The Protean Life of Ramsay Harris

Thomas Butterworth '63
My Dad is gone...

The subject line on the e-mail from the woman many of us knew as Laura Harris created one of those “Where were you when…?” moments for me. But the news was not a shock. After all, the man was 105 years old and I had seen him about 10 years before, confined to his bed in Santa Fe where he proclaimed “I am a happy man,” despite his reduced capacity for movement and hearing. Yet the man whose very existence had influenced my life for 47 years was gone. Images rolled in my mental bioscope and random thoughts took over of the man in the iconic photo holding an umbrella in the light rain. Gone was the man who convinced me I could learn Latin, whose extra help sessions I attended almost every day just to hear him talk, who played the musical saw, and who wrote music, poetry and drew amusing pictures…

My own thoughts later blurred with those of Webb classmates and other friends. I came to believe that no one single role he played in life could possibly define Ramsay because he had so many parts that he played so well. We knew him best as a teacher at Webb. He taught humanities. We learned humanity. The circumstances of his birth thrust onto him the role of emigrant and its attendant variety of experiences largely unavailable to others with conventional upbringings. His drive toward education and knowledge led him not only to a new country but it also led him to attend four institutions of higher learning and to teach at two. His intellect and curiosity allowed him to pursue three of his interests, poetry, music composition, and “gadgeteering” at what was, arguably, a professional level. He was also an amateur musician and cartoonist, which may have fed his reputation for eccentricity. However, it all started for us at the Webb School.

Webb Teacher

In fulfillment of his official duties at Webb, Ramsay taught history, English literature, Latin, and occasionally one of the Bible classes. Of course, he also performed the daily duties required of a faculty member at the time, presiding over study hall, serving as Officer of the Day, giving the occasional chapel talk and making himself available for nearly any activity that one or more students were enthused about. Who could forget Ramsay saying in study hall, "Gentlemen, sharpen your wits, not your pencils."[1]

Beyond what may have been his job description, he also taught many things not in our books: the death of the last passenger pigeon, the Cartesian diver, Laocoön, Frazer’s Golden Bough, and the use of geese as sentinels.

He taught us how to spell difficult words like “iridescent,” with their roots as well as some words in Hindustani (Hindi).

Ramsay taught us about books: it’s okay to write in your own books, and it is not necessary that a good Latin book be illustrated.

He taught us some math in Latin class, an easy way to square any number ending in 5. Later Ramsay became interested in a more complex mental multiplication method developed by a Russian engineer, Jakow Trachtenberg,[2] to keep his mind busy while imprisoned.[3]

Any description of Ramsay’s accomplishments while at Webb would be incomplete without mentioning some of the more unusual things he did. For example, he would give the same Latin exam as many as three times in a month. Of course, the grading was tougher each time, and it was amazing that these re-runs continued to surprise so many students. He marked as wrong any “i” that was not dotted. While handing out any exam, Ramsay was likely to say “Come on, gentlemen, a chicken can count to three!” No one ever explained what this meant. Some suspected that they were better off not knowing.

Ramsay had a way of making literature and history engage his students’ attention. In the course of studying Arrowsmith, he advised:

You young men keeping up a correspondence with similarly aged young women - beware the ones who draw little circles over their ‘i’s’ and ‘j's,’ for they are as shallow as Madeline Fox.[4]

Teaching about the reign of Henry IV, Ramsay said that Henry accepted four powers granted to Parliament. To stress the point, he added:

Gentlemen, when you are going down the Irrawaddy River and I meet you in a boat, I want you to be able (chortle) to tell me what those four powers are.”[5]

He once likened the Magna Carta to Mt. Baldy as both were guideposts.[6]

Ramsey named his single-lens reflex camera and its generic descendants after the Cyclops, Polyphemus, in The Odyssey.[7]

Some former students are surprised to learn that Ramsay was a Peccary man. However, word got around that riding with Ramsay in his 1952 Ford that he called “Henry” should be avoided if possible. Henry was quite slow and its occupants were fortunate to make it to Barstow by dinnertime.

