Story: Classical and foreign-language studies

Harold Williams

Harold Williams (1876–1928) is probably New Zealand's most accomplished polyglot, although he is not well known in his home country. Williams became conversant with or fluent in a number of foreign languages while young, and by the time he died had knowledge of over 50. He left New Zealand in 1900 to study in Germany, and became a journalist specialising in foreign correspondence. Williams lived in Russia for a number of years and was an expert on Russian affairs. He was appointed foreign editor of The Times newspaper in 1922 and remained in this position until his death in 1928.

In 2010 British historian Charlotte Alston talked to Radio New Zealand host Jim Mora about Williams's amazing facility with languages.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: 1/2-029259 (B-K-1075-FRONTIS)

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Sound courtesy of Radio New Zealand - Te Reo Irirangi o Aotearoa

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Classical and foreign-language studies - Modern languages', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 8 February 2023)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 22 Oct 2014