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Harris, James Arthur (29 September 1880–24 April 1930), botanist and biometrician, was born in Plantsville, Ohio, the son of Jordan Thomas Harris, a farmer and day laborer, and Ida Ellen Lambert. Early in his childhood he moved with his family to western Nebraska; a few years later the family resettled in Lawrence, Kansas. Harris was compelled to support himself from the age of thirteen. One of his major concerns was his education, for which he managed to pay with his earnings alone. By 1901 he completed undergraduate studies in biology at the University of Kansas. As an undergraduate he was assigned a research problem of determining whether the gonads of the dimorphous crayfishes of the region showed characteristic differences; his successful work resulted in the publication of four systematic papers on crayfish. Immediately after graduating, Harris taught botany at the University of Kansas summer school; a year later he was appointed as assistant in the Missouri Botanical Garden. There he worked under ...