A bit of a naturalist, Ramsay carried a pocketknife at Webb to dissect the occasional rattlesnake[8] or owl pellet.[9] Owl pellets were called “owl food-balls.”[10] In India and in Burma, where venomous snakes abounded, Ramsay and his brother, Glen, had no compunctions about disposing of these reptiles in a typically Western manner whereas the local population was averse to killing anything:

A very large snake caused a sensation one morning by casually stopping by a water pot in the back yard and taking a leisurely drink. …the assumption was that someone would forthwith kill it on the basis that practically all the snakes in the Orient are poisonous. Our Buddhist cook objected. He said it was a “goo’ snake,” approached it at a respectful distance and shouted at it loudly, thwah! (go) and the snake agreeably crawled away.[11]
Glen once stepped on a poisonous snake while he was running in bare feet. By the time the serpent struck, Glen was safely out of range. This snake met a quick end at the hands of the boys.[12]

Much later, Ramsay could sometimes joke about ethical treatment of animals. To a student punting a football by the Field House, he said, “…don’t you feel guilty kicking a pig’s bladder around like that?”[13] Never mind that footballs had not been made with any parts of a pig for decades.

Alumni who visited Ramsay in his later years at Webb usually met his hummingbird friends. Ramsay would hold out his hand and extend a finger. Soon, a hummingbird would settle onto the finger and spend several minutes there, apparently just comfortably looking around. Ramsay never said how he had trained the birds (there were likely more than one), but used the moment to explain the value of concentration and appreciation of the world around you.[14]

Another alum opined:

Ramsay and Ray Alf, in very different ways, shared the same deep respect, joy, miracle and passion of Nature, Life and Time. I wonder if and how they saw it in each other. They must have...[15]
Language was almost an obsession. To illustrate the correct spelling of “all right,” he drew elaborate mountaintop towns called All and Right - "Notice the valley between them."[16] This illustration resembles Ramsay’s cum sandwich in magna cum laude.

Ramsay was competent in French, German, Latin, and Hindustani.[17]

He loved puns, the more excruciating, the better:

Ramsay, to a faculty member, as overheard by a student: “What did you do last night?"
X: "Went out with friends for an early, boring evening."
Ramsay: "You didn't ‘sin-til-late’?"[18]

His sense of humor was at times opaque:

Ancient Greek tailor asks, "Euripides?" Customer replies, "Eumenides."[19]

He finished with the characteristic laugh at his own jokes, a gentle "ho-ho-ho" behind hand over mouth.

Ramsay liked asking unanswerable questions. He asked one student to think about why English has words for yesterday and tomorrow and Hindi has only the word, kal, for both. The student’s blank look elicited only a chortle from Ramsay as he walked off.[20]

Ramsay coached the Saturday panel talks. Once, a poor wight doing a talk on planetary astronomy accented the penultimate syllable in Uranus, causing Ramsay to spring to his feet, interrupting the boy, to stress heavily the antepenultimate.[21] Ramsay also dispensed general advice. He did not like the speakers to hold their hands together in front of them, like a fig leaf. The instruction went something like, "Gentlemen, you remind me of our shy Paleolithic ancestors. You may put your hands at your sides. You are fully clothed."[22] He also advised speakers to memorize well the first sentence and the last sentence of the talk. One student took this advice to heart but could remember nothing else.[23]

Ramsay had a great interest in ancient alphabets and languages. He designed a simple template and guide that would enable even the dullest of Webb students to write words in cuneiform.[24] He also had some knowledge of hieroglyphics.

