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Ernst Rüdin: Hitler’s Racial Hygiene Mastermind
by Jay Joseph and Norbert A.Wetzel
Article in Journal of the History of Biology
November 2012

P.O. Box 5653, Berkeley, CA 94705-5653, USA

The Center for Family, Community, and Social Justice, Inc.,
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Abstract. Ernst Rudin (1874–1952) was the founder of psychiatric genetics and was also a founder of the German racial hygiene movement. Throughout his long career he played a major role in promoting eugenic ideas and policies in Germany, including helping formulate the 1933 Nazi eugenic sterilization law and other governmental policies directed against the alleged carriers of genetic defects. In the 1940s Rudin supported the killing of children and mental patients under a Nazi program euphemistically called ‘‘Euthanasia.’’ The authors document these crimes and discuss their implications, and also present translations of two publications Rudin co-authored in 1938 showing his strong support for Hitler and his policies. The authors also document what they see as revisionist historical accounts by leading psychiatric genetic authors. They outline three categories of contemporary psychiatric genetic accounts of Rudin and his work: (A) those who write about German psychiatric genetics in the Nazi period, but either fail to mention Rudin at all, or cast him in a favorable light; (B) those who acknowledge that Rudin helped promote eugenic sterilization and/or may have worked with the Nazis, but generally paint a positive picture of Rudin’s research and fail to mention his participation in the ‘‘euthanasia’’ killing program; and (C) those who have written that Rudin committed and supported unspeakable atrocities. The authors conclude by calling on the leaders of psychiatric genetics to produce a detailed and complete account of their field’s history, including all of the documented crimes committed by Rudin and his associates.

The purpose of this article is to examine the career of the Swiss-German racial hygienist and psychiatric genetics founder Ernst Rudin (1874–1952), and to document the crimes he both supported and committed in Germany during the Nazi period (1933–1945). We then assess the manner in which contemporary psychiatric genetic researchers have written about -– or have failed to write about –- the crimes committed by Rudin and his associates. Following this discussion, we present translations of two documents co-authored by Rudin and racial hygienics founder Alfred Ploetz (1860–1940) in a 1938 edition of Archiv fur Rassen-und Gesellschaftsbiologie (Archive for Racial and Social Biology; Ploetz and Rudin, 1938a, b). To the best of our knowledge these documents have not been translated in any previous English language publication.

Psychiatric Genetics and Racial Hygiene

Ploetz and Rudin were among the founders of the German Society for Racial Hygiene (Gesellschaft fur Rassenhygiene) in 1905. The aims of the German racial hygiene movement were similar to the eugenics movements in other countries, including the United States, although the term ‘‘race’’ (Rasse) implied a stronger racial or volkisch aspect of eugenics. German racial hygienists and other eugenicists believed that humans can be ‘‘improved’’ by selective breeding to eradicate ‘‘undesirable’’ traits in the population. They argued that psychiatric disorders, and traits such as criminality, alcoholism, and hereditary ‘‘feeble-mindedness’’ (angeborener Schwachsinn) are caused mainly by hereditary factors, and can be bred out of the population for the benefit of future generations. The Archiv first appeared in Germany in 1904 and became the official journal of the Society for Racial Hygiene. After the Nazi seizure of power in the first part of 1933, it became an official organ of the Nazi’s Reich Committee for Public Health (Weindling, 1989, p. 500), with Rudin continuing as the co-Editor.

Rudin developed the psychiatric genetics field in the early twentieth century. During that period he was working with the founder of modern psychiatry Emil Kraepelin, first in Heidelberg, and then following Kraepelin to Munich in 1907 (Weber, 1996). Rudin and his racial hygienicist colleagues were tireless advocates of programs aimed against the carriers of a presumed ‘‘hereditary taint’’ (erbliche Belastung) well before the Nazi seizure of power in 1933. Lacking any family or twin studies, Rudin called for the eugenic sterilization of chronic alcoholics as early as 1903, which ‘‘marked the beginning of a life-long crusade for sterilization of the degenerate’’ (Weindling, 1989, p. 186).

The Nazi takeover provided new support for Rudin’s ‘‘crusade,’’ and he played a major role in creating and implementing the 1933 Nazi ‘‘Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring’’ (Gesetz zur Verhutung erbkranken Nachwuchses). This law provided for the compulsory eugenic surgical sterilization of people diagnosed with ‘‘genetic’’ conditions such as feeble-mindedness, schizophrenia, manic-depressive insanity, genetic epilepsy, Huntington’s chorea, genetic blindness or deafness, or severe alcoholism. Rudin was a co-author of the official commentary summarizing the alleged scientific justification for the law (Gutt et al., 1934).1

The law created a massive program of compulsory eugenic sterilization and led to the establishment of roughly 1,700 hereditary health courts (Erbgesundheitsgerichte) throughout Germany (Proctor, 1988). Approximately 400,000 Germans were forcibly sterilized under the law between 1934 and 1939, primarily on the basis of being labeled ‘‘feeble-minded’’ or ‘‘schizophrenic.’’ The sterilization mortality rate was around 0.5%, meaning that perhaps 2,000 people died from the operation (Proctor, 1988).

Rudin and his close psychiatric geneticist associates at the Genealogic-Demographic Department of the German Research Institute for Psychiatry in Munich, such as Hans Luxenburger and Bruno Schulz, played a major role in establishing, popularizing, and performing research in support of the sterilization law (Joseph, 2004, 2006; Lewis, 1934; Luxenburger, 1934; Rudin, 1934; Schulz, 1934, 1939). In 1934, the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institute produced a list of 15 ‘‘eminent eugenicists in Germany,’’ with Rudin and Luxenburger appearing on this list (Thomalia, 1934, pp. 141–142). Rudin received numerous awards for his work in the Nazi era, including the prestigious Goethe Medal of Arts and Sciences in 1939 from the Reich Ministry of the Interior. In 1944, Rudin received the Adlerschild des Deutschen Reiches medal (Eagle Shield of the German Reich) bearing the Nazi eagle from Hitler, and was praised as being a ‘‘pathfinder in the field of hereditary hygiene’’ (Weinreich, 1946, p. 33).

Like Rudin, Luxenburger was a strong supporter of eugenic measures well before the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 (see Burleigh, 1994; Joseph, 2004, pp. 34–39; Luxenburger, 1931a, b). As Weiss observed in her detailed examination of Rudin’s Institute, ‘‘all of its members were strong supporters of eugenics during the Weimar years’’ (1919–1933; Weiss, 2010, p. 133). In 1931, Luxenburger wrote that sterilization would ‘‘considerably contain’’ but not ‘‘fully prevent the transmission of recessive hereditary properties.’’ Nevertheless, he supported sterilization because ‘‘it is impossible to see why one should sit back and do nothing only because a radical eradication of degenerate hereditary properties is still impossible today’’ (quoted in Burleigh, 1994, p. 41). After the Nazi takeover, Luxenburger’s definition of ‘‘feeble-minded’’ children deserving to fall under the sterilizer’s knife included those having great difficulty in elementary school and those ‘‘who fail in life’’ (Weiss, 2010, p. 144). When asked whether the sterilization law would reduce the number of people available to perform important menial tasks, Luxenburger replied, ‘‘even after sterilization there will be enough hereditary feeble-minded individuals to serve as coolies’’ (quoted in Weiss, 2010, p. 144).

After the Nazi seizure of power, researchers and students from other European countries came to Munich to study under Rudin and his associates at the Genealogical-Demographic Department. According to David Rosenthal, a leading American supporter of psychiatric genetics and an admirer of Rudin’s scientific work, ‘‘From this institute emerged all of the pioneering psychiatric geneticists’’ (Rosenthal, 1971, p. 7).

Rudin and ‘‘Euthanasia’’

In the late 1930s the Nazi regime moved beyond compulsory eugenic sterilization and instituted a secret plan to kill mental patients and other ‘‘defectives,’’ ‘‘useless eaters,’’ and ‘‘incurables.’’ This program, code named ‘‘T4’’ and euphemistically referred to by the authorities as ‘‘euthanasia,’’ led to the murder of 70,000 people by gas, lethal injection, starvation, and other methods in the first phase between 1939 and 1941 under the direction of the government and leading doctors and psychiatrists (Lifton, 1986; Proctor, 1988). Many more were killed between 1939 and 1945 in further actions both in Germany and the occupied territories. Some have estimated that 200,000 people were killed in the program (Weiss, 2010), while other estimates run as high as 300,000 (Peters, 2001). Proposals to institute a eugenic killing program in the United States were openly debated in a 1942 edition of the official journal of the American Psychiatric Association, The American Journal of Psychiatry (Joseph, 2005; Kennedy, 1942).

Although there is no evidence that Rudin played a major role in initiating the ‘‘euthanasia’’ program, it is beyond question that he helped implement and justify this program of killing (Roelcke, 2000, 2012;Weiss, 2010). According to Rudin’s biographer Matthias Weber, in internal memorandums Rudin discussed ‘‘euthanasia’’ as a type of ‘‘therapeutic reform’’ (Weber, 1996, p. 329). The German historian of medicine Volker Roelcke has played an important role in documenting Rudin’s involvement in the euthanasia program, and has criticized what he saw as Weber’s (1993) incomplete reporting (including poorly documented claims) of Rudin’s role in the killing program (Roelcke, 2006, 2012). In 1942 Rudin wrote about the eugenic importance of ‘‘distinguishing which children could, already as children, be clearly categorized as so valueless and worthy of elimination that…they could be recommended for euthanasia in their own interest and that of the German people’’ (quoted in Weiss, 2010, p. 179).

Roelcke has documented Rudin’s support for the killing of children at the Psychiatric Department of the University of Heidelberg in 1943–1945 (Roelcke, 2000, 2006, 2012; Roelcke et al., 1998). He has shown that Carl Schneider and Rudin’s associate Julius Deussen ‘‘played a leading role in the research on children in the context of the euthanasia program’’ (Roelcke, 2006, p. 86). This research included the killing of children in order to ‘‘systematically correlate clinical with post-mortem and histopathological data.’’ Roelcke has documented that Rudin ‘‘supported the research efforts of Schneider and Deussen in various ways, among other things with funds from the budget of his own institute in Munich’’ (Roelcke, 2006, p.87). The research carried out by Deussen and Schneider attempted to find clinical, genealogical, and/or laboratory criteria to differentiate between hereditary and acquired conditions. At least 21 of the 52 children studied under the program initiated and supported by Rudin were killed so that their brains could be examined (Roelcke, 2000, 2012).

The brains of other murdered ‘‘euthanasia’’ victims were sent to Rudin’s Munich institute for evaluation and research (Weiss, 2010, p. 183). According to Weber, ‘‘Rudin considered the broadening of the criteria for killing handicapped newborns to be a scientific issue of importance to the war effort’’ (Weber, 2000, p. 255). In 1944, Rudin considered publishing an article in the Archiv legitimizing euthanasia based on ‘‘thoroughly investigated children’’ (quoted in Weiss, 2010, p. 179). Clearly, at this point Rudin still believed that Germany would win the war and that open support for euthanasia in scientific journals would become acceptable after the German victory.

Rudin and his collaborators drafted a memorandum on the Nazi T4 ‘‘euthanasia’’ killing program, discussing ways that doctors and others could justify the killing. According to the memorandum:

Even the euthanasia measures will meet with general understanding and approval, as it becomes established and more generally known that, in each and every case of mental disease, all possible measures were taken either to cure the patients or to improve their state sufficiently to enable them to return to work which is economically worthwhile, either in their original professions or in some other occupation. (quoted in Muller-Hill, 1998, p. 46)

And in a 1942 letter to the Reich Research Council discussing psychiatric genetics and the conditions of war, Rudin wrote,

We have no interest in preserving the lives of incurable and ruinous victims of heredity, nor do we have any interest in the propagation of individuals who are carriers of the genetic dispositions necessary for the development of severe hereditary diseases. We do however have an interest in the case of the latter individuals to save what can be saved, at least on a case-by-case basis, by means of timely interventions in pathogenesis and during the course of the disease, in order to at least preserve their utility to society. (quoted in Ritter and Roelcke, 2005, p. 268)

Similar to the selection process at the Nazi’s Auschwitz concentration camp, Rudin condemned to death the ‘‘incurable and ruinous victims of heredity’’ unless they were able-bodied enough to contribute to the war effort or to work in slave labor camps. In the words of a pair of contemporary schizophrenia researchers, ‘‘The sterilization and murder of hundreds of thousands of patients with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders in Nazi Germany between 1934 and 1945 was the greatest criminal act in the history of psychiatry’’ (Torrey and Yolken, 2010, p. 31).

Indeed, as the contemporary German psychiatric genetic researcher Peter Propping concluded, the leaders of Rudin’s Munich school were responsible for moving along the ‘‘slippery slope’’ from sterilization to killing2:

When the National Socialists came to power in Germany in 1933, the protagonists of the Munich school helped guide psychiatric genetics along the slippery slope from the sterilization of psychiatric patients to their deaths in an organized euthanasia program. Ernst Rudin was a prominent protagonist of the German racial hygiene movement, his research program as well as his political activities being guided by the idea of a ‘‘healthy race.’’ (Propping, 2005, p. 3)

According to Roelcke,

The aim of re-structuring society according to the laws of biology was the guiding principle motivating all of Rudin’s research and political activities. He and most of his staff were in one way or another involved in Nazi mental health policy, including active support of the systematic patient killings (‘‘euthanasia’’), and in research aimed at finding scientifically valid criteria for distinguishing between those worthy for procreation, or indeed worthy to live, and those supposedly unworthy. (Roelcke, 2004, p. 477)

Historians have pointed out that in addition to the eugenic and ‘‘racial purification’’ aspects of the euthanasia program, other motives included economic factors and the need to clear out hospitals and asylums in the interest of the war effort (Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939). However, although the euthanasia program was carried out under the conditions of war, from another perspective one could argue that, much like the Holocaust itself, it was carried out under the cover of war.

Rudin’s anti-Semitism was also in line with the Nazi leaders he so willingly collaborated with and even inspired. As seen in two 1938 articles he co-authored with Ploetz (which we have translated below) and elsewhere, Rudin supported every policy and crime directed against the Jewish people, which is confirmed in a 1942 edition of the Archiv. Referring to the ‘‘fight against parasitic alien races such as the Jews and Gypsies’’ well after Kristallnacht and at a time when the Holocaust was well underway, Rudin wrote,

The results of our science had earlier attracted much attention (both support and opposition) in national and international circles. Nevertheless, it will always remain the undying, historic achievement of Adolf Hitler and his followers that they dared to take the first trail-blazing and decisive steps toward such brilliant race-hygienic achievement in and for the German people. In so doing, they went beyond the boundaries of purely scientific knowledge. He and his followers were concerned with putting into practice the theories and advances of Nordic race-conceptions… the fight against parasitic alien races such as the Jews and Gypsies… and preventing the breeding of those with hereditary diseases and those of inferior stock. (quoted in Muller-Hill, 1998, p. 67)

In the same article, Rudin wrote favorably about Nazi racial laws, which led to a ‘‘by now progressed elimination of Jewish influence and especially to the prevention of further intrusions of Jewish blood into the German gene pool.’’ Like Hitler, he saw the war as being caused by ‘‘Jewish-plutocratic and Bolshevik directed powers’’ (Rudin, 1942, pp. 321–322; see also Joseph, 2004).

Questionable Premises: Then and Now

German psychiatric geneticists sought to provide alleged scientific evidence in support of social and political policies aimed at curbing the reproduction of people they targeted as harboring ‘‘hereditary taint,’’ which they believed posed a grave danger to society and could lead to societal and racial degeneration (Peters, 2001; Roelcke, 2006; Schulze et al., 2004). However, although contemporary psychiatric genetic researchers usually reject eugenic ideas and programs (while promoting genetic counseling), they may be just as mistaken as Rudin and his colleagues in their belief that hereditary factors play an important etiological role in the major psychiatric disorders (Joseph, 2004, 2006, 2012).

The reason is that contemporary researchers -– in the context of the forty-year failure to discover the genes that they believe cause the major psychiatric disorders (Collins et al., 2012; Gershon et al., 2011; Joseph, 2011, 2012; Joseph and Ratner, in press; Plomin, 2012) -– rely on the same two environmentally confounded research methods used by Rudin and his colleagues: psychiatric family studies and twin studies. Then as now, critics have argued that both family studies and twin studies are unable to disentangle the potential influences of genes and environment, and therefore prove nothing about genetic influences on psychiatric disorders and psychological traits (Charney, 2008a, b, 2012, Joseph, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2012; Lewontin et al., 1984). In addition, critics have argued that psychiatric adoption studies, which have been performed since the 1960s, contain their own set of invalidating methodological problems and environmental confounds (Boyle, 2002; Cassou et al., 1980; Joseph, 2004, 2006, 2010; Pam, 1995; Lewontin et al., 1984; Lidz, 1976; Lidz and Blatt, 1983; Lidz et al., 1981).

The main product of Munich school research was the ‘‘empirical genetic prognosis’’ (empirische Erbprognose), which involved calculating the probability that (presumably hereditary) psychiatric disorders would eventually appear in the biological relatives and descendants of people diagnosed with these disorders. These calculations, which were based mainly on family studies, produced age-corrected ‘‘morbidity risk’’ (MR) percentage figures for various groups of relatives biologically related to the diagnosed ‘‘Proband.’’ Rudin had developed this method for his schizophrenia family study, published in 1916 (Rudin, 1916). Much of the work of Rudin, Luxenburger, Schulz and their colleagues in the Nazi era involved calculating such probabilities in the service of the sterilization law and other racial hygienic measures. For example, the researchers found that the age-corrected schizophrenia morbidity risks among the parents and offspring of schizophrenia patients were higher than the rate expected in the general population, and concluded that these elevated rates were caused by genetic factors. In these studies the researchers did not diagnose relatives blindly, did not use control groups, and used vague and differing definitions of schizophrenia and other disorders (Gottesman et al., 1987).

However, like their fellow eugenicists in the United States who based many of their theories and policy recommendations on allegedly ‘‘tainted family lines’’ such as the ‘‘Jukes’’ and the ‘‘Kallikaks,’’ on a purely scientific level Rudin and his Munich colleagues made the crucial error of assuming that hereditary factors explain the finding that psychiatric disorders tend to ‘‘run in the family.’’ As most contemporary psychiatric genetic and behavioral genetic researchers now understand, traits and disorders can aggregate in families for environmental (nongenetic) reasons because family members share a common environment as well as common genes. As one example, a leading group of psychiatric genetic researchers recognized in 1994 that the familial resemblance or aggregation of a trait or disorder ‘‘can occur because of shared genes, shared environment or a combination of the two’’
(McGuffin et al., 1994, p. 30; other researchers recognizing that family studies cannot disentangle potential genetic and environmental influences include Barondes, 1998; Bouchard and McGue, 2003; Faraone et al., 1999; Kendler, 1988; Kety et al., 1968; Plomin et al., 2008; Rosenthal, 1970).

Empirical predictions based on family studies, therefore, do not prove anything about genetics, and the belated recognition of this fact by the field of psychiatric genetics suggests that the most generous conclusion one can reach about Munich school research is that it was based on questionable science, if it was science at all, and was performed and promoted in the service of eugenics and right-wing political programs, the desire of institute leaders to maintain funding and the support of the Nazi regime, and their pre-existing beliefs about the importance of heredity.

Rudin’s daughter Edith Zerbin-Rudin became a psychiatric genetic researcher in Germany in the decades following World War II, first continuing her father’s work on a greatly reduced scale alongside Schulz at the renamed Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich, and then heading the department after Schulz’s death in 1958 (Zerbin-Rudin and Kendler, 1996). In a 1972 article on the genetics of schizophrenia, Zerbin-Rudin observed that although up to the end of the war most researchers accepted empirical genetic prognoses based on family study data as ‘‘unequivocal proof’’ that schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders and traits were caused by heredity, ‘‘the interpretation has undergone change’’:

Until about 30 years ago [roughly the mid-1940s], the clear increase in morbidity risk with the proximity of blood kinship to a schizophrenic was considered unequivocal proof of a hereditary factor. Later, however, it was reasoned that family members become ill more frequently only because their environment is more alike than that of nonconsanguineous persons. (Zerbin-Rudin, 1972, p. 47)

Although Zerbin-Rudin consistently defended her father’s work and reputation (see Zerbin-Rudin and Kendler, 1996; Muller-Hill, 1998, pp. 130–133), and although she believed that the schizophrenia adoption studies published in the 1960s suggested that the familial aggregation of schizophrenia is ‘‘at least partly attributable to genetic factors’’ (p. 47), her assessment confirms that the conclusions of Rudin and his Munich colleagues were wrong insofar as they interpreted the results of family studies as constituting proof that hereditary factors cause (or are the main cause of) psychiatric disorders, ‘‘feeble-mindedness,’’ and so on. The ‘‘unequivocal proof’’ they produced, which contributed to the sterilization and killing of (estimating conservatively) hundreds of thousands of people, was in fact no proof at all. Indeed, although the great majority of people labeled ‘‘schizophrenic’’ in Nazi Germany were either sterilized or killed, postwar studies show a high incidence rate of new schizophrenia cases in Germany (Torrey and Yolken, 2010).

Some might object that our brief assessment of Rudin’s scientific work rests on the flawed method of reading research results from later decades back into the past. The main point, however, is that we condemn Rudin and his associates not for the conclusions they reached on the basis of their results, but rather for what they did to their fellow human beings on the basis of their conclusions. We do criticize the science, but the present analysis would not have been necessary had Rudin and his colleagues done nothing more than publish scientific articles concluding that genes play a major role. Rudin was an internationally known scientist who used his authority to support severely repressive political programs masquerading as ‘‘science,’’ and was a doctor who personally played a role in killing adults and children (‘‘patients’’).

Contemporary Revisionist Histories of Rudin and German Psychiatric Genetics

Teo and Ball (2009) discussed the ‘‘revisionist’’ historical accounts written by some twin researchers, who usually fail to mention that their discipline has its origins in eugenics and German racial hygiene (Joseph, 2004). Twin research was an area of focus at Rudin’s Munich institute as well being the specialty of Otmar von Verschuer of Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm Institute Human Genetics Division, and later the Frankfurt Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene. Verschuer was one of the world’s leading twin researchers in the 1930s (Joseph, 2004; Newman et al., 1937), and also played a major role in providing scientific justification and support for the Holocaust and was an accomplice to the murder of twins at Auschwitz for ‘‘scientific’’ purposes (Ehrenreich, 2007; Lifton, 1986; Muller-Hill, 1998). After the war, Verschuer resumed his career as a university professor in Germany and continued to publish research papers and attend international conferences (von Verschuer, 1957), and was honored as a ‘‘teacher and example’’ in a special 1956 edition of Acta Geneticae Medicae et Gemellologiae (Journal of Medical Genetics and Twin Research) commemorating his 60th birthday (Gedda, 1956).

Continuing the theme of ‘‘insider’’ histories by members of a group writing about their field’s history (Danziger, 1994), Teo and Ball observed that a hallmark of revisionist history put forward by human genetic researchers reluctant to acknowledge (or possibly being unaware of) the eugenic and Nazi past of their discipline is ‘‘revisionism by omission.’’ As an example, they noted that twin researchers usually fail to discuss the history of twin research in its political and eugenic context, and omit the fact that the discoverer of the twin method, Hermann W. Siemens, was a major figure in the German racial hygiene movement by the early 1920s and later supported the Nazis and their racial policies (for example, see Siemens, 1937). In fact, some leading contemporary behavioral genetic researchers have omitted Siemens from the history of twin research (Teo and Ball, 2009, pp. 11–14; see also Joseph, 2004, pp. 17–21). In many of the psychiatric genetic ‘‘insider’’ accounts mentioned below, we find a similar ‘‘revisionism by omission’’ in discussions of the history of the psychiatric genetics field.

Three Categories of Contemporary Psychiatric Genetic Evaluations of Rudin

Contemporary psychiatric genetic evaluations of the founder of the field Ernst Rudin are varied, but usually fall into the revisionist Categories A and B discussed below. Major works covering many of the crimes of Rudin and his associates have been available in English since the 1980s (Lifton, 1986; Muller-Hill, 1998 [the first English translation appeared in 1988]; Proctor, 1988; Roelcke, 2006; Weindling, 1989), although English language documentation of Rudin’s support for the Nazi regime and the sterilization law dates back to the immediate post-war era (Weinreich, 1946) and earlier.

Category A

Category A includes leaders of the psychiatric genetics field and their supporters who have written about German psychiatric genetics in the Nazi period and who either fail to mention Rudin at all, or cast him in a favorable light. While Category A authors sometimes discuss Nazi policies and document atrocities (at times pointing to the complicity of German scientists outside of psychiatric genetics), they omit mention of Rudin’s and other German psychiatric geneticists’ role in supporting Nazism, racial hygiene, forced sterilization, the killing of mental patients (‘‘euthanasia’’), and Hitler’s persecution of Jews, Sinti and Roma (gypsies), and other targeted groups (examples of Category A authors include Faraone et al., 1999; Flint et al., 2010; Gottesman, 1991; Gottesman and Shields, 1982; Hoge and Appelbaum, 2008; McGuffin et al., 1994; Nurnberger and Berrettini, 1998; Rosenthal, 1970, 1971; Slater, 1971; Slater and Cowie, 1971; Stone, 1997; Stro¨ mgren, 1985; Torrey et al., 1994). Category A authors such as Erik Stromgren and Eliot Slater studied under Rudin in Munich in the mid-1930s and therefore had first-hand knowledge of his public and other activities. Edith Zerbin-Rudin (born in 1921) also falls into this category.

Here we provide a few examples from the Category A accounts listed above. In his award-winning book Schizophrenia Genesis, schizophrenia researcher Irving Gottesman (1991), who was mentored by Slater, wrote positively of the work of Rudin, Luxenburger, Schulz and other leaders of the ‘‘now-famous Munich school of psychiatric genetics’’ (p. 14), referring to ‘‘thoroughly the scientist’’ Rudin (p. 13), and to Schulz as a ‘‘star member of Rudin’s Munich school’’ (p. 96). In a book describing their own psychiatric twin research, biological psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey, Gottesman and their colleagues (Torrey et al., 1994) made reference to the Nazi sterilization law, twin research under the Nazis, and the roles of Verschuer and Josef Mengele in the murder of twins at Auschwitz for alleged scientific purposes. At the same time, they discussed the work of Luxenburger in a positive way, made no mention of the role of German psychiatric genetics in supporting Nazi policies, and did not mention Rudin at all.

Faraone, Tsuang, and Tsuang, in their book Genetics of Mental Disorders (Faraone et al., 1999) failed to document the involvement of Rudin and his colleagues in German eugenic policies, and implied that their findings were merely misused by the Nazis: ‘‘Adolph Hitler and his Nazi regime began a systematic program first to sterilize and then to kill ‘genetically defective’ people…. Contemporary researchers in psychiatric genetics are especially disturbed to learn that the Nazis used [German psychiatric genetic] research to justify their eugenics policies regarding the mentally ill…’’ (pp. 223–224). They wrote only of what they saw as ‘‘Nazi abuses of psychiatric genetics’’ (p. 224).

Hoge and Appelbaum (2008), in their chapter in Psychiatric Genetics: Applications in Clinical Practice, wrote that ‘‘Eugenics reached its zenith (or nadir) in Nazi Germany’’ (p. 257). They recognized that ‘‘Psychiatrists were directly implicated in the application of eugenic programs under the Nazi regime’’ (p. 257), and discussed the eugenic sterilization law, the T4 euthanasia program, and that ‘‘5,000 children between the ages of 3 and 17’’ suspected of carrying presumed hereditary disorders ‘‘were put to death’’ (p. 257). However, they did not name any of the psychiatrists involved in these programs, and failed to mention the involvement of German psychiatric geneticists such as Rudin. This also occurred in the 1998 book Psychiatric Genetics. Here, psychiatric genetic researchers Nurnberger and Berrettini wrote that the ‘‘low point’’ of the history of eugenics ‘‘was during the Nazi era, when eugenic theories were used to justify the mass murder of people with schizophrenia and mental retardation as well as ethnic ‘inferiors’’’
(Nurnberger and Berrettini, 1998, p. 129).

In the process of attempting to validate psychiatric twin research in their 2010 book How Genes Influence Behavior, Category A psychiatric genetic researchers Flint, Greenspan, and Kendler ignored the numerous critics of psychiatric twin research and instead focused on Kamin’s (1974) critical analysis of IQ genetic studies, including studies of twins. For Flint and colleagues, Kamin’s ‘‘diatribe’’ was another example of the danger of ‘‘the mixing of politics with science that always seems to accompany these studies’’ (Flint et al., 2010, pp. 26–27). They cited the rise of the eugenics movement as another example of the supposed hazard of mixing science and politics, regrettably (in our view) linking the ‘‘politics’’ of this steadfast opponent of eugenics (Kamin) to the politics of the eugenics movement and Nazism. ‘‘The ultimate embodiment of eugenics,’’ wrote Flint et al., ‘‘came under the National Socialist (Nazi) program in Germany, starting with the compulsory sterilization of mental patients (modeled after US statutes) and ending with the Final Solution’’ (p. 27).

