Eugene Harris

New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut, United States

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Eugene Harris

Also Known As: "Gene"
Birthplace: Brooklyn, Kings County, NY, United States
Death: February 04, 1956 (27)
New Haven, New Haven County, CT, United States (Leukemia)
Immediate Family:

Son of Frank "Redvers" Harris and Louise Ann Wilkins
Brother of Ralph G. Harris
Half brother of Private; Private and Private

Occupation: Yale Professor and Research Scientist
Managed by: Ruth Louise Robert
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Eugene Harris

Eugene was born to Redvers and Louise Harris in Brooklyn, New York. He was named for his paternal Uncle Eugene who had been killed in World War I from wounds suffered in the Battle of Cambrai. When Eugene was a toddler, his parents returned to Glovertown, Newfoundland. Redvers had been unable to find employment in New York, and returned to where he had family. When Redvers returned, he found employment as a fisherman.

The financial struggles the Harris' faced were common for the time period. Euegene was growing up during the Great Depression. Moreover, Newfoundland was notably poverty-stricken. People could afford to waste nothing. For instance, it was common to bleach the sacks flour came in to make table clothes or pillow cases. Often, there was no other fabric to be had!

When Eugene was only eleven years old, his father passed away from sarcoma. As a result, he and his brother Ralph went to live with their paternal Uncle Leslie and Aunt Millicent, and their paternal grandmother, Mary. Louise also stayed with them when she could, but would be forced to leave to find work.

Eugene was known to be an athletic boy who loved sports and was a strong swimmer. He was also a talented academic who was at the top of his class. This may have been helped by his Aunt and Uncle who were teachers and loved learning.

Despite the difficulties Eugene faced, he applied himself to his studies and graduated High School, winning a scholarship to attend Memorial University College. While he was there, he stayed with his mother who had found work in St. John's as a cook.

After graduating from MUC, he completed a Bachelor of Science at Dalhousie. He also completed his masters there. At the time Eugene would have applied to Dalhousie, Newfoundland was not yet a part of Canada. He would have been an international student. However, when he graduated, Eugene graduated as another Canadian. The year before he graduated, his brother Ralph passed away from bowel cancer. Ralph was only about 20 years old.

Once Eugene graduated from Dalhousie, he used his dual citizenship to study at Yale University and get his doctorate. Eugene taught at the University as well. It was Eugene's ambition to help find a cure for cancer. Nonetheless, tragedy struck the Harris family once more when Eugene was diagnosed with cancer himself.

The University Hospital did all they could for him, including some experimental treatments, but it was in vain. Eugene passed away in 1956. He donated his body to science. His mother would receive a letter from the President of Yale informing her of what had happened. The President indicated his sorrow at the untimely passing of such an exceptional and selfless individual.

Sources: The dates and relationships are verified by documentation. The rest is supplemented from family testimony and the memoirs of Dom Wilkins.

Note: An essay that Eugene wrote when he was 19 can be found in the Source section. It suggests that Eugene had bought into the popular notion at the time of eugenics with an added concern of overpopulation.

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Eugene Harris's Timeline

August 18, 1928
Brooklyn, Kings County, NY, United States
February 4, 1956
Age 27
New Haven, New Haven County, CT, United States