As freshman class advisor, Ramsay encouraged them to make some money selling palm trees in milk-carton pots during campus events. The classes also offered toasted cheese sandwiches and hot dogs with Ramsay’s special spicy powder that he referred to as je ne sais pas. It was widely suspected to be Lawry’s Seasoned Salt.[25] Ramsay also served as faculty advisor to the Rifle Club.[26]

An annual event during assembly was Ramsay’s recitation of the score of the latest Colgate-Syracuse football game. One morning in 1959, he announced, “Last week, Syracuse ‘edged’ Colgate in football, 71-0.” Syracuse went on to win the national championship that year. Few people are aware that Colgate was once a football power and had an intense rivalry with the larger Syracuse. In 1932, after Ramsay’s time at Colgate, the football team was unbeaten, untied, and unscored upon (and, as local wags had it, “uninvited” to the Rose Bowl). Colgate was ranked, variously, as high as #1 nationally that year.[27] Pittsburgh played in the Rose Bowl that season and was clobbered by USC.

Ramsay used to write complimentary letters to parents of seniors whom he thought delivered good chapel talks. What he wrote were not quick notes, but rather letters in the old style.[28]

At mealtime, he used to instruct his assistant waiters to fetch coffee and add cream until it was “…the color of the Irrawaddy River.”[29] Was anyone brave enough to partake from the jar of chili peppers he kept at his table?

He told us about the Passamaquoddy duck that flies backwards to see where it has been.[30]

He always had something to say that would relate to what you were doing or even thinking. A common descriptor for Ramsay is “always curious.”

Ramsay formed many enduring friendships with Webb alumni. Yet he was very much an Englishman of the 19th Century. He grew up in a place that had something called a bioscope that showed films of the day and he called a mimeograph a hectograph. He disliked aimless whistling or pointless noise of any sort. A student dropping his books in class would have Ramsay predicting that the boy might be headed for work at a dynamite factory.[31] He used to advise, "Ignorance is not taxable, but you don't have to advertise it."[32] Advice on personal hygiene consisted of the admonition “Use your sock,” if he saw a student wiping his nose with anything but a handkerchief.[33]

On the train from Rochester to Redlands in 1926, Ramsay succumbed to a silent and amusing petulance over one of his fellow passengers:

It appears that he is a chap from England… …and is now on his way to Bombay. We chatted in the lunch room (sic) and he evinced a rather irritating way of addressing me as “my boy” although I am confident that he is my junior in years. …I returned to the train first, and determined that if his lordship was expecting any advances from me he was going to have another guess coming.

Even at this point in his life, clearly Ramsay would not become defined by a single vocation.


Ramsay Gooch Lord Harris was born in Dharwar India on Oct 4, 1900.[35] His paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Gooch.[36] His great-grandfather and grandfather had been surgeons in the British army and his father was a teacher and headmaster.[37]

At age six, Ramsay discovered one of the pitfalls of education when be observed his older sister, Ruby, being berated unfairly by a teacher. Later, he wrote about the incident, “Education was beset with unpredictable and illogical hazards.”[38] This trivial incident may have fostered in Ramsay a characteristically empathetic approach to his teaching.

Some four years later, the family moved to Burma for a better job awaiting his father. During this time, Ramsay became a stamp collector when his father gave him a packet of stamps. All three older children, Ramsay, Glen and Ruby became ardent stamp collectors. Even Ramsay’s father became interested. They used to send for approval sheets from England[39] and the four of them would pore over each sheet, deciding which ones to buy.

Ramsay’s hobby would follow him throughout life, although it was not his habit to pay for stamps to collect. He first received correspondence from relatives in India, Burma and the United States. Later he would receive letters from old friends and younger Webb alumni who were traveling the globe. If the stamp were foreign, or even a bit unusual, the entire envelope (some with the letter inside) would go into a box for later attention. His collection did not seem to get much beyond the box stage, however.

