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Harry Ellsworth Clifford (April 21, 1866 - July 7, 1952) was a Gordon McKay professor of electrical engineering. He was dean of the Harvard School of Engineering from 1930 until his retirement in 1936. He served as advisor to many towns and cities, including Cambridge, on the installation of electric lighting, and as consultant to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and to some of the nation's leading electrical firms. In 1889, James Mills Peirce traveled to Europe with "a bright young physicist," a "Mr. Clifford," probably Harry Ellsworth Clifford, who had graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1886 and who later joined the Harvard faculty.
Harry Ellsworth Clifford was born in Lowell, Mass., on April 21, 1866, the son of Raeburn Gilman Clifford and Helen Rebecca Hodgdon. In 1886 he received the degree of S.B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; he was also a graduate student of Harvard University in 1887. He was assistant in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1886-1888, assistant in Harvard College Observatory from 1887 to 1895, instructor in theoretical physics from 1888-1895 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, assistant professor of theoretical physics from 1895-1902, associate professor of theoretical and applied electricity from 1902-1904, and professor of theoretical and applied electricity from 1904-1909; since 1909 he was Gordon McKay professor of electrical engineering at Harvard University.
On June 24, 1896, Harry E. Clifford married Harriet Briggs Rogers, and they had one daughter, Gretchen (born July 14, 1899).
He was a fellow of the llluminating Engineering Society, Circolo Matematico di Palermo, St. Botolph Club of Boston, University Club of New York ; Brae-Burn Country Club; Appalachian Mountain Club; National Electric Light Association, New England Street Railway Association; fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (elected in 1902), American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.
He was a frequent contributor to technical journals. In 1946 he published Electronic circuits and tubes.
In February 1891, John Addington Symonds sent Thomas Sergeant Perry his newest essay, A Problem in Modern Ethics, which discussed the contemporary implications of sexual relations between men. Perry undoubtedly shared this with Peirce, who then composed a defense of "homosexual love" and sent it to Symonds. On May 21, 1891, Symonds informed his confidant, Henry Graham Dakyns, that he had "received a great abundance of interesting and valuable communications in consequence of sending out a few copies of that "Problem in Modern Ethics." A month later, on June 22, Symonds told his friend, the writer Edmund Gosse, of finding "a fierce & Quixotic ally, who goes far beyoinf my expectations in hopes of regenerating opinion on these topics," a Professor Pierce, of Cambridge, MA, a mathematician. Symonds clearly was referring to James Mills Pierce and his "acute partizanship for Urningthum." The following month, Peirce and Clifford again traveled to Europe. Peirce wrote to Perry that he had received a letter from Symonds, who had asked him to visit. Peirce hoped to do so.
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