Like other Category A ‘‘insider’’ historians, Flint and colleagues failed to mention the fact that German psychiatric genetic researchers –- such as the founder of their discipline Ernst Rudin –- were instrumental in creating the conditions for and providing a scientific stamp of approval to the atrocities of the Third Reich. In fact, Rudin personified the ‘‘ultimate embodiment of eugenics’’ in Hitler’s Germany.

Category B

The Category B position acknowledges that Rudin helped promote eugenic sterilization and/or may have worked with the Nazis, but generally paints a positive picture of Rudin’s research and denies or fails to mention that he supported the euthanasia program or that he supported anti-Semitism and the fight against the ‘‘parasitic alien races such as the Jews and Gypsies’’ (Category B authors include Cardno and McGuffin, 1999; Farmer, 2003; Farmer and McGuffin, 1999; Gottesman, 2008; Gottesman and Bertelsen, 1996; Kendler and Prescott, 2006; Shorter, 1997; Stromgren, 1994; Zerbin-Rudin and Kendler, 1996). Gottesman and Bertelsen ended their publication with a quotation from Rudin’s former Munich co-worker and racial hygienist Franz J. Kallmann, who wrote a letter in support of Rudin for the latter’s denazification hearing, claiming that Rudin ‘‘is no criminal, of course.’’ Gottesman and Bertelsen concluded, ‘‘We are content to let Kallmann have the last word for now’’ (Gottesman and Bertelsen, 1996, p. 321).

This contrasts sharply with the Swiss government’s ‘‘last word’’ on Rudin only 5 days after the German government’s capitulation in May, 1945. According to the Swiss authorities, they decided to revoke Rudin’s citizenship for both his scientific activities and his ‘‘pronounced political role’’:

Rudin belongs definitely to the intellectual leadership circle of the National Socialist regime. He was the expert who prepared the German racial-political legislation which brought immense suffering and ruin for millions of innocent people. Besides his scientific activity he, therefore, played a pronounced political role. Rudin’s life work contradicts the laws of humanity… (quoted in Weingart et al., 1988, p. 569, our translation)

In a Category B account by Zerbin-Rudin and Kendler (1996), the authors attempted to legitimize Rudin and his schizophrenia family research conducted before the Nazi seizure of power, as well as other psychiatric genetic research conducted during the Nazi era. This article caused considerable controversy, and led to some of the Category C responses we will see below. Zerbin-Rudin and Kendler wrote that ‘‘Rudin and his institute became involved in the eugenic policies of the Nazis,’’ though they saw this only as an example of the ‘‘possible political abuse of scientific findings in general and those from the field of psychiatric genetics in particular’’ (p. 332). Although the authors believed that the ‘‘relationship between Rudin and his institute and the racial and eugenic policies of the Nazi party after it came to power in Germany is an historically important subject’’ (p. 335), they declined to discuss Rudin’s activities during this period (while referring their readers to Weber’s 1993 biography of Rudin). According to Zerbin-Rudin and Kendler, many research psychiatrists were uninformed about ‘‘the extensive continental tradition of psychiatric genetics’’ for two main reasons: (1) ‘‘a language barrier,’’ and (2) ‘‘a rather virulent form of ‘presentism,’ (the tendency to value only recent endeavors and neglect the work of previous eras)’’ (p. 332).

In a book he co-authored 10 years later, Kendler mentioned the work of Luxenburger and Siemens without mentioning their strong support for racial hygienic policies both before and after the Nazi seizure of power, and discussed German psychiatric genetics and Rudin as follows:

In its infancy, psychiatric genetics -– under the leadership of Ernst Rudin (whose critical contributions to the birth of this field were colored by his dealings, later in life, with the Nazi party in Germany) –- was at the forefront of the methodological developments of the emerging field of human genetics. (Kendler and Prescott, 2006, p. 13)

We have seen that Category A and B authors sometimes allow that psychiatric genetic research was used by the Nazis, falsely implying that Rudin, Luxenburger, Schulz and others did not support the racial hygienic policies of the regime, and that their research was merely misused by others (for examples of this argument, see Faraone and Biederman, 2000; Faraone et al., 1999). Cardno and McGuffin (1999) went further and wrote, erroneously, that Schulz and Luxenburger opposed Nazi eugenic policies ‘‘on both moral and scientific grounds’’ (p. 344). A variation on this theme is the implication that Nazi-era psychiatric genetic researchers were judged to have committed no crimes, but ‘‘suffered from a sort of guilt by association’’ with the regime (Farmer, 2003, p. 428; Farmer and McGuffin, 1999, p. 483). Category A and B authors at times mention that Rudin was convicted only as a ‘‘fellow traveler’’ of the Nazi regime at his denazification hearing after the war (he received only a small fine), implying that he already had his day in court and that he committed no major crimes (e.g., Farmer and McGuffin, 1999). Gottesman and Bertelsen suggested that contemporary re-evaluations of Rudin based on new evidence amounted to a form of ‘‘double jeopardy’’ (being tried twice for the same crime; Gottesman and Bertelsen, 1996, p. 317). But in fact, Rudin was one of numerous Nazi scientists with blood on their hands who were allowed to escape justice after the war and continue their academic careers (Proctor, 1988).

While Category A and B authors fail to mention Rudin’s support of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, some (including researchers who trained, or whose mentors were trained, at Rudin’s Munich institute) implied that Rudin was not anti-Semitic and at times even helped protect Jews (e.g., Gottesman and Bertelsen, 1996; Stromgren, 1994). In an interview he conducted with Edith Zerbin-Rudin, Murderous Science author Benno Muller-Hill asked Zerbin-Rudin if her father was an anti- Semite. She responded, ‘‘No, not at all’’ (Muller-Hill, 1998, p. 132). A 1994 publication by Munich-trained Danish psychiatric geneticist Erik Stromgren provides additional evidence that the historical accounts by Rudin’s former students and collaborators are unreliable. Stromgren’s account finds Rudin and others attending the 1935 funeral of noted Munich researcher Walther Spielmeyer, despite the ‘‘nasty’’ weather that day. Stromgren then wrote, ‘‘I mention this incident in particular because it was quite remarkable that although Spielmeyer was a Jew, everybody wanted to pay him the last tribute’’ (Stromgren, 1994, p. 406). In fact, Spielmeyer was not a Jew, although he faced harassment because his wife and child had Jewish relatives (Weiss, 2010).
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Category C

The less frequent Category C type of psychiatric genetic writer sees Rudin, in the words of Lerer and Segman, as ‘‘a man who was not only a willing accomplice to the most abhorrent crimes against humanity but an enthusiastic theorist who provided the intellectual basis for many of these crimes’’ (Lerer and Segman, 1997, p. 459). These researchers concluded,

There can be only one justification for the name of Ernst Rudin appearing in a contemporary scientific journal and that is to enable a generation of researchers who may not be fully aware of his tainted legacy, to learn more about it and to appreciate how easily science can be perverted in the service of evil. (p. 460)

Other psychiatric genetic researchers have written about Rudin as an architect and accomplice of unspeakable crimes against humanity (e.g., Baron, 1998; Gejman, 1997; Gershon, 1997; Propping, 2005; Schulze et al., 2004). Authors such as Baron, Gejman, Gershon, and Lerer and Segman did not set out to write a history of their field, but were mainly reacting to what they saw as the ‘‘whitewash’’ (Gershon, 1997, p. 457) perpetrated by colleagues such as Zerbin-Rudin and Kendler (1996) and Gottesman and Bertelsen (1996). In his comment on Zerbin-Rudin and Kendler’s claim that Rudin’s work was not well known due mainly to language barriers and persistent ‘‘presentism,’’ Gershon wrote, ‘‘By putting it this way, this article ignores the disrepute into which this discipline fell all over the world for many years, in no small part because of the misuses of science by prominent scientists in the field, such as Ernst Rudin’’ (Gershon, 1997, p. 457).

According to Gejman, ‘‘in all probability chronically ill patients from the families that Rudin used in his epidemiological research were murdered in the T4 euthanasia program’’ (Gejman, 1997, p. 456). The same holds true for subjects in other studies conducted by Munich school researchers such as Luxenburger and Schulz. Baron also weighed in on this point:

Given the scope of this hideous program and its focus on the genetically unfit, it is highly likely that Rudin’s own research subjects -– thousands of patients and family members were enrolled in his programs –- were among those who fell prey to the evil he helped inculcate. The information he collected could readily be put to malevolent use. … he compiled a vast data bank (on the order of tens of thousands of families) in order to calculate Mendelian ratios, based on information obtained from hospitals, asylums and other institutions. (Baron, 1998, p. 97)

Because Rudin participated in and supported the T4 ‘‘euthanasia’’ program while possessing detailed records of the families of people diagnosed with schizophrenia and other conditions, it is indeed likely that he provided this information to help identify and kill the people he and his colleagues had studied. As the German psychiatrist Uwe Peters described it, ‘‘Like a spider in the center of its net, all strings of information and power came together in [Rudin’s] hands’’ (Peters, 2001, p. 300).

But even Category C authors are not immune to revisionist accounts. In his book on the evolution of psychiatric genetic thought, Mellon wrote, ‘‘The role of the founders of modern psychiatric genetics in the sequence of events leading to mass murder is most troubling. Ernst Rudin was an early and vocal proponent of eugenic applications to mental problems. …his contribution to the series of events that helped lead to the exterminations is unmistakable’’ (Mellon, 1996, p. 112). At the same time, based on Slater’s 1971 account, Mellon mistakenly claimed that ‘‘in contrast to Rudin,’’ Luxenburger and Schulz ‘‘managed to stay out of the mainstream eugenic movement’’ (p. 113). The fact remains that Luxenburger supported and helped implement the eugenic policies of the Nazi regime (Joseph, 2004), and according to a 1934 report by the Danish eugenicist Tage Kemp, Schulz was ‘‘doing a great deal of statistical work concerning mental diseases of practical value for the sterilization law and the eugenical legislation in Germany’’ (quoted in Black, 2003, p. 419). In the late 1930s Rudin and his institute formed an alliance with Heinrich Himmler’s dreaded SS (Schutzstaffel; Weindling, 1989; Weiss, 2010), and in a memo Rudin assured a leader of the SS Ahnenerbe that although Schulz was not ‘‘a flaming National Socialist,’’ his usefulness to the SS could be assured without reservation (Weiss, 2010, p. 164).

In Baron’s (1998) otherwise important review of Rudin’s crimes, where he wrote that ‘‘Rudin played a central role in inspiring, condoning and promoting forcible sterilization and castration of schizophrenics’’ (p. 96), he implied that Rudin’s former associate Franz Kallmann discarded his hard-line eugenic beliefs after he had been forced to leave Germany in 1936 because of his partial Jewish ancestry. In 1935, while still active in Germany, Kallmann had called for the forcible sterilization of the healthy (yet presumed ‘‘schizophrenia taint carrier’’) family members of ‘‘schizophrenics’’ – a proposal rejected as too radical even by Kallmann’s racial-hygienicist colleagues who strongly supported the sterilization law (Muller-Hill, 1998). Although Baron discussed Kallmann’s 1935 support for the compulsory sterilization of family members, he wrote, ‘‘while in the USA, Kallmann recanted his early position on this matter and proceeded with perseverance and dedication to develop one of the finest academic programs in modern psychiatric genetics’’ (Baron, 1998, p. 99). However, Kallmann’s eugenic views, though adapted to a new country and post-war revelations of Nazi crimes committed in the name of eugenics and racial hygiene, remained largely unchanged until his death in 1965 (Joseph, 2004).

After being forced to leave Germany in 1936, Kallmann established the field of psychiatric genetics in the United States at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University, based largely on the racial hygienic methods and theories he had learned in Rudin’s Munich school. At the same time, Kallmann remained a strong supporter of eugenics and compulsory sterilization (Kallmann, 1938a, b). Upon his arrival in the United States, Kallmann wrote, ‘‘The recommendation of negative eugenic measures against the carriers of any mental disease is genetically justifiable’’ after meeting certain criteria. Kallmann then wrote that ‘‘the schizophrenic disease process’’ meets these criteria (Kallmann, 1938b, p. 105). Clearly, in addition to people labeled schizophrenic, the ‘‘healthy’’ biologically-related ‘‘carriers of mental disease’’ were targeted by Kallmann for the application of ‘‘negative eugenic measures’’ such as sterilization. He called for ‘‘systematic preventative measures among the tainted children and siblings of schizophrenics’’ (Kallmann, 1938b, p. 113), because ‘‘we cannot expect sufficient success from the prevention of reproduction in the symptom-carriers alone’’ (Kallmann, 1938a, p. 4). This suggests that his 1935 position in favor of eugenic interventions directed at the family members of people diagnosed with schizophrenia remained largely in place, although by now he would not support the compulsory sterilization of these relatives, despite ‘‘the menace involved in the propagation of heterozygotic taint-carriers’’ (see Kallmann, 1938a, pp. 68–69).

Moreover, Kallmann published an annual review in the American Journal of Psychiatry from 1944 until his death in 1965, entitled ‘‘Heredity and Eugenics.’’ Themes of Kallmann’s annual updates included positive references to eugenic theories and policies, the alleged benefits of the compulsory eugenic sterilization laws then existing in many U.S. states (e.g., Kallmann, 1947, p. 515; 1951, p. 505), and discussions of Nazi genetic researchers Rudin and Verschuer in a positive light (e.g., Kallmann, 1952, 1953).

Two Articles by Ploetz and Rudin in Praise of Adolf Hitler and his Policies

We present below translations of two articles co-authored by Ploetz and Rudin in the same 1938 edition of Archiv fur Rassen-und Gesellschaftsbiologie (all emphasis in these documents was provided by Ploetz and Rudin). Both Ploetz and Rudin had become members of the Nazi party a year earlier (Proctor, 1988). The articles appeared 5 years after the Nazi seizure of power, and shortly after German troops had entered Austria with little resistance and had incorporated that country into the German Reich (the Anschluss). After the German takeover of Austria, the Nazi rulers held a national referendum in that country on April 10th, 1938 under conditions of terror, intimidation, and the persecution and imprisonment of Jews, Social Democrats, trade unionists, and leftists, on whether Germany and Austria should be united (Shirer, 1960). The Nazi government claimed that 99.75% of the Austrian people voted ‘‘Yes’’ to the unification of Austria and the German Reich.

The First Article

The article translated below (Ploetz and Rudin, 1938b) is entitled ‘‘On the Development of the German Reich since our Fuhrer’s Takeover of Power on January 30, 1933’’ (Zur Entwicklung des Deutschen Reichs seit der Machtubernahme unseres Fuhrers am 30. Januar 1933). The article was ‘‘addressed mainly to our foreign readers,’’ which suggests that Ploetz and Rudin toned down the rhetoric and attempted to convince potentially skeptical foreign readers of what they viewed as the achievements of psychiatric genetics, racial hygiene, and the Nazi regime.

We should emphasize that Ploetz and Rudin, though discussing Nazi government policies which they wholeheartedly supported, described what they viewed as the achievements of ‘‘our field of racial and social biology as well as racial and social hygiene.’’ They portrayed compulsory eugenic sterilization, the Nuremberg laws, and the vicious repression of ‘‘the Jewish part of the population’’ as scientific policies which they proudly played a role in helping implement.

The paragraph on the ‘‘racially upward movement’’ promoted by German foreign policy, in addition to the final devoted praise of Hitler, should forever lay to rest what remains of the myth that Rudin and his associates were apolitical scientists (see Roelcke, 2006). Ploetz and Rudin ended by writing that Hitler, one ‘‘of our greatest leaders since ancient times,’’ was ‘‘loved so passionately by his entire people.’’

On the Development of the German Reich Since Our Fuhrer’s Takeover of Power on January 30, 1933

In this short review, addressed mainly to our foreign readers, it is only possible to point to the most important advances that have occurred directly or indirectly in our field of racial and social biology as well as racial and social hygiene, a field that was designated by Adolf Hitler as the most important foundation of our life as a people and a state.

The reforms began with the passing of the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring (July 14, 1933). According to this law, anybody who is hereditarily diseased can be sterilized with a surgical intervention or by other means, if according to the experiences of medical science it can be expected with a high degree of probability that his offspring will suffer from severe physical or mental hereditary defects.

The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor followed the above-mentioned law (September 15, 1935). With this law, marriages or extramarital sexual intercourse between Jews and citizens with German or related blood were banned.

This was followed by the Law for the Protection of the Genetic Health of the German People (the matrimonial health law) of October 18, 1935. According to this law, a marriage cannot be entered into if one of the partners suffers from an infectious disease that raises the fear of significant damage to the health of the other partner or the offspring; if one of the partners is legally declared incapable of managing his own affairs or is put under temporary guardianship; if one of the partners, without being declared incapable, suffers from a mental disorder that makes the marriage appear undesirable for the national community, and if one of the partners suffers from a hereditary illness according to the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring. People who are engaged to be married must provide a certificate from the department of health before the wedding to prove that there is no impediment to the marriage according to the law.

The careful execution of all these laws has been made easier and possible by supplements, decrees, and commentaries. Out of the application of these laws among the people have emerged streams of beneficial effects, effects that will only unfold in their full power in the near and especially in the distant future.

Further racial-hygienic measures were the numerous low interest bank loans for newly married couples and child benefits for families, particularly those with many children. These measures have led to a significant increase in the number of German births, which had been in considerable decline.

The education of the German youth in mental, spiritual, and physical respects continued and continues to be implemented under the leadership of the state, more and more independently of religious or racially alien management. In this way, the growth and preservation of the National Socialist spirit, already deeply influenced by state and party organization, is permanently guaranteed.

The Jewish part of the population that once had such strong influence, and even dominated our cultural and political life, has been strongly forced back, for example in the military, in the economy, among professional judges, among teachers of all kinds and levels, in the media, in theater, in film.

Unemployment, that was such a heavy burden on our people, has been reduced to a relatively insignificant number, and the condition of the working classes in general was lifted significantly in health, economic, and social respects.

The security of our people in its racially upward movement was further promoted by the resignation from the League of Nations, the bold declaration of the Treaties of Versailles and St. Germain as null and void, steps which enabled powerful measures of protection for the German Reich, such as the creation of a large modern military, the decisive occupation of the Rhineland through the entry of German troops, the German–Japanese–Italian Alliance against Communism and the creation of the German Reich–Italy ‘‘Axis’’ and, finally, the miraculous reunification of Austria with the German Reich, which not only meant a considerable increase of military, economic, and cultural opportunities, but above all realized the ancient longing of Germans in the Reich and in Austria to melt together forever and for all times into one Greater Germany.

These are some of the main parts of the giant work of our Fuhrer and his loyal supporters!

Hitler moves through his deeds into the rank of our greatest leaders since ancient times!

Our nation has understood this and is devoted to him with grateful hearts. No German prince, no German king or emperor has ever been loved so passionately by his entire people as Adolf Hitler.

Adolf Ploetz.
Ernst Rudin.


The second article (Ploetz and Rudin, 1938a) consists of a brief message of congratulations to Hitler on the occasion of his 49th birthday and of his successful annexation of Austria and the formation of ‘‘Greater Germany.’’

On the Occasion of Adolf Hitler’s Birthday

On April 20th our Fuhrer will be 49 years old, 10 days after a plebiscite in the old Reich and Austria, which brought him the unheard-of total of over 99% yes votes of the votes cast.

Everyone who witnessed the enthusiasm of our nation or who heard the reports of his friends in the former Reich and Austria about the vote knows that the spiteful and suspecting voices about the honesty of the vote belong in the realm of grey fantasy. If ever our nation (other than an extremely small portion) was perfectly united, it was the case this time.

We wish Adolf Hitler from the bottom of our heart that it may be granted to him by fate to continue to lead Greater Germany to the bright heights of peaceful development!

Alfred Ploetz.
Ernst Rudin.


The 1938 publications by Ploetz and Rudin that we have translated for this article provide additional evidence that Rudin (as well as Ploetz) was a strong supporter of Hitler and his criminal policies. And as others have documented, Rudin and others worked hand-in-hand with the National Socialist regime to implement and promote these policies, including the killing of mental patients and children for the purpose of eliminating the perceived genetic threat to the German Volkskorper (people’s body). Whether Rudin reluctantly aided and helped implement the ‘‘euthanasia’’ killing program, or whether he saw it as the crowning achievement of his decades of psychiatric genetic research based on racial hygienic (eugenic) principles, is an issue that may be decided in the future when more documents become available.

Regardless of his motivation, Rudin chillingly wrote in 1942 that the anticipated German victory in the war ‘‘will only inspire us…to multiply our racial hygienic efforts’’ (Rudin, 1942, p. 322). The launching of Rudin’s Munich institute in 1928, in the words of the President of the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute, was ‘‘the starting point of a new epoch in healing’’ patients (quoted in Weiss, 2010, p. 124). It ended as an institute that played a role in the killing of mental patients and children.

A historian of Nazi-era medicine, William E. Seidelman, wrote in 1996 that ‘‘Rudin’s work on the genetics of schizophrenia, which established a theoretical basis for his eugenics work, continues to be cited in psychiatric genetics without reference to his eugenics career’’ (Seidelman, 1996, p. 1465). Although we have noted the contributions of the Category C authors, the leaders of psychiatric genetics have failed to produce a detailed (albeit ‘‘insider’’) complete account of their field’s history. We look forward to the publication of such a work.


We would like to thank Volker Roelcke, Claudia Chaufan, and Thomas Teo for providing helpful feedback on earlier drafts of this paper. All opinions and conclusions expressed in the present article are those of the authors only, and we take full responsibility for any errors in the text.



1 We refer to a compulsory eugenic sterilization program as a crime regardless of whether it was sanctioned by law (as it was in Germany, the United States, Scandinavia, and elsewhere). Many other crimes of the Third Reich, such as the Nuremberg Laws, were also carried out according to the law. In addition to the dangers inherent in the surgical process, the procedure involved depriving people of the right to procreate children and undoubtedly caused many victims to experience a lifetime of emotional suffering. In the words of psychiatric genetic researcher Myron Baron, ‘‘What greater harm is there than maiming (sterilization or castration) or murder?’’ (Baron, 1998, p. 97). When we consider that the alleged scientific justification for the procedure was in most cases based on very weak evidence (see below, and see Joseph, 2004, 2006), the magnitude of the crime becomes much greater.

2 Although a solid case can be made in support of Propping’s ‘‘slippery slope’’ from  sterilization to killing characterization, others might argue that whereas eugenic sterilization was legal in Germany, no law was established sanctioning the euthanasia killing program, and that the programs followed a different logic. A prophetic opponent of sterilization who did see a logical progression from sterilization to killing was Swedish Socialist Party member of Parliament Carl Lindhagen, who objected to a 1922 proposal to enact a eugenic sterilization law in Sweden. Lindhagen stated, ‘‘Why shall we only deprive these persons, of no use to society or even for themselves, the ability of reproduction? Is it not even kinder to take their lives? This kind of dubious reasoning will be the outcome of the methods proposed today’’ (quoted in Broberg and Tyde´n,  2005, p. 104).

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Lidz, T., and Blatt, S. 1983. ‘‘Critique of the Danish-American Studies of the Biological and Adoptive Relatives of Adoptees who Became Schizophrenic.’’ American Journal of Psychiatry 140: 426–435.

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Lifton, R.J. 1986. The Nazi Doctors. New York: Basic Books.

Luxenburger, H. 1931a. ‘‘Moglichkeiten und Notwendigkeiten fur die Psychiatrisch-Eugenische Praxis [Possibilities and Necessities for the Psychiatric-Eugenic Practice].’’ Munchener Medizinische Wochenschrift 78: 753–758.

—— 1931b. ‘‘Psychiatrische Erbprognose und Eugenik [Psychiatric Genetic Prognosis and Eugenics].’’ Eugenik 1: 117–124.

—— 1934. ‘‘Rassenhygienisch Wichtige Probleme und Ergebnisse der Zwillingspathologie [Racial Hygienic Important Problems and Results of Twin Pathology].’’ E. Rudin (ed.), Erblehre und Rassenhygiene im Volkischen Staat [Genetics and Racial Hygiene in the Volkish State]. Munich: J. F. Lehmanns, pp. 303–316.

McGuffin, P., Owen, M.J., O’Donovan, M.C., Thapar, A., and Gottesman, I.I. 1994. Seminars in Psychiatric Genetics. London: Gaskell Press.

Mellon, C.D. 1996. Hereditary Madness: The Evolution of Psychiatric Genetic Thought. New Mexico: Genetics Heritage Press.

Muller-Hill, B. 1998. Murderous Science. Plainview, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. (Original English Version Published in 1988; Original German Version Published in 1984 as Todliche Wissenschaft.).

Newman, H.H., Freeman, F.N., and Holzinger, K.J. 1937. Twins: A Study of Heredity and Environment. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

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—— 1938b. ‘‘Zur Entwicklung des Deutschen Reichs seit der Machtubernahme unseres Fuhrers am 30. Januar 1933 [On the Development of the German Reich Since Our Fuhrer’s Seizure of Power on January 30th, 1933].’’ Archiv fur Rassen- und Gesellschaftsbiologie 32: 185–186.

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—— 2004. ‘‘Psychotherapy Between Medicine, Psychoanalysis, and Politics: Concepts, Practices, and Institutions in Germany, c. 1945–1992.’’ Medical History 48: 473–492.

—— 2006. ‘‘Funding the Scientific Foundations of Race Policies: Ernst Rudin and the Impact of Career Resources on Psychiatric Genetics, ca 1910–1945.’’ W. Eckart (ed.), Man, Medicine, and the State: The Human Body as an Object of Government Sponsored Medical Research in the 20th Century. Stuttgart: Steiner, pp. 73–87.

—— 2012. ‘‘Ernst Rudin – Renommierter Wissenschaftler, Radikaler Rassenhygieniker [Ernst Rudin: Distinguished Scientist, Radical Racial Hygienist].’’ Der Nervenarzt 83: 303–310.

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Introduction, from Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law
by James Q. Whitman


This jurisprudence would suit us perfectly, with a single exception. Over there they have in mind, practically speaking, only coloreds and half-coloreds, which includes mestizos and mulattoes; but the Jews, who are also of interest to us, are not reckoned among the coloreds.

-- Roland Freisler, June 5, 1934

On June 5, 1934, about a year and a half after Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of the Reich, the leading lawyers of Nazi Germany gathered at a meeting to plan what would become the Nuremberg Laws, the notorious anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazi race regime. The meeting was chaired by Franz Gurtner, the Reich Minister of Justice, and attended by officials who in the coming years would play central roles in the persecution of Germany's Jews. Among those present was Bernhard Losener, one of the principal draftsmen of the Nuremberg Laws; and the terrifying Roland Freisler, later President of the Nazi People's Court and a man whose name has endured as a byword for twentieth-century judicial savagery.

The meeting was an important one, and a stenographer was present to record a verbatim transcript, to be preserved by the ever-diligent Nazi bureaucracy as a record of a crucial moment in the creation of the new race regime. That transcript reveals the startling fact that is my point of departure in this study: the meeting involved detailed and lengthy discussions of the law of the United States. In the opening minutes, Justice Minister Gurtner presented a memo on American race law, which had been carefully prepared by the officials of the ministry for purposes of the gathering; and the participants returned repeatedly to the American models of racist legislation in the course of their discussions. It is particularly startling to discover that the most radical Nazis present were the most ardent champions of the lessons that American approaches held for Germany.
Nor, as we shall see, is this transcript the only record of Nazi engagement with American race law. In the late 1920s and early 1930s many Nazis, including not least Hitler himself, took a serious interest in the racist legislation of the United States. Indeed in Mein Kampf Hitler praised America as nothing less than "the one state" that had made progress toward the creation of a healthy racist order of the kind the Nuremberg Laws were intended to establish.

My purpose is to chronicle this neglected history of Nazi efforts to mine American race law for inspiration during the making of the Nuremberg Laws, and to ask what it tells us about Nazi Germany, about the modern history of racism, and especially about America.


The Nazi persecution of the Jews and others, culminating in the Holocaust, counts for all of us as the supremely horrible crime of the twentieth century, and the notion that Nazi policy makers might have been in some way inspired by American models may seem a bit too awful to contemplate. It may also seem implausible: we all think of America, whatever its undeniable faults, as the home of liberty and democracy -- as a country that put all of its might into the battle against fascism and Nazism that was finally won in 1945. Of course we also all know that America was home to its own racism in the era of the Nazi ascent to power, particularly in the Jim Crow South. In the 1930s Nazi Germany and the American South had the look, in the words of two southern historians, of a "mirror image":1 these were two unapologetically racist regimes, unmatched in their pitilessness. In the early 1930s the Jews of Germany were hounded, beaten, and sometimes murdered, by mobs and by the state alike. In the same years the blacks of the American South were hounded, beaten, and sometimes murdered as well.2

Nevertheless the idea that American law might have exerted any sort of direct influence on the Nazi program of racial persecution and oppression is hard to digest. Whatever similarities there may have been among the racist regimes of the 1930s, however foul the history of American racism may be, we are accustomed to thinking of Nazism as an ultimately unparalleled horror. The crimes of the Nazis are the nefandum, the unspeakable descent into what we often call "radical evil." No one wants to imagine that America provided any measure of inspiration for Hitler. In any case, it may seem inherently improbable that Nazis would have felt the need to look to any other country for lessons in racism -- perhaps least of all to the United States, which is, after all, whatever its failings, the home of a great constitutional tradition founded in liberty.