When he was nine, Ramsay saw Halley’s Comet from Burma on May 19, 1910.[40] This is the same year Mark Twain died.[41]

At age 16, Ramsay served in Britain's Indian Defense Forces in the Great War.[42] Since Burma was so poor they could not afford rifles for training so he learned proper shooting technique using a broom.[43] After the war, he and his brother studied Science and English for one year at Rangoon College.[44] After Ramsay and Glen finished that year, they met with Dr. Stanley Baldwin, a missionary, Colgate alumnus, and previous acquaintance. Dr. Baldwin renewed an earlier pledge to fund their passage to the United States to attend Colgate.[45] The brothers accepted the offer almost immediately.

Then only 19 years old, Ramsay wrote of their departure:

Shook the slush of Rangoon off our feet and boarded the Derbyshire by launch. Then a very unromantic farewell to Burma and not even a solitary tear to augment the muddy Irrawaddy.

People who would come to know Ramsay later in his life would well recognize the style of his language and humor.

Student and Teacher

Ramsay graduated from Colgate University in upstate New York in 1923, with an English major, and Latin and Geology as minor subjects.[47] He was a member of the Colgate rifle team (!) as well as Editor-in-Chief of The Willow Path, which was the Colgate literary magazine.[48]

After graduation, Ramsay had a problem common to young people starting a career: he did not know what he should be doing. He originally wanted to be a doctor, but found the training too costly. He also wanted to be a minister,[49] so after graduation, Ramsay attended Rochester Theological Seminary for two years.[50] But he felt he could not afford that either, so he taught English for one year at East High School in Rochester[51] and later decided to join his brother in California.[52] He left Rochester by train June 21, 1926. Upon arrival, he bade a mental farewell to his traveling companions on the train, Ave atque vale![53]

His first job in California was teaching English at Redlands Junior High School[54] and California seemed to agree with him. After one year at Redlands, Ramsay’s professional life began in earnest. In 1927, he secured a position as Instructor at Pomona College where he taught English and debate. Ramsay left Pomona College after three years to join the Norton School in Claremont, where he became headmaster.[55] Two of his colleagues at Norton included Gordon and Molly (née Clyde) Wilson.[56]

He continued his education at U.C. Berkeley for one year, majoring in English. To support himself, he served as a Teaching Fellow, providing instruction in what was then known as Subject “A,” U.C.’s version of “introductory” English. After Berkeley, he taught English and Business English at Chaffey Junior College. At the same time, he continued his education during three summers at U.C.L.A. where he took coursework in Aeronautics and Machinery.[57] He also did some private tutoring in Beverly Hills where he met his future wife, Mary, in the cafeteria of Beverly Hills High School.[58] During World War II, he taught meteorology and aeronautics for the U. S. Army Air Corps.

At this point in his life, he described his expertise and interests to include “gadgeteering,” song composition, patents and protection of ideas, shooting, history, public speaking, debate, reviewing books, literary readings, dramatics, journalism, geology, Latin, science, aviation, musketry, signaling, trench mortar, and British bombs. Ramsay had written articles that appeared in California Arts and Architecture with titles as diverse as “Air Conditioning,” “Plywood,” and “We Designed it Ourselves.”[59]

He joined the Webb School in 1945 and received his M.A. from U.C.Berkeley in 1947.[60]


Some people leave a school with little more than graffiti. Ramsay left magnificent musical legacies at nearly every school he appeared. As an undergraduate at Colgate, he wrote “The Old Maroon”[61] (for which he received the Skull and Sorell Cup for Original Song Composition[62]) and “Beyond the Sunrise.” The melody for “The Old Maroon” first “bubbled up” as a boy in Burma; it came into his mind and it stuck.[63] It later became the school’s fight song.

