216 Life anal Letters of Francis Galton Note to Chapter X V.
Finger-Prints as Reminiscences. As some collect autographs and others photographs, so we may collect finger-prints as mementoes of friends or of great men. Such a collection was formed by Francis Galton, and, the circumstances not always being favourable for a printer's ink impression, he not infrequently fell back on sealing-wax. In the Galtoniana are many sealing-wax impressions of Galton's friends. Thus we have Herbert Spencer's and quite a number of Sir W. H. Grove's' prints. The process of pressing the finger on hot wax was not always without pain, as is indicated in the accompanying 1893 Christmas greeting of Addington Symonds' daughter Katherine to Francis Galton.
Fig. 42. A Christmas Greeting to Francis Galton "from an affectionate and admiring friend."
Among the prints of famous men to be found in Galton's Album of Prints are those of Gladstone, Zola, Wallace, Herbert Spencer, etc. ; the Darwins, the Vernon Harcourts, the Garrods and many other families also appear. Galton himself had a seal cut from his right ring finger print, and this is still used on the name cards at the Annual Galton Laboratory Dinner. There are many other relics of Galton's early finger-print collecting days, e.g. prints of idiots, of farm labourers, of the Herschels at different ages, and occasionally foot and hand prints, as well as some finger-prints of apes. For some years Galton must have always had a finger-printing apparatus in his pocket, and possibly, like all men with a dominating hobby, have been somewhat of a trial to his acquaintances.
* Of combined legal and scientific fame !