MORRIS, Edward Ellis (1843-1902)


MORRIS, Edward Ellis (1843-1902)
educationist and miscellaneous writer
was born at Madras, India, on 25 December 1843. His father, John C. Morris, was accountant-general of the East India Company at Madras. Morris Was educated at Rugby and Lincoln College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. with final honours in classics, law and modern history in 1866. He was an assistant master at St Peter's College, Radley, and at Haileybury, and in 1871 became headmaster of the Bedfordshire middle class public school. From 1875 to 1883 he was headmaster of the Melbourne Church of England grammar school which made steady progress under his care. During his period he introduced the prefect system, and established the first school library and the first school journal in Melbourne. In 1883 he was elected to the chair of English, French and German languages and literature at the university of Melbourne. He took a prominent part in the management of the university, and for several years was president of the professorial board. He had also many outside interests and it was at his suggestion that a branch of the charity organization society, of which he was the first president, was founded in Melbourne. The Melbourne Shakespeare Society, for many years the most flourishing literary society in Victoria, was also founded on his suggestion, and he took the greatest interest in the Melbourne public library of which he was appointed a trustee in 1879. He became vice-president of the trustees in 1896. His Memoirs of George Higinbotham (q.v.) was published in 1895, and in 1898 appeared his most important work, his painstaking and valuable Austral English A Dictionary of Australasian Words, Phrases and Usages. This obtained for him the Litt. D. degree of the university of Melbourne. He died while on a visit to Europe on 2 January 1902. He married in 1879 the eldest daughter of George Higinbotham (q.v.), who died in 1896. He was survived by a son and three daughters. Morris also wrote two little volumes for the "Epochs of Modern History" series, The Age of Anne (1877), and The Early Hanovarians (1886). He edited Cassell's Picturesque Australasia (4 vols, 1887-9) and a few of his lectures were also published separately. He had completed before his death a work on Cook and his Companions which has not been published.
The Argus and The Age, Melbourne, 3 January 1902; E. La T. Armstrong, The Book of the Public Library, 1856-1906; Sir Ernest Scott, A History of the University of Melbourne; Liber Melburniensis, 1937.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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