In the 1930’s, at Pomona College, Ramsay re-wrote the lyrics of an older song, “Ghost Dance.” The new song became "Torchbearers.”[64] A description of these lyrics appeared in “Pomona College Magazine” in 2012:

Harris's lyrics are much more solemn and earnest in tone than the original words, and in their celebration of nature and the preservation of revered traditions…[65]

Ramsay also wrote such Pomona College songs as "Over the Years,"[66] "Brave Hearts,"[67] and “The Quest.” He wrote "The Quest" in 1937, while no longer teaching at Pomona, to celebrate the college’s 50th anniversary. Fifty years after this celebration, in recognition of his musical legacy, Ramsay was awarded the Pomona College Trustees’ Medal. In the words of then-college president David Axelrod, “Your contributions to the canon of the songs we sing at Pomona College is (sic) unparalleled.”[68]

Twenty-one years later, another Pomona College president acceded to the demands of some individuals that the lyrics of “Torchbearers” be revised.[69] One described the song as a “…glorification of manifest destiny,"[70] which, of course, it is. The offending lyrics included: He ne terratoma,[71] feather of flame, and others. “Torchbearers” was revised in 2009 by Brendan Milburn, a composer by profession and Pomona alumnus. The revision gutted much of the imagery of the lyrics, but Ramsay might have been philosophical about the changes.

I obtained a copy of the revised lyrics from the Music Department of Pomona College in 2008, but I have been unable to find the updated lyrics since then. The Harris lyrics have been performed at Pomona alumni events as late as 2015.[72] Perhaps the pressure for the revision has eased or perhaps the song is no longer performed at official Pomona College functions.

During World War II, when he taught pilots in the Army Air Force, Ramsay wrote "Wings of Freedom" for male choruses and military bands. While in graduate school at U.C. Berkeley, he wrote another song, "March On, California."[73] While at Chaffey, he wrote “The Dream” for the two-year college.[74]

Ramsay was responsible for nearly the entire canon of music at Webb: the Webb School Alma Mater, the Fight Song, the Peccary Song (mostly), and perhaps everybody’s favorite, the Farewell Song.[75] He also wrote less well-known songs at Webb, including “A Whale Has a Right to Sneeze,” “Raybone,” “The New Boy,” and the “Webb Alumni Song.” He never liked the song “Happy Birthday” and when individual birthday events moved from the Webb House to the main dining room, he had to suffer through the song in silence many times in a year. His solution was to offer to compose a birthday song to order if the birthday boy could remember to ask for one in time. At least one of Ramsay’s custom jobs was sung to Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto.[76]


Ramsay once modestly described one of his interests as “gadgeteering.” However, he was a serious inventor who built his own prototypes, applied for, and was granted patents for his ideas. Almost everyone at Webb was exposed to his famous book prop that he patented and had manufactured. The prop folded into the inside of the cover when not in use.[77]

He also invented and patented a type of ink well that fit inside an ink bottle so that the user didn’t have to estimate how far to dunk the end of the pen in order to get a good yet clean fill. This inkwell eventually became a common fixture in homes and schools as Schaefer manufactured it [78] after Ramsay’s patent protection ran out.[79]

Other inventions include a weaver's loom with a gravity-powered shuttle, a spring lock to child-proof drawers, an ant-proof hummingbird feeder, his "broomerang" which was a broom with wheels that lifted it up on the back pull, the collapsible doghouse, a ball and cock device for a flush toilet, a dripless pitcher, and a small but very heavy-duty dolly.[80] Ramsay made a prototype for a new kind of player piano. It was human powered and had a roll that was as wide as the 88 keys. When the operator pushed a lever in rhythm, the roll moved with each push, depressing the selected key. The piano was never perfected, but showed promise.[81] He also invented a device that would help an individual with only one arm to paint a building.[82]


The name Ramsay and the word poetry conjure up for most Webb alumni nothing more than the annual Football Poem and perhaps the Senior Poem. However, Ramsay was a serious poet and no one is likely to learn the extent of his poetic works. Beginning in the 1930’s, Ramsay’s poetry appeared in The Lyric WestPoetry, and the Pomona College Magazine.[83] He wrote poetry from this time to at least 1974, when, for the first Webb Alumni Day, he wrote Remember? (With abject apologies to Ogden Nash).