And virtually no one has suggested otherwise, with the notable exception of a shrewd paragraph in Mark Mazower's 2008 book Hitler's Empire.3 Other scholars have insisted on what most of us must think of as the obvious truth: There was of course no direct American influence on Nazi race law, or at least no meaningful influence. Whatever similarities there may have been, the Nazis were the authors of their own monstrous work; certainly America had nothing to teach Hitler. The person who has given the question the most sustained attention is a German lawyer named Andreas Rethmeier, who wrote a 1995 dissertation on the Nuremberg Laws that included an examination of some of the many Nazi references to American law.4 After reviewing his data Rethmeier arrived at a disconcerting verdict: America was, for the Nazis, the "classic example" of a country with racist legislation.5 Nevertheless, he insisted forcefully that the idea of American influence on the Nuremberg Laws was "not just off-base, but plain wrong." After all, he argued, the Americans classified Jews as "Caucasian; a gross error from the Nazi point of view."6

Others have come to similar conclusions. "[T]he few and fleeting references by Nazi polemicists and 'jurists' to Jim Crow laws," writes the American legal historian Richard Bernstein, for example, "were, as far as I can tell, simply attempts to cite vaguely relevant precedents for home-grown statutes and policies to deflect criticism, not actual sources of intellectual influence."7 "[T]he segregation law of the states," declares similarly Marcus Hanke of the University of Salzburg, "has not been of any important influence."8 Most recently, Jens-Uwe Guettel has written, in a 2012 book, of what he calls the "astonishing insignificance of American segregation laws" for Nazi policies. The Nazis, Guettel insists, regarded America as hopelessly mired in an outdated liberal outlook.9 There was nothing that deserves the name of influence. All of these scholars are perfectly aware that the Nazis had things to say about American law. But their reassuring consensus is that the Nazis said them merely in order to claim a specious parallel to their racist programs in the face of international condemnation.
10 The Nazis were interested in taunting America, not learning from it.

The sources, read soberly, paint a different picture. Awful it may be to contemplate, but the reality is that the Nazis took a sustained, significant, and sometimes even eager interest in the American example in race law. They most certainly were interested in learning from America. In fact, as we shall see, it was the most radical Nazis who pushed most energetically for the exploitation of American models. Nazi references to American law were neither few nor fleeting, and Nazi discussions took place in policy-making contexts that had nothing to do with producing international propaganda on behalf of the regime. Nor, importantly, was it only, or even primarily, the Jim Crow South that attracted Nazi lawyers. In the early 1930s the Nazis drew on a range of American examples, both federal and state. Their America was not just the South; it was a racist America writ much larger. Moreover, the ironic truth is that when Nazis rejected the American example, it was sometimes because they thought that American practices were overly harsh: for Nazis of the early 1930s, even radical ones, American race law sometimes looked too racist.

Be it emphasized immediately that there was certainly never anything remotely like unmixed admiration for America among the Nazis, who aggressively rejected the liberal and democratic commitments of American government. The Nazis were never interested in simply replicating the United States in Central Europe. Nevertheless Nazi lawyers regarded America, not without reason, as the innovative world leader in the creation of racist law; and while they saw much to deplore, they also saw much to emulate. It is even possible, indeed likely, that the Nuremberg Laws themselves reflect direct American influence.


The proposition that the Nazis drew inspiration from American race law in creating their own program of racist persecution is sure to seem distressing; no one wants the taint of an association with the crimes of Nazism. But in the end it should really come as no great surprise to attentive readers of Nazi history. In recent years historians have published considerable evidence of Nazi interest in, and even admiration for, a range of American practices, programs, and achievements. Especially in the early years of the regime, the Nazis did not by any means regard the United States as a clear ideological enemy.

In part, the Nazis looked to America for the same more or less innocent reasons others did all around the globe. The United States is powerful, wealthy, and creative, and even its most visceral enemies have found things to admire about it.
During the century or so since 1918 the glamour of America has proven particularly hard to resist. As interwar German racists observed, the United States had emerged after World War I as "the premier power in the world";11 it is hardly a surprise that the Nazis, like others, looked for what lessons the global powerhouse might have to teach, even as they also derided the liberal and democratic commitments of American society. Like others, the Nazis were impressed by the vigor of American industrial innovativeness and the vibrancy of Hollywood culture (though their taste for American culture was heavily qualified by their disgust for the "Negro music" of Jazz).12 Hitler in particular voiced his admiration, in Mein Kampf, for the "wealth of inventions" generated by the United States.13 None of this was peculiar to Nazi Germany.14

But historians have shown that there were also things about America that appealed to more distinctively Nazi views and goals. Some of this involved the American politics of the early 1930s. We have long known the strange fact that the Nazis frequently praised Franklin Roosevelt and New Deal government in the early 1930s. FDR received distinctly favorable treatment in the Nazi press until at least 1936 or 1937, lauded as a man who had seized "dictatorial powers" and embarked upon "bold experiments" in the spirit of the Fuhrer.15 Similar things were said more broadly about what was sometimes labeled in the 1930s "the fascist New Deal."16 The glossy Berlin Illustrated Magazine, seized from its Jewish publisher and converted into a kind of Nazi Life magazine, ran heroic photo spreads on Roosevelt,17 while Nazi rags like Will and Power, the newsletter of the Hitler Youth, described him as a "revolutionary" who might fail only because he lacked "a disciplined Party army like our Fuhrer."18 Meanwhile Roosevelt, for his part, though he was certainly troubled by the persecution of the German Jews and had harsh words for "dictators," cautiously refrained from singling out Hitler until 1937 or even 1939.19 There were certainly not deep ties of friendship between the two governments in the early 1930s, but the pall of unconditional hostility had not yet clearly fallen over US-German relations either. In this connection it is worth emphasizing, as the political scientist Ira Katznelson has recently done, that the New Deal depended heavily on the political support of the segregationist South.20 The relationship between the northern and southern Democrats was particularly cozy during the early 1930s, a period when, as we shall see, Nazi observers were particularly hopeful that they could "reach out the hand of friendship" to the United States on the basis of a shared commitment to white supremacy.21

To be sure, there are ways of minimizing the significance of the favorable press given to New Deal America in Nazi Germany. Nobody would suggest that Hitler was inspired by the example of FDR to become a dictator; and in any case the reality is that the American president was a committed democrat, who preserved American constitutional government at a time when it was under ominous stress.22 If the United States and Germany, both confronting the immense challenges of the Great Depression, found themselves resorting to similar "bold experiments," that does not make them intimate bedfellows.23 And whatever the Nazis may have thought about southern racism, southern whites themselves did not generally become supporters of Hitler.24 If the Nazis regarded New Deal America as a potential comrade in arms, that does not necessarily tell us much about what kind of a country America really was.

But -- and here recent scholarship on German-American relations becomes more troubling -- historians have also tracked down American influence on some of the most unambiguously criminal Nazi programs -- in particular on Nazi eugenics and the murderous Nazi conquests in Eastern Europe.

Begin with eugenics. A ruthless program of eugenics, designed to build a "healthy" society, free of hereditary defects, was central to Nazi ambitions in the 1930s. Soon after taking power, the regime passed a Law to Prevent the Birth of the Offspring with Hereditary Defects, and by the end of the decade a program of systematic euthanasia that prefigured the Holocaust, including the use of gassing, was under way.25 We now know that in the background of this horror lay a sustained engagement with America's eugenics movement. In his 1994 book The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism, historian Stefan Kuhl created a sensation by demonstrating that there was an active back-and-forth traffic between American and Nazi eugenicists until the late 1930s, indeed that Nazis even looked to the United States as a "model."26 During the interwar period the United States was not just a global leader in assembly-line manufacturing and Hollywood popular culture. It was also a global leader in "scientific" eugenics, led by figures like the historian Lothrop Stoddard and the lawyer Madison Grant, author of the 1916 racist best-seller The Passing of the Great Race; or, The Racial Basis of European History. These were men who promoted the sterilization of the mentally defective and the exclusion of immigrants who were supposedly genetically inferior. Their teachings filtered into immigration law not only in the United States but also in other Anglophone countries: Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand all began to screen immigrants for their hereditary fitness.27 Kuhl demonstrated that the impact of American eugenics was also strongly felt in Nazi Germany, where the works of Grant, Stoddard, and other American eugenicists were standard citations.

To be sure, there are, here again, ways we may try to minimize the significance of the eugenics story. American eugenicists, repellant though they were, did not advocate mass euthanasia, and the period when the Nazis moved in their most radically murderous direction, at the very end of the 1930s, was also the period when their direct links with American eugenics frayed. In any case, eugenics, which was widely regarded as quite respectable at the time, was an international movement, whose reach extended beyond the borders of both the United States and Nazi Germany. The global history of eugenics cannot be told as an exclusively German-American tale. But the story of Nazi interest in the American example does not end with the eugenics of the early 1930s; historians have carried it into the nightmare years of the Holocaust in the early 1940s as well.

It is here that some of the most unsettling evidence has been assembled, as historians have shown that Nazi expansion eastward was accompanied by invocations of the American conquest of the West, with its accompanying wars on Native Americans. This tale, by contrast with the tale of eugenics, is a much more exclusively German-American one. The Nazis were consumed by the felt imperative to acquire Lebensraum, "living space," for an expanding Germany that would engulf the territories to its east, and "[f]or generations of German imperialists, and for Hitler himself, the exemplary land empire was the United States of America."28 In Nazi eyes, the United States ranked alongside the British, "to be respected as racial kindred and builders of a great empire":29 both were "Nordic" polities that had undertaken epic programs of conquest.

Indeed as early as 1928 Hitler was speechifying admiringly about the way Americans had "gunned down the millions of Redskins to a few hundred thousand, and now keep the modest remnant under observation in a cage";30 and during the years of genocide in the early 1940s Nazi leaders made repeated reference to the American conquest of the West when speaking of their own murderous conquests to their east.31
Historians have compiled many quotes, from Hitler and others, comparing Germany's conquests, and its program of extermination, with America's winning of the West. They are quotes that make for chilling reading, and there are historians who try to deny their significance.32 But the majority of scholars find the evidence too weighty to reject: "The United States policy of westward expansion," as Norman Rich forcefully concludes, for example, "in the course of which the white men ruthlessly thrust aside the 'inferior' indigenous populations, served as the model for Hitler's entire conception of Lebensraum."33

All of this adds up to a tale of considerable Nazi interest in what the example of the United States had to offer. It is a tale that has to be told cautiously. It is surely too much to call the United States "the" model for Nazi Germany without careful qualification; Nazi attitudes toward America were too ambivalent, and Nazi programs had too many indigenous sources. America, for its part, as we shall see, embodied too much of what the Nazis hated most, at least in its better moments. If the Nazis found precedents and parallels and inspirations in America, they nevertheless struck out on their own path. Still, what all this research unmistakably reveals is that the Nazis did find precedents and parallels and inspirations in the United States.


It is against that background that I ask the reader to ponder the evidence that this book has to present. In the early 1930s, as the Nazis were crafting the program of racial persecution enshrined in the Nuremberg Laws, they took a great interest not only in the way Henry Ford built cars for the masses, not only in the way Hollywood built its own mass market, not only in FDR's style of government, not only in American eugenics, and not only in American westward expansion, but also in the lessons to be garnered from the techniques of American racist legislation and jurisprudence.

Scholars have failed to write this history for two reasons: they have been looking in the wrong place and have been employing the wrong interpretive tools. First and foremost, they have been looking in the wrong place. Scholars like Guettel and Hanke have addressed their question in unmistakably American terms. What Americans ask is whether "Jim Crow" had any influence on the Nazis; and by "Jim Crow" they mean segregation as it was practiced in the American South and fought over in the American civil rights era from the early 1950s into the mid-1960s -- segregation in education, public transportation, housing, and the like. Looking for an influence of American segregation law on the Nazis, Guettel and Hanke conclude that there was little or none. Now, as we shall see, that conclusion is too hasty. The Nazis did know, and did care, about American segregation; and it is clear that some of them were intrigued by the possibility of bringing Jim Crow to Germany. As we shall see, important programmatic Nazi texts made a point of invoking the example of Jim Crow segregation, and there were leading Nazi lawyers who made serious proposals that something similar ought to be introduced into Germany.34 But the principal difficulty with the conclusions of Guettel and Hanke is that they are answering the wrong question. Segregation is not what counts most.

Yes it is true that segregation in the style of the American South did not matter all that much to the Nazi regime -- but that is for the simple reason that segregation was not all that central to the Nazi program. The Nuremberg Laws said nothing about segregation. Their concern, and the overwhelming concern of the Nazi regime of the early 1930s, lay in two other domains: first, citizenship, and second, sex and reproduction. The Nazis were committed to the proposition that "every state has the right to maintain its population pure and unmixed;"35 safe from racial pollution. To that end they were determined to establish a citizenship regime that would be firmly founded on racial categories. They were further determined to prevent mixed marriages between Jews and "Aryans" and to criminalize extramarital sex between members of the two communities.36

In both respects they found, and welcomed, precedent and authority in American law, and by no means just in the law of the South. In the 1930s the United States, as the Nazis frequently noted, stood at the forefront of race-based lawmaking. American immigration and naturalization law, in the shape of a series of laws culminating in the Immigration Act of 1924, conditioned entry into the United States on race-based tables of "national origins." It was America's race-based immigration law that Hitler praised in Mein Kampf, in a passage that has been oddly neglected by American legal scholars
; and leading Nazi legal thinkers did the same after him, repeatedly and volubly. The United States also stood at the forefront in the creation of forms of de jure and de facto second-class citizenship for blacks, Filipinos, Chinese, and others; this too was of great interest to the Nazis, engaged as they were in creating their own forms of second-class citizenship for Germany's Jews. As for race mixing between the sexes, the United States stood at the forefront there as well. America was a beacon of anti-miscegenation law, with thirty different state regimes -- many of them outside the South, and all of them (as we shall see) carefully studied, catalogued, and debated by Nazi lawyers. There were no other models for miscegenation legislation that the Nazis could find in the world, a fact that Justice Minister Gurtner highlighted at the June 5, 1934, meeting with which I began. When it came to immigration, second-class citizenship, and miscegenation, America was indeed "the classic example" of a country with highly developed, and harsh, race law in the early 1930s, and Nazi lawyers made repeated reference to American models and precedents in the drafting process that led up to the Nuremberg Laws and continued in their subsequent interpretation and application. The tale is by no means one of "astonishing insignificance."

The scholars who dismiss the possibility of American influence on Nazi lawmaking have also used the wrong interpretive tools in making their case. Our literature has taken a crass interpretive tack: it has assumed that we can speak of "influence" only where we find direct and unmodified, even verbatim, imitation. That is the assumption behind Rethmeier's confident assertion that American race law could not have influenced the Nazis, since American law did not specifically target Jews. We find the same assumption in Hanke: Nazi law was different, Hanke declares, because the German laws of the early 1930s were "but one step on the stair to the gas chambers."37 Unlike American segregation laws, which simply applied the principle of "separate but equal," German laws were part of a program of extermination. Now part of the problem with this argument, which Hanke is by no means alone in offering,38 is that its historical premise is false: It is simply not the case that the drafters of the Nuremberg laws were already aiming at the annihilation of the Jews in 1935. The concern of early Nazi policy was to drive the Jewish population into exile, or at the very least to marginalize it within the borders of the Reich, and there were serious conflicts among Nazi policy makers about how to achieve even that goal.

But in any case, it is a major interpretive fallacy on the part of all these scholars to suppose that we cannot speak of "influence" unless Nazi laws were perfectly congruent with American ones. As we shall see, Nazi lawyers had no difficulty exploiting American law on race, even if it had nothing to say about Jews as such. In any case, influence in comparative law is rarely just about literal imitation. Influence is a complex business of translation, creative adaptation, selective borrowing, and invocation of authority. All borrowers engage in tinkering and retrofitting; that is as true of the Nazis as it is of any other regime. All borrowers start from foreign models and then reshape them to meet their own circumstances; that is true of vicious racist borrowers just as it is true of everyone else.

Influence does not come just through verbatim borrowing. It comes through inspiration and example, and the United States had much inspiration and example to offer Nazi lawyers in the early 1930s, the era of the making of the Nuremberg Laws.


None of this is entirely easy to talk about. There is more than one reason why it is hard to look coolly on the question of whether the racist program of the Nazis was influenced by, or even paralleled by, what went on in other Western regimes -- just as it is hard to admit the continuities between Nazism and the postwar European orders that replaced it. No one wants to be perceived as relativizing Nazi crimes. Germans in particular are generally understandably reluctant to engage in discussions that might smack of apologetics. Contemporary Germany rests on the moral foundation not only of the repudiation of Nazism, but also of the refusal to deny German responsibility for what happened under Hitler. Alluding to foreign influences remains largely out of bounds in Germany for that reason. Conversely no non-Germans want their country to be accused of any part in the genesis of Nazism. It is hard to overcome our sense that if we influenced Nazism we have polluted ourselves in ways that can never be cleansed. On the deepest level it is perhaps the case that we feel, throughout the Western world, a need to identify a true nefandum, an abyss of unexampled modern horror against which we can define ourselves, a wholly sui generis "radical evil" -- a sort of dark star to steer by lest we lose our moral bearings.

But of course history does not make it that easy. Nazism was not simply a nightmarish parenthesis in history that bore no relationship to what came before and after; nor was it a completely unexampled racist horror. The Nazis were not simply demons who erupted out of some dark underworld to shatter what was good and just within the Western tradition, until they were put down by force of arms and the authentic humane and progressive values of Europe were restored. There were traditions of Western government within which they worked. There were continuities between Nazism and what came before and after. There were examples and inspirations on which the Nazis drew, and American race law was prominent among them.

None of this is to suggest that America was a Nazi country in the 1930s. Of course it was not, appalling as the law of the early and mid-twentieth century sometimes was. Of course the racist strains in American law coexisted and competed with some glorious humane and egalitarian strains. Of course thoughtful Americans reviled Nazism -- though there were certainly some who fell for Hitler. The most famous of the lawyers among them was none other than Roscoe Pound, dean of the Harvard Law School, icon of advanced American legal thought, and a man who made little secret of his liking for Hitler in the 1930s.39 Nazi lawyers for their part saw plenty of things to despise about America.

FIGURE 2.8. Dr. Hans Luther (right), Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States, presents Roscoe Pound, dean of Harvard Law School, with an honorary degree from the University of Berlin, September 1934. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department.

-- The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses, by Stephen H. Norwood

The point is not that the American and Nazi race regimes were the same, but that the Nazis found examples and precedents in the American legal race order that they valued highly, while simultaneously deploring, and puzzling over, the strength of the liberal countercurrent in a country with so much openly and unapologetically sanctioned racism. We can, and should, reject the sort of simpleminded anti-Americanism that blames the United States for all the evils of the world, or reduces America to nothing but its history of racism.40 But there is no excuse for refusing to confront hard questions about our history, and about the history of American influence abroad. The American impact on the rest of the world is not limited to what makes Americans proudest about their country. It has also included aspects of the American past that we might prefer to forget.


The root formula of an epoch is always an unwritten law, just as the law that is the first of all laws, that which protects life from the murderer, is written nowhere in the Statute Book. Nevertheless there is all the difference between having and not having a notion of this basic assumption in an epoch. For instance, the Middle Ages...Or again, the seventeenth century....Or yet again: the eighteenth century...But we shall understand them all better if we once catch sight of the idea of tidying up which ran through the whole period, the quietest people being prouder of their tidiness, civilisation, and sound taste than of any of their virtues; and the wildest people having (and this is the most important point) no love of wildness for its own sake, like Nietzsche or the anarchic poets, but only a readiness to employ it to get rid of unreason or disorder. With these epochs it is not altogether impossible to say that some such form of words is a key. The epoch for which it is almost impossible to find a form of words is our own.

Nevertheless, I think that with us the keyword is "inevitability," or, as I should be inclined to call it, "impenitence." We are subconsciously dominated in all departments by the notion that there is no turning back, and it is rooted in materialism and the denial of free-will. Take any handful of modern facts and compare them with the corresponding facts a few hundred years ago. Compare the modern Party System with the political factions of the seventeenth century. The difference is that in the older time the party leaders not only really cut off each other's heads, but (what is much more alarming) really repealed each other's laws. With us it has become traditional for one party to inherit and leave untouched the acts of the other when made, however bitterly they were attacked in the making. James II. and his nephew William were neither of them very gay specimens; but they would both have laughed at the idea of "a continuous foreign policy." ...

And then consider this: that we have comparatively lately known a universal orgy of the thing called Imperialism, the unity of the Empire the only topic, colonies counted like crown jewels, and the Union Jack waved across the world. And yet no one so much as dreamed, I will not say of recovering, the American colonies for the Imperial unity (which would have been too dangerous a task for modern empire-builders), but even of re-telling the story from an Imperial standpoint....It was not said, much less acted upon, by the modern Imperialists; because of this basic modern sense, that as the future is inevitable, so is the past irrevocable. Any fact so complete as the American exodus from the Empire must be considered as final for æons, though it hardly happened more than a hundred years ago. Merely because it has managed to occur it must be called first, a necessary evil, and then an indispensable good. I need not add that I do not want to reconquer America; but then I am not an Imperialist.

Then there is another way of testing it: ask yourself how many people you have met who grumbled at a thing as incurable, and how many who attacked it as curable? How many people we have heard abuse the British elementary schools, as they would abuse the British climate? How few have we met who realised that British education can be altered, but British weather cannot? How few there were that knew that the clouds were more immortal and more solid than the schools? For a thousand that regret compulsory education, where is the hundred, or the ten, or the one, who would repeal compulsory education? Indeed, the very word proves my case by its unpromising and unfamiliar sound. At the beginning of our epoch men talked with equal ease about Reform and Repeal. Now everybody talks about reform; but nobody talks about repeal. Our fathers did not talk of Free Trade, but of the Repeal of the Corn Laws. They did not talk of Home Rule, but of the Repeal of the Union. In those days people talked of a "Repealer" as the most practical of all politicians, the kind of politician that carries a club. Now the Repealer is flung far into the province of an impossible idealism: and the leader of one of our great parties, having said, in a heat of temporary sincerity, that he would repeal an Act, actually had to write to all the papers to assure them that he would only amend it. I need not multiply instances, though they might be multiplied almost to a million. The note of the age is to suggest that the past may just as well be praised, since it cannot be mended. Men actually in that past have toiled like ants and died like locusts to undo some previous settlement that seemed secure; but we cannot do so much as repeal an Act of Parliament. We entertain the weak-minded notion that what is done can't be undone....

Now this modern refusal to undo what has been done is not only an intellectual fault; it is a moral fault also. It is not merely our mental inability to understand the mistake we have made. It is also our spiritual refusal to admit that we have made a mistake. It was mere vanity in Mr. Brummell when he sent away trays full of imperfectly knotted neck-cloths, lightly remarking, "These are our failures." It is a good instance of the nearness of vanity to humility, for at least he had to admit that they were failures. But it would have been spiritual pride in Mr. Brummell if he had tied on all the cravats, one on top of the other, lest his valet should discover that he had ever tied one badly. For in spiritual pride there is always an element of secrecy and solitude. Mr. Brummell would be satanic; also (which I fear would affect him more) he would be badly dressed. But he would be a perfect presentation of the modern publicist, who cannot do anything right, because he must not admit that he ever did anything wrong.

This strange, weak obstinacy, this persistence in the wrong path of progress, grows weaker and worse, as do all such weak things. And by the time in which I write its moral attitude has taken on something of the sinister and even the horrible. Our mistakes have become our secrets. Editors and journalists tear up with a guilty air all that reminds them of the party promises unfulfilled, or the party ideals reproaching them. It is true of our statesmen (much more than of our bishops, of whom Mr. Wells said it), that socially in evidence they are intellectually in hiding. The society is heavy with unconfessed sins; its mind is sore and silent with painful subjects; it has a constipation of conscience. There are many things it has done and allowed to be done which it does not really dare to think about; it calls them by other names and tries to talk itself into faith in a false past, as men make up the things they would have said in a quarrel. Of these sins one lies buried deepest but most noisome, and though it is stifled, stinks: the true story of the relations of the rich man and the poor in England. The half-starved English proletarian is not only nearly a skeleton but he is a skeleton in a cupboard....

I said the true story. Untrue stories there are in plenty, on all sides of the discussion. There is the interesting story of the Class Conscious Proletarian of All Lands, the chap who has "solidarity," and is always just going to abolish war. The Marxian Socialists will tell you all about him; only he isn't there....There is the story of the Two Workmen, which is a very nice and exciting story, about how one passed all the public houses in Cheapside and was made Lord Mayor on arriving at the Guildhall, while the other went into all the public houses and emerged quite ineligible for such a dignity. Alas! for this also is vanity. A thief might become Lord Mayor, but an honest workman certainly couldn't. Then there is the story of "The Relentless Doom," by which rich men were, by economic laws, forced to go on taking away money from poor men, although they simply longed to leave off: this is an unendurable thought to a free and Christian man, and the reader will be relieved to hear that it never happened. The rich could have left off stealing whenever they wanted to leave off, only this never happened either. Then there is the story of the cunning Fabian who sat on six committees at once and so coaxed the rich man to become quite poor. By simply repeating, in a whisper, that there are "wheels within wheels," this talented man managed to take away the millionaire's motor car, one wheel at a time, till the millionaire had quite forgotten that he ever had one. It was very clever of him to do this, only he has not done it. There is not a screw loose in the millionaire's motor, which is capable of running over the Fabian and leaving him a flat corpse in the road at a moment's notice. All these stories are very fascinating stories to be told by the Individualist and Socialist in turn to the great Sultan of Capitalism, because if they left off amusing him for an instant he would cut off their heads. But if they once began to tell the true story of the Sultan to the Sultan, he would boil them in oil; and this they wish to avoid.

The true story of the sin of the Sultan he is always trying, by listening to these stories, to forget. As we have said before in this chapter, he would prefer not to remember, because he has made up his mind not to repent....In all ages the tyrant is hard because he is soft. If his car crashes over bleeding and accusing crowds, it is because he has chosen the path of least resistance. It is because it is much easier to ride down a human race than ride up a moderately steep hill. The fight of the oppressor is always a pillow-fight; commonly a war with cushions—always a war for cushions. Saladin, the great Sultan, if I remember rightly, accounted it the greatest feat of swordsmanship to cut a cushion. And so indeed it is, as all of us can attest who have been for years past trying to cut into the swollen and windy corpulence of the modern compromise, that is at once cosy and cruel. For there is really in our world to-day the colour and silence of the cushioned divan; and that sense of palace within palace and garden within garden which makes the rich irresponsibility of the East. Have we not already the wordless dance, the wineless banquet, and all that strange unchristian conception of luxury without laughter? Are we not already in an evil Arabian Nights, and walking the nightmare cities of an invisible despot? Does not our hangman strangle secretly, the bearer of the bow string? Are we not already eugenists—that is, eunuch-makers? Do we not see the bright eyes, the motionless faces, and all that presence of something that is dead and yet sleepless? It is the presence of the sin that is sealed with pride and impenitence; the story of how the Sultan got his throne. But it is not the story he is listening to just now, but another story which has been invented to cover it—the story called "Eugenius: or the Adventures of One Not Born," a most varied and entrancing tale, which never fails to send him to sleep.

-- Eugenics and Other Evils, by G.K. Chesterton

We will not understand the history of National Socialist Germany, and more importantly the place of America in the larger history of world racism, unless we reckon with these facts. In the early 1930s, Nazi lawyers were engaged in creating a race law founded on anti-miscegenation law and race-based immigration, naturalization, and second-class citizenship law. They went looking for foreign models, and found them -- in the United States of America.
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Reginald John Campbell
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R J Campbell in 1903

Reginald John Campbell (29 August 1867 – 1 March 1956) was a British Congregationalist and Anglican divine who became a popular preacher while the minister at the City Temple and a leading exponent of 'The New Theology' movement of 1907. His last years were spent as a senior cleric in the Church of England.

Early years

Born at Bermondsey in London, the second of four sons and one daughter of John Campbell (born 1841), a United Free Methodist minister of Scottish descent, and his wife, Mary Johnston, he was registered at birth as John Wesley Campbell, which name also appears on his first marriage certificate in 1889. A brother was the writer James Johnston Campbell. At a few months old Campbell went to live with his maternal grandparents, John Johnston and his wife, near Belfast in Northern Ireland because of his delicate health.[1] Here, later, he was home tutored.

