the remainder 16th century (with one incunable).

Characteristic Markings

Harrison only occasionally inscribed his name; he sometimes annotated them, or added contents lists to tract volumes. A number were locally bound in “a rather distinctive mottled calf”.


  • Birley, R. ‘Robert Boyle’s Head Master at Eton’, Notes and Queries of the Royal Society of London 13 no.2 (1958), 104-114.
  • Birley, R. History of Eton College Library, 1970, 27-30.