On the death of Winston Churchill, Ramsay wrote a poem about the great man. One former student still has a copy, stored inside a book and the 51-year-old purple mimeograph ink is still clearly legible.[84]

Ramsay’s life-long interest in science is evident in the following poem about physics:

Newton’s Three Laws[85]
I. Unless some force applies a nudge,
A body simply will not budge,
But rests if it’s at rest already,
Or else keeps going straight and steady.

II. A body takes a faster ride,
Directly as the force applied.
Double its former mass and you
Divide its previous speed by two.
But, fast or slow, it lays its course
In the direction of the force.

III. Forces — (like some of Adam’s heirs!) –
Though quite opposed, exist in pairs!

Ramsay L. Harris
(Date unknown)

This poem about Newton’s laws is enjoying a broad on-line presence, some even credited, from places as far away as India.[86]

Ramsay was capable of cynicism in his poetry, demonstrated by his poem about love called The Thought of You.

The thought of you, the thought of you, was once my lonely heart’s refrain;
The thought of you, the thought of you, was like rainbows after rain;
The thought of you, the thought of you, was like a sunward soaring lark;
Now the thought of you, the thought of you, is like stepping on snails in the dark.[87]
Ramsay later added music and published this poem as sheet music.

In Maymyo Thoughts, a two-page poetic slice of his life, Ramsay wrote this excerpt in about 1967:

I live my uneventful life at Claremont-in-the-smog,
In Webb School’s academic works an unpretentious cog.

I read a little, think a bit, make up some silly songs;
I watch impartial diplomats redressing Arab wrongs.

The poem clearly reveals Ramsay’s capacity for introspection as well as his characteristically modest and humble nature.


Ramsay played a bit of piano, but his forte was the musical saw.[88] He would occasionally perform for large Webb audiences and the sound was unearthly. He played recognizable tunes with a normal cross-cut wood saw and a bow.[89] Although any brand would work, Ramsay recommended a Disston saw.[90] He would lend his saw (but not the bow) to any student that showed an interest. The bow could be replaced with a small hammer or a block of wood.


Never a great artist, Ramsay nonetheless described one of his interests in 1942 to be cartooning.[91] Older Webb students are likely to remember Herbert the Ant drawn on a completed exam on which they might have done well. One of the most prized El Espejo entries was a personalized Herbert the Ant drawing by Ramsay.[92] Herbert was Ramsay’s original cartoon character, but beginning about 1958, Herbert made fewer appearances over the years as the artist’s hands grew too unsteady to draw the critter to Ramsay’s standards.

Years after this date, an alumnus asked Ramsay to autograph a curio of his:

I asked him to autograph the write-up, which with clear pleasure he began. With tremored hands and almost five minutes of effort, his signature finally appeared, embellished with very many little vibrations of line. At first, I was mortified that I had inconvenienced and embarrassed him, but I quickly realized that I had done no such thing. He was delighted and happy, it was a celebration of a bond of years, and the physical matter meant nothing. I will always remember that extended moment.[93]

Ave atque vale

Ramsay has been gone for some time but original quotations about him still abound:

Remembered as much for his eccentricities as for the breadth of his learning but wow he was bright and talented. We were lucky to have him. His dear wife, Mary, was my 7th grade teacher at Foothill, and I was lucky in that.
(Steve Shafer ’62)

Through his teaching, his gentle manner, his delightful sense of humor, and his wonderful music, he has thoroughly enriched our lives. (Rick Borden '64)[94]

The greatest prize of my learning at Webb was stimulation to ask why? what? how? And it is to Mr. Harris, more than to any other teacher, early or late, that I owe the encouragement and development of this trait. (Dwight Taylor '49)

…he lived a good life, he inspired so many people by example with his kindness, gentleness, enthusiasm, creativity, music, and unusual knowledge. …I feel very sad and yet relieved for him. …every time I have left him since… …the early 1990’s, I've wondered if that would be the last time I would see him. He will be sorely missed by many people, including me. (Laura Harris Ware)

