Eugenics Laboratory Lectures

By | November 18, 2021
Eugenics Laboratory Lecture Series title plate

Eugenics Laboratory Lectures series was published 1909-1927. It included 14 numbers. Following practices used in the Biometric Laboratory, Karl Pearson organized public lectures and short training courses by GLNE staff. These targeted medical and social-care professionals seeking skill development. The Lectures series was used to merchandize some of this activity while also disseminating core information about Pearson’s eugenics thinking. In a prefatory note at the front of Lecture Series number 1, Pearson wrote:

The Galton Eugenics Laboratory has found the need of some introduction to the science of Eugenics, which shall place the purpose of the investigations conducted there in a simple form before the general reader. This will be the aim of the present series of publications.

When Pearson did not have new material for the series, he recycled older lectures and materials converted from his teaching. Ultimately, Pearson authored twelve of the fourteen numbers in this series. He also added significantly to one of the two others. The pace of new publications in this series slowed appreciably after 1912. Through reprinting, Pearson kept all numbers in print for several decades.

A publication chronology for all editions of numbers in the Lecture series is difficult to reconstruct. Pearson seems to have reprinted individual numbers in the series when supplies of separates were exhausted. When reprinting, he updated the date of publication. Normally content was not changed (noted as ‘new issue’, ‘reissue’, ‘second issue’, and so on); sometimes, new material was appended (noted as ‘new edition’, and item 3 is an example).

Eugenics Laboratory Lecture series

Pearson, Karl. 1909. The Scope and Importance to the State of the Science of National Eugenics (London: Dulau and Co., second edition). 45 pp. Eugenics Laboratory Lectures 1.

Based on the Fourteenth Robert Boyle Lecture before the Oxford University Junior Science Club, 17 May 1907. First edition is 1907 in Journal of the Oxford University Junior Scientific Club, published by Henry Frowde (London). GLNE edition is ‘second edition’ in 1909. In frontmatter, Pearson also reported that an ‘authorized translation of this lecture has appeared in Germany, and a wholly unauthorized reprint in America’. Morant (120 and 131) identifies the latter as Popular Science Monthly, 71 (1907), 385–412. Third edition is 1911.

Pearson, Karl. 1909. The Groundwork of Eugenics (London: Dulau and Co.). 39 pp. Eugenics Laboratory Lectures 2.

Second edition is 1912.

Elderton, Ethel M. 1909. The Relative Strength of Nurture and Nature (London: Dulau and Co.). 40 pp. Eugenics Laboratory Lectures 3.

Includes two Appendices: Appendix A, ‘Home Conditions and Eyesight’, by Karl Pearson (noted as reprinted from British Medical Journal), pp. 34–39, and Appendix B, ‘Cleanliness and Vision’, signed Karl Pearson, pp. 439–40.

The preface notes that this Lecture summarizes three Memoirs (V, VII, and VIII). Second edition is 1915, noted as ‘much enlarged edition’ of two parts (60 pp. in total): Part I. The Relative Strength of Nurture and Nature. Second edition, revised. By E. M. Elderton; and Part II. Some Recent Misinterpretations of the Problem of Nurture and Nature. First issue. By Karl Pearson.

Elderton, Ethel M. 1909. On the Marriage of First Cousins (London: Dulau and Co.). 39 pp. Eugenics Laboratory Lectures 4.

Second edition is 1911.

Pearson, Karl. 1909. The Problem of Practical Eugenics (London: Dulau and Co.). 38 pp. Eugenics Laboratory Lectures 5.

Based on a course of lectures given in May 1909. Reprinted 1910. Second edition is 1912.

Pearson, Karl. 1910. Nature and Nurture, the Problem of the Future (London: Dulau and Co.). 31 pp. Eugenics Laboratory Lectures 6.

Based on Presidential address delivered on 28 April 1910, annual meeting of the Social and Political Education League. GLNE reprint is ‘Second edition’ 1910.

Pearson, Karl. 1911. The Academic Aspect of the Science of National Eugenics. A Lecture Delivered to Undergraduates (London: Dulau and Co.). 27 pp. Eugenics Laboratory Lectures 7.

Pearson, Karl. 1912. Tuberculosis, Heredity and Environment; Being a Lecture Delivered at the Galton Laboratory for National Eugenics, 12 March 1912 (London: Dulau and Co.). 46 pp. Eugenics Laboratory Lectures 8.

Pearson, Karl. 1912. Darwinism, Medical Progress and Eugenics. The Cavendish Lecture, 1912. An Address to the Medical Profession (publisher not specified). 29 pp. Eugenics Laboratory Lectures 9.

This separate is a hybrid of two publishing processes. It was circulated with GLNE endpapers, but the text is in a different style and format compared to the previous eight numbers in the series. A note on the title reads ‘This lecture was delivered to the West London Medico-Chirurgical Society as the Cavendish Lecture for 1912, and originally published in the West London Medical Journal, vol xvii, pp. 165–93, 1912’.

Pearson, Karl., 1914. On the Handicapping of the First-Born; Being a Lecture Delivered at the Galton Laboratory, University College, London, March 17, 1914. With Frontispiece and Four Diagrams (London: Dulau and Co.). 68 pp. Eugenics Laboratory Lectures 10.

Pearson, Karl. 1919. National Life from the Standpoint of Science. Second edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). 64 pp. Eugenics Laboratory Lectures 11.

First published as Karl Pearson. 1901. National Life from the Standpoint of Science; An Address delivered at Newcastle, November 19, 1900, by Karl Pearson (London: A. and C. Black). 62 pp. Second edition under same publisher is 1905. GLNE listing is 1919 reprint by Cambridge University Press and titled ‘second edition’. It includes new preface but same three appendices as the 1905 edition by A. and C. Black: Appendix 1, ‘National Deterioration’, pp. 65–85 (previously published in The Times, 25 August 1905 and 5 September 1905); Appendix II, ‘Recent Work in Heredity. An Abstract of a Lecture delivered in November, 1904’, pp. 85–94; Appendix III, ‘The Bearing of Our Present Knowledge of Heredity upon Conduct’, pp. 95–106.

Pearson, Karl. 1919. The Function of Science in the Modern State, second edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). 97 pp. Eugenics Laboratory Lectures 12.

First published as Karl Pearson. 1902. ‘The Function of Science in the Modern State’, Encyclopaedia Britannica, volume 32. GLNE reprint is second edition 1919.

Pearson, Karl. 1921. Side Lights on the Evolution of Man; Being a Lecture Delivered at the Royal Institution, Friday, May 14, 1920 (London: Cambridge University Press). 27 pp. Eugenics Laboratory Lectures 13.

Pearson, Karl. 1927. The Right of the Unborn Child; Being a Lecture Delivered on November 13, 1926 to Teaching from the London County Council Schools (London: Cambridge University Press). 26 pp. Eugenics Laboratory Lectures 14.