SECTION A BIOGRAPHICAL A.1-A.27
SECTION A A.1-A.3 Autobiographical
SECTION A A.4-A.22 Career, honours and awards
SECTION B OXFORD B.1-B.20
B.1-B.8 University appointments
B.16-B.18 The Queen's College
B.19 St. John's College
B.20 Wadham College
SECTION C RESEARCH C.1-C.53
C.13-C.53 Notes and manuscripts
SECTION D PUBLICATIONS D.1-D.25
D.1-D.14 Books and papers
D.15 Book reviews
D.16-D.25 Obituaries and tributes
SECTION E LECTURES, PAPERS, ADDRESSES E.1-E.36
SECTION F VISITS, CONFERENCES, SYMPOSIA F.1-F.30
SECTION G SOCIETIES AND ORGANISATIONS G.1-G.16
SECTION H CORRESPONDENCE H.1-H.42
The material is presented in the order given in the List of Contents. Where applicable reference has been made to the Bibliography prepared for the Royal Society Memoir of Harley (A.3) in the form Bibliog. ...
Section A, Biographical and autobiographical, includes the draft of Harley's unpublished autobiography 'As luck would have it' which has been quoted, with permission, in some of the entries, with a conclusion added by Lindsay Harley, and useful documentation on the principal events of Harley's career.
Section B, Oxford, offers a little complementary biographical material on Harley's college affiliations, his appointment to the Chair of Forest Science and his contribution to the 'Florey Report' of 1966 on the future of the biological sciences. Little survives of his work on the University's Hebdomadal Council, General Board and other committees, or of the routine participation in departmental affairs, examinations and the like.
Section C, Research, contains material from all stages of Harley's career. Of interest are the undergraduate work (1932-33) on the ashwoods of Ribblesdale used by A.G. Tansley in his own published work, and the graduate work (1937-39) with E.W. Yemm on ecological surveys of Thornton Mire and Huker Mire, Wensleydale. Harley's research was almost always collaborative, as can be seen from the notes and records of the 1950s on beech mycorrhiza; his collaborators are identified where possible, but it should be noted that many others, such as J.S. Waid, D.C. Smith, D.H. Lewis, B.C. Loughman are not represented.
Section D, Publications, while not covering the whole of Harley's output, documents his principal books (The History of Mycorrhiza and Mycorrhiza), many of his scientific papers, and his note of 1987 about his paper with J.S. Waid of 1955 which became a 'Citation Classic'. The material relating to the various tributes and obituaries of colleagues which he compiled, often over a considerable period, includes recollections or information from others and is of interest.
Several of the items in this section, which includes an extensive series of book reviews, are additional to those listed in the Bibliography drawn up for the Royal Society Memoir of Harley, a copy of which is at A.3.
There is virtually no surviving documentation in the collection for Harley's work as editor, referee or advisor, notably for New Phytologist.
Section E, Lectures, papers, addresses, covers a wide datespan 1940-90. They are mainly addressed to a scientific audience, but include some intended for a younger or less technical public. Towards the end of his life, he often came out strongly in such lectures against fashionable views on 'ecology' or 'conservation' in favour of a balanced approach to land use.
Section F, Visits, conferences, symposia, offers useful documentation for Harley's sabbatical visits to USA, his visits to Australia and New Zealand (as frequent as he could arrange in view of the presence there of his daughter and family), and rather more scanty material about his visits to India, and to China as leader of a Royal Society Delegation in 1975. In the 1980s Harley was a regular attender and speaker at meetings of the Northern Ireland Branch of the Institute of Biology, and also at the Congresses of the newly-formed European Mycorrhizal Society.
Section G, Societies and organisations, does not fully represent Harley's activities for professional and learned societies such as the British Ecological Society (President 1970-71), British Mycological Society (President 1967), Institute of Biology (President 1984-86), Linnean Society (Gold Medal 1988). His work on Royal Society committees is likewise somewhat scantily documented though there is material on the submission on forestry to the House of Lords Science & Technology Committee which he drafted.
Section H, Correspondence, consists mainly of incoming letters, to which Harley usually replied in longhand. Though many of his correspondents were in touch over a long period, there are few extended sequences and many gaps in the timespan. Harley's great gift for friendship is clear from the number of undergraduate, wartime and early research colleagues who became lifelong friends, those in France or French-speaking Canada being addressed in their own language which Harley had learned at his prep school and was proud to continue to use.