We could assign another and perhaps surprising role in Ramsay’s life, one of a theologian. Although he spent only two years at seminary, the time there influenced his thoughts perhaps more than we knew. This prayer may illustrate this influence:


God of uncounted galaxies,
Of mysteries veiled from sight,
We of Thy small, sun-circling Earth
Greet Thee, Lord of the light.
This beautiful world we share with those
Who burrow, swim, fly or roam:
May kindlier hearts, more thoughtful minds,
Help make it a glorious home!
Heal Thou old sores of festered hate
That breed our bloody wars,
Or doom strange, marching multitudes
In worlds beyond the stars!
Now, as the bells of the Chapel chime,
Grant that our ills may cease!
Help us to heed Thy Message, Lord,
Who brings all hearts to peace!

Ramsay L. Harris
(Date unknown)

Ave atque vale, Ramsay, Mr. Harris, teacher, mentor, friend, wise man.

This article would not have been possible without the generous contributions and wonderful memories of Webb classmates and other Webb friends. Special thanks go to Laura Harris Ware who provided timely encouragement and most of the historical material.


[1] Nigh, S.H. (Webb ’63) et al., personal communication.
[2] Harris, R.L., personal communication to T.A. Butterworth, 21-Oct-1988.
[3] The Trachtenberg System,
[4] Neff, S. (Webb ’56), personal communication.
[5] Huisking, P.V. (Webb ‘67), personal communication.
[6] Webb, G. (Webb ’65), personal communication.
[7] Knebel, F.C. (Webb '51), personal communication to Lynas, J.R. (Webb ’55), 2004
[8] Johnston, R.A. (Webb ’63), personal communication.
[9] Webb, G. (Webb ’65), personal communication.
[10] Michael, R.C. (Webb ’62) personal communication.
[11] Harris, R.L., manuscript, “My Early Days,” (86pp), p. 46, date unknown.
[12] Ibid. p. 65.
[13] Boller, D.P. (Webb ’63), personal communication.
[14] Plaut, P.K. (Webb ’60), personal communication.
[15] Bray, W.R. (Webb ’63), personal communication.
[16] Neff, S. (Webb ’56), personal communication.
[17] Harris, R.L., Application for California Teaching Credential, Office of the Appointment Secretary, University of California, Los Angeles, 23-July- 1942.
[18] Millar, R.J. (Webb ’61), personal communication.
[19] Veech, A. (Webb ’57), personal communication. This anecdote may not have originated with Ramsay, but it certainly captures his love of scholarly puns. See also, MetaFiter, The Oldest Joke in the Book – Really,, 16-July-2008.
[20] Markert, P. (Webb ‘56), personal communication.
[21] Shafer, S.Q. (Webb ’62), personal communication.
[22] Jobe, C.M. (Webb ‘68), personal communication.
[23] Bailey, A.E., Jr., “Bill” (Webb, ’55), personal communication.
[24] Miles, D. (Webb ’80), personal communication.
[25] Stephens, Harrison, “Webb, 75 Years of Building Character, The Webb Schools, Claremont CA, 1997.
[26] El Espejo, 1960.
[27] Undefeated, Untied, Unscored Upon, and Uninvited: The 1932 Colgate Football Team
[28] Adams, G.S. and Bell, C.H. (Webb ’63), personal communications.
[29] Forward, R.H., Jr., (Webb ’62), personal communication.
[30] Clarke, R.P. (Webb ’63), personal communication.
[31] Webb, G., (Webb ’65), personal communication.
[32] Lynas, J.R. (Webb ’55), personal communication.
[33] Michael, R.C. (Webb ’62), personal communication.
[34] Harris, R.L., letter to Burma (38pp), completed about 30-June-1926.