After the death of his grandfather in 1880, aged 13 he rejoined his parents in England, where he was educated at grammar schools in Bolton and Nottingham, where his father successively removed. After studying at University College in Nottingham, he taught in the high school at Ashton, Cheshire from 1888, where the Headmaster was the Rev. F. H. Mentha, MA. His influence over Campbell made him receptive to the Oxford Philosophy proclaimed by Dean Paget. This resulted in his confirmation in the Church of England and in his preparation for the priesthood. A boy at the school wrote of Campbell to his predecessor:

"We have got a curlywigged old fellow in your place, called Campbell, and I think he must be a B.A., or M.A., or something because he wears a hat and gown, and I don't know whether his hair is his own. He is going to try and teach us Chemistry soon, but he seems to know only what he gets out of the textbook..."[2]

On 8 June 1889, he married Mary Elizabeth Campbell (née Slack) (1861–1924), a member of his father's congregation at the United Free Methodist Church in Nottingham.[3] Their infant son, Charles Edgar Campbell, died in 1891. In 1892 Campbell went to Christ Church, Oxford, where he graduated in 1895 in Honours in the School of Modern History and Political Science. He matriculated at Oxford as Reginald John Campbell, the names by which he was then commonly known. He graduated MA in 1902. During his time at Christ Church Campbell preached in the villages around Oxford.[4] He was a non-smoker and a teetotaller.

He had gone up to Oxford with the intention of becoming a clergyman in the Church of England, but in spite of the influence of Bishop Gore, then head of the Pusey House, and of Dean Paget (afterwards Bishop of Oxford), his Scottish and Irish Nonconformist blood was too strong, and at that time he abandoned the idea in order to take up work in the Congregational ministry, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, the Rev. James Campbell.[5] He joined the Congregational Church which met in George Street, Oxford under the Rev A. R. Ezard.

The City Temple

On leaving Oxford he accepted a call to the small Congregational church in Union Street, Brighton, commencing his ministry there in the summer of 1895. Within a year Campbell filled the church, and to accommodate the crowds who came to hear him preach the Union Street church merged with another larger church in Queens' Square in Brighton. Marie Corelli always attended the Union Street services during Campbell's time there.[6]

He quickly became famous at Brighton as a preacher, so much so that in the Summer of 1902 Joseph Parker, whose health was declining, invited Campbell to assist him by preaching at the City Temple's Thursday mid-day services. Following Parker's death in November 1902 Campbell was chosen as his successor and was inaugurated as minister of the City Temple—London's "cathedral of nonconformity"—on 21 May 1903.[7] While his predecessor was theologically conservative, Campbell was emphatically not. A Socialist politically,[8] his theology proved as radical as his politics.

Seven thousand people attended the services on his first Sunday.
He was expected to preach twice on Sundays and at the popular Thursday lunchtime services. His sermons, which addressed both issues of the day and doctrinal questions, were instantly published and attracted much attention both in Britain and in the United States. Picture postcards of Campbell were soon on sale alongside those of actresses and other celebrities of the day, and the R. J. Campbell Birthday Book containing his ‘favourite poetical quotations, portrait and autograph’ could also be purchased.[9] The publicity which attended his arrival in London rarely left him for the next dozen years.[10] At the City Temple he notably enhanced his popularity as a preacher, and became one of the recognized leaders of Nonconformist opinion.

As his fame spread he was invited on a preaching tour of America and Canada.
He left Southampton on 13 June 1903, arriving in New York on 20 June. He preached or spoke at venues in New York, Boston, and Chicago. At Ocean Grove he spoke to a crowd of 10,000. He also preached in Toronto and Montreal, visiting Niagara Falls on the way.[11]


"Fearless but Intemperate": Campbell as caricatured by 'Spy' in Vanity Fair, November 1904

Campbell was criticised for an article published in the National Review in October 1904 in which he described British working men as " ... often lazy, unthrifty, and improvident, while they are sometimes immoral, foul-mouthed, and untruthful". Crowds of angry and threatening working men gathered outside the City Temple on the Sunday following where they waited for Campbell. In an attempt to explain his meaning he appeared at a meeting of the Paddington and Kensington Trades and Labour Councils on 21 October 1904 during which he disavowed any intention of making an indiscriminate attack on the workers.

Although he was severely heckled by his audience during the delivery of his speech, Campbell's courage in facing the unions and acknowledging the truth of the reports as to his previous comments was recognised and he was loudly cheered at the conclusion of his address.[12]

In the November 1904 edition of The Young Man Campbell explained himself further in an article called 'The Truth about the Working Man Controversy':

"...Two-thirds of the national drinking bill is incurred by the working man. His keenest struggles are for shorter hours and better wages, but not that he may employ them for higher ends. He is often lazy and untruthful. Unlike the American worker, he has comparatively little aspiration or ambition...."

"Let it be understood that, as here stated, they (his statements) are not intended to apply to working men as a whole, but to large classes among them, which classes, it is to be feared, constitute a majority. I say it is to be feared they do. But 51 per cent constitutes a majority, and there are plenty of my correspondents who think the percentage of working men of whose habits my words are a fair description numbers considerably more than 51 per cent... The working man is moved and flattered by politicians, platform agitators, and preachers. He is accustomed to rail at the clerical calling and sins of the churches. He will cheer loudly when parsons, plutocrats and the aristocracy are being vilified, but let no one presume to hint at any shortcomings in himself. Bear in mind I am still speaking of those whose habits are described in my article, and not of the quiet, respectable, hard-working sons of toil, for whom the public house and the betting corners have no attraction"[13]

Campbell with `Abdu'l-Bahá in 1911

Questions also soon began to be raised about the way that Campbell introduced Biblical criticism into his preaching,[14] questioning the traditional ascription of books, and the origins of the text. As his sermons were published, this brought them to the notice of readers throughout the nation, and beyond.[15] The theology held by Campbell and a number of his friends came to be known as 'The New Theology'.[16] Unwisely, Campbell decided to answer his critics by issuing a volume entitled simply The New Theology, a restatement of Christian beliefs to harmonize with modern critical views and beliefs.[17] Looking back on it later, he felt that he had gone too far. "It was much too hastily written, was crude and uncompromising in statement, polemical in spirit, and gave a totally wrong impression of the sermons delivered week by week in the City Temple Pulpit".[18]

Support for the Independent Labour Party and further controversy

In the ensuing decade, Campbell continued to read and reflect on the literature regarding the historical Jesus. His study persuaded him that the historical Jesus was nothing like the Jesus of liberal Protestantism but was rather much more nearly the way he is portrayed in Catholic tradition. In July 1907 he declared his conviction that Socialism was the practical form of Christianity; subsequently, he was invited to stand as a Labour Party candidate for Cardiff in the forthcoming elections.[19] He was elected to the executive of the Fabian Society in 1908, but was apparently too busy to ever attend a single committee meeting. He shared a platform with Keir Hardie on several occasions, most notably at a great meeting in Liverpool in March 1907.[20]

His association with the Independent Labour Party, precursor of the Labour Party was particularly significant in South Wales, where his appearance at a meeting at Ystalyfera was influential in the political development of the future Labour politician James Griffiths. There were also groups who regarded themselves as 'Campbellites' in many South Wales communities and this caused divisions in some nonconformist chapels, for example at Bethel, Gadlys near Aberdare.[21]

In February 1911 he again caused a stir when he announced at a meeting of the Theosophical Society in London that he believed in reincarnation, and that he believed that when Jesus returned for the Second Coming he would be reincarnated.[22]

On 5 September 1911 Campbell met `Abdu'l-Bahá, the eldest son and successor of Bahá'u'lláh,[23] the founder of the Bahá'í Faith,[24] and invited him to give a public address in the City Temple a few days later.
[25] In October 1911, accompanied by his wife and daughter, Hilda May (1891–1935), he embarked on a three-month preaching tour of the United States.[26]

Return to Anglicanism

R.J. Campbell in 1914

In the summer of 1915, after a tour of the trenches during World War I, Campbell underwent a deep personal crisis, seeing a need for greater Christian unity, and for himself a return to the Church of England. This crisis, which led him to turn from being a liberal Protestant to being a liberal Catholic, came largely from his earlier researches into Biblical Criticism and the historical Jesus, his conclusions leading him to the opinion that the Jesus of liberal Protestantism did not exist, and that the historical Jesus was much closer to that taught in Catholic doctrine.[27] He wrote:

"It was the Christ of the Catholic Church that stood forth from the newer criticism of the gospel sources, not the Christ of liberal Protestantism. This was thrust forcibly upon my attention. The alternatives were obvious : Either Jesus was what the Catholic Church said He was or He did not exist; either He was the Man from heaven, a complete break with the natural order of things, the representative of a transcendental order, supernatural, super-rational super-everything, or He was nothing. This was scarcely the Christ of Protestantism at all, whether liberal or conservative."[28]

He considered rewriting his book, The New Theology, keeping to the same sequence of subjects, but correcting all the points in which it was at variance with Catholic doctrine. Eventually, he felt that the book's title made such a move impossible, so instead, in March 1915, he decided to withdraw the book and purchased the publishing rights to prevent its possible re-issue.[29]

In October 1915 Campbell preached his last sermon at the City Temple and resigned from the Congregational church; a few days later he was received back into the Church of England by Bishop Gore at Cuddesdon.[10]

In October 1916 he was ordained as an Anglican priest,[30] and became attached to the staff of St Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham before appointment as Vicar of Christ Church, Westminster from 1917 to 1921, and then at Holy Trinity in Brighton from 1924 to 1930. On rejoining the Church of England, and at the request of some old Congregational friends, with whom he remained on good terms, he wrote an account of the development of his thought in A Spiritual Pilgrimage (1916). In 1919 he was granted the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from the University of Oxford.[31] His biography of David Livingstone was published in 1929.

Later years

He became Residentiary Canon and Chancellor of Chichester Cathedral in 1930, and was Chaplain and theological lecturer of Bishop Otter College in Chichester from 1933 to 1936.[32] Following the death of his first wife in 1927, aged 60 he married Ethel Gertrude Smith (1885–1943), his adopted daughter who was also his secretary.[33] He resigned as Chancellor of Chichester Cathedral in 1946 aged 80, and was appointed Canon Emeritus.[30]

Largely forgotten at the time of his death, in his latter decades he had deliberately kept out of the limelight, seeking to avoid the fame that had pursued him during his early career, and which, perhaps, he had sought, and to live quietly and in relative obscurity.

R.J. Campbell died in 1956 at his home, "Heatherdene", in Fairwarp in East Sussex aged 89.[30] The funeral service was led by George Bell, the Bishop of Chichester. He was buried with his first wife and daughter in a grave which also contained the ashes of his second wife in the churchyard of St Peter's Church at West Blatchington, near Hove in East Sussex.

Selected publications

• The Restored Innocence Hodder & Stoughton, London (1898)
• A Faith for To-day: Suggestions Towards a System of Christian Belief J. Clarke & Co., London (1900)
• City Temple Sermons Hodder & Stoughton (1903)
• The Keys of the Kingdom, and Other Sermons A. H. Stockwell: London (1903)
• Sermons to Young Men S. C. Brown, Langham & Co., London (1904)
• The Song of Ages, and Other Sermons H. Marshall & Son, London (1905)
• Christianity and the Social Order Chapman & Hall (1907)
• The New Theology Chapman & Hall, London (1907)
• New Theology Sermons Williams & Norgate, London (1907)
• Thursday Mornings at the City Temple T. Fisher Unwin: London, Leipsic (1908)
• Women's Suffrage and the Social Evil: Speech delivered at the Queen's Hall, etc Women's Freedom League, London (1909)
• With our Troops in France Chapman & Hall, London (1916)
• The War and the Soul Chapman & Hall, London (1916)
• A Spiritual Pilgrimage Williams & Norgate (1916)
• The Life of Christ Cassell & Co., London (1921)
• A Notable Centenary- Holy Trinity, Brighton 1826–1926, The Southern Publishing Co. Ltd, Brighton (1926)
• Thomas Arnold Macmillan & Co., London (1927)
• Livingstone Ernest Benn, London (1929)
• The Story of Christmas Collins: London & Glasgow (1935)
• The Peace of God Nisbet & Co., London (1936)
• The Life of the World to Come Longmans, Green & Co., London (1948)


• This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Campbell, Reginald John". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
1. R.J. Campbell: 'A Spiritual Pilgrimage', (1916) P. 1
2. Wilkerson, Albert H., The Rev. R J. Campbell – The Man And His MessageFrancis Griffiths, London (1907) pg 7
3. Bateman, Charles T., R. J. Campbell, M.A. – Pastor of the City Temple, London S.W. Partridge & Co, London (1903) pg 17
4. Wilkerson, pg 7
5. Bateman, pg 25
6. Wilkerson, pg 12
7. Clare, Albert 'The City Temple 1640–1940: The Tercentenary Commemoration Volume' Independent Press, Ltd., London (1940) pg 139
8. Campbell: 'A Spiritual Pilgrimage', P. 131
9. Willis, Mary A. The R J Campbell Birthday Book: Selections from the Sermons and Prayers of the Reverend R J Campbell, MA, with His Favourite Poetical Quotations Christian Commonwealth Co., London (1904)
10. Robbins, Keith 'The Spiritual Pilgrimage of the Rev. R. J. Campbell' – The Journal of Ecclesiastical HistoryApril 1979 30 : pp 261–276
11. Bateman, pg 130
12. 'The Rev R J Campbell – The Workers Criticised' The Advertiser 24 October 1904
13. 'Rev. R J Campbell and Working Men'The Sydney Morning Herald 9 December 1904
14. Campbell: 'A Spiritual Pilgrimage', P. 167
15. Campbell: 'A Spiritual Pilgrimage', P. 172
16. Campbell, 'The New Theology' (London, Chapman and Hall, 1907), P. v
17. Campbell, 'The New Theology' (London, Chapman and Hall, 1907). Though he later withdrew the book, copies remain in circulation
18. Campbell: 'A Spiritual Pilgrimage', P. 188
19. 'Preacher Turns Socialist: The Rev. R.J. Campbell is invited to stand for Parliament' – The New York Times 1 August 1907
20. Robbins, P. 272
21. "Theological Friction. Trouble at Bethel, Gadlys". Aberdare Leader. 21 November 1908. Retrieved 13 March2015.
22. 'Campbell expects to be Reincarnated; Pastor of London City Temple Believes This Will Occur on Christ's Second Coming' The New York Times 5 February 1911
23. Chambers Biographical Dictionary, ISBN 0-550-18022-2, page 2
24. True, Corinne (27 September 1911). Windust, Albert R; Buikema, Gertrude (eds.). "Towards Spiritual Unity". Star of the West. Chicago, USA: Bahá'í News Service. 02 (11): 2, 4–7. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
25. 'Reginald John Campbell' on the 'Bahá’í Tributes' website
26. "Campbell Defines His New Theology" (PDF). The New York Times. 22 October 1911.
27. Campbell, 'A Spiritual Journey', P. 247
28. Campbell, 'A Spiritual Pilgrimage', P. 250
29. Campbell, 'A Spiritual Pilgrimage', P. 277
30. Jump up to:a b c 'Death of Dr Reginald J. Campbell' – The Glasgow Herald – 2 March 1956
31. 'Rev. R.J. Campbell D.D.' in British Preachers 1925: the Men and their Message Fleming H. Revell Company, London & Edinburgh (1925) p.12
32. Letters of Rev. Reginald John Campbell (1867–1956) – Edinburgh University Library Collection
33. The New York Times 18 January 1927

External links

• Works by Reginald John Campbell at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Reginald John Campbell at Internet Archive
• Ebook of Campbell's A Spiritual Pilgrimage (1916)
• Project Gutenberg edition of The New Theology (1907) by R. J. Campbell
• Ebook of Christianity and the Social Order by R. J. Campbell (1907)
• Ebook of The Life of Christ by R. J. Campbell (1921)
• 'Rev. R. J. Campbell' – 1907 article
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:13 am

Caleb Saleeby
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/6/20

Caleb Williams Saleeby
Saleeby circa 1918
Born: 1878, Sussex, England
Died: 9 December 1940 (aged 62), Apple Tree, Aldbury, Hertfordshire, England
Education: Edinburgh University
Years active: 1904–1940
Known for: Eugenics
Medical career: Profession Doctor, writer, journalist
Institutions: Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
Sub-specialties: Obstetrics

Dr Caleb Williams Saleeby FRSE (1878 – 9 December 1940) was an English physician, writer, and journalist known for his support of eugenics. During World War I, he was an adviser to the Minister of Food and advocated the establishment of a Ministry of Health.


Caleb Saleeby (1878-1940), English physician, eugenicist and journalist

Saleeby was born in Sussex, the son of Elias G. Saleeby.[1] His father died whilst he was young and his mother moved to 3 Malta Terrace in Stockbridge, Edinburgh.[2] He was educated at the Royal High School in Edinburgh.[3]

At Edinburgh University, he took First Class Honours and was an Ettles Scholar and Scott Scholar in Obstetrics. In 1904, he received his Doctor of Medicine degree. He was a resident at the Maternity Hospital and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, and briefly at the York City Dispensary.

In 1906 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were Sir Alexander Russell Simpson, Sir Thomas Clouston, Sir William Turner and Daniel John Cunningham.[4]

He became a prolific freelance writer and journalist, with strong views on many subjects.[5] He became known in particular as an advocate of eugenics: in 1907 he was influential in launching the Eugenics Education Society [Galton Institute], and in 1909 he published (in New York) Parenthood and Race Culture.

He was a contributor to the first edition of Arthur Mee's The Children's Encyclopædia.[6] Like Mee, he was a keen temperance reformer. Saleeby's contributions to the Encyclopedia were explicitly racialist: he saw mankind as the pinnacle of evolution, and white men as superior to other men, based on "craniometry".[5]

He predicted the use of atomic power, "perhaps not for hundreds of years". He favoured the education of women, but primarily so they should become better mothers.[7] In Woman and Womanhood (1912), he wrote: "Women, being constructed by Nature, as individuals, for her racial ends, are happier and more beautiful, live longer and more beautiful lives, when they follow, as mothers or foster-mothers the role of motherhood". Yet, at this time when the suffragette movement was at its peak, he also wrote that he could see no good reason against the vote for women: "I believe in the vote; I believe it will be eugenic".

During World War I, he was an adviser to the Minister of Food and argued in favour of the establishment of a Ministry of Health. Later, he moved away from eugenics, and did not publish any further writings on this subject after 1921—though he continued to write on health matters in particular. He also campaigned for clean air and the benefits of sunlight, founding The Sunlight League in 1924.[5] Although the Sunlight League did not overtly promote nudism Saleeby did confide to friends that the idea behind it was to stimulate the nudist movement.[8] Saleeby founded a nudist club in Britain in the 1920s exhorting the nudist lifestyle in his book Sunlight and Health.[9][10]

The Sunlight League was founded in England in 1924 by C. W. Saleeby. Its aim was: "to point to the light of day, to advocate its use for the cure of disease—"helio-therapy"; and, immeasurably better, for preventive medicine and constructive health, the building of whole and happy bodies from the cradle and before it, which we may call helio-hygiene".

The League was closely associated with The Men's Dress Reform Party. It was also an early campaigner against air pollution from coal smoke.Although the Sunlight League did not overtly promote nudism Saleeby did confide to friends that the idea behind it was to stimulate the nudist movement.

The League was dissolved in 1940, following the death of Saleeby.

-- The Sunlight League, by Wikipedia

He died on 9 December 1940 from heart failure at Apple Tree, Aldbury, near Tring.[1]


He married Monica Meynell, daughter of Alice Meynell and Wilfrid Meynell, in June 1903. They had two daughters, Mary and Cordelia.

In 1910, his marriage fell apart after his wife had a nervous breakdown. During this time, their daughter Mary, was sent to live with Viola Meynell. D.H. Lawrence was living at her family's cottage in Sussex. He became Mary's tutor.

In 1930 he married Muriel Gordon Billings.

Selected works

• Cycle of life according to modern science (1904)
• Worry the Disease of the Age (1907)
• Health, strength and happiness (1908)
Parenthood and Race Culture (1909)
• The methods of race-regeneration (1911)
• Woman and Womanhood (1911)
• The Progress of Eugenics (1914)
• Sunlight and Health (1st ed 1923. 5th ed 1929)

See also

• Lizzy Lind af Hageby


1. "Dr. C. W. Saleeby: A Pioneer in Eugenics". The Times. London. 1940. Retrieved 17 November 2010.
2. Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1895
3. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
4. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
5. Tracy, Michael (1998). The World of the Edwardian Child: as seen in Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopaedia, 1908–1910. York: Hermitage. pp. 73–75. ISBN 978-2-9600047-5-5. OCLC 634653542.
6. "The Children's Encyclopedia (Ten Volume Set)". Goodreads. Goodreads. Retrieved 17 November 2010.
7. Tracy, The World of the Edwardian Child, p. 232.
8. Carr-Gomm, Philip (2012). A Brief History of Nakedness. Reaktion Books. pp. 160–. ISBN 978-1-86189-729-9.
9. Pliley, Jessica R.; Kramm, Robert; Fischer-Tiné, Harald (2016). Global Anti-Vice Activism, 1890-1950: Fighting Drinks, Drugs, and 'Immorality'. Cambridge University Press. pp. 38–. ISBN 978-1-107-10266-8.
10. Saleeby, Caleb Williams (1923). Sunlight and Health. London: Nisbet & Company, Limited. p. 68.

Further reading

• Mee, Arthur, ed. (1910). The Children's Encyclopedia. London: The Educational Book Company. OCLC 62484154.
• Matthew, H. C. G.; Harrison, Brian (eds.). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-861411-1.

External links

• Works by Caleb Saleeby at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Caleb Saleeby at Internet Archive
• List of books published by C.W. Saleeby
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:33 am

The Sunlight League
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/6/20

The Sunlight League was founded in England in 1924 by C. W. Saleeby. Its aim was: "to point to the light of day, to advocate its use for the cure of disease—"helio-therapy"; and, immeasurably better, for preventive medicine and constructive health, the building of whole and happy bodies from the cradle and before it, which we may call helio-hygiene".[1]

The League was closely associated with The Men's Dress Reform Party.

The Men's Dress Reform Party (MDRP) was a reform movement in interwar Britain. While the party's main concerns were the impact of clothes on men's health and hygiene, their mission also aimed to increase the variety and choice in men's clothing.

-- Men's Dress Reform Party, by Wikipedia

It was also an early campaigner against air pollution from coal smoke.[2] Although the Sunlight League did not overtly promote nudism Saleeby did confide to friends that the idea behind it was to stimulate the nudist movement.[3][/b]

The League was dissolved in 1940, following the death of Saleeby. In modern times, there is concern about the risk of skin cancer from excessive exposure to sunlight. However, The Sunlight League was recalled in a 1996 article in The Independent newspaper, which argued that fear of sunlight may have gone too far.[4]

New Zealand

Cora Wilding founded a Sunlight League in New Zealand in 1930. It is not known whether this was connected with the League in England.

Cora Hilda Blanche Wilding MBE (15 November 1888 – 8 October 1982) was a New Zealand physiotherapist and artist, best remembered for her advocacy of outdoor activities and children’s health camps in the 1930s. She was instrumental in the founding of The Sunlight League in 1930, for which she held fundraising garden parties at "Fownhope", the Wilding family home in St Martins, Christchurch, and also the Youth Hostel Association of New Zealand in 1932. She had trained as a physiotherapist in Dunedin during World War I, and been introduced to youth hostels during her extensive European travels in the 1920s when she painted and studied outdoor activities.

Wilding was born in Christchurch, the son of Frederick and Julia Wilding, and a sister of tennis player Tony Wilding.[1] Her indulgent father was a lawyer, and an athlete and cricket and tennis player. She was educated at Nelson College for Girls, where she was captain of the hockey team and school tennis champion.

She retired as a physiotherapist in 1948, and moved from Christchurch to Kaikoura, where she painted for many years. She was made a patron of the Youth Hostel Association of New Zealand in 1938 and a life member in 1968. In the 1952 New Year Honours, she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to the community.[2] The first Christchurch youth hostel (1965–1997), formerly Avebury House the Flesher home, was called the "Cora Wilding Youth Hostel" in her honour. [3]

-- Cora Wilding, by Wikipedia


1. "THE SUNLIGHT LEAGUE. » 16 May 1924 » The Spectator Archive". 16 May 1924. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
2. "THE SUNLIGHT LEAGUE. » 13 Jun 1924 » The Spectator Archive". 13 June 1924. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
3. Carr-Gomm, Philip (2012). A Brief History of Nakedness. Reaktion Books. pp. 160–. ISBN 978-1-86189-729-9.
4. Wendy Wallace (3 June 1996). "Is the sun so harmful? | Health News | Lifestyle". The Independent. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:43 am

Men's Dress Reform Party
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/6/20


The Men's Dress Reform Party (MDRP) was a reform movement in interwar Britain.[1] While the party's main concerns were the impact of clothes on men's health and hygiene, their mission also aimed to increase the variety and choice in men's clothing.[1]


The injuries and casualties of World War I shifted the public's focus to the capabilities and general health of the human body,[2] and a general concern for the social and medical impacts of clothing grew. The New Health Society, an entity formed to effectuate change in these areas, was composed of a group of professionals led by Alfred Charles Jordan who wanted to improve the overall health of adults and children. They pushed for more exercise and fresh air, improved diets, and improved conditions in homes and workplaces.

The New Health Society, founded by Sir William Arbuthnot Lane in 1925, aimed to convert a ‘rapidly degenerating community’ into a ‘nation composed of healthy, vigorous members’. An analysis of this society, which combined social Darwinist and eugenicist rhetoric with utopian body practices and progressive gender ideology, deepens our understanding of interwar public health debates. The Society saw the bowels as central to health and considered constipation the root cause of many ills of civilisation. Its critique of civilisation, framed in terms of a valorisation of ‘native’ culture, nevertheless embraced modern science, technology and mass media. The Society was not hereditarian and saw health education as the key to race regeneration. Health and happiness were within the reach of all whose hygienic regimen included a high-fibre diet, outdoor exercise and sun-bathing, along with birth control and men's dress reform. Despite its idiosyncrasy, the Society's understanding of health as a personal responsibility and duty of citizenship, which sidestepped the question of poverty and inequality, resembled the views of Sir George Newman, the Chief Medical Officer.

-- Raising a Nation of ‘Good Animals’: The New Health Society and Health Education Campaigns in Interwar Britain, by Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska

In 1927, Sir Arbuthnot Lane, a co-founder of the New Health Society, formed the Clothing Subcommittee, a subcommittee within the society focused on the health impacts of dress.[2] On June 12, 1929 this subcommittee officially separated from the New Health Society to form the Men's Dress Reform Party[1] through an address to the public in London, England. It read: "Men and women, old and young, rich and poor… interested in healthier and better clothes for men…[and to] reform their clothes with as much profit to health and appearance as women have recently achieved."


Alfred Charles Jordan, Sir Arbuthnot Lane and Dr. Caleb Williams Saleeby served as the leaders of the Clothing Subcommittee and led the charge to form their own party, with Williams as the Chairman of the Council of the Party. Founding members also included the members of the former Clothing Subcommittee, the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, the Very Revd William Inge, Guy Kendall, Richard Sickert, Ernest Thesiger, and Leonard Williams.[3]


John Carl Flügel, a psychologist and member of the MDRP, claimed since the end of the 18th century men had been ignoring the colorful, elaborate, and varied forms of "masculine ornamentation."[2] He called this time the Great Masculine Renunciation. "Man," Flügel claimed, had "abandoned his claim to be considered beautiful. He henceforth aimed at only being useful."[4] This view aligned with that of founding member of the Men's Dress Reform Party, William Ralph Inge. Inge believed that the democratic movements of the French Revolution had led to the increasingly dull male look: "to escape the guillotine, dress as bourgeois as possible."[2] The party's goals were largely reactions to circumstances brought on by World War I. They saw the everyday man as "oppressed by capitalist labor"[2] and saw his clothes as "depressing"[2] and lacking in creativity. The military-style uniformity[2] of the interwar period had created a culture of men who were happy to see others dressed like them, as opposed to seeing those who craved individuality. World War I also brought increased unemployment, which caused state intervention, which the Men's Dress Reform Party saw as the "oppression of professionals".[2] Lastly, the status of women in society was changing. Feminism was developing in the interwar period, as women had taken over for men during World War I in jobs, schools, and social life. This threatened men, causing some to feel "like accessories to women".[2] The MDRP sought to improve the health and hygiene of men by changing their dress, as they saw the typical male styles and materials growing more restrictive and harmful, while women's clothing was increasingly becoming more "emanicipating"[2] Their goals included "freeing the neck" by wearing the "Byron collar"[1] which was an open-front collar, and gaining approval of the kilt[2] as everyday wear for men. They also preferred blouses instead of shirts, sandals over shoes, and shorts or breeches to trousers. The party felt that hats and coats were only acceptable in appropriate weather, and that underclothing should be loose. Most of these rules were already acceptable for occasions such as vacation, but the party looked to make these the standard for town, professional, and evening dress.


