The Reading Room of the Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall, London
Galton was elected to the club, which had a literary-scientific reputation,
Other members included Dickens and Charles Darwin.
The South Library of the Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall, London.
Galton made extensive use of the library.
The Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall, London.
The building was designed by Decimus Burton in 1824.
Athena, exterior of the The Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall, London.
Exterior of the Athenaeum Club from the Crimean War Monument.
Entrance Hall, Athenaeum Club.
(Athenaeum Images courtesy of the
Plaque outside 42 Rutland Gate.
Galton's brother Erasmus (1815-1909, courtesy
New at galton.org
November 9, 2018.
Francis Galton on Mars: the Discontinuous Variation Notebook
edited by Gavan Tredoux (galton.org, 2018).
Among the Galton papers, housed in the Special Collections
Department of University College London, many notebooks survive, recording
his explorations of things that amused him or took his fancy. Much of this material
never saw print. The pages teem with ideas, often skipping around without warning.
One of these notebooks is titled 'Discontinuous Variation: 1896-7'. The first page leads
with 'Clear mind from cant' and contains ruminations about moral philosophy and religion.
'Ideals may well be elusive'. Several of the subsequent pages reflect the title,
dealing with the ways in which change in a continuous characteristic can eventually
produce a discontinuity, so that a different class is called for. By the twenty-second page,
the subject has jumped to free will, a recurring theme for Galton, prompted by his researches
into heredity. Three pages later, the subject switches abruptly to an encoding scheme for
representing mathematical operations. Seventeen pages of rough notes follow, in which the
scope of the encoding expands to include instructions for reproducing pictures. Encoding of
pictures forms a link to 'Discontinuous variation', since at a certain point a series of dots
is perceived as a line.
On the forty-second page of the notebook, Galton lays out the skeleton of a story
involving Mars, sun signals flashed from Earth, and eugenics among intelligent Martians,
who are said to be descended from Ants by natural and artificial selection.
This is a sample from a larger work in progress, of which the following volumes
- Francis Galton at Cambridge: Letters and Diaries, 1840-1844.
- Francis Galton in Africa: 1850-1852.
- The Diary of Charles John Andersson: 1850-1851.
- Francis Galton's Crisis: 1840-1868.
May 26, 2017.
Feb 21, 2017.
- Major site redesign to support mobile devices. Many other minor warts were removed in the process.
Feb 17, 2017.
- JBS Haldane was a Galtonian for at least part of his influential career. See my latest project at
JBS Haldane FRS 1892-1964 for a full bibliography
and many facsimiles of his works. I have also completed a book on Haldane which will be published
- Three new articles on Galton and George Darwin by Chris Pritchard. See scholarship.
- Just published: a reanalysis of fraud charges levelled at the
noted Galtonian Sir Cyril Burt.
Intelligence Volume 49, March-April 2015, Pages 32-43.
From the abstract:
"In the last comprehensive review by Mackintosh et al. Cyril Burt, Fraud or Framed? (London: Oxford University Press, 1995)
of the fraud charges posthumously leveled against the once eminent psychologist Sir Cyril Burt,
Mackintosh and Mascie-Taylor asserted that statistical anomalies they detected in his social mobility
data of 1961 provided crucial evidence of guilt. The anomalies included apparent departures from normality
in some parts of the data, incommensurate cell totals, and suspicious uniformity within IQ bands across
fathers and sons. It is shown here that the departures from normality were a natural consequence of unavoidable
rounding when inverting the cumulative normal distribution to construct the class IQ bands used in the tables.
Elementary procedures are given, known since at least the 1930s, which could have been used by Burt to simultaneously
preserve both the normality of his IQ data and the desired population proportions of occupational classes. Other
anomalies first noticed by the statistician Donald Rubin are explainable as artifacts produced by fixing marginal
totals in the presence of rounding to IQ scores, then using the same weighting procedures to conform to margins.
The grounds given by Mackintosh and Mascie-Taylor for finding fraud in Burt's social mobility data are therefore
- Added the newly discovered letter from Galton, "Dermal
Topography", in The American Anthropologist 1, 188: 177.
This is one of Galton's earliest published mentions of fingerprints.
- Added the newly discovered letter "Organic
Stability" in Science New Series 1 (18) May 3, 1895:
- Added the newly discovered article "Useful
Anthropometry" in the Proceedings of the American Association for the
Advancement of Physical Education 1891.
- Added the newly discovered review by Galton, "A
German Manual of Scientific Enquiry" Nature 11 (278)
February 25, 1875: 321-2.
- The site has been moved to a hosting facility with high-speed internet
connections. The preferred name is now galton.org.
- Numerous papers from the
Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, all of them previously
unlisted, have been added.
- All previously uncollected papers from the French
Revue Scientifique have been added in facsimile form. These
include some previously unlisted items.
Search is now integrated in the left hand corner in the header for all pages.
Type the terms and hit enter.
- Other miscellaneous bibliographical additions and corrections.
- Turned up another scarce pamphlet,
Arranged by Francis Galton. (1884) "Such is the ease of working the
instruments that a person can be measured in these respects, and a card
containing the results furnished to him, and a duplicate made and preserved for
statistical purposes, at a total cost of 3d."
- Added contributions by Galton to the (elegantly titled) compendium
Katalog Mathematische und Mathematisch-Physikalischer Modelle, Apparate und
Instrumente (Van Dyck, Munich: 1892) on the
Quincunx, Trace Computer of
Vapour Tension, and Pantagraph. These are German translations,
prepared by an instrument maker for the Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung, of
the currently unobtainable Galton articles in the Reports of the
Meteorological Committee of the Royal Society from 1869 onwards. One
of the items in this collection was referred to by Pearson, others were not and
seem to have slipped notice: all have been omitted from all previous
bibliographies. One could infer from the catalog that the Quincunx was
commercially manufactured, in Germany at least. Perhaps, slumbering in an
attic somewhere in Bavaria ... .
- New edition of the rare book
Meteorographica (1863) with greatly improved fidelity. Galton had the
remaining copies of this book destroyed by Macmillan when he joined the
Meteorological Council (according to the Macmillans correspondence with Galton
now held in the British Library).
- Added a complete facsimile of Galton's first publication The Telotype
a facsimile of the original map of
Damaraland prepared by Galton.
- Added review
of Raymond Fancher's paper on Galton's African Ethnography.
- Added new bibliography
system, with a batch of previously unknown letters to the Times, and
other new discoveries. Also added a new Reviews
- Added some missing letters from the Times (many more
will be added soon) and other papers, and
made the catalogue of the Galton papers
- Added numerous scientific papers etc. by Galton not
previously published here. Consult the bibliography for details - and note that several previously unknown items
have been added to the bibliography.
- Added first online edition of
Record of Family Faculties.
- Added ability to browse books online, by screen-resolution
page image. This way books can be read without first downloading the
entire high-quality PDF files, which are typically very large. For
print-quality, use the PDF files. For example, Pearson's Life can now be
- Added a very high-quality facsimile version of Volume 2 of
Pearson's Life of Galton.
- Added very high-quality facsimile versions of Volume 3 and Volume
1 of Pearson's Life of Galton.
- Added full-text search
capability for all of Galton's books.
November 2, 2002:
October 18, 2002:
of Gerald Sweeney Fighting for the Good Cause: Reflections on Francis
Galton's Legacy to American Hereditarian Psychology (APS, 2001)
October 14, 2001:
- Added several reviews
of Galton's work from the Victorian periodical press.