[35] Baptisms solemnized at All Saints Church, Dharwar in the Archdeaconry and Diocese of Bombay, 1900
[36] Harris, R.L. date unknown, as in Note 11, p. 5.
[37] Gaulgram to alumni, Ramsay Harris (1900 - 2006), Sent: 1/12/2006.
[38] Harris, R.L. date unknown, as in Note 11, p. 19.
[39] Ibid. p. 56.
[40] Ibid. p. 57.
[41] Leinhard, J.H., Halley’s Comet,
[42] Barber, Mary, “Wrote the Songs for Colgate to Claremont : Teacher Left All His Schools in Tune,” Los Angeles Times, 10-Jan-1988.
[43] Baker, J. (Webb ’57), personal communication to Lynas, J.R. (Webb ’55), 2004.
[44] Harris, R.L. 1942, as in Note 17.
[45] Ana June, For the Price of a Model T, March 2001,
[46] Harris, R.L., letter home to Burma, 10-July-1920.
[47] Harris, R.L. 1942, as in Note 17.
[48] Ware, Laura H., personal communication.
[49] Ibid.
[50] Harris, R.L. 1942, as in Note 17.
[51] Ibid.
[52] Ware, Laura H., personal communication.
[53] Harris, R.L. 1925, as in Note 35.
[54] Harris, R.L. 1942, as in Note 17.
[55] Ibid.
[56] The Great Ones,
[57] Harris, R.L. 1942, as in Note 17.
[58] Ware, Laura H., personal communication.
[59] Harris, R.L. 1942, as in Note 17.
[60] El Espejo, 1960.
[61] Ware, Laura H., personal communication.
[62] Harris, R.L. 1942, as in Note 17.
[63] Barber, Mary 1988, as in Note 43.
[64] Songs of Pomona College, 1947,
[65] Treser-Osgood, N., Thoughts on the song “Torchbearers”
[66] Songs of Pomona College,
[67] Barber, Mary 1988, as in Note 43.
[68] Ibid.
[69] Johnson, Charles, “Sad Day for Pomona As Song Police Guts Torchbearers, Phases Out Alma Mater,” The Claremont Conservative, 15-Dec-2008,
[70] Claremont Insider, 15-Dec-2008, “Oxtoby: Pomona Alma Mater has Cooties; Torchbearers to be Revised,“
[71] Pomona College Songs Committee,
[72] Pomona College Men's Blue and White: Torchbearers,
[73] Barber, Mary 1988, as in Note 43.
[74] Harris, R.L. 1942, as in Note 17.
[75] While Ramsay composed the lyrics for the Farewell Song, he shared credit with George Frideric Handel who composed the music for the aria “Lascia ch'io pianga mia cruda sorte” for his opera “Rinaldo.” A recording of the original aria may be found at:
[76] Jobe, C.M. (Webb ‘68), personal communication.
[77]Harris, R.L., Bookrest, U.S. patent #2,225,830, 24-Dec-1940,
[78] For a photo of the Schaefer (née Harris) inkwell, see
[79] Ware, Laura H., personal communication.
[80] Ibid.
[81] Hall, J.E., (Webb ’50), personal communication.
[82] Jameson, F.G., Jr. (Webb ‘71), personal communication
[83] Harris, R.L. 1942, as in Note 17.
[84] Huisking, P.V. (Webb ‘67), personal communication.
[85] Ana June, Newton’s 3 Laws, explained in poetry, 20-Oct-2009
[86] Delhi Public School, Holiday Homework Class: IX
[87] Jobe, C.M. (Webb ‘68), personal communication.
[88] Oliver, Myrna, “Ramsay L. Harris, 105; Teacher, Songwriter and Inventor Was a Fixture at Private Webb School,” Los Angeles Times, January, 2005.
[89] McCarthy, A. (Webb ‘52), personal communication.
[90] Shafer, S.Q. (Webb ’62), personal communication.
[91] Harris, R.L. 1942, as in Note 17.
[92] Lynas, J.R. (Webb ’55), personal communication.
[93] Bray, W.R. (Webb ’63), personal communication.
[94] Gaulgram to alumni, 2006, as in Note 38.
[95] Lynas, J.R. (Webb ’55), personal communication.

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