Unlike other organizations of the time, the MDRP had no formal journal. Instead, the group published articles about their reform ideas in Sunlight, a quarterly journal produced by The Sunlight League. MDRP member Dr. Caleb Saleeby chaired the Sunlight League, and thus incurred the league's support of the Men's Dress Reform Party. A Design Committee was organized to construct designs of "acceptable" clothing, and received national attention for their recommendations. Members claimed that branches were forming in all corners of the world, including India, China, Australia, South Africa, the USA, New Zealand, Canada, and Europe in addition to the approximately 200 branches in the UK.[1] These groups held social events, rallies, and debates, but the prevalence of such events decreased with the onset of World War II.[1] In 1937, the Men's Dress Reform Party lost the support of the New Health Society due to financial trouble and eventual bankruptcy.[2] Then, in 1940, the Sunlight League also dissipated after a bomb destroyed their offices and the death of its founder, Dr. Saleeby. After this period, the Men's Dress Reform Party largely ceased to exist.[1]


1. Burman, B. (1995). "The Better and Brighter Clothes: The Men's Dress Reform Party, 1929 1940". Journal of Design History. 8 (4): 275–290. doi:10.1093/jdh/8.4.275. ISSN 0952-4649.
2. Bourke, J. (1996). "The Great Male Renunciation: Men's Dress Reform in Inter-war Britain". Journal of Design History. 9 (1): 23–33. doi:10.1093/jdh/9.1.23. ISSN 0952-4649.
3. Sadar, John Stanislav. (2016). Through the Healing Glass: Shaping the Modern Body through Glass Architecture, 1925-1935. Routledge. p. 106. ISBN 978-1-138-83780-5
4. Flugel, John Carl (1930). The Psychology of Clothes. London: Hogarth. pp. 110–113.

Further reading

• Blakemore, Erin (18 July 2017). "This Short-Lived Political Party Embraced Socks With Sandals". JSTOR Daily. Retrieved 20 July 2017.


Wimbledon, ‘Bare-leg’ Tennis, and the Bitter Rivalry Between Helen Wills and Helen Jacobs [EXCERPT]
Friday, June 29th, 2012


Recently the press had featured a photograph of a Dr Alfred Charles Jordan a renowned radiologist cycling to his office in Bloomsbury. What fascinated and what slightly horrified readers was that he wore shorts with his jacket. This was utterly unknown at the time for anybody working in a city – shorts were for scouts and maybe a hiking holiday; they weren’t even worn by men playing tennis at the time.

Ernest Thesiger and members of the Men’s Dress Reform Party including Dr Jordan on the far right. July 4th 1929.

Jordan was the honorary secretary of the Men’s Dress Reform Party which had announced its existence on 12 June 1929 just twelve days before the be-stockinged Helen Wills had walked out for her first round match on the centre court at Wimbledon. The organisation’s first aim was to improve men’s health by changing what they wore and in early MDRP literature it complained that:

Men’s dress has sunk into a rut of ugliness and unhealthiness from which – by common consent – it should be rescued…Men’s dress is ugly, uncomfortable, dirty (because unwashable), unhealthy (because heavy, tight and unventilated)…it is desirable to guard against the danger of mere change for change’s sake, such as has often occurred in women’s fashion. All change should aim at improvement in appearance, hygiene, comfort and convenience.

An article in the tailoring magazine Tailor and Cutter probably reflected what the majority of men were thinking when confronted by the rather strange clothes worn by members of the MDRP. The anonymous author of the piece wrote that modern male dress depended on:

A loosening of the bonds will gradually impel mankind to sag and droop bodily and spiritually. If laces are unfastened, ties loosened and buttons banished, the whole structure of modern dress will come undone; it is not so wild as it sounds to say that society will also fall to pieces…Such restraints were not noxious: they were the foundation upon which civilisation rested and protected men from savagery and decadence.

Two men modelling ideas entered for a Dress Reform competition.

Members of the Men’s Dress Reform Party in Great Russell Street.

The MDRP was an off-shoot, and shared premises with, the New Health Society formed in 1925 and situated at 39 Bedford Square in Bloomsbury. Dr Jordan was a founding member but the chairman of the organisation was another doctor, Caleb William Saleeby, who had originally chaired the Clothing sub-committee of the New Health Society but had also founded the Sunlight League in 1924. It was formed in London to educate the public about ‘Nature’s universal disinfectant, stimulant and tonic’ and advocated heliotherapy – direct exposure to the sun.

The League campaigned for a variety of causes including mixed sunbathing and the relaxation of the rules for appropriate attire for sunbathing. Towards the end of the 1920s new-fangled sunbathing clubs were opening around London including Finchley and Sidcup while the Yew Tree Club devoted to physical culture and nudity opened in Croydon.

Compared with on the continent, especially in Germany, nudism remained a minority activity in England and it rarely strayed from its suburban, home-counties roots. The clubs had strict conventions and rules of etiquette designed to convince a doubting public that sex was the last thing on the nudists minds. And looking at some pictures maybe it was.

Dr Caleb Saleeby

Rather shy nudists sunbathing at the Yew Tree Camp in Croydon

The first nudist conference held in England by the Sunlight League

Dr Saleeby, as chairman of the MDRP, wrote a letter to the Lawn Tennis Association in 1929 encouraging it ‘to persuade men to give up the handicap of heavy trousers and play in shorts’. The first man to have famously worn shorts at Wimbledon was Henry ‘Bunny’ Austin (his nickname comes from a character in the comic strip Pip, Squeak and Wilfred). Except he wasn’t. In reality the first man to experience fresh air against his legs while playing tennis at Wimbledon was actually the relatively unknown English player Brame Hillyard who wore them on Court 10 a year after Dr Saleeby’s letter in 1930. Despite the freedom his shorts must have given him he promptly lost, and he was hardly ever heard of again.

Two years later in 1932 Bunny Austin, born in 1908 in South Norwood, eight miles or so away from Wimbledon, but educated at Repton and Cambridge, became the first person to wear shorts on Centre Court and thus in front of the world’s press. He claimed that the traditional white flannels were heavy and restricting; John Kieran wrote about him in the New York Times that year:

“With his white linen hat and his flannel shorts, the little English player looked like an AA Milne production.”

Bunny Austin wearing shorts at Wimbledon in 1933

Bunny Austin, despite wearing shorts, lost in the final to the American Don Budge and the Englishman’s reward was a £10 gift voucher redeemable at a high-street jewellers (the winner of the Men’s and Women’s final will earn £1,150,000 this year). Austin was the last Briton to appear in a Wimbledon Singles Final when he was runner-up in 1938. During the war he became active in the Christian pacifist movement and was criticised in the press as a conscientious objector. It wouldn’t be until 1984 that Austin was again allowed to be a member of the All-England Club.

The MDRP, although pretty well forgotten these days, had some success in getting its message across during the first years of its existence. It held annual parties, in order to “give every man a chance to show how he can look and feel his best by the costume he will evolve for this unique occasion.” It was also possible to find MDRP approved clothing in some shops in London including the famous Austin Reed on Regent Street. It also had an official shop and a relatively successful mail-order service.

Some members of the Men’s Dress Reform Party were more radical than others.

Realistically the MDRP did little to turn general male fashion around except maybe in holiday and athletic wear. A major shift in men’s clothing didn’t happen until after the war when new fabrics and the rise of American style, with its preoccupation with leisure-wear, radically changed men’s appearances in the 1960s.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue Apr 07, 2020 4:08 am

Cora Wilding
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/6/20

Cora's first tiny health camp was run in 1931 which should see it and those which followed reflecting the ideas described by McDonald for the period 1900-1944, which were a focus on the child as 'social capital' rather than 'psychological being' or as independent citizen. What we do find in Cora's camps was the belief in children as social capital which saw the psychological component of the child as being an important part of that potential social capital, as well as an emphasis on the rights of the individual child to his or her own psychological well-being, where the citizenship rights of the child as child, were placed to the fore....

Feminism, specifically what Marilyn Lake has described in terms of the 'exemplary citizen' -- an idea wrapped up in theosophical beliefs, among others -- saw citizenship as a constructed ideal for men and women rather than as being just a democratic right....'citizenship' was a hugely important idea for both Cora and the Sunlight League....

Although Cora was not actively involved with work done by other women's/feminist organisations, and while she was not so much concerned with working actively towards legal equality nor economic equality for women, nor with the concerns of the working class woman as such, Cora was representative of the type of post-suffrage feminist identified by Marilyn Lake as being the exemplary citizen.38 [Organisations such as the National Council of Women, the Women's Division of Federated Farmers or the Women's Institute -- although these organisations were in contact with the Sunlight League throughout the years it was in operation, and delegates from the other organisations and the Sunlight League attended each other's meetings and co-operated in organising the Sunlight League Health Camps (providing food and labour); the 'exemplary citizen' was an ideal wrapped up in theosophical beliefs, among others. Lake, p. 7, p. 51.] Melanie Nolan's Breadwinning: New Zealand Women and the State, has discussed post-suffrage feminist activity in New Zealand in terms of economic independence and citizenship for women, but rather than portraying Cora as a woman concerned with 'economic' or 'political' citizenship, during the period under discussion I would describe her as a woman concerned with 'social' or what may even be best described as 'cultural' citizenship for women....Within this discourse of femininity and citizenship, women were going to play an important role in the future development of the nation, not only as mothers, but as agents in their own right, who were free to contribute to the social and cultural wealth of New Zealand as they were best fitted.

This ideal of female citizenship centred on the concerns of the white, middle-class women of New Zealand, but it was no less feminist because of its elitist motivations.39 [The Enlightenment ideal of the citizen was racist and ethnographic, but ostensibly 'universal, free, and equal'. A. Cuthoys, 'Citizenship, Race, and Gender: Changing Debates over the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Rights of Women' in Daley and Nolan eds. Suffrage and Beyond, pp.89-106, p. 90.] The focus lay on this segment of society because it was they who were reading the liberal and progressive books, and they who had the time to spend at, and access to, the facilities required for the building of the 'good citizen'.
Cora and women like her, dealt with the ideal of the good citizen in a way which saw it as an open category as far as race and class were concerned ideologically, but in reality these were the groups set outside of the work being done in the cause of 'betterment for society' by way of raising 'good citizens'. The 'good citizen' was a culturally constructed category which failed to take cultural differences into consideration, just as ideas at this time regarding the assimilation of the Maori into the Pakeha way of life failed to recognize that the 'modern' society was not a signifier of natural evolution, but in fact a signifier of European culture. Similarly while 'class' was not explicitly a barrier in the way to achieving 'good citizenship', because 'class' became in many ways conflated with 'health' -- both being socially constructed categories -- the health camps run by the Sunlight League failed to accept children from 'bad' homes which were considered indicative of bad genes and poor health when these were more than likely the signs of the home-life of the working class. This means that Cora was in a way, out of touch with the concerns of a large portion of the community, but in saying this, it is important to point out that the ideal of the good (white middle-class) woman citizen was an ideal of a person who worked towards the greater good for all -- which meant also championing the rights of the worker and the racialised other. The important thing for Cora at this early stage in her engagement with feminist activities in the form of the running of health camps for girls which centred on 'encouraging good citizenship', was to teach the leaders of tomorrow how to be good and fair people, and as such, society would benefit in due course -- girl children weren't just going to pass on their knowledge of health to their off-spring, they were also going to pass on their ideals of citizenship which were learnt at Cora's health camps -- ideals which would have been passed on to Cora by her own mother.

An aspect of the Sunlight League camps that saw them stand alone, was their intention to replicate the familial environment -- or in the case of children from poorly developed families, to supersede it. Many other health camps, focused as they were on increasing the physicality of human stock, preferred to take on as many children as could be accommodated. The Southern Canterbury Health Camp Committee's Summer Health Camp for 1936 had 50 children at camp, while the camps run by Ada Paterson averaged 80 children per camp.40 [Cora Wilding Papers [1.9] [report] Summer Health Camp 1936. Macmillan Brown Library; Tennant, p. 81.] Cora specifically intended to run small camps with her first consisting of a mere 4 children (due to financial considerations) and the others staying far below the norm for other camps at the time, usually accommodating between 15-30 children.41 [The children on Cora's camps were aged between 9-12 yrs. Tennant,Children's Health the Nation's Wealth, p.104, p. 107.] Small camps, following the American model, meant that each child could have more attention from the camp attendants and experience a sense of belonging and stability unavailable in the larger camps.42 [The Scouts Movement promoted the ideal of smaller camps. Wilding Family: ARC1989.124 Box 39 Folder 184 'Scouts' Item 175, 'Scouts - notebook 1930'. Canterbury Museum. Larger camps also meant that bullying and homesickness could remain unnoticed, an aspect of camp life which Cora is likely to have wished to avoid.] According to Bronwyn Dalley, child welfare in New Zealand has centred around the idea that children are best catered for by a familial environment, where what constituted the best familial environment changed through time.43 [See B. Dalley, Family Matters: Child Welfare in Twentieth Century New Zealand, Auckland, 1998, p. 365.] In light of this, Cora's preference for family-units (or hapu) in camp reflected the ideal construction which located the child within the malleable construction of the 'best family'.

Given that Cora's camps were for girls only, the prioritising of a familial structure within camp also represented the gendered notion of girls and women as belonging to the domestic sphere. The helpers at the camps run by Cora were taken from respectable Christchurch Girls' Schools (St Margarets' and Rangi Ruru) in an effort to encourage the relaxed, domestic-style settings of the camps, as well as to encourage the nurturing tendencies of the teenaged girls.
44 [Tennant, Children's Health the Nation's Wealth, p. 106.] While this would have resulted in a sense of sisterly solidarity in its ideal form, it also reflected the financial restrictions of running health camps. Even when the running of camps was to fall into other hands in later years and permanent facilities were needed, Cora was still keen to retain a sense of the small familial groupings of earlier camps, promoting an idea for a dormitory style building that allowed for the division of children into smaller groups within the whole.45 [Cora's design included' ... a large central administration block with large open-air dining or community hall to seat 100 children, and with a kitchen attached. The children's sleeping accommodation was in family or 'hapu' units of 24 children.' Cora Wilding Papers [1.1] '22nd April 1936' . Macmillan Brown Library.] She also considered that while larger boys' camps could be run, it was important that girls' camps were still of a relatively intimate nature.46 [In 1936 it was decided that Cora was to run 4 smaller girls camps while Mr F. Davis was to organise and run a camp for 100, or possibly 400 boys, apparently to be financed by the T.O.C.H. Ibid., '22nd May 1936'.] For Cora, it was important that the domestic situation was a comfortable and well learned one for girl-children, seeing them as she did, in terms of the future mothers who would be at fault should they fail in their parental role and in turn adversely affect the psychological well-being of their offspring. Mothers-in-the-making especially, needed not only to know how to cook, clean and keep the family healthy, but they also had to be of sound mind, which clearly meant for Cora, an ability to work within an intimate and nurturing setting.

The explicit focus on girls within the Sunlight League Health Camps -- and within the League itself -- was another relatively unique component of their organisation. Segregated camps were the norm, but when camps were held solely for a single sex, it was more likely that boys were provided for as they were the natural sex to fit into the camping lifestyle, according to current opinions on gender. For Cora, it was important that girls be taken on camp because for one thing, girls were going to be the future mothers of the race -- it was they who were likely to be the links in the chain of health-knowledge from generation to generation and thus responsible for the health of the nation. Similarly, they were the re-producers of the nation themselves and thus should they fail to monitor their own health, they would be unfit mothers, either emotionally or physically.47 [On 'maternal feminism' see Woods.] As has been said, the small style camps of the Sunlight League worked to acclimatise the girls to the domestic environment, as well as promoting a sense of sisterhood and common understanding. Cora however, it must be pointed out, was not a mother herself and this was reflected in her belief that girls at camp and at the schools she spoke at were faced with the option of raising a family or of contributing in a meaningful way to society -- these being the qualifiers of worthy citizenship for a woman.48 [And this it will be remembered, had been the problem for Cora as an artist, in that she did not have children and was not (she believed) contributing to society as a whole through her painting, and thus decided to turn to a more visible role within the community.] Specifically, the importance of teaching health to girls who were facing a potentially childless future lay in the fact that could these women look after their own health, they would not be a burden to their families. Independence was clearly a requirement for the childless woman and ironically, an unfulfilled requirement in much of Cora's own life. However, the focus on the child-bearing potential of girls was indicative of the wider understanding of the gendered role of women at this time, especially with regards to eugenics. Healthy women, resulted in healthy children, where the specific health of the man appeared beyond the scope of the equation, unless he was found under the label 'child'.49 [The father was required to be genetically sound, but as such his bodily health was not centred in discussions of reproduction in the same way that women's were. Philippa Mein Smith has noted that within the discourses surrounding child health in the first half of the twentieth century, specifically that surrounding the Plunket Movement, 'baby' was always male. Mein Smith, p. 1.]

The discourse of eugenics specifically worked to embed women within the socially constructed role of breeder, where eugenics itself became a language of mothering and enforced heterosexuality for women. The gap through which women could escape was in the role of health activist -- in a sense becoming the 'mother' to the children and sick of the nation as a whole, as Cora did. Furthermore, within the imperialist discourse of eugenics the enforcement of the rightness of a lack of child-bearing by these women manifested in the explicit oppression of the poor and the racialised and medicalised other. These women placed themselves at the top of the hierarchy of motherhood by determining who could and could not breed in an ideology which they were themselves above. The mental defective and the physically inferior were burdened with the role of 'other' to justify the superiority of white middle-class women within the wider patriarchy. Such women claimed, in the name of eugenics, that certain individuals were not to breed as such breeding would pollute the nation and the race.50 [For a discussion of white women's involvement in the eugenics movement in New Zealand, see Wanhalla.] In a sense these women broke free of their gendered role, but retained their femininity by oppressing other women. While Cora was on the periphery of such manifestations of imperialist eugenics, she did focus on women as potential saviours of the race as mothers, which saw her in line with the prevailing attitudes of the time. So in a sense, Cora's camps were enforcing the dominant discourse.

From a different point of view to that given above, it can in fact be seen that Cora's camps were to a degree emancipatory and subversive with respect to the established role of women -- or at least more complex in regards to norms, than it might at first appear. Cora was attacked for her continued preference for girls at camps in the newspaper, to which she replied that should funds permit, boys camps would be run too, and that moreover, boys were already provided for by the Y.M.C.A. and Heritage camps.51 [In 1936 Dr McIntyre had written to the Press complaining that the public was unhappy with Health Stamp funds going towards a camp for girls only, Cora defended her position and attempted to make it clear that this was not representative of an anti-boys feeling on the Sunlight League's part. Cora Wilding Papers [1.9] [draft correspondence]From Cora to Editor, 27th Oct. 1936. Macmillan Brown Library.] Cora believed that boys had more ready access to the outdoors, whereas their sisters were required to learn domestic roles in a domestic setting which for Cora was bad simply because it stopped girls from benefiting from the outdoors -- from nature and beauty, for physical and mental well-being. I suspect that for Cora an emphasis on the girl-child reflected her ideas regarding both the holistic nature of health, and the idea that women were left with little to keep them occupied when involved in a somewhat stifling 'society life'. At the very least she would have hoped to be able to give the girls an understanding of the benefits of self-expression, and some tools with which to counter the repressive role for women within the social order. These girls, should they have failed to understand the importance of self in their respective lives, would have been looking at potential mental ill-health and emotional instability. This would have reflected badly in their parenting skills but would also have limited their citizenship potential, as not all women were to be mothers in Cora's understanding of the future (and as we have already seen, democracy itself was considered a healthy form of self-expression). Either way, girls needed to know how to express themselves in a socially-acceptable/healthy way -- not through psycho-somatic disorders. Society at large, was content to locate women in the home, raising children and having little engagement with the 'public sphere', and this is where the Sunlight League as a whole can be seen to reflect the pro-women stance of many of its members (a stance which was mixed with eugenics, but also overrode that ideology) in that the ideal of female-citizenship as understood by the League, necessitated that women existed beyond the ideological confines of the home for the well-being of the democratic state. Cora's taking of girl children on camp then, was in line with the ideologies surrounding girls as mothers-to-be, but was also at odds with those ideologies in that girls were treated as potential citizens first and foremost, who needed to know about the League of Nations, and who needed to be able to express themselves and recognize their role as contributors to society in a way which reflected the democratic state as Cora understood it. Women were clearly seen as the nobler of the race for Cora, but they were viewed as having a potential beyond the role of mother, which clearly reflected the ideals of womanhood held by the 'first wave feminists', that had in turn won women the vote.52 [Within the Sunlight League, Cora had been careful to stipulate in the constitutions as they were drawn up, that at least one member on the board must be a mother, and that there must be at least a specified number of women in positions of authority. This illustrates Cora's feminist belief that women had important contributions to make to the running of society as women. Regarding the Sunlight League Executive committee, the constitution was drawn up to read ' ... and one mother of a family. (At least two members of this increased Executive Committee shall be women).' Cora Wilding Papers [MB 183] [1.7] 'Annual Reports' [misc.] 'Sunlight League Rules and Regulations'. Macmillan Brown Library. A similar consideration was made for the Ford Milton Home. See Cora Wilding Papers [1.22] [misc.] 'suggested alterations to Sunlight League Constitution'. Macmillan Brown Library.]

The situating of the figure within the landscape, as a body located within a discourse of place, had implications for constructions of identity. Health camps worked within the discourses of nationalism and imperialism in two ways. The most obvious of these ways lay in the focus health camps placed on the growing of youth with the intention of creating strong defenders of the nation and empire, which placed girls in the position of mothers-in-the-making and boys in the role of defenders-of-the-nation. This was the simplest of the two ways in which camps engaged with the wider discourses, the other, while being related to the first involved the ideologies of place and bodies as has already been touched upon. Health camps worked to take the children out of the cities and into the country, emancipating them from the industrial and urban landscape in the name of health and well-being (which is also an important aspect of the camps), but they also worked to take children back to a setting that allowed them to develop national characteristics.53 [The establishment of the Youth Hostels Movement itself, led by Schirrman and brought to New Zealand by Cora, reflected this reaction against the ills present in urban living. Crookes, p. 7.] In pre-eugenic thinking, man was determined by his environment and it was simply that environment, or land, which led to racial types.

A new man has emerged from the depth of the people. He has forged new theses and set forth new Tables and he has created a new people, and raised it up from the same depths out of which the great poems rise -- from the mothers, from blood and soil.

-- Intellectuals Must Belong to the People, by Hermann Burte, from Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich, by George L. Mosse

Just as ideas regarding a national style within the arts had relied on the landscape for expression, so too did ideas regarding a national type of woman. Thus while health camps were taking place western-world wide, specifically to heighten the racial/national assets of the human stock that had been lost by a lack of engagement with the land in favour of industrialisation and progressively white-collar labour, in New Zealand as well as in other colonial lands, health camps represented the chance to assert a national type of one's own -- to prove one's right to land in the face of wars which threatened occupation as well as in the face of a native, 'indigenous' population. Paradoxically, while I see health camps as representative of attempts to create inalienable ownership rights to the landscape, which can be interpreted as an attempt at gaining a national identity for future New Zealanders, the prevailing ideologies present in New Zealand saw the landscape considered in terms of an antipodean British landscape which in turn meant that the unification of children with land was at one and the same time also an act of imperialism.

Throughout the wider discourse regarding health, Cora explicitly considered the Maori as a race to be in its traditional state a superior form of the human species, which placed it on an even footing with the Ancient Greeks with their love of out-door exercise. The Maori were considered to be an advanced type of 'native' from the time of early New Zealand settlement, and as such Cora was merely latching hold of an already established construction of the Maori when she compared them to the Ancient Greeks for their robust physique. This idealised construction of the 'Ancient' Maori however, was appropriated by Cora for use in the discourses surrounding Pakeha identity.54 [One of the characteristics of American culture in the late nineteenth century was a nostalgia for ideals of past societies. This preference for the Greek and Maori ideal for living exhibited by Cora and the Sunlight League is likely to be a part of this. Green, p. 17.] As Sara Ahmed explained, the 'tanned' body has the privilege of signifying a morally clean white body, but the black body, as racial signifier, indicates the 'infectability' of being black.55 [Ahmed, p. 58.] Cora's understanding of skin-colour on the other hand, saw the 'brown' body of the Maori used by the League as the token symbol of bodily health rather than disease. The reason for the construction of the 'brown' Maori as the ideal of physical health lay in the perceived out-door lifestyle which led to the race of undefeated warriors: 'brown' skin read as a people who lived outdoors under the sun and the sun was as we have seen, health-giving. Furthermore, the Maori were far from being the 'ebony black' of other racialised groups and thus their skin was not seen as being such an indicator of physiological difference. Moreover, this preference for distinguishing the Maori in terms of a tanned race rather than a black one, represented the construction of New Zealand as a (geographical) replica of Britain and thus according to the rules of pre-eugenic evolution, similar national types should have emerged in both lands.56 [This type of understanding of New Zealand comes through in Macmillan Brown's Utopias, see pp.111-3 of this thesis.] The Maori thus had to be a tanned European to enforce the imperialist understanding of New Zealand, and in turn, the Maori could be appropriated into narratives supporting the ideal of a national type and used to encourage a healthy lifestyle led out of doors. All of this focus on the skin saw the tanning of the nation's children not to just represent the health of a recently exposed and thus strengthened skin, but also understood tanning in terms of ingesting the land, where nationalism was constructed in terms of a specific quality of light within New Zealand at this time, which was also reflected in the ideologies surrounding nationalist and regionalist landscape painting. A New Zealand tan represented the specific absorption of New Zealand light, and was written in the body of the nation's children through their attendance at health camps.57 [As well as through their involvement in outdoor sport and open-air classrooms; In this way children were intended to embody the natural abundance of the land. Similar ideas about land and identity are discussed in relation to Canada in the 1920s in Katie Pickles' article on the touring of English Schoolgirls. K. Pickles, 'Exhibiting Canada: Empire, Migration and the 1928 English Schoolgirl Tour' Gender, Place, Culture, Vol. 7 No.1, 2000, pp. 81-96, esp. pp. 89-90.]

Blood is a central concept in National Socialist racial doctrine. For good or bad, everything is to be decided by the state of blood. If the blood remains pure, the folk can flourish in good health for eternity and give the most advanced cultural expressions to its inner character. The folk's activities are then regarded as truly representative of its soul. But if the blood becomes mixed, then the racial level of the folk no longer remains high. This lowering of the racial worth corresponds to a decline in health and raises a question mark concerning the survivability of the particular race. If the blood is too mixed, then sickness and mortality become inevitable for the group as a whole. Beyond a certain point, any further drop in the racial level of a people cannot be reversed. Should that happen, then the racially lowered stock of people loses its claim to eternity. Another way of putting it would be to say that if the drop in racial merit passes a certain critical point, then the fateful line that delineates Jewish victory and Aryan defeat has been crossed.

But the threat of a collective sickness and death is only half of the equation. The other half is the prospect of regaining the utopian, i.e., pre-disaster, purity level of blood, which holds a magical promise. This impending magic is, after all, the psychological function of ancient and lost utopias. As the status of the myths of past utopias is converted from legend to "history," the myths now affirm that what proved attainable in the remote past is also feasible in the imminent future. And it is through this utopian affirmation that magic seems to become once again an option in history. How else could it be? So magnificent, perfect, and ideal is the utopian state of being that its inclusion as a viable option perforce crosses over into the realm of magic. The dash toward utopia is a magical leap. And this is what the Nazi blood cult was. Stripped of its biological trappings and folkish mysticism, the blood cult remains in its bare essence a grab at magical, i.e., ultramanipulative, abilities.

Although Hitler had given the blood cult a certain bent, he was mostly using well-known and prevalent ideas that preceded him. The notion that blood is the stuff of life and stands for immortality or eternity is not new in western civilization. When the prophet Isaiah (63: 1-6) wrote his poetic portrayal of the God of vengeance he used phrases such as "their lifeblood splattered on my garments" or "and I brought down their lifeblood to the earth." But it was well known by Christian biblical scholars and translators that the original term for lifeblood in the Hebrew text was "eternity" and that this term acquired the secondary meaning of blood. Thus, when the Lord splatters eternity on his garments or spills people's eternity to the ground, the reference is clearly to blood as the essence of both immortality and mortality. The English term "lifeblood" is therefore a fairly good translation. This biblical choice of the term "eternity" to designate blood alludes to hopes for immortality that were attached to the concept of blood. This particular naming of blood betrays human hopes that life, at least collective life, is eternal. But the eternity of the group serves also as a reminder of the mortality of individuals both by natural causes and by means of fatal bloodshed. Eternity may flow in blood vessels, but when it spills out of wounds it spells mortality. Thus, there is a duality even in the old biblical conception of blood that views it as the essence of life, i.e., as that precious substance that sustains life and grants eternity but also takes life away and enforces mortality.

