Harold Williams
New Zealand linguist
Harold Williams
Harold Williams was a New Zealand journalist, foreign editor of The Times and polyglot who is considered to have been one of the most accomplished polyglots in history, said to have known over 58 languages and other related dialects.
Biography
Harold Williams's personal information overview.
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Police call fire that destroyed Pataskala house 'suspicious' - The Newark Advocate
Google News - over 5 years
Firefighters arrived moments later and discovered a home at 654 Connors Ave. fully in flames, said West Licking Assistant Chief Harold Williams. No injuries were reported, and Williams said it appeared no one lived in the home
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City honors local man with Harold Williams Day - Burlington Times News
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Harold Williams was influential during integration in the 1960's, at which time Williams helped establish the Young Men's Club for Better Relations. Williams served for a while as president of the club, which acted as a liaison group for youth and law
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Porter Corners students reunite and reminisce about childhood in their two ... - The Saratogian
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Another Porter Corners School graduate, Harold Williams, joined NASA. Some of the lunar equipment he developed is still on the moon. Continued... Henry Rowland, 85, was among the students who helped open the school in September 1930, during the early
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Fohi graduate enjoyed his years with IE 66ers - Fontana Herald-News
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IN MORE 66ER NEWS, although left-handed pitcher Harold Williams was recently released from the organization, he talked in an interview earlier this year about what it was like joining the Single A 66ers after playing for Maui in the independent Golden
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'Kern Festival of Writers' draws readers downtown - Tehachapi News
Google News - over 5 years
Local historian Harold Williams and Co-Author of the book “Handbook of the Kawaiisu,” sits with his son Winter Williams at the Writers Festival. Upwards of 35 authors spent the day Saturday at the “Festival Of Writers” event sponsord by the Tehachapi
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Man arrested and charged in fatal shooting of 48-year-old man in northeast ... - Washington Post
Google News - over 5 years
Police say Lester James Wright has been charged with murder in the death of 48-year-old Howard Harold Williams. Authorities say they responded to a report of gunshots in the 300 block of 18th Place about 10 am Saturday
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Lester James Wright charged with killing Howard Harold Williams - WJLA
Google News - over 5 years
Police have arrested a 21-year-old Northeast man and charged him with the murder of Howard Harold Williams. Lester James Wright was arrested Saturday shortly before 10:30 pm, Metropolitan Police said. He was charged with murder while armed
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Etta Pauline Williams - NRToday.com
Google News - over 5 years
She met Harold Williams in 1947 and married on August 6, 1949. She was 15 years old and Harold was 18 years old. They were married for 57 years. Her greatest joy was cooking for the family after a days work on the ranch and family get togethers
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The politics of tomorrow - Greater Baton Rouge Business Report
Google News - over 5 years
Several days earlier, insurance agent Harold Williams sat at a front table during a meeting of the Baton Rouge Press Club. Williams, like Cassidy, is a Republican, and he's seeking the city's new minority House seat in District 101
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There's no place like home - NG News
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ADAM MACINNIS - THE NEWS Harold Williams has been coaching the same group of girls since most of them were in the Stellarton and Area Minor Girls Softball Association's learn to play program. Now peewee aged, the girls have shown years of practice and
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One person dies in vehicle collision - Primedia Broadcasting - Eyewitness News
Google News - over 5 years
Western Cape traffic's Harold Williams said the road has been closed. “We know there is one person blue in the accident scene…they are waiting for the helicopter to land there because there are some serious injuries,” he said
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The 4th will still sparkle - Online Athens
Google News - over 5 years
Harold Williams, an inspector with the Athens-Clarke County Fire Department. People who want to see spectacular professional fireworks displays still can travel to places in Northeast Georgia like Elberton, Auburn, Greensboro and Banks County
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Franschhoek Pass reopens after accident - Primedia Broadcasting - Eyewitness News
Google News - over 5 years
Provincial traffic spokesperson Harold Williams said, “The road has been opened partially and there's a stop go system in place so motorists can use the pass but it won't be flowing as normal.”
