Milton Harris

Second Olney Medalist 1945
National Bureau of Standards, Washington, DC

Milton Harris of the National Board of Standards was awarded the Second Olney Medal by AATCC at a ceremony held on January 5, 1946.  The award was created to honor achievement in the field of textile chemistry.  The first recipient was Professor Louis Atwell Olney, honored as the founding father of the AATCC.   An excellent biography for Dr. Harris is written in Wikipedia but nothing is said of this achievement.  In honoring Dr. Harris, Harvey A. Neville, a professor of chemistry at Lehigh University, introduced the honoree that evening.   Here is a précis of his remarks.

… “In Dr. Milton Harris, the scientist whom we have chosen to honor this evening as the Olney Medalist, we find a man of eminent accomplishment in this field. …Few people are immune to the germ of science – “the streptococcus scientificus researchi”- which he spreads.  There is no vaccine as a preventative and no specific as a cure; his contagion can only be worked off in the laboratory, followed by rest and recreation and is subject to frequent recurrence.”

Professor Olney presenting the Olney Medal to Dr. Harris
Courtesy American Dyestuff Reporter

The scientific publications of Dr. Harris and his co-workers now number more than seventy (and would eventually number approximately 200), extending over the past fifteen years. … From his first article, which constituted his doctorate thesis at Yale, to his latest, these papers have dealt with the chemistry and physics of textile materials and processes.”

“The majority of his investigations have been concerned with the chemical composition and reactions of the protein fibers, wool and silk.  (I (Gary Mock)  believe his first employment from 1929-1931 was with the Cheney Silk Company.) Dr. Harris was your (AATCC’s) research associate at the National Bureau of Standards from 1931 to 1938.  This group, organized as the “Committee on Wool Scouring” evolved over the years to the “Committee on the Chemistry of Wool.”



  1. Various authors, American Dyestuff Reporter, February 25, 1946, p98-p106.
  2. Milton Harris (scientist).