Margaret Harris was born in Dundee on 22nd March 1814, the sixth of seven children. She was the daughter of Helen Gibson and William Harris, who was a baker, one of several bakers at that time named Harris. Her elder brother William became a wealthy philanthropist; Harris Academy in Dundee is named after him. After his death Margaret waived her right to a life-rent in his estate, in order that the money could be used to build a girls’ school as an addition to the High School of Dundee. Her name is inscribed over the entrance to the building in Euclid Crescent, west of the main High School. Margaret never married.  She died on 28th August 1894, at her home, Fernbank, Dudhope Terrace. A bequest left after her death was used to found a Chair of Physics at UniversityCollege,Dundee in 1895.