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Overloaded Hlope arrested - The New Age Online
Google News - over 5 years
Harold Williams of the provincial traffic department said if Hlophe was indeed arrested, “this information would be with SAPS or the department of justice” and said the traffic authorities would not name suspects before they had appeared in court
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Company 'told to answer union claim ' - Barrier Daily Truth
Google News - over 5 years
A “clear majority” of the staff at the St Anne's, Harold Williams and Aruma Lodge homes have formally declared their desire to be represented by the Town Employees' Union, said the union's secretary, Ros Ferry. Ms Ferry said the union had collected the
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Authorities probe farm worker truck accident - Primedia Broadcasting - Eyewitness News
Google News - over 5 years
Traffic spokesperson Harold Williams said, “There was a grey Audi motor vehicle involved in this accident and the Audi made a u-turn and that is when the Ford motor vehicle collided with the Audi.”
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At PSC hearing, engineer criticizes Pepco - Gazette.net Montgomery County Sports
Google News - over 5 years
“I find that appalling,” Commissioner Harold Williams said. In an analysis ordered by the PSC following widespread, long-term outages last year, consulting firms First Quartile and Silverpoint concluded that Pepco's power distribution system was
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Harold Williams
    FIFTIES
  • 1928
    Age 51
    He had blood transfusions and seemed to rally, but died on 18 November 1928, after taking the sacraments of the Russian Orthodox Church the night before.
    More Details Hide Details The Times, a newspaper normally careful to project an aura of objectivity through its policy of maintaining staff anonymity, devoted an entire column to Williams' obituary. "His literary ability and political judgement were abundantly manifested in the numerous leading articles which he contributed to the Times until within the last fortnight of his life... to the Times indeed, his loss is irreparable. Not only was his knowledge of international affairs most extensive and accurate, but he had a remarkable gift of sympathy which enabled him to write of them both definitely and without offence, while his origin as a New Zealander always preserved him from too narrow a regard for the politics of Europe. He had many friends in the diplomatic world, where he was as much respected for his kindness as he was for his experience and his grasp of the essential factors of the most complicated situations."
  • FORTIES
  • 1925
    Age 48
    Aspiring towards "moral disarmament" he did much to promote and bring to a gratifying conclusion the Treaty of Locarno of December 1925.
    More Details Hide Details As he wrote to his father in New Zealand, "For the first time for eleven years, the chief nations of Europe are really at peace... I am very thankful today. After all one can sometimes do a good piece of work."
  • 1922
    Age 45
    In May 1922, he was appointed foreign editor (or as The Times would phrase it, ‘Director of the Foreign Department’).
    More Details Hide Details Although his interest in Russia never waned, in this influential position he was now responsible for interpreting and passing judgement on political events all over the world for the pre-eminent newspaper of the time. As always, he was outspoken on issues that he believed were morally right, commenting on European affairs, but also those in Asia, China, the United States, Japan, India and the Commonwealth. The impetus of his leader articles always gestured towards a desire to preserve peace through the creation of European security.
  • 1921
    Age 44
    In 1921 his luck changed.
    More Details Hide Details The editor of The Times, Wickham Steed (who himself spoke several languages), offered Williams a position as a lead writer.
  • 1918
    Age 41
    When Germany surrendered in 1918, Williams was sent by the Daily Chronicle to Switzerland, and the following year was back in Russia, at the request of the British Military Mission, reporting for The Times from the headquarters of the White Russians.
    More Details Hide Details When opposition to the Bolsheviks crumbled, he and Ariadna escaped in a refugee ship, first to Turkey, then to Serbia, where he astounded the local Serbs by speaking their language fluently in just two days. On his return from Russia he taught himself Japanese, Old Irish, Tagalog, Hungarian, Czech, Coptic, Egyptian, Hittite, Albanian, Basque and Chinese. He mastered the Cuneiform inscriptions and a book of 12,000 Chinese Mandarin characters. Back in London Williams felt underemployed and despondent. Despite the fact that he had witnessed first-hand two wars, three civil wars and revolutions, and was applauded as one of the great journalists of his age, he now found himself jobless.
    In 1918 increasingly violent events forced Williams and his wife to flee their beloved Russia, and he was immediately recruited as part of the Committee on Russian Affairs, along with Buchanan, Walpole, Bernard Pares and others.
