Logo from the Second International Eugenics Conference, 1921

HPSC0070 Eugenics in Science and Culture

Eugenics combined science and politics to create social policies intent on “improving the stock” of some human groups at the expense of others. This module investigates eugenics as a history of science and technology operating in cultures around the world. It considers eugenics as a history of people creating, interpreting, rejecting, and suffering from decisions grounded in scientific (and pseudo-scientific – this boundary is important)…

Historical analysis shows Karl Pearson was a racist nativist supremacist for Anglo-Saxon stock

Eugenics, Karl Pearson, and the Legacy of Anglo-Saxon Nativism at UCL

In September 2019 I gave a paper, “Eugenics, Karl Pearson, and the Legacy of Anglo-Saxon Nativism at UCL,” at a conference organised by the Research Group on University History held at the University of Manchester. In essence, it argues (1) Karl Pearson promoted a racist, nativist, supremacist programme favouring his vision of Anglo-Saxon stock, (2) he took advantage of his position within the university to…

Image from Cover - Farrall 2019 English Eugenics Movement 9781787510012

Farrall’s (1969) History of English Eugenics, 1865-1925, republished

The history of eugenics in Britain is far from hidden or forgotten. Many excellent papers and books explore the role of individuals (e.g., Francis Galton, Karl Pearson, Ronald Fisher, and Leonard Darwin to name only a few of the men involved) and the role of organisations (e.g., Eugenics Education Society). Eugenics in Britain has been studied in depth with an emphasis on class, gender, race,…

Profesor Karl Pearson at desk in Francis Galton Laboratory for National Eugenics

Karl Pearson and Mental Deficiency Act 1913 (UK)

What role did UCL biometrician and eugenicist Karl Pearson have in passage of this Act? Reading Angelique Richardson’s 2014 TLS piece on the Mental Deficiency Act (UK), effective 1914 repealed 1968, sparked me into condensing some research on that Act and possible involvement by Karl Pearson in its development and passage. We know a lot about the Mental Deficiency Act (UK). Wikipedia offers a quick…

Karl Pearson and Francis Galton

Show Me the Eugenics Money, part 1

Francis Galton’s Will left money to University of London “for establishment and endowment of a Professorship” related to eugenics. This blog gives the text of the original donation.

George Gaylord Simpson, 1956 (courtesy American Philosophical Society Library).

George Gaylord Simpson’s “Night Thoughts on Leaving the American Museum,” 1959

George Gaylord Simpson (1902-1984) was a leader in twentieth century vertebrate palaeontology, and he contributed to making the American Museum of Natural History a powerhouse in the field. In 1959, Simpson left his job at the museum in a bitter dispute with its management. Simpson never published a rationale for his resignation, but he secretly wrote one. After his first day unemployed, Simpson penned a…

Euston Road at corner of former Euston Grove, showing bus entrance to Euston Station, 2013.

Euston Grove – History of a London Street NW1

Today, Euston Grove, London NW1 is little more than a roundabout for buses outside Euston Rail Station. Its most noticable feature is Reginald Wynn Owen’s arresting memorial to railway men and women lost in war. One hundred and fifty years ago, Euston Grove was a bustling, fast-growing London street – home to the country’s first metropolitan rail station and home to one of Britain’s most important…

Neo-classical screen at London Terminus at Euston Grove, from Bourne (1839) Drawings of the London and Birmingham Railway (London: Ackermann and Co.).

Bourne’s Drawings of the London and Birmingham Railway (1839)

John Cooke Bourne’s lithograph of Euston Arch and the neo-classical screen in from of the Euston Grove terminus for the railway was published among his Drawings of the London and Birmingham Railway (1839) (British Library collection). This item also was sold as hand-coloured prints and much copied. Euston Arch, Euston Grove and neo-Classical screen

Professor Helen Chatterjee delivering 2015 Robert Grant Memorial Lecture

Robert Grant Memorial Lecture – list of speakers (1997-present)

The annual Robert Grant Memorial Lecture is held in honour of Professor Robert Edmond Grant (born 11 November 1793 in Edinburgh; died 23 August 1874 at home, 2 Euston Grove, more). Grant was a zoologist, an expert on comparative anatomy, an evolutionist, and a political radical. This annual lecture is organised by UCL Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy), with support from several UCL units, including…