The focus on the magical qualities of blood was later accentuated in Christianity. The Christian doctrine of the transubstantiation of the wine and wafer into the blood and body of Jesus betrays the residues of a pagan ritual in which the magical properties of the precious substance are acquired by means of an oral incorporation. The Jews were made to pay for this Christian fascination with blood through accusations of Host desecration as well as related accusations of ritual murder for the sake of the Passover ceremony. Presumably the Jews stole the Host and pierced it to make it bleed in a reenactment of the Crucifixion. And presumably the Jews also murdered Christian children in order to smear their blood over the Passover matzos. These accusations reflect a strong belief in the special powers of blood and an unshakable conviction that the wizardly Jews were somehow able to derive benefit from the blood of others. At any rate, Germany proved to be the most fertile soil for such accusations, as attested to by Max I. Dimont: "The Germans, perhaps because they were still closest to the barbaric strain which had nursed them, were the most barbaric in their persecutions. Most of the anti- Jewish measures one popularly attributes to the entire Middle Ages were of German-Austrian origin, and grew only on German soil. Here the ritual-murder charges, the Host-desecration libels, the Black Death accusations were used to whip the population into a frenzy by sadists and fetishists" (Dimont 1962, 243). What is of great interest in the above quotation is not the pathology of one group of fetishists but the fertile ground that Germany provided for blood accusations. The ground continued to remain fertile and to provide another string of blood notions that culminated in Richard Wagner, who was greatly admired by Hitler.

In composing the libretto for his opera Parsifal, Wagner resorted to older tales about the quest for the Holy Grail, which arose out of Celtic, Christian, and even Jewish origins (Anderson 1987, 13-33). In the Middle Ages there emerged from the old sources, especially Christian myths, Arthurian legends, and Celtic tales and fertility rites, a dominant theme that represented a blend of Christian and pagan notions. The theme was of the Holy Grail, which was the original chalice of the Last Supper, into which the blood of Jesus was dropped from the very lance that was used to pierce his side. This Holy Grail was a talisman with miraculous powers that made it very sought after. It could produce an inexhaustible supply of meat and, even more important, its potion could cure mortal wounds and illnesses. This set of dominant themes veered far off from the secret and ancient source of it all, which, according to Anderson (1987), was the creation of fire out of focused sunlight. These themes had captured the European popular imagination ever since the Middle Ages. The Grail Quest became an object of fantasy, but it represented an almost impossible task because the Grail could be visible only to a knight who is completely pure of heart. For generations European Christians continued to be inspired by this dominant theme of a heroic and arduous search for a bloody talisman. It should come as no surprise that eventually the notion of a quest for a container of sacred blood with healing powers lent itself to virulent racist interpretations. Richard Wagner was one of those who resorted to this kind of interpretation, and his case is important because of his great appeal to Hitler. Summing up Wagner's racist theorizing as explained in his article The Wibelungs, his essay "Heldentum," and finally his opera Parsifal, Robert Gutman stated:

The Wibelungs singled out the ancient line from which the Frankish-German and Hohenstaufen kaisers had sprung as that "one chosen race" rightfully claiming universal rule. Indeed, Wagner said, such a tradition had persisted among the Folk even during its periods of degeneracy .... Picking up the thread of the Wibelungs in "Heldentum" and pursuing a piquant bit of Wagnerian ethnological-mythological anthropology, the composer described the Aryans, the great Teutonic world leaders, as sprung from the very gods, in contrast to the colored man, to whom he conceded the rather lowly Darwinian descent from the monkey. This was Wagner the scientist, evolutionary theory having arisen during the years between the two essays. As a devout anti- Semite he found unacceptable the Biblical explanation of mankind's origin in an act of the Jewish God. Sweepingly, he declared Aryan and human history to be one, for, without fortifying themselves with an admixture of godly white blood, the colored races could achieve nothing. In this way, Wagner believed, inferior peoples had through the ages drained Aryans of an indigenous purity, their distinguishing godly features being sucked out. It was his purpose in "Heldentum" and its artistic counterpart, Parsifal, to confront Germany with the seriousness of its racial crisis -- to outline the perfection, decline, and hopes for regeneration of the debased Aryan. (Gutman 1968, 421-22)

Obviously Hitler did not need to reinvent racism, an old and well-established European tradition, one that reached explosive new heights in the nineteenth century under the impact of social Darwinism. It was during this century that the older Christian and pagan myths were given new life by the tendentious and distorted slant of evolutionary theory that applied the criterion of survival of the fittest to the social and political behaviors of various groups of human beings. By necessity this new application involved a shift of accent from the interspecies to the intraspecies arena and resulted in drawing wide distinctions between human groups as if they belonged to separate species. The unfortunate psychological need to create pseudospecies for the sake of projection and for the sake of feeling chosen, was an old, established trend, which has been described by Erikson (1968, 41, 240-41, 298-99). Now this trend was augmented by the new rush to separate the fit from the unfit. This is why social Darwinism is inherently racist and accentuates the primitive "us" versus "them" distinction. Hitler, the ideological sponger, soaked it all in from the zeitgeist, and then spewed it all out in a modified version as a new National Socialist revelation.

In a certain sense, Hitler had completed the Grail Quest and challenged the German collective with his findings. Searching for it far away was no longer necessary since it finally became visible to a modern "brave knight" of "pure heart" who has found its location. The precious blood, the divine stuff with a dual magic ability to grant immortality as well as to inflict mortality, was right here on earth and within the veins of the folk. As Vermeil (1956, 195) pointed out, "the Kingdom of the Grail was Germany, of course." Thus one possible interpretation is that the people as a whole became the long-sought-after container of magic. But in spite of the immediacy of the magic stuff, the old hurdle of its invisibility persisted for the plain people. For without proper racial awareness, people still remain oblivious to its existence and significance. Therefore, the old quest continues to take place in an ongoing struggle to make the invisible visible to the masses by means of a constant war against the Jews. Only by opening people's eyes to Jewish duping about race could the people really be made to see their own precious blood.

The central fact that the folk as a whole comprises the container of the magic stuff leads to tricky and dialectical implications. By itself the magical substance that is contained in the veins of the people does not guarantee omnipotence to the folk. Nature decrees that the precious substance is vulnerable to contamination and is itself therefore subject to the dual fate that it can dish out, i.e., immortality versus mortality. However, if the blood has proper guardians who protect its purity, then the decree of fate takes a decided turn for the better. If the magic substance of life-giving blood is protected by a race of people who know its value, then the intact blood invigorates the protectors. This is how the earthly guardians of the magical substance have a chance at exercising godly powers. This opportunity does occur whenever the correct relationship exists between folk and blood. This linked fate of the folk and its blood is both the Achilles heel and the magic wand of a race. And what activates the one or the other is the particular state of the folk's racial consciousness. A deficient awareness reduces the vigilance of protection from contamination and results in enfeeblement, while a high level of racial awareness preserves the purity and health of the all-empowering magic that flows in the folk's veins. One could say that the fate of the folk and its blood is linked because Providence willed it so. Either both decline toward an ignoble end or surge together toward a glorious omnipotence for all eternity, which in Nazi parlance received the operational definition of "a thousand years."

The dual godly aspects of blood -- something like blood giveth and blood taketh away -- were seized by Nazism as a mental adaptation to the modern shift of power from heaven to earth. Man could play God now by taking control over the manipulation of the magical substance of life and death. And since it goes without saying that men were not created equal, the most meritorious leader of the "chosen" people who were slated by fate to be the master race becomes a human god on earth. Another implication of the blood cult was that protection of the blood from Jews, Bolsheviks, and all other enemies within and without necessitates permanent war. It actually seemed proper that a grab for more power, which is what the safeguarding of the purity of blood represented, was to be accomplished by violence and war. After all, war and violence were spiritually ennobling. This basic sentiment, which penetrated many European radical movements, was given its most forceful early expression by the Frenchman Georges Sorel, who saw violence as beautiful and heroic and who regarded war as the source of morality par excellence (Sternhell 1994, 66-67). It was the increasing public fascination with Sorel's conviction of the absolute indispensability of war that reinforced Hitler's opinion that the world is not for cowardly people. Permanent war for the sake of safeguarding the blood was regarded by him and many others as a spiritual experience that befits a race of heroes. The quest for pure blood represented a quest for a spiritual substance and was therefore expected to evoke the kind of spiritual soul-searching that Hitler himself reportedly underwent during the inner battle between his sentiments and his reason. Such soul struggles over the protection of the blood were bound to be viewed as spiritual. Let us not forget that while the physical existence of the folk was perceived as a container of a divine essence, it was the blood itself that was seen as the true mystical reality within. Blood still remained a biological concept that represented the notion of the inheritance of both physical and mental characteristics. But since this inheritance included not only visible physical characteristics but also mental dispositions and capacities, the concept of blood transcended biology and evolved into a mystical notion. Holding within it the physical as well as mental inheritance of future generations, it came to symbolize the mystical essence of the folk, its cultural potential and its soul.

With all this in mind, it now becomes easier to understand why for Hitler the Jewish danger constituted a threat to psychophysical integrity. The dual mystical and biological aspects of blood as such already suggest an underlying notion of psychophysical integrity. In addition to that, however, as the folk becomes body while its blood evolves into spirit, notions of sickness and health are bound to revolve around psychophysical integrity. The Jewish menace threatens both body and soul or both material and spiritual reality. As indicated before, the monistic approach to the psychophysical issue links the fate of both aspects of reality. Consequently, blood became a mystical biological concept that has psychophysical integrity as its core promise and psychophysical contamination as its core threat. A proper linking of the national body and soul gives the collective the kind of magical gifts that only the gods could grant: eternal youth in good health. This is why in the folkish state, which secures this proper linkage, the folk comrades will have power and feel rooted and connected by virtue of the shared racial consciousness of being blood brothers. By the way, this included Germans everywhere from the Volga to the Atlantic and the North Sea to the Adriatic. Unlike other states, the folkish state will be a living organism, which would leave no member disconnected. This is the magic of an organic national body in whose veins flows pure blood. It is the divine magic of a complete psychophysical integrity, which is granted only by pure blood.

This sounds almost like a simple stipulation, but its ramifications were horrendous indeed. To secure pure blood, one needs to wage a permanent war against the Jews, which means thoroughly regimenting the folkish state. Regimentation is necessary not only to maintain war vigilance but also in order to meet the enormous psychophysical threat with the kind of total psychophysical state control that would be equal to the task. Pure blood cannot be secured by one battle. It is a permanent war that serves as a continuous and relentless test of the national character. Its demands are so grueling as well as intricate that the people are likely to fail the test for lack of proper guidance unless the folkish state adopts the hierarchical leadership principle.

And finally there is also one more catch in the treacherous road to acquire the magic of pure blood. It turns out that what needs to be secured is not just blood but "blood and soil." Hitler picked up this slogan from the folkish (volkisch) movement in Germany after World War I. This seemingly harmless slogan referring to the attachment of the farmer to the land was broadened to include the mystical link between members of a highly developed folk and the specific landscapes of their country. It was one more mystical notion referring to the powerful impact of the magical unity of a people and their land. As such it was still another variant of the magical expectations with regard to psychophysical integrity. Territorial expectations were also imbedded in the slogan. David Schoenbaum (1966, 50) viewed the "blood and soil" concept as a new folklore-type expression of antiurban tendencies: "The new folklore was a kind of ideology of the 'Wild East,' with the small homesteader as the cowboy and the Pole as the Indian." Sometimes concepts that float together in the zeitgeist acquire certain overlapping meanings: German attachment to soil in the "Wild East" denotes healthy farming life but also connotes an expanding lebensraum. Moreover, the deadly combination of "blood" with "soil" opened the door even further for the unleashing of an unprecedented racial mania and chauvinistic madness. Under the influence of Nazi ideology, the obsession with these twin concepts escalated into a new dual venture. One was the implementation of a final solution to the Jewish question by exterminating the blood polluters; the second was the safeguarding of the attachment of German colonists to their local soil outside Germany by expanding the German lebensraum through the great drive toward the east. This dual venture retained the underlying mystical link of a totalistic unity and integrity. The enchantment with the magic of blood was about to be converted into the kind of cataclysmic actions through which the messianic drive to secure utopia nets disaster.

-- The Roots of Nazi Psychology, by Jay Y. Gonen

Although it was common for both summer and health camps alike to re-name the members of a camp with reference to a theme, Cora's camps were a little different from other New Zealand camps in that they made recourse to Maori culture. The use of Maori imagery was reflective of Cora's understanding of a national identity, in that the Maori were an integral part of New Zealand, and specifically the part of New Zealand culture which made it unique.58 [Of colonial women in New Zealand, Philippa Wilson has written that the appropriation of indigenous culture by Pakeha was a way of acquiring authenticity as New Zealanders with a separate identity to that of the British. P. J. Wilson, pp. 184-188.] Cora wrote in a draft for a radio talk, 'There is no need for us New Zealanders to borrow greatly from Red Indian lore and names, nor from those wonderfully told jungle tales from India, we have great wealth to draw upon from our own Maori Legends.'59 [Cora Wilding Papers [1.23] [misc.]. Macmillan Brown Library.] Furthermore, Cora believed that 'the culture of every nation must arise out of its background' which was an idea taken from Cowan and Pomare, and thus the stories of other nations were irrelevant to New Zealanders and their developing sense of nationhood -- the jungle tales being the stories used at the Scout camps, and the Red Indian names and stories being used at American camps.60 [Ibid.] New Zealand then, needed its own identity through stories and names, different to those used at the other camps and rather than embracing a British identity, explicitly at least, Cora turned to the indigenous culture of the Maori. The Sunlight League emblem involved the appropriation of the legend of Maui, who snared the sun so that it would travel slower across the sky to allow womankind the benefit of its (for the Sunlight League version) health-giving rays. Cora herself designed the Maori carvings to be used at Te Wai Pounamu Girls' College, and as has been noted, believed that the Maori were at once paintable and promising of a worthy contribution to New Zealand art as artists in their own right.61 [Cora designed the school chapel alter cross, the vases and candlesticks using Maori motifs. Cora Wilding Papers [4.5] [box 1] [misc.]. Macmillan Brown Library.] Cora frequently wrote to Johannes Andersen asking advice regarding the authenticity of images and the appropriateness of Maori names for camps and plays.62 [Cora also wrote to a Mr McDonald with concern over the meaning of the figure she was going to use in a design for Te Waipounamu as the Rev. McWilliams was worried that it may have been a representation of an evil Maori spirit. Cora Wilding Papers [4.1] [correspondence] From McDonald to Cora, '2416/27'. Macmillan Brown Library.] Maori songs were performed by Sunlight League Camp children at the fund-raising Garden Parties, and those Maori children who attended Sunlight League Camps performed Maori dances for the other girls around camp fires.63 ['We had our first campfire last night, and the children loved it, and recited and sang and danced in neat formation and the two dear little Maori girls ended it with quite an exciting haka which was the item of the evening.' Cora Wilding Papers [4.2] [correspondence] From Cora to Mrs Wilding, Jan 10th. Macmillan Brown Library.] All of which would seem to point to the Pakeha appropriation of Maori culture for their own ends in an act of linguistic colonisation. It seems however, that while other New Zealand camps were mainly for Pakeha children, Cora willingly took Maori children on camp -- photographs show Maori within the groups, and obviously they were attending camp if Maori songs were performed by the children. This then, adds another dimension to Cora's use of Maori naming within the context of the camps. She was looking to unite the races in the land which they both were to inhabit but also to make Christchurch children, most of whom would have never seen a Maori, aware of the other -- 'awareness' for Cora, and the consequent 'understanding', being the path to peace and inter-racial harmony. This type of belief in harmonious inter-relation is a matrixial understanding of a world which is fulfilled in democratic peace. In her own way, Cora was working towards a sense of bi-cultural nationalism for the children of New Zealand.

-- Beauty of Health: Cora Wilding and the Sunlight League. A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in History in the University of Canterbury, by Nadia Gush, University of Canterbury, 2003


Cora Hilda Blanche Wilding MBE (15 November 1888 – 8 October 1982) was a New Zealand physiotherapist and artist, best remembered for her advocacy of outdoor activities and children’s health camps in the 1930s. She was instrumental in the founding of The Sunlight League in 1930, for which she held fundraising garden parties at "Fownhope", the Wilding family home in St Martins, Christchurch, and also the Youth Hostel Association of New Zealand in 1932. She had trained as a physiotherapist in Dunedin during World War I, and been introduced to youth hostels during her extensive European travels in the 1920s when she painted and studied outdoor activities.

Wilding was born in Christchurch, the son of Frederick and Julia Wilding, and a sister of tennis player Tony Wilding.[1] Her indulgent father was a lawyer, and an athlete and cricket and tennis player. She was educated at Nelson College for Girls, where she was captain of the hockey team and school tennis champion.


She retired as a physiotherapist in 1948, and moved from Christchurch to Kaikoura, where she painted for many years. She was made a patron of the Youth Hostel Association of New Zealand in 1938 and a life member in 1968. In the 1952 New Year Honours, she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to the community.[2] The first Christchurch youth hostel (1965–1997), formerly Avebury House the Flesher home, was called the "Cora Wilding Youth Hostel" in her honour. [3]


1. Taonga, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu. "Wilding, Cora Hilda Blanche". Retrieved 2020-01-28.
2. "No. 39423". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 1951. pp. 41–43.
3. "James Flesher, Avebury House". Christchurch City Library. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
• Cora and Co: The first half-century of New Zealand youth hostelling by Dion Crooks (1982, Youth Hostel Association of New Zealand)

External links

• Cora Wilding in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
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Sir William Arbuthnot Lane, 1st Baronet
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Accessed: 4/6/20

Sir William Arbuthnot Lane, 1st Baronet
Born: 4 July 1856
Died: 16 January 1943

Sir William Arbuthnot Lane, Bt, CB, FRCS, Legion of Honour (4 July 1856 – 16 January 1943), was a British surgeon and physician. He mastered orthopaedic, abdominal, and ear, nose and throat surgery, while designing new surgical instruments toward maximal asepsis. He thus introduced the "no-touch technique", and some of his designed instruments remain in use.

Lane pioneered internal fixation of displaced fractures, procedures on cleft palate, and colon resection and colectomy to treat "Lane's disease"—now otherwise termed colonic inertia, which he identified in 1908—which surgeries were controversial but advanced abdominal surgery. During World War I, as an officer with the Royal Army Medical Corps, he organised and opened Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup, which pioneered reconstructive surgery. The late-Victorian and Edwardian periods' preeminent surgeon, Lane operated on socialites, politicians, and royalty. Lane thus attained baronetcy in 1913.

In the early 1920s, as an early advocate of dietary prevention of cancer, Lane met medical opposition, resigned from British Medical Association, and founded the New Health Society, the first organisation practising social medicine. Through newspapers and lectures, sometimes drawing large crowds, Lane promoted whole foods, fruits and vegetables, sunshine and exercise: his plan to foster health and longevity via three bowel movements daily. Tracing diverse diseases to modern civilization, he urged the people to return to farmland.

what preserved the unique character of these individual landscapes and gave them their peculiar characteristics was the peasantry that had been preserved in them. A city like Munich, for example, did not receive its Bavarian quality from its monuments or its other peculiarities, for any other German tribe could perhaps have developed these things in its cities. Rather, what we come upon in Munich as typically Bavarian -- as was the case a hundred years ago and before -- are the Bavarian peasants, who today still live on their farms the way their forefathers lived for centuries and who still send their sons to Munich. And what I say here about the Bavarian peasant also applies to the peasantry of every other German tribe. It was on the old peasant landholdings, whose economic structure has in most cases remained unchanged for five hundred years, that German man acquired the special quality of his racial stock. Wherever the generation which occupies such old peasant landholdings clung to the customs of their fathers, there grew the individual German racial uniqueness which today still embodies and represents the variety and multifariousness of German Volk life. No German city can make the same claim. For no German city can produce evidence that the people now living within its walls are authentic blood descendants of those who centuries before gave the city its characteristic stamp. Undoubtedly, however, on our German peasant landholdings there sit, if not the direct, at least the indirect descendants of those who cultivated the soil there centuries before. Here is anchored the eternalness of a racial stock of unique character. When a few weeks ago someone in South Germany said that the Hereditary Health Law' would do more to guarantee the unique character of the racial stock than any kind of regional particularism could ever have done, he was absolutely correct. One can say that the blood of a people digs its roots deep into the homeland earth through its peasant landholdings, from which it continuously receives that life-endowing strength which constitutes its special character.

-- Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich, by George L. Mosse

For his New Health, Lane eventually became viewed as a crank. Lane's explanation of the association between constipation and illness as due to autointoxication is generally regarded by gastroenterologists as wholly fictitious. And Lane's earlier surgeries for chronic constipation have been depicted as baseless. Yet constipation remains a major health problem associating with diverse signs and symptoms, including psychological—sometimes still explained as Lane's disease—and total colectomy has been revived since the 1980s as a mainstream treatment, although dietary intervention is now the first line of action.

Intestinal autointoxication: The idea that putrefaction of the stools causes disease, i.e., intestinal autointoxication, originated with physicians in ancient Egypt. They believed that a putrefactive principle associated with feces was absorbed in to the general circulation, where it acted to produce fever and pus. This description of the materia peccans represented the earliest forerunner of our present notion of endotoxin and its effect. The ancient Greeks extended the concept of putrefaction to involve not only the residues of food, but also those of bile, phlegm, and blood, incorporating it into their humoral theory of disease. During the 19th century, the early biochemical and bacteriologic studies lent credence to the idea of ptomaine poisoning--that degradation of protein in the colon by anerobic bacteria generated toxic amines. Among the leading proponents of autointoxication was Metchnikoff, who hypothesized that intestinal toxins shortened lifespan. The toxic process, however, was reversed by the consumption of lactic acid-producing bacteria that changed the colonic microflora and prevented proteolysis. The next logical step in treatment followed in the early 20th century when surgeons, chief among them Sir W. Arbuthnot Lane, performed colectomy to cure intestinal autointoxication. By the 1920s, the medical doctrine fell into disrepute as scientific advanced failed to give support. However, the idea persists in the public mind, probably as an extension of the childhood habit of toilet training.

-- Intestinal autointoxication: a medical leitmotif, by Chen TS1, Chen PS

Life and career


William Arbuthnot Lane was born in 1856 in Fort George near Inverness, Scotland, as the eldest of the eight children of Benjamin Lane,[1][2] a military surgeon enlisted to the British Empire.[3] William attended schools in eight countries on four continents—Ireland, India, Corfu, Malta, Canada, South Africa, and others—while his family followed the army regiment.[1][3] Amid his mother's bearing seven children in rapid succession after him, William was often left in the care of military personnel.[3] At age 12, he was sent to boarding school at Stanley House School, Bridge of Allan in Scotland.[4]


In 1872, his father arranged for him, age 16, to study medicine at Guy's Hospital.[1][2] Apparently shy and appearing young even for his age, William initially had some troubles with fellow students, but they rapidly recognized his exceptional abilities.[2][4] Soon, he was persuaded to switch to surgery, however, a surer career than medicine.[1][4] Later, he received the degrees bachelor of medicine and master of surgery from the University of London.[2][4]


In 1877, at age 21, he qualified as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons,[2] and began to practise in Chelsea, London, at the Victoria Hospital for Children.[1][5] In 1883, Lane became a Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons and joined Great Ormond Street Hospital,[2] where he was consultant until 1916.[1] In 1888,[6] at age 32, Lane returned to Guy's Hospital as anatomy demonstrator and assistant surgeon, and remained with Guy's for most of his career.[1][2]

Lane became especially known for internal fixation of displaced fractures, neonatal repair of cleft palate, and developing colectomy,[2] which, although highly controversial and opposed by most surgical peers, notably advanced abdominal surgery.[7] Lane collaborated with Down Brothers to design a number of surgical instruments, including screw driver, periosteal elevator, tissue forceps, intestinal anastomosis clamp, bone-holding forceps, and osteotome.[8] For his surgery on British royalty, he was awarded baronetcy in 1913.[1]

Lane became an officer in Royal Army Medical Corps, head of army surgery,[9] during World War I (1914–18).[8] For this work as consulting surgeon in Aldershot at the Cambridge Military Hospital and for opening Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup—where, overcoming government resistance to fund it, he gave Harold Gillies a ward where Gillies pioneered reconstructive surgery[9]—Lane was appointed Companion of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath.[1] In 1920, rather soon after returning from wartime service, Lane retired from Guy's Hospital, yet continued private practice out his home office.[2]

Sir William Arbuthnot Lane, 1st Baronet


He first published in 1883, seven years after starting his surgery career.[10] He published about 189 articles, including 72 on fractures, 16 on harelip and cleft palate, many others on other subjects, and, after year 1903, 89 articles directly on chronic intestinal stasis—which, like many Victorians, Lane experienced.[10] He wrote several books, including one on cleft palate, one on surgery for chronic intestinal stasis, and one on New Health.[10] Not for print, his autobiography—manuscript dated March 1936, soon before his 80th birthday—was written for family at the urging of his children.[8][11]


William's first wife, Charlotte Jane Briscoe—daughter of John Briscoe, himself son of Major Briscoe—bore Irene Briscoe in 1890 and Eileen Caroline in 1893, both in St Olave parish.[12] At age 78, Charlotte Jane died in 1935. Sir Lane's daughter Eileen was married to Nathan Mutch, whose sister was Jane Mutch. In 1935, Sir Lane married Jane Mutch (who died in 1966 at age 82).


Lane was tall, rather thin, seemingly aged slowly, his reactions were often difficult to discern,[1] and yet he often exhibited strong opinions.[2] It was often said that Lane was George Bernard Shaw's model for the scurrilous surgeon, Cutler Walpole—obsessed with excising the "nuciform sac", said to be nickname for the colon—in Shaw's play The Doctor's Dilemma.[13][14] Yet the play was nearly surely about Sir Almroth Wright, whom Lane knew well.[13] After Lane's death, Shaw stated that the play was published long before he had ever heard of Lane, but still regarded Lane's bowel surgeries as "monstrous".[13] And the play well suggests the view of Lane as held by many of Lane's contemporaries.[13]

After 1924, abandoning his private medical practice as well as surgery, Lane's public devotion was social medicine and public education on dietary and lifestyle subversion of constipation and promotion of general wellbeing, his New Health.[15] Of diverse interests, Lane traveled frequently, often visiting America, while gaining friends and colleagues internationally.[2] Among his associates and acquaintances were Alexis Carrel, John Benjamin Murphy, Elie Metchnikoff, Sir James Mackenzie, William Worrall Mayo and sons William James Mayo and Charles Horace Mayo of Mayo Clinic fame.[8]

Quotes of Lane by his Guy's Hospital house surgeon and biographer, William E Tanner:[16]

• The man whose first question, after what he considers to be a right course of action has presented itself, is What will people say? is not the man to do anything at all.
• If you get a rude letter, always send a polite one back. It's much better.
• If everyone believes a thing, it is probably untrue!


He died at his home[17], 46 Westbourne Terrace, Paddington, London, W2.[18]

Medical spotlight

Surgery master

By 1886, Lane authored a surgery textbook.[19] In 1889 in America at Johns Hopkins University's medical school, William Halsted, a pioneer of abdominal surgery, introduced surgical gloves, and then contracted Goodyear Rubber Company to manufacture thin ones to preserve hands' tactile sensitivity.[2] In the 1890s, glove use still uncommon, Lane introduced long surgical instruments to keep even gloves off of tissues.[2] In his open reductions and plating of fractured bones, Lane introduced the "no-touch technique".[20] Thus pioneering aseptic surgery, an advance beyond antiseptic surgery, Lane enabled new surgeries previously too dangerous.[21]

Widely renowned, Lane's surgical skill exhibited imperturbable calm at difficulties encountered during the operations.[1] A contemporary noted "the originality of his procedures and the smoothness, ease, and perfection of technic that proclaimed a real master, a master who dared where others quailed and who succeeded where others would have failed without his skill, his precision, and the confidence with which he planned and executed his operations".[2] Although most of Lane's surgical career was attended by controversy, it could not be denied that—with but the possible exception of Sir Frederick Treves—Lane was London's best surgeon as to technique.[7]

Internal fixation

Only anecdotal reports of using internal fixation to set displaced fractures predate Joseph Lister's 1865 introduction of antiseptic surgery, whereupon Lister reported silver wire on a displaced petellar fracture.[2] Yet even before radiography, Lane had found that conventional setting by manipulation and splints yielded poor outcomes—bone disunion and joint changes or wear in individuals under much physical activity—and Lane started using wires and screws in 1892.[2] Amid the conservative medical community's vehement opposition, Lane's approach was so revolutionary that organizations certifying surgeons sometimes automatically dismissed students able to elaborate on such procedures, as nearly 50% of patients whose closed fractures were opened died by ensuing infections.[22] Yet with not antiseptic, but aseptic, surgical techniques, previously unheard of, Lane forged ahead.