    More Details Hide Details An advocate of liberal reform, Williams advocated Allied intervention in the revolution, and he was sought after as one of the few people who knew the Soviet leaders intimately, recounting to the British Prime Minister Lloyd George that Trotsky’s last words to him before he left Russia were, "It will be the happiest day of my life when I see a revolution in England." Lloyd George disregarded his advice of intervention in Russia, even as Williams' prophecies were being realised. Williams continued to write for the Daily Chronicle and addressed a more influential reading public with his contributions to New Europe. He met Frank Swinnerton at the Lyceum Club. Swinnerton like Walpole, reviewed for Rhythm and The Blue Review - two avant-garde journals run by Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murry. Later in his autobiography Swinnerton would affectionately regard Williams as "the sort of friend who told me his affairs without disguise and received my domestic news as if they had affected himself." And wrote of his qualities as a journalist:
  • 1917
    Age 40
    Throughout 1917, as the events of the Bolshevik revolution unfolded, he sent regular dispatches to the Daily Chronicle, up until 18 March 1918, the date of the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty by the All-Russian Council of Soviets.
    More Details Hide Details The scholar Sir Bernard Pares noted in 1931, that Williams' accurate and vivid articles "are amongst the sources of Russian history".
    As the war progressed Williams foresaw the coming Russian Revolution of 1917, insistently reporting to British Ambassador Buchanan that discontent was growing.
    More Details Hide Details Williams often acknowledged the romantic quality of his yearning to see international peace realised, and began also to see that the war had obscured vast tears in the fabric of the Russian domestic environment.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1916
    Age 39
    In August 1916, he returned briefly to Britain to give a special lecture at Cambridge University, entitled, "Russian Nationalities".
    More Details Hide Details
    In 1916, Walpole and Williams, on the instruction of the Foreign Office, set up a British Propaganda Office in Petrograd.
    More Details Hide Details Co-operating with the Russian press, they organised and managed efforts to bring the Allies together, working towards "this quickening interchange of thought and feeling and aspiration" between the British and Russians. Walpole would later refer to Williams' "tact, experience, and kindness" to him during his time in Russia, and would often defer to Williams' "encyclopedic" knowledge.
  • 1914
    Age 37
    In September 1914 Walpole arrived in Russia, and he met Williams in Petrograd.
    More Details Hide Details After the outbreak of war, both accompanied the Russian Army into the Carpathians. Williams was the only foreign correspondent to take part in Cossack raids penetrating over the Hungarian frontier. From there he dispatched to the British public authoritative reports on military, political and social conditions. Williams had changed his view on war; no trace of Tolstoyan belief in non-resistance remained. These reports enhanced Williams' reputation and revealed his prophetic vision, leading to him becoming the chief source of information for the British Embassy. He also became chief confidant to the British Ambassador Sir George Buchanan. Harold Begbie, author, journalist and playwright, who was then in Russia, said of Williams: "More than one Russian has said to me, ‘Williams knows Russia better than we do.’" Harold and Ariadna assisted the young Arthur Ransome when he arrived in Russia, as Harold thought he had the making of a good journalist and became a father-figure to him (see Brogan). Williams got him a job as Daily News correspondent. But they fell out with Ransome in 1918 over Allied intervention in Russia, which Ransome opposed in despatches and three books.
    His book, Russia and the Russians, reflected not only Williams' knowledge, but his astute mind, as H. G. Wells appreciated in a glowing 1914 review for the New York Daily News:
    More Details Hide Details Williams was always liberal in sharing his knowledge (the title of Tyrkova’s biography of him is Cheerful Giver), and it was his many interests, broad and esoteric, that initially led to associations with eminent writers of the time, his friend Wells, Frank Swinnerton, and Hugh Walpole, associations that would develop into enduring friendships.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1905
    Age 28
    The interview was published in the Manchester Guardian on 9 February 1905, but for Williams the meeting was not a success.
    More Details Hide Details He was disappointed with Tolstoy’s withdrawal from the world of political reality and the consequences of contemporary events. A believer in individual liberty, Williams found himself sympathetic towards the left-wing reformers, the Cadets and Liberals. His "wife" (it is not known they ever married, perhaps in February 1918) was the first woman to be elected to the Russian Duma and was an accepted leader of feminist opinion. At this time events and conditions that he encountered tested some of Williams' early views. He gave up being a vegetarian, and soon afterwards his pacifist ideals, but remained throughout his life a practising Christian, though with a belief guided by a general sense of the spiritual rather than the dogmatic. As he declared in his final sermon in New Zealand: "Whatever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men."
    His work in Russia enabled him, in 1905, to meet Leo Tolstoy, and they talked of politics, literature and morality.
