Harris, Chauncy D. (Chauncy Dennison), 1914-2003

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1914-01-31
Death 2003-12-26
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Brigham Young University student.

From the description of Papers, 1933. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122535902

Chauncy Dennison Harris (1914-2003) served as Professor of Geography at The University of Chicago from 1943, when he was hired as an Assistant Professor, to his retirement in 1984 as Samuel N. Harper Distinguished Service Professor. From 1984 until his death in 2003, Harris remained active within the department as Professor Emeritus.

Born into an academic family in Logan, Utah, Harris quickly developed a taste for geography. His father, who held a Ph.D. in agronomy from Cornell University and taught at the Utah Agricultural College (now Utah State University), encouraged the young Harris to pursue his interest. Indeed, at the end of the second grade, Harris declared to his family that he was going to become a geographer.

Having earned a B.A. in Geography from Brigham Young University in 1933, Harris traveled as a Rhodes Scholar to Oxford, where he completed a second B.A. as well as a Master's Degree. He also took an M.A. from the London School of Economics before returning to the United States, where he completed his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1940. His dissertation was entitled, "Salt Lake City - a Regional Capital in 1940."

Shortly after joining the faculty of his Alma Mater in 1943, Harris was called to military service with the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Geographer. Enlisted in part for his knowledge of German and French, Harris worked as a strategic maps specialist. It was in this capacity, that he developed an avid interest in Russian geography. Over the course of his career, Harris published extensively on both Soviet and post-Soviet geography.

Between his seminal works in the field of American urban geography ("The Nature of Cities" and "A Functional Classification of Cities in the United States") and his work on the Soviet Union, Harris quickly made his mark as one of the world's foremost urban geographers. He also made significant contributions to the geographical study of ethnicity, particularly within the context of non-Russian minorities living within the Soviet Union. Harris traveled regularly to the Soviet Union throughout his career and helped to organise a number of academic exchanges between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Harris was a member of the Association of American Geographers and served its president from 1957 to 1958. Well known internationally, Harris was an honorary member of several foreign geographical associations - the Royal Geographical Society of London, as well as the geographical societies of Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, Florence, Rome, Belgrade, Warsaw, and Japan. He was also a foreign member of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Recognized worldwide for his contributions to the study of Geography, Harris was granted several honorary degrees and received many awards, including the Alexander von Humboldt Gold Medal of the Gesellschaft für Erdkunde zu Berlin, the Cullum Medal of the American Geographical Society, the Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society, the Alexander Csoma de Körösi Memorial Medal of the Hungarian Geographical Society, and the Honors Award of the Association of American Geographers.

Chauncy Harris died in Chicago in 2003 and was survived by his wife of sixty-three years, Edith, and their daughter, Margaret.

From the guide to the Harris, Chauncy D. Papers, 1893-2003, (Special Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.)

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Subjects:

  • Land use--Maps
  • Geography

Occupations:

  • Students--Utah--Provo
  • Cartographer

Places:

  • Ipswich (England) (as recorded)
  • Salt Lake City Region (Utah) (as recorded)
  • Salt Lake City Region (Utah) (as recorded)
  • England--Ipswich (as recorded)
  • Utah--Provo (as recorded)