In the meantime, other surgeons' poor results, such as sepsis causing failed union, were sometimes erroneously associated with Lane.[2] The British Medical Association appointed a committee to investigate Lane's practise—and ruled in Lane's favour.[22] Whereas other surgeons would attempt asepsis but lapse, perhaps touching an unsterilized surface, Lane's utterly fastidious protocol was unrelenting.[22] His 1905 book The Operative Treatment of Fractures reported good results.[2] And in 1907, Lane introduced plates, made of steel.[2] (Stainless steel, discovered the next decade, was not widely used in medicine or surgery until much later.)[2] And later, Lane's assertion of frequent disunion via nonsurgical intervention was vindicated by radiography.[2] Altogether, Lane's influence introducing internal fixation rivals and may exceed that of other, early pioneers like Albin Lambotte and later William O'Neill Sherman.[2]

Intestinal stasis


At 1886, Russian emigrant Elie Metchnikoff—discoverer of phagocytes mediating innate immunity—was welcomed to Paris by Louis Pasteur with an entire floor at the Pasteur Institute.[23] As did Paul Ehrlich—theorist on antibody mediating acquired immunity—and as did Pasteur, Metchnikoff believed nutrition to influence immunity.[23] Sharing Pasteur's vision of science as a means to combat humankind's woes, Metchnikoff brought France its first yogurt cultures, aiming its probiotic microorganisms to suppress the colon's putrefactive microorganisms allegedly causing toxic seepage, autointoxication.[23][24][25] Later the Pasteur Institute's director and a 1908 Nobelist, Metchnikoff viewed the colon as a primitive organ that had stored our wild ancestors' waste for long periods, a survival advantage amid abundant predators, but a liability since civilization had freed humans to excrete without peril.[26] Metchnikoff predicted the colon's evolutionary shrinkage until, allegedly alike the appendix, it became vestigial.[26] Metchnikoff's book La Vie Humaine foresaw a courageous surgeon removing the colon.[27] Lane and Metchnikoff met in Lane's home.[28]

The pioneer British psychiatrist Henry Maudsley asserted much "evidence that organic morbid poisons bred in the organism or in the blood itself may act in the most baneful manner upon the supreme nervous centers. The earliest and mildest mental effect by which a perverted state of blood declares itself is not in the production of positive delusion or incoherence of thought, but in a modification of mental tone", then perhaps "a chronic delusion of some kind", though "its more acute action is to produce more or less active delirium and general incoherence of thought".[29] Famed British surgeon William Hunter incriminated oral sepsis in 1900, and lectured to a Canadian medical faculty in Montreal in 1910.[30] Two years later, Chicago physician Frank Billings termed it focal infection.[30] Within the English-speaking world, the lectures of Hunter and of Billings "ignited the fires of focal infection",[30] whose theory converged with the autointoxication principle.[25][31][32]

Since 1875, American medical doctor John Harvey Kellogg in Battle Creek, Michigan, at his huge sanitarium—advertised as "University of Health", staffing some 800 to 1 000, and yearly receiving several thousand patients, including US Presidents and celebrities—had battled degeneration and disease by fending off bowel sepsis.[31][33] In the early 20th century, rebuking alleged "health faddists" like Kellogg and Sylvester Graham, American physicians who embraced focal infection theory cast themselves in the German tradition of "scientific medicine".[34] Kellogg argued that German researchers ostensibly repudiated the autointoxication principle, but, by using different terminology, supported it circuitously.[33] Since French pathologist Charles Jacques Bouchard, in his 1887 book,[35] coined the term autointoxication,[26] French researchers had investigated and openly advocated the principle,[33][36] already presaged by multiple researchers in Europe and America.[32] Meanwhile, British surgeons still knife-happy, Hunter warned of "intestinal stasis" impairing mental stability, and called for "surgical bacteriology".[29]


In 1908, Lane reported a syndrome of severe chronic constipation, often with dysfunction of pelvic muscles and obstructed defecation—invariably with psychological dysfunction, impairing quality of life, but affecting mostly women—a syndrome soon termed Lane disease, yet now otherwise termed slow transit constipationas well as colonic inertia.[37][38][39][40] That same year, Lane treated it by surgery.[41][42] The following year, Lane's book The Operative Treatment of Chronic Constipation was published in London.[43] Lane began with colon bypass, and then, at insufficient improvements, performed total colectomy.[14][44] Famed for an appendectomy saving England's monarch, Lane warned of "chronic intestinal stasis"—its "flooding of the circulation with filthy material", thus autointoxication—warnings taken seriously by the public.[24]

Such views on the colon, constipation, and autointoxication were standard in the medical profession, yet disagreement raged over the proper explanation and the proper intervention, and so controversy trailed Lane's surgeries.[45] Apparently, Lane had had trouble publishing in the British Medical Journal and in The Lancet his first articles on chronic intestinal stasis.[10] Some who endorsed the autointoxication principle interpreted constipation to have a role in it, but a role "obscure", as some thought the drying of fecal matter to diminish putrefaction, but the stasis of the small bowel, rather, to be the especial source of autointoxication.[46] In any case, most surgeons opposed Lane's operating on constipation.[7]

The Royal Society of Medicine called a 1913 meeting, but, despite some 60 synonyms circulating for autointoxication from varying perspectives, suggested neutrality by choosing none and introducing a new term, alimentary toxæmia.[27] Several authors, including Lane, presented papers, whereupon some two dozen responded from April to May.[47] There, "chronic intestinal stasis received its deathblow", when a Fellow's severely antagonistic speech, apparently influencing the course of Lane's career, preempted Lane's opening a surgery school.[27] World War I broke out in 1914, diverting the attention of Lane, newly head of army surgery.[9] Returning from war service, Lane retired from Guy's Hospital in 1920, and continued in private practice.[2] From then onward, Lane wrote almost only on chronic intestinal stasis.[10] Meanwhile, focal infection theory—a primary means of interpreting the autointoxication principle—was "coming of age".[48]

In 1916, Henry Cotton in America had embraced focal infection theory with unmatched zeal, became the first to apply it to psychiatry,[29] and rapidly rose to international fame for prescribing removal of dentition, sex glands, and internal organs—most controversially the colon—to treat schizophrenia and manic depression, while claiming up to some 80% cure rate, seemingly worth the 30% death rate.[14] (Soon, independent investigators ventured to Cotton's facility and performed, it seems, psychiatry's first two controlled clinical trials, finding Cotton's claims false.)[14][49][50][51] In 1923, on his European lecture tour, Cotton arrived in Britain, where he learned from Lane an improved surgical technique[14]—as well as a new, far less radical surgical procedure.[52] In autumn 1923, Lane had performed the first 19 "pericolic membranotomies", putatively releasing intestinal adhesions.[52] Wherever apparently possible, Lane replaced colon bypass and colectomy with pericolic membranotomy.[52]

New Health

In the early 1920s, Lane began advocating cancer prevention through diet,[53][54] but, thereby drawing conflict with the British Medical Association, resigned from the association in 1924,[1] renouncing his lucrative private medical and surgical practice, some 10 000 pounds a year.[24] In 1925, Lane founded the New Health Society, the first organised body for social medicine,[2] which German pathologist and statesman Rudolf Virchow had pioneered in late 19th century to undo disease's sociopolitical causes. The term New Health largely referred to nonsurgical healthcare against constipation.[10] With advertising by physicians being forbidden, Lane averted disciplining by the General Medical Council by having his name deleted from the Medical Register.[2][7] Lane then promoted his views on healthful lifestyle and nutrition, including return to farmland, ample sunlight exposure, ample exercise, greater intake of whole foods, particularly grains, vegetables, and fruits, and nutritional yeast for B vitamins—Lane's plan to foster defecation thrice daily, cancer prevention, general health, and longevity.[1][24][55] Meanwhile, colectomy for constipation was abandoned amid low success rates but high complication rates.[39]

New Health Society sought to transform the "rapidly degenerating community" into a "nation composed of healthy, vigorous members".[15] Blending a utopian vision, progressive gender ideology, social darwinist rhetoric, and eugenic rationales—which, altogether, reflected the period's prevailing framework[56][57][58][59]—New Health Society's view, not hereditarian, however, depicted humankind's regeneration as pivoting on health education.[15] Sidestepping issues of poverty and inequality, it took health as a personal responsibility and duty of citizenship, whereby health and happiness were attainable by all who consumed a high-fibre diet, exercised, and got ample sunshine, while using birth control and reforming men's dress.[15] Although embracing modern science, technology, and mass media, New Health Society suggested valorisation of "native" culture, and found the bowels central to health, while constipation anchored many of civilisation's ills.[15] Lane said that his lecture in Oldham, Lancashire, was "packed by three thousand or more people", and "that many people had to be carried out fainting, while outside mounted policemen were kept busy holding back and controlling the crowd who wished to force their way into the hall".[24]


Seven years before his 1943 death, Lane's autobiography explained himself as a man "acting upon the repeated request of his children that I should write for them a rough sketch of my life", although "it can be of no interest to others".[8] Rather, two of his former house surgeons at Guy’s Hospital—first W. E. Tanner and later T. B. Layton—would borrow from it to author biographies on Lane.[8][60] By then, however, consensus had formed that Lane's surgeries to treat constipation had been misguided, and perhaps even Lane himself had concluded so.[7] By 1982, colectomy for constipation was declared "clinically futile".[44] And yet, in Lane's lifetime, it was instead his New Health, including his claims that modern society was ruining health, whereby Lane became, at last, viewed as a crank.[24]


The autointoxication principle became an alleged myth scientifically discredited, while interventions to subvert it were deemed quackery.[25][44][61][62][63][64] Lane's rationale and his era's very notion of autointoxication have been depicted as wholly unfounded and irrational[65] or "illogical,"[66] due to a pervasive psychological effect of toilet training[25] or a figment of the Victorian era's culture.[65] Yet by the late 1990s, the autointoxication concept and thereby colon cleansing was being renewed in alternative healthcare, allegedly upon a fictitious basis.[14][62][64][67] Combating alleged myths, some gastroenterologists asserted that "no evidence" supports the autointoxication concept that toxins are absorbed from waste in the large intestine.[67]

In basic research, if freed from its simplistic reduction to constipation, the autointoxication principle has now been substantially supported as an independent mechanism whereby gastrointestinal microorganisms contain or produce toxins exhibiting systemic effects—as by transmigration into circulation and driving systemic inflammation—effects that include the psychological.[36][68][69][70][71][72][73][74][75][76][77][78][79] Apparent instances of autointoxication associate not merely with constipation, however, but principally with alternating constipation and diarrhea,[36] as Lane had noted in his 1908 paper that described constipation as but the earlier, underlying etiological factor whereby autointoxication may incite diarrhea, too.[41][44]


There is much disagreement over the meaning of constipation, far overreported by the general public versus conventional medical criteria—under two defecations per week.[80] Despite the general public's remaining prevalence of belief that maintaining good health requires defecation at least daily, many constipated individuals apparently are quite healthy—some even defecating under once a week—whereas others who defecate daily are unhealthy.[80]

Still, constipation remains a "major health problem".[81] Gastroenterologists attribute chronic constipation's associated signs and symptoms to slow colon transit, to irritable bowel syndrome, to pelvic floor dysfunction[82]—apparently a cause of refractory constipation in adolescents, too[83]—or to obstructed defecation, which along with slow colon transit have remained incompletely understood.[84] Individuals have varied complaints and try many remedies for signs and symptoms.[84]

Treating constipation, gastroenterologists' first line of intervention is now dietary—whole foods, principally vegetables, fruits, and grains—or fiber supplements.[85][86] Meanwhile, roles for lifestyle—exercise, mindset, socioeconomic status—have been recognized,[85][86] although some gastroenterologists as recently as 2012 have claimed that there is "no evidence" supporting a role for exercise.[87] Some 15% to 30% of constipation patients exhibit slow colon transit,[38] which laxatives and medical drugs do not amend.[40] Thus, refractory constipation is sometimes treated surgically reportedly successfully,[81][88][89][90][91][92][93] but sometimes successfully,[84] or even worsening abdominal pain.[94]

Lane disease

The syndrome that Lane reported in 1908, "Lane disease" or "Arbuthnot Lane disease", is now usually termed by gastroenterologists either slow transit constipation or slow colon transit or colonic inertia,[39] exhibited by some 15% to 30% of constipation patients.[38] By 1985, Lane's early article on surgical treatment of chronic constipation had become a classic,[95] while physiologic testing and more accurate patient selection renewed interest in total colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis—that is, removing the entire large intestine and joining the small intestine's outlet to the rectum—to treat colonic inertia, Lane disease.[39][96] By now, gastroenterology's accepted view is that, although few patients meet the selection criteria, surgery ought to be offered as a treatment option for severe chronic constipation.[97] Selection criteria ought to be extremely stringent, including multiple confirmation of slow colon transit by physiologic testing, and further medical, psychological, and psychosocial evaluations, with patients understanding that colectomy might not improve the condition and might even worsen abdominal pain.[94]


Willie Lane was among the last surgeons of an era where one could master three specialties—orthopaedic, abdominal, and ear nose and throat—and some of his designed surgical instruments are still used today.[8] Lane's introduction of the "no-touch technique", which permitted aseptic surgery, is perhaps his greatest contribution to surgery.[20] Even in the 21st century, particular descriptions by Lane "should be required reading by orthopaedic surgeons".[8] Lane's life ought to interest historians of medicine[7] as well as believers in holistic medicine.[8] In his time, some thought Lane a genius, while others disagreed, including Sir Arthur Keith who claimed him not clever but carried by faith.[27] In any event, Lane can be characterised as "a crusader, a perfectionist, and an extraordinarily talented surgeon".[27]


1. "Sir William Arbuthnot Lane (1856–1943)", Historic Hospital Admission Records Project (HHARP), Website access: 1 Oct 2003.
2. Brand, Richard A. (2009). "Sir William Arbuthnot Lane, 1856–1943". Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. 467 (8): 1939–43. doi:10.1007/s11999-009-0861-3. PMC 2706364. PMID 19418106.
3. González-Crussi, Carrying the Heart (Kaplan, 2009), p 73.
4. Mostofi, Who's Who in Orthopedics (Springer, 2005).
5. "Victoria Hospital for Children in the 1960s—20th Century", Virtual Museum, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Website access: 1 Oct 2013: "Victoria Hospital for Sick Children was opened in 1866. A group of local residents raised funds to convert Gough House into a hospital for 'poor afflicted children'. The first medical officer was Sir William Jenner, physician to Queen Victoria. It was enlarged in 1875. By 1890 the outpatients' department was treating 1,500 children a week. New buildings were added in 1905 providing 100 beds. It became part of the St George's Hospital group and moved to the main hospital in Tooting in 1964. This photograph shows the hospital shortly before its demolition in 1966".
6. HHARP states 1882, yet R Brand states 1888, a conflict the present author[who?] judges, by synthesizing both recounts of events, to favor 1888.
7. Bashford, Spectator, 1946 (Website access: 2 Oct 2013).
8. Louis K T Fu, Review: "The memoirs of Sir William Arbuthnot Lane", Bone & Joint, British Editorial Society of Bone & Joint Surgery, Website access: 2 Oct 2013.
9. Nicolson, Great Silence (Grove/Atlantic, 2009).
10. Dally, Fantasy Surgery (Rodopi, 1996), p 86.
11. Dally, Fantasy Surgery (Rodopi, 1996), p 85.
12. FreeBMD.
13. Dally, Fantasy Surgery (Rodopi, 1996), pp 152–53, quotes Shaw's letter dated 13 Mar 1948: "I never met AL. Cutler Walpole was in print years before I ever heard of Lane. You have been misled by the fact that Lane became known for inventing and practising the operation of shortcircuiting the bowels by cutting out yards of colon: a surgical monstrosity which obsessed him as the nuciform sac obsesses Walpole".
14. Wessely, S. (2009). "Surgery for the treatment of psychiatric illness: The need to test untested theories". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 102 (10): 445–51. doi:10.1258/jrsm.2009.09k038. PMC 2755332. PMID 19797603.
15. Zweiniger-Bargielowska, I. (2007). "Raising a Nation of 'Good Animals': The New Health Society and Health Education Campaigns in Interwar Britain". Social History of Medicine. 20 (1): 73–89. doi:10.1093/shm/hkm032.
16. Ole D Enersen, "Sir William Arbuthnot Lane", Whonamedit? (A dictionary of medical eponyms), Website access: 2 Oct 2013.
17. "Sir Wm. Lane, Surgeon, Dies". The Boston Globe. 18 January 1943. p. 2. Retrieved 16 June 2019 – via
18. "Lane, Sir William Arbuthnot (1856 - 1943)". Plarr's Lives of the Fellows. 30 July 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2019 – via
19. W Arbuthnot Lane, Manual of Operative Surgery (London: G Bell and Sons, 1886).
20. Fu, K.-T. L. (2008). "William Arbuthnot Lane (1856–1943) and Kenelm Hutchinson Digby (1884–1954): A tale of two universities". Journal of Medical Biography. 16 (1): 7–12. doi:10.1258/jmb.2006.006060. PMID 18463059.
21. González-Crussi, Carrying the Heart (Kaplan, 2009), p 74–75.
23. Tauber & Chernyak, Metchnikoff and the Origins of Immunology (Oxford, 1991), pp viii, 11.
24. Scull, Madhouse (Yale U P, 2005), p 34.
25. Chen, Thomas S. N.; Chen, Peter S. Y. (1989). "Intestinal Autointoxication". Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 11 (4): 434–41. doi:10.1097/00004836-198908000-00017. PMID 2668399.
26. González-Crussi, Carrying the Heart (Kaplan, 2009), pp 76–78.
27. Dally, Fantasy Surgery (Rodopi, 1996), p 88.
28. Walter Gratzer, The Undergrowth of Science: Delusion, Self-Deception, and Human Frailty (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp 143–147.
29. Scull, Madhouse (Yale U P, 2005), p 37.
30. Ingle, PDQ Endodontics, 2nd edn (People's Medical, 2009), p xiv.
31. Scull, Madhouse (Yale U P, 2005), pp 34–36.
32. Noll, American Madness (Harvard U P, 2011), pp 117–21.
33. John H Kellogg, Autointoxication Or Intestinal Toxemia, 2nd edn (Battle Creek MI: Modern Medicine Publishing, 1919), "Preface", pp 3–11.
34. Scull, Madhouse (Yale U P, 2005), p 33.
35. Charles J Bouchard, Leçons sur les auto-intoxications dans les maladies (Paris: Librairie F Savy, 1887), which translates as Lectures on Auto-Intoxication in Disease.
36. Bested, Alison C; Logan, Alan C; Selhub, Eva M (2013). "Intestinal microbiota, probiotics and mental health: From Metchnikoff to modern advances: Part I—autointoxication revisited". Gut Pathogens. 5 (1): 5. doi:10.1186/1757-4749-5-5. PMC 3607857. PMID 23506618.
37. Willocx, R (1986). "L'inertie colique et le blocage rectal. (Maladie d'Arbuthnot Lane)" [Colonic inertia and rectal obstruction (Arbuthnot Lane disease)]. Annales de Gastroentérologie et d'Hépatologie (in French). 22 (6): 347–52. PMID 3545042. INIST:8052319.
38. Frattini, Jared; Nogueras, Juan (2008). "Slow Transit Constipation: A Review of a Colonic Functional Disorder". Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery. 21 (2): 146–52. doi:10.1055/s-2008-1075864. PMC 2780201. PMID 20011411.
39. Jorge, "Constipation" in Diseases of the Colon (Informa, 2007), pp 118–19.
40. WR Schouten & AF Engel, ch 19 "Motility disorders of the distal gastrointestinal tract", subch "Surgical aspects", § "Slow transit constipation without megacolon", in JJB van Lanschot, DJ Gouma, GNJ Tytgat et al, eds, Integrated Medical And Surgical Gastroenterology (New York: Thieme, 2004), p 365: "This condition, also described as colonic inertia, occurs almost entirely in women. Patients with this syndrome have infrequent defecation, two or less bowel actions per week, due to a marked prolongation of colonic transit time. Most patients develop the first symptoms around the time of their first menstruation. Sometimes, colonic inertia develops shortly after childbirth or hysterectomy. All patients with this syndrome have a colon of normal size. Routine histopathologic examination of the large bowel does not reveal any abnormality. Most patients with colonic inertia present with associated symptoms, such as general malaise, bloating, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, which interfere with the ability to work and enjoy social activities. Many patients also have gynecologic and/or urologic problems. A delay in gastric emptying and a prolonged small bowel transit have also been found, suggesting that inertia of the large bowelmight be the colonic manifestation of a gastrointestinal motility disorder. Medical treatment with laxatives, enemas and prokinetic agents, such as cisapride, does not relieve the burdensome symptoms. Retrograde colonic irrigation has limited value".
41. Lane, W. A. (1908). "Remarks on the results of the operative treatment of chronic constipation". BMJ. 1 (2455): 126–30. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.2455.126. PMC 2435825. PMID 20763645.
42. Lane, W. A. (1909). "An Address on chronic intestinal stasis". BMJ. 1 (2528): 1408–11. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.2528.1408. PMC 2319506. PMID 20764531.
43. W Arbuthnot Lane, The Operative Treatment of Chronic Constipation (London: James Nisbet & Co, 1909).
W Arburthnot Lane, The Operative Treatment of Chronic Intestinal Stasis, 3rd edn (London: James Nisbet & Co, 1915).
W Arbuthnot Lane, The Operative Treatment of Chronic Intestinal Stasis, 4th edn (London: Frowde, Hodder and Stoughton, 1918).
44. Smith, J Lacey (1982). "Sir Arbuthnot Lane, chronic intestinal stasis, and autointoxication". Annals of Internal Medicine. 96 (3): 365–9. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-96-3-365. PMID 7036818.
45. Dally, Fantasy Surgery (Rodopi, 1996), p 154.
46. Adolphe Combe & Albert Fournier, Intestinal Auto-Intoxication, English trans by William G States (London: Rebman, 1908), pp 72, 107–08, 110, 415.
47. Lawford, JB (1913). "A Discussion on Alimentary Toxaemia; its Sources, Consequences, and Treatment". Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine. 6 (Gen Rep): 121–9. doi:10.1177/003591571300600507. PMC 2007166. PMID 19976752.
48. Hunter, W. (1921). "The Coming of Age of Oral Sepsis". BMJ. 1 (3154): 859. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.3154.859. PMC 2415200. PMID 20770334.
49. Shorter, E (2011). "A brief history of placebos and clinical trials in psychiatry". Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 56 (4): 193–7. doi:10.1177/070674371105600402. PMC 3714297. PMID 21507275.
50. Kopeloff, Nicolas; Cheney, Clarence O (1922). "Studies in focal infection: Its presence and elimination in the functional psychoses". American Journal of Psychiatry. 79 (2): 139–56. doi:10.1176/ajp.79.2.139.
51. Kopeloff, Nicolas; Kirby, George H (1923). "Focal infection and mental disease". American Journal of Psychiatry. 80 (2): 149–91. doi:10.1176/ajp.80.2.149.
52. Scull, Madhouse (Yale U P, 2005), pp 126 & 259.
53. Martin Pugh, We Danced All Night (Bodley Head, 2008), p 43: "In the early 1920s Sir Arbuthnot Lane started campaigning about poor diet which he saw as a cause of cancer".
54. Lane, W. A. (1923). "An Address ON CHRONIC INTESTINAL STASIS AND CANCER". BMJ. 2 (3278): 745–7. doi:10.1136/bmj.2.3278.745. PMC 2317557. PMID 20771328.
55. Fleischmann's Yeast advertisement: "Civilization's curse can be conquered, says famous British MD in news press—Sir William Arbuthnot Lane, Bart, CB", Ottawa Citizen, 19 Sep 1928, p 15.
56. Rut C Engs, The Progressive Era's Health Reform Movement: A Historical Dictionary (Westport CT: Praeger Publishers, 2003), p 74.
57. Pernick, M S (1997). "Eugenics and public health in American history". American Journal of Public Health. 87 (11): 1767–72. doi:10.2105/AJPH.87.11.1767. PMC 1381159. PMID 9366633.
58. Scull, Andrew (1999). "The problem of mental deficiency: eugenics, democracy, and social policy in Britain c 1870–1959". Medical History. 43 (4): 527–28. doi:10.1017/S0025727300065868. PMC 1044197.
59. Reiner Grundmann & Nico Stehr, The Power of Scientific Knowledge: From Research to Public Policy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), p 77–80.
60. William E Tanner, Sir Arbuthnot Lane, Bart., C.B., M.S., F.R.C.S.: His Life and Work (London: Balliere, Tyndall and Cox, 1946).
T B Layton, Sir William Arbuthnot Lane, Bt.: An Enquiry into the Mind and Influence of a Great Surgeon (London & Edinburgh: E & S Livingstone, 1956).
61. Sullivan-Fowler, Micaela (1995). "Doubtful theories, drastic therapies: Autointoxication and faddism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries". Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences. 50 (3): 364–90. doi:10.1093/jhmas/50.3.364. PMID 7665877.
62. Ernst, E. (1997). "Colonic Irrigation and the Theory of Autointoxication: A triumph of ignorance over science". Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 24 (4): 196–8. doi:10.1097/00004836-199706000-00002. PMID 9252839.
63. Baron, J.H.; Sonnenberg, A. (2002). "The wax and wane of intestinal autointoxication and visceroptosis—historical trends of real versus apparent new digestive diseases". The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 97 (11): 2695–9. doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.2002.07050.x. PMID 12425533.
64. Stephen Barrett, "Gastrointestinal quackery: Colonics, laxatives, and more", Quackwatch, 4 Aug 2010 (last revised), Website access: 2 Oct 2013.
65. González-Crussi, Carrying the Heart (Kaplan, 2009), p 77–82.
66. Hudson, Robert P (1998). "Book Review: Fantasy Surgery, 1880–1930: With Special Reference to Sir William Arbuthnot Lane". Bulletin of the History of Medicine. 72 (1): 131–2. doi:10.1353/bhm.1998.0014.
67. Muller-Lissner, Stefan A.; Kamm, Michael A.; Scarpignato, Carmelo; Wald, Arnold (2005). "Myths and misconceptions about chronic constipation". The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 100 (1): 232–42. doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.2005.40885.x. PMID 15654804.
68. Bested, Alison C; Logan, Alan C; Selhub, Eva M (2013). "Intestinal microbiota, probiotics and mental health: From Metchnikoff to modern advances: Part II—contemporary contextual research". Gut Pathogens. 5 (1): 3. doi:10.1186/1757-4749-5-3. PMC 3601973. PMID 23497633.
69. Bested, Alison C; Logan, Alan C; Selhub, Eva M (2013). "Intestinal microbiota, probiotics and mental health: From Metchnikoff to modern advances: Part III—convergence toward clinical trials". Gut Pathogens. 5 (1): 4. doi:10.1186/1757-4749-5-4. PMC 3605358. PMID 23497650.
70. Person, John R.; Bernhard, Jeffrey D. (1986). "Autointoxication revisited". Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 15 (3): 559–63. doi:10.1016/S0190-9622(86)70207-7. PMID 3760291.
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73. Maslowski, Kendle M; MacKay, Charles R (2011). "Diet, gut microbiota and immune responses". Nature Immunology. 12 (1): 5–9. doi:10.1038/ni0111-5. PMID 21169997.
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76. Dave, Maneesh; Higgins, Peter D.; Middha, Sumit; Rioux, Kevin P. (2012). "The human gut microbiome: Current knowledge, challenges, and future directions". Translational Research. 160 (4): 246–57. doi:10.1016/j.trsl.2012.05.003. PMID 22683238.
77. Bowe, W.P.; Patel, N.B.; Logan, A.C. (2013). "Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis: From anecdote to translational medicine". Beneficial Microbes. 5 (2): 185–99. doi:10.3920/BM2012.0060. PMID 23886975.
78. Konkel, Lindsey (2013). "The Environment Within: Exploring the role of the gut microbiome in health and disease". Environmental Health Perspectives. 121 (9): A276–81. doi:10.1289/ehp.121-A276. PMC 3764083. PMID 24004817.
79. Sommer, Felix; Bäckhed, Fredrik (2013). "The gut microbiota—masters of host development and physiology". Nature Reviews Microbiology. 11 (4): 227–38. doi:10.1038/nrmicro2974. PMID 23435359.
80. Whorton, Inner Hygiene (Oxford U P, 2000), pp 7–8.
81. McCoy, Jacob; Beck, David (2012). "Surgical Management of Colonic Inertia". Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery. 25(1): 20–3. doi:10.1055/s-0032-1301755. PMC 3348730. PMID 23449085.
82. Mertz, H.; Naliboff, B.; Mayer, E. A. (1999). "Symptoms and physiology in severe chronic constipation". The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 94 (1): 131–8. doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.1999.00783.x. PMID 9934743.
83. Chitkara, Denesh K.; Bredenoord, Albert J.; Cremonini, Filippo; Delgado-Aros, Silvia; Smoot, Rory L.; El-Youssef, Mounif; Freese, Deborah; Camilleri, Michael (2004). "The Role of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Slow Colonic Transit in Adolescents with Refractory Constipation". The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 99 (8): 1579–84. doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.2004.30176.x. PMID 15307880.
84. Steele, Scott; Mellgren, Anders (2007). "Constipation and Obstructed Defecation". Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery. 20 (2): 110–7. doi:10.1055/s-2007-977489. PMC 2780173. PMID 20011385.
85. Whorton, Inner Hygiene (Oxford U P, 2000), p 6.
86. Alame, Amer; Bahna, Heidi (2012). "Evaluation of Constipation". Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery. 25 (1): 5–11. doi:10.1055/s-0032-1301753. PMC 3348731. PMID 23449159.
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88. Lubowski, D. Z.; Chen, F. C.; Kennedy, M. L.; King, D. W. (1996). "Results of colectomy for severe slow transit constipation". Diseases of the Colon & Rectum. 39 (1): 23–29. doi:10.1007/BF02048263. PMID 8601352.
89. Knowles, Charles H.; Scott, Mark; Lunniss, Peter J. (1999). "Outcome of Colectomy for Slow Transit Constipation". Annals of Surgery. 230 (5): 627–38. doi:10.1097/00000658-199911000-00004. PMC 1420916. PMID 10561086.
90. Thakur, A; Fonkalsrud, EW; Buchmiller, T; French, S (2001). "Surgical treatment of severe colonic inertia with restorative proctocolectomy". The American Surgeon. 67 (1): 36–40. PMID 11206894.
91. Liu, LW (2011). "Chronic constipation: Current treatment options". Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology. 25 Suppl B (Suppl B): 22B–28B. doi:10.1155/2011/360463. PMC 3206558. PMID 22114754.
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93. Kumar, Ashok; Lokesh, HM; Ghoshal, Uday C (2013). "Successful Outcome of Refractory Chronic Constipation by Surgical Treatment: A Series of 34 Patients". Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility. 19 (1): 78–84. doi:10.5056/jnm.2013.19.1.78. PMC 3548131. PMID 23350051.
94. Wong, Shing W.; Lubowski, David Z. (2006). "Surgical Treatment of Colonic Inertia". In Wexner, Steven D.; Duthie, Graeme S. (eds.). Constipation. pp. 145–59. doi:10.1007/978-1-84628-275-1_15. ISBN 978-1-85233-724-7.
95. Lane, Arbuthnot W (1985). "Classic articles in colonic and rectal surgery. Sir William Arbuthnot Lane 1856–1943. The results of the operative treatment of chronic constipation". Diseases of the Colon and Rectum. 28 (10): 750–7. doi:10.1007/bf02560299. PMID 3902410.
96. Piccinelli, D; Lolli, P; Carolo, F; Delaini, GG; Sussi, PL; Dagradi, V (1987). "Our experience in the surgical treatment of Arbuthnot Lane disease". Chirurgia Italiana. 39 (5): 460–5. PMID 3690782.
97. Jorge, "Constipation" in Diseases of the Colon (Informa, 2007), p 117–18.


• Bashford, H H, "Books of the day: Arbuthnot Lane", Spectator, 25 Apr 1946, pp 16–17.
• Brand, Richard A. (2009). "Sir William Arbuthnot Lane, 1856–1943". Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. 467 (8): 1939–43. doi:10.1007/s11999-009-0861-3. PMC 2706364. PMID 19418106.
• Dally, Ann, Fantasy Surgery 1880–1930 (Amsterdam & Atlanta GA: Rodopi B V, 1996).
• González-Crussi, F, Carrying the Heart: Exploring the Worlds Within Us (New York: Kaplan Publishing, 2009).
• Ingle, John I, PDQ Endodontics, 2nd edn (Shelton CT: People's Medical Publishing House, 2009).
• Mostofi, Seyed B, ed, Who's Who in Orthopedics (London: Springer-Verlag, 2005), "Sir William Arbuthnot Lane", pp 183–86.
• Nicolson, Juliet, The Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age (New York: Grove/Atlantic, 2009).
• Noll, Richard, American Madness: The Rise and Fall of Dementia Praecox (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2011).
• Pugh, Martin, We Danced All Night: A Social History of Britain Between the Wars (London: Bodley Head, 2008).
• "Sir W Arbuthnot Lane, Bt, CB, FRCS". British Medical Journal. 1 (4281): 115–17. January 1943. PMC 2282083.
• Scull, Andrew, Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005).
• Tauber, Alfred I & Leon Chernyak, Metchnikoff and the Origins of Immunology: From Metaphor to Theory (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991).
• Whorton, James C, Inner Hygiene: Constipation and the Pursuit of Health in Modern Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).
• Zweiniger-Bargielowska, I. (2007). "Raising a Nation of 'Good Animals': The New Health Society and Health Education Campaigns in Interwar Britain". Social History of Medicine. 20: 73–89. doi:10.1093/shm/hkm032.
• Jorge, J Marcio N, ch 5 "Constipation—including sigmoidocele and rectocele", in Diseases of the Colon (New York: Informa Healthcare, 2007), D Wexner Steven & Neil Stollman, eds.
• Wong, Shing W & David Z Lubowski, ch 15 "Surgical treatment of colonic inertia", in Constipation: Etiology, Evaluation and Management, 2nd edn (London: Springer-Verlag, 2006), Steven D Wexner & Graeme S Duthie, eds.

External links

• Sir William Arbuthnot Lane at Who Named It?
• Works by William Arbuthnot Lane at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about William Arbuthnot Lane at Internet Archive
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Karl Pearson
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Karl Pearson, FRS
Pearson in 1912
Born: Carl Pearson, 27 March 1857, Islington, London, England
Died: 27 April 1936 (aged 79), Coldharbour, Surrey, England
Nationality: British
Alma mater: King's College, Cambridge; University of Heidelberg
Known for: Principal component analysis; Pearson distribution; Pearson's chi-squared test; Pearson's r
Phi coefficient; The Grammar of Science
Awards: Darwin Medal (1898); Weldon Memorial Prize (1912)
Scientific career
Fields: Lawyer, Germanist, eugenicist, mathematician and statistician (primarily the last)
Institutions: University College, London; King's College, Cambridge
Academic advisors: Francis Galton
Notable students: Philip Hall; John Wishart; Julia Bell; Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen
Influenced: Albert Einstein, Henry Ludwell Moore, James Arthur Harris

Karl Pearson FRS FRSE[1] (/ˈpɪərsən/; born Carl Pearson; 27 March 1857 – 27 April 1936[2]) was an English mathematician and biostatistician. He has been credited with establishing the discipline of mathematical statistics.[3][4] He founded the world's first university statistics department at University College, London in 1911, and contributed significantly to the field of biometrics and meteorology. Pearson was also a proponent of social Darwinism and eugenics.[5] Pearson was a protégé and biographer of Sir Francis Galton. He edited and completed both William Kingdon Clifford's Common Sense of the Exact Sciences (1885) and Isaac Todhunter's History of the Theory of Elasticity, Vol. 1 (1886–1893) and Vol. 2 (1893), following their deaths.


Pearson was born in Islington, London into a Quaker family. His father was William Pearson QC of the Inner Temple, and his mother Fanny (née Smith), and he had two siblings, Arthur and Amy. Pearson attended University College School, followed by King's College, Cambridge in 1876 to study mathematics,[6] graduating in 1879 as Third Wrangler in the Mathematical Tripos. He then travelled to Germany to study physics at the University of Heidelberg under G H Quincke and metaphysics under Kuno Fischer. He next visited the University of Berlin, where he attended the lectures of the physiologist Emil du Bois-Reymond on Darwinism (Emil was a brother of Paul du Bois-Reymond, the mathematician). Pearson also studied Roman Law, taught by Bruns and Mommsen, medieval and 16th century German Literature, and Socialism. He became an accomplished historian and Germanist and spent much of the 1880s in Berlin, Heidelberg, Vienna[citation needed], Saig bei Lenzkirch, and Brixlegg. He wrote on Passion plays,[7] religion, Goethe, Werther, as well as sex-related themes,[8] and was a founder of the Men and Women's Club.[9]

Pearson with Sir Francis Galton, 1909 or 1910.

Pearson was offered a Germanics post at King's College, Cambridge. Comparing Cambridge students to those he knew from Germany, Karl found German students inathletic and weak. He wrote his mother, "I used to think athletics and sport was overestimated at Cambridge, but now I think it cannot be too highly valued."[10]

On returning to England in 1880, Pearson first went to Cambridge:

Back in Cambridge, I worked in the engineering shops, but drew up the schedule in Mittel- and Althochdeutsch for the Medieval Languages Tripos.[11]

In his first book, The New Werther, Pearson gives a clear indication of why he studied so many diverse subjects:

I rush from science to philosophy, and from philosophy to our old friends the poets; and then, over-wearied by too much idealism, I fancy I become practical in returning to science. Have you ever attempted to conceive all there is in the world worth knowing—that not one subject in the universe is unworthy of study? The giants of literature, the mysteries of many-dimensional space, the attempts of Boltzmann and Crookes to penetrate Nature's very laboratory, the Kantian theory of the universe, and the latest discoveries in embryology, with their wonderful tales of the development of life—what an immensity beyond our grasp! [...] Mankind seems on the verge of a new and glorious discovery. What Newton did to simplify the planetary motions must now be done to unite in one whole the various isolated theories of mathematical physics.[12]

Pearson then returned to London to study law, emulating his father. Quoting Pearson's own account:

Coming to London, I read in chambers in Lincoln's Inn, drew up bills of sale, and was called to the Bar, but varied legal studies by lecturing on heat at Barnes, on Martin Luther at Hampstead, and on Lassalle and Marx on Sundays at revolutionary clubs around Soho.[11]

His next career move was to the Inner Temple, where he read law until 1881 (although he never practised). After this, he returned to mathematics, deputising for the mathematics professor at King's College, London in 1881 and for the professor at University College, London in 1883. In 1884, he was appointed to the Goldsmid Chair of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics at University College, London. Pearson became the editor of Common Sense of the Exact Sciences (1885) when William Kingdon Clifford died. 1891 saw him also appointed to the professorship of Geometry at Gresham College; here he met Walter Frank Raphael Weldon, a zoologist who had some interesting problems requiring quantitative solutions.[13] The collaboration, in biometry and evolutionary theory, was a fruitful one and lasted until Weldon died in 1906.[14] Weldon introduced Pearson to Charles Darwin's cousin Francis Galton, who was interested in aspects of evolution such as heredity and eugenics. Pearson became Galton's protégé, at times to the verge of hero worship.[citation needed]

After Galton's death in 1911, Pearson embarked on producing his definitive biography — a three-volume tome of narrative, letters, genealogies, commentaries, and photographs — published in 1914, 1924, and 1930, with much of Pearson's own money paying for their print runs. The biography, done "to satisfy myself and without regard to traditional standards, to the needs of publishers or to the tastes of the reading public", triumphed Galton's life, work and personal heredity. He predicted that Galton, rather than Charles Darwin, would be remembered as the most prodigious grandson of Erasmus Darwin.

When Galton died, he left the residue of his estate to the University of London for a Chair in Eugenics. Pearson was the first holder of this chair — the Galton Chair of Eugenics, later the Galton Chair of Genetics[15]—in accordance with Galton's wishes. He formed the Department of Applied Statistics (with financial support from the Drapers' Company), into which he incorporated the Biometric and Galton laboratories. He remained with the department until his retirement in 1933, and continued to work until his death at Coldharbour, Surrey on 27 April 1936.

Pearson was a "zealous" atheist and a freethinker.[16][17]


In 1890 Pearson married Maria Sharpe. The couple had three children: Sigrid Loetitia Pearson, Helga Sharpe Pearson, and Egon Pearson, who became a statistician himself and succeeded his father as head of the Applied Statistics Department at University College. Maria died in 1928 and in 1929 Karl married Margaret Victoria Child, a co-worker at the Biometric Laboratory. He and his family lived at 7 Well Road in Hampstead, now marked with a blue plaque.[18][19]

Einstein and Pearson's work

When the 23-year-old Albert Einstein started the Olympia Academy study group in 1902, with his two younger friends, Maurice Solovine and Conrad Habicht, his first reading suggestion was Pearson's The Grammar of Science. This book covered several themes that were later to become part of the theories of Einstein and other scientists.[20] Pearson asserted that the laws of nature are relative to the perceptive ability of the observer. Irreversibility of natural processes, he claimed, is a purely relative conception. An observer who travels at the exact velocity of light would see an eternal now, or an absence of motion. He speculated that an observer who travelled faster than light would see time reversal, similar to a cinema film being run backwards. Pearson also discussed antimatter, the fourth dimension, and wrinkles in time.

Pearson's relativity was based on idealism, in the sense of ideas or pictures in a mind. "There are many signs," he wrote, "that a sound idealism is surely replacing, as a basis for natural philosophy, the crude materialism of the older physicists." (Preface to 2nd Ed., The Grammar of Science) Further, he stated, " is in reality a classification and analysis of the contents of the mind..." "In truth, the field of science is much more consciousness than an external world." (Ibid., Ch. II, § 6) "Law in the scientific sense is thus essentially a product of the human mind and has no meaning apart from man." (Ibid., Ch. III, § 4)[21]

Politics and eugenics

Karl Pearson at work, 1910.

A eugenicist who applied his social Darwinism to entire nations, Pearson saw war against "inferior races" as a logical implication of the theory of evolution. "My view – and I think it may be called the scientific view of a nation," he wrote, "is that of an organized whole, kept up to a high pitch of internal efficiency by insuring that its numbers are substantially recruited from the better stocks, and kept up to a high pitch of external efficiency by contest, chiefly by way of war with inferior races."[22] He reasoned that, if August Weismann's theory of germ plasm is correct, the nation is wasting money when it tries to improve people who come from poor stock.

Weismann claimed that acquired characteristics could not be inherited. Therefore, training benefits only the trained generation. Their children will not exhibit the learned improvements and, in turn, will need to be improved. "No degenerate and feeble stock will ever be converted into healthy and sound stock by the accumulated effects of education, good laws, and sanitary surroundings. Such means may render the individual members of a stock passable if not strong members of society, but the same process will have to be gone through again and again with their offspring, and this in ever-widening circles, if the stock, owing to the conditions in which society has placed it, is able to increase its numbers."[23]

"History shows me one way, and one way only, in which a high state of civilization has been produced, namely, the struggle of race with race, and the survival of the physically and mentally fitter race. If you want to know whether the lower races of man can evolve a higher type, I fear the only course is to leave them to fight it out among themselves, and even then the struggle for existence between individual and individual, between tribe and tribe, may not be supported by that physical selection due to a particular climate on which probably so much of the Aryan's success depended."[24]

Pearson was known in his lifetime as a prominent "freethinker" and socialist. He gave lectures on such issues as "the woman's question" (this was the era of the suffragist movement in the UK)[25] and upon Karl Marx. His commitment to socialism and its ideals led him to refuse the offer of being created an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 1920 and also to refuse a knighthood in 1935.

In The Myth of the Jewish Race[26] Raphael and Jennifer Patai cite Karl Pearson's 1925 opposition (in the first issue of the journal Annals of Eugenics which he founded) to Jewish immigration into Britain. Pearson alleged that these immigrants "will develop into a parasitic race. [...] Taken on the average, and regarding both sexes, this alien Jewish population is somewhat inferior physically and mentally to the native population".[27]

Contributions to biometrics

Karl Pearson was important in the founding of the school of biometrics, which was a competing theory to describe evolution and population inheritance at the turn of the 20th century. His series of eighteen papers, "Mathematical Contributions to the Theory of Evolution" established him as the founder of the biometrical school for inheritance. In fact, Pearson devoted much time during 1893 to 1904 to developing statistical techniques for biometry.[28] These techniques, which are widely used today for statistical analysis, include the chi-squared test, standard deviation, and correlation and regression coefficients. Pearson's Law of Ancestral Heredity stated that germ plasm consisted of heritable elements inherited from the parents as well as from more distant ancestors, the proportion of which varied for different traits.[29] Karl Pearson was a follower of Galton, and although the two differed in some respects, Pearson used a substantial amount of Francis Galton's statistical concepts in his formulation of the biometrical school for inheritance, such as the law of regression. The biometric school, unlike the Mendelians, focused not on providing a mechanism for inheritance, but rather on providing a mathematical description for inheritance that was not causal in nature. While Galton proposed a discontinuous theory of evolution, in which species would have to change via large jumps rather than small changes that built up over time, Pearson pointed out flaws in Galton's argument and actually used Galton's ideas to further a continuous theory of evolution, whereas the Mendelians favored a discontinuous theory of evolution. While Galton focused primarily on the application of statistical methods to the study of heredity, Pearson and his colleague Weldon expanded statistical reasoning to the fields of inheritance, variation, correlation, and natural and sexual selection.[30]

For Pearson, the theory of evolution was not intended to identify a biological mechanism that explained patterns of inheritance, whereas Mendelian's theory postulated the gene as the mechanism for inheritance. Pearson criticized Bateson and other biologists for their failure to adopt biometrical techniques in their study of evolution.[31] Pearson criticized biologists who did not focus on the statistical validity of their theories, stating that "before we can accept [any cause of a progressive change] as a factor we must have not only shown its plausibility but if possible have demonstrated its quantitative ability"[32] Biologists had succumb to "almost metaphysical speculation as to the causes of heredity," which had replaced the process of experimental data collection that actually might allow scientists to narrow down potential theories.[33]

For Pearson, laws of nature were useful for making accurate predictions and for concisely describing trends in observed data.[30] Causation was the experience "that a certain sequence has occurred and recurred in the past".[32] Thus, identifying a particular mechanism of genetics was not a worthy pursuit of biologists, who should instead focus on mathematical descriptions of empirical data. This, in part led to the fierce debate between the biometricians and the Mendelians, including Bateson. After Bateson rejected one of Pearson's manuscripts that described a new theory for the variability of an offspring, or homotyposis, Pearson and Weldon established Biometrika in 1902.[34] Although the biometric approach to inheritance eventually lost to the Mendelian approach, the techniques Pearson and the biometricians at the time developed are vital to studies of biology and evolution today.

Awards from professional bodies

Pearson achieved widespread recognition across a range of disciplines and his membership of, and awards from, various professional bodies reflects this:

• 1896: elected FRS: Fellow of the Royal Society[2]
• 1898: awarded the Darwin Medal[35]
• 1911: awarded the honorary degree of LLD from the University of St Andrews
• 1911: awarded a DSc from University of London
• 1920: offered (and refused) the OBE
• 1932: awarded the Rudolf Virchow medal by the Berliner Anthropologische Gesellschaft
• 1935: offered (and refused) a knighthood

He was also elected an Honorary Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, University College, London and the Royal Society of Medicine, and a Member of the Actuaries' Club. A sesquicentenary conference was held in London on 23 March 2007, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth.[3]

Contributions to statistics

Pearson's work was all-embracing in the wide application and development of mathematical statistics, and encompassed the fields of biology, epidemiology, anthropometry, medicine, psychology and social history.[36] In 1901, with Weldon and Galton, he founded the journal Biometrika whose object was the development of statistical theory.[37] He edited this journal until his death. Among those who assisted Pearson in his research were a number of female mathematicians who included Beatrice Mabel Cave-Browne-Cave and Frances Cave-Browne-Cave. He also founded the journal Annals of Eugenics (now Annals of Human Genetics) in 1925. He published the Drapers' Company Research Memoirs largely to provide a record of the output of the Department of Applied Statistics not published elsewhere.

Pearson's thinking underpins many of the 'classical' statistical methods which are in common use today. Examples of his contributions are:

• Correlation coefficient. The correlation coefficient (first developed by Auguste Bravais[38][39]. and Francis Galton) was defined as a product-moment, and its relationship with linear regression was studied.[40]
• Method of moments. Pearson introduced moments, a concept borrowed from physics, as descriptive statistics and for the fitting of distributions to samples.
• Pearson's system of continuous curves. A system of continuous univariate probability distributions that came to form the basis of the now conventional continuous probability distributions. Since the system is complete up to the fourth moment, it is a powerful complement to the Pearsonian method of moments.
• Chi distance. A precursor and special case of the Mahalanobis distance.[41]
• p-value. Defined as the probability measure of the complement of the ball with the hypothesized value as center point and chi distance as radius.[41]
• Foundations of the statistical hypothesis testing theory and the statistical decision theory.[41] In the seminal "On the criterion..." paper,[41] Pearson proposed testing the validity of hypothesized values by evaluating the chi distance between the hypothesized and the empirically observed values via the p-value, which was proposed in the same paper. The use of preset evidence criteria, so called alpha type-I error probabilities, was later proposed by Jerzy Neyman and Egon Pearson.[42]
• Pearson's chi-squared test. A hypothesis test using normal approximation for discrete data.
• Principal component analysis. The method of fitting a linear subspace to multivariate data by minimising the chi distances.[43][44]
• The first introduction of the histogram is usually credited to Pearson.[45]


• Pearson, Karl (1880). The New Werther. C, Kegan Paul & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1882). The Trinity: A Nineteenth Century Passion-play. Cambridge: E. Johnson.
• Pearson, Karl (1887). Die Fronica. Strassburg: K.J. Trübner
• Pearson, Karl (1887). The Moral Basis of Socialism. William Reeves, London.
• Pearson, Karl (1888). The Ethic of Freethought. London: T. Fisher Unwin. Rep. University Press of the Pacific, 2002.
• Pearson, Karl (1892). The Grammar of Science. London: Walter Scott. Dover Publications, 2004 ISBN 0-486-49581-7
• Pearson, Karl (1892). The New University for London: A Guide to its History and a Criticism of its Defects. London: T. Fisher Unwin.
• Pearson, K (1896). "Mathematical Contributions to the Theory of Evolution. III. Regression, Heredity and Panmixia". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. 187: 253–318. Bibcode:1896RSPTA.187..253P. doi:10.1098/rsta.1896.0007.
• Pearson, Karl (1897). The Chances of Death and Other Studies in Evolution, 2 Vol. London: Edward Arnold.
• Pearson, Karl (1904). On the Theory of Contingency and its Relation to Association and Normal Correlation. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1905). On the General Theory of Skew Correlation and Non-linear Regression. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1906). A Mathematical Theory of Random Migration. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1907). Studies in National Deterioration. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl, & Pollard, A.F. Campbell (1907). An Experimental Study of the Stresses in Masonry Dams. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1907). A First Study of the Statistics of Pulmonary Tuberculosis. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl, & Barrington, Amy (1909). A First Study of the Inheritance of Vision and of the Relative Influence of Heredity and Environment on Sight. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl; Reynolds, W. D., & Stanton, W. F. (1909). On a Practical Theory of Elliptical and Pseudo-elliptical Arches, with Special Reference to the Ideal Masonry Arch.
• Pearson, Karl (1909). The Groundwork of Eugenics. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1909). The Scope and Importance to the State of the Science of National Eugenics. London: Dalau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl, & Barrington, Amy (1910). A Preliminary Study of Extreme Alcoholism in Adults. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl, & Elderton, Ethel M. (1910). A First Study of the Influence of Parental Alcoholism on the Physique and Ability of the Offspring. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1910). The Influence of Parental Alcoholism on the Physique and Ability of the Offspring: A Reply to the Cambridge Economists. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl, & Elderton, Ethel M. (1910). A Second Study of the Influence of Parental Alcoholism on the Physique and Ability of the Offspring. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1911). An Attempt to Correct some of the Misstatements Made by Sir Victor Horsley and Mary D. Sturge, M.D. in the Criticisms of the Galton Laboratory Memoir: A First Study of the Influence of Parental Alcoholism, &c. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl; Nettleship, Edward, & Usher, Charles (1911–1913). A Monograph on Albinism in Man, 2 Vol. London: Dulau & Co., Ltd.
• Pearson, Karl (1912). The Problem of Practical Eugenics. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1912). Tuberculosis, Heredity and Environment. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1913). On the Correlation of Fertility with Social Value: A Cooperative Study. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl, & Jaederholm, Gustav A. (1914). Mendelism and the Problem of Mental Defect, II: On the Continuity of Mental Defect. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl; Williams, M.H., & Bell, Julia (1914). A Statistical Study of Oral Temperatures in School Children. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1914-24-30). The Life, Letters and Labours of Francis Galton, 3 Vol. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
• Pearson, Karl (1915). Some Recent Misinterpretations of the Problem of Nurture and Nature. Cambridge University Press.
• Pearson, Karl; Young, A.W., & Elderton, Ethel (1918). On the Torsion Resulting from Flexure in Prisms with Cross-sections of Uni-axial Symmetry Only. Cambridge University Press.
• Pearson, Karl, & Bell, Julia (1919). A Study of the Long Bones of the English Skeleton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
• Pearson, Karl (1920). The Science of Man: its Needs and its Prospects. Cambridge University Press.
• Pearson, Karl, & Karn, Mary Noel (1922). Study of the Data Provided by a Baby-clinic in a Large Manufacturing Town. Cambridge University Press.
• Pearson, Karl (1922). Francis Galton, 1822–1922: A Centenary Appreciation. Cambridge University Press.
• Pearson, Karl (1923). On the Relationship of Health to the Psychical and Physical Characters in School Children. Cambridge University Press.
• Pearson, Karl (1926). On the Skull and Portraits of George Buchanan. Edinburgh, London: Oliver & Boyd.


• Pearson, Karl (1883). "Maimonides and Spinoza". Mind. 8 (31): 338–353. doi:10.1093/mind/os-VIII.31.338.
• Pearson, Karl (1885). "On a Certain Atomic Hypothesis". Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. 14: 71–120.
• Pearson, Karl (1890). "On Wöhler's Experiments on Alternating Stress". The Messenger of Mathematics. XX: 21–37.
• Pearson, Karl (1891). "Ether Squirts". American Journal of Mathematics. 13 (4): 309–72. doi:10.2307/2369570. JSTOR 2369570.
• Pearson, Karl (1897). "On Telegony in Man," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Vol. LX, pp. 273–283.
• Pearson, Karl (1897). "On a Form of Spurious Correlation which May Arise when Indices are Used in the Measurement of Organs," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Vol. LX, pp. 489–502.
• Pearson, Karl (1899). "On the Reconstruction of the Stature of Prehistoric Races". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. 192: 169–243. Bibcode:1899RSPTA.192..169P. doi:10.1098/rsta.1899.0004.
• Pearson, Karl; Lee, Alice; Bramley-Moore, Leslie (1899). "Genetic (Reproductive) Selection". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. 192: 257–330. Bibcode:1899RSPTA.192..257P. doi:10.1098/rsta.1899.0006.
• Pearson, Karl, & Whiteley, M.A. (1899). "Data for the Problem of Evolution in Man, I: A First Study of the Variability and Correlation of the Hand," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Vol. LXV, pp. 126–151.
• Pearson, Karl, & Beeton, Mary (1899). "Data for the Problem of Evolution in Man, II: A First Study on the Inheritance of Longevity and the Selective Death-rate in Man," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Vol. LXV, pp. 290–305.
• Pearson, Karl (1900). "On the Law of Reversion," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Vol. LXVI, pp. 140–164.
• Pearson, Karl; Beeton, M., & Yule, G.U. (1900). "On the Correlation Between Duration of Life and the Number of Offspring," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Vol. LXVII, pp. 159–179.
• Pearson, Karl (1900). "On the Criterion that a Given System of Deviations from the Probable in the Case of a Correlated System of Variables is Such that it can be Reasonably Supposed to Have Arisen from Random Sampling," Philosophical Magazine, 5th Series, Vol. L, pp. 157–175.
• Pearson, Karl (1901). "On Lines and Planes of Closest Fit to Systems of Points in Space," Philosophical Magazine, 6th Series, Vol. II, pp. 559–572.
• Pearson, Karl (1902–1903). "The Law of Ancestral Heredity," Biometrika, Vol. II, pp. 221–229.
• Pearson, Karl (1903). "On a General Theory of the Method of False Position", Philosophical Magazine, 6th Series, Vol. 5, pp. 658–668.
• Pearson, Karl (1907). "On the Influence of Past Experience on Future Expectation," Philosophical Magazine, 6th Series, Vol. XIII, pp. 365–378.
• Pearson, Karl, & Gibson, Winifred (1907). "Further Considerations on the Correlations of Stellar Characters," Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. LXVIII, pp. 415–448.
• Pearson, Karl (1910). "A Myth About Edward the Confessor". The English Historical Review. 25: 517–520. doi:10.1093/ehr/xxv.xcix.517.
• Pearson, Karl (1920). "The Problems of Anthropology". The Scientific Monthly. 11 (5): 451–458. Bibcode:1920SciMo..11..451P. JSTOR 6421.
• Pearson, Karl (1930). "On a New Theory of Progressive Evolution," Annals of Eugenics, Vol. IV, Nos. 1–2, pp. 1–40.
• Pearson, Karl (1931). "On the Inheritance of Mental Disease," Annals of Eugenics, Vol. IV, Nos. 3–4, pp. 362–380.


• Pearson, Karl (1885). The Common Sense of the Exact Sciences. London: Kegan, Paul, Trench & Co. (editor).
• Pearson, Karl (1886–1893). A History of the Theory of Elasticity and of the Strength of Materials from Galilei to the Present Time, Vol. 2, Vol. 3. Cambridge University Press (editor).
o Pearson, Karl (1889). The Elastical Researches of Barré de Saint-Venant. Cambridge University Press (editor).
• Pearson, Karl (1888). The Positive Creed of Freethought: with Some Remarks on the Relation of Freethought to Socialism. Being a Lecture Delivered at South Place Institute. London: William Reeves.
• Pearson, Karl (1901). National Life from the