    More Details Hide Details Reportedly Tolstoy asked him why he had learnt Russian and received the reply, "Because I wanted to read Anna Karenina in the original." Tolstoy insisted on the languages Williams spoke being enumerated.
    In January 1905 Williams obtained positions with the progressive Manchester Guardian in Russia, and worked towards Anglo-Russian rapprochement together with Bernard Pares.
    More Details Hide Details Asa special correspondent for the Morning Post in 1908 and in the Ottoman Empire in 1911. Williams and his wife settled in Constantinopel after their flat was searched by the Okhrana. In August 1914 he was writing for the Daily Chronicle dispatching telegrams and feature articles from all over the Russian Empire. He was in constant pursuit of his avowed quest "to serve the great cause of liberty".
  • 1904
    Age 27
    In October 1904 he had moved from Paris, in December to St Petersburg and Williams began to send by post dispatches to Reuters.
    More Details Hide Details Williams corresponded with the Dutch Frederik van Eeden about translations of his work.
  • 1903
    Age 26
    There were days when he had nothing to eat, but he persevered and gained his Ph.D. (on a grammar of the Ilocano language) from the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich in 1903.
    More Details Hide Details Williams next undertook the study of Slavic languages and as a result became interested in Russian affairs and Tolstoy's Christian socialism. He toyed with becoming an academic, but instead entered journalism. The Times correspondent in Saint Petersburg, D.D. Braham, had been expelled and was organising a news service from adjacent countries. He appointed Williams as a special correspondent to work with Petr Struve an exiled Russian liberal in Stuttgart. The city had become the centre of organised political opposition by Russian political refugees working towards reform in their own country. Here Williams met Ariadna Tyrkova, the ‘Madame Roland’ of Russia.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1893
    Age 16
    In 1893 the Williams family moved to Auckland, where the teenage Harold would visit ships at the Auckland wharves so that he could converse with Polynesian and Melanesian crewmen in their own tongues.
    More Details Hide Details He sat for his BA at Auckland University, but was failed because of an inability to sufficiently master mathematics, and, on the instruction of his father, entered the Methodist Ministry at the age of 20. After appointments in St Albans, Christchurch, and Inglewood, Taranaki, he went to the Northern Wairoa district around Dargaville where there were crowds of gumdiggers of diverse nationalities. He quickly absorbed their languages and then begun to study Russian and Polish, inspired in part by an interest in the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy. As Harold wrote to a Christchurch friend Macie Bevan Lovell-Smith, he was "struggling with reading Tolstoy in his native tongue". Harold’s admiration for Tolstoy was not only literary, but philosophical. Like Tolstoy, Williams was a vegetarian, he tried to practice nonresistance, and was a proponent of "the doctrine of Christian Anarchism." He enjoyed preaching, but his speech was marred by a stammer, and some members of his congregation were suspicious of his intellectualism, socialist views and pacifism. Conservative members of the clergy also harboured suspicions, as Eugene Grayland writes in Famous New Zealanders, "His clerical superiors distrusted his views and disapproved of some of the heterodox books in his library, touching on evolution and such matters."
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1876
    Born
    Harold Williams was born in Auckland on 6 April 1876, the eldest of seven sons.
    More Details Hide Details His parents had emigrated from Cornwall, England, and his father, the Reverend W.J. Williams, was one of the early leaders of the Methodist church in New Zealand, for many years editing the Methodist Times. Williams senior was well-read and gave Harold early instruction in the classics. Like most youngsters his age, Harold was not possessed by a voracious appetite for learning, but he recalled that, when he was about seven, ‘an explosion in his brain’ occurred and from that time his capacity to learn, in particular languages, grew to an extraordinary degree. He began with the study of Latin, one of the great root languages, and hungrily acquired others. As a schoolboy he constructed a grammar and vocabulary of the New Guinea language Dobu from a copy of St. Mark’s Gospel written in that language. Next he compiled a vocabulary of the dialect of Niue Island, again from the Gospel written in that language, and was published in the Polynesian Journal. Harold spent his pocket money purchasing New Testaments from an obliging Christchurch bookseller in as many languages as he could. By the end of his life he had studied the Bible in twenty-six languages, including Zulu, Swahili and Hausa. Before attending Christchurch Boys' and Timaru Boys' High Schools he had managed to teach himself Latin, Ancient Greek, Hebrew, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Fijian and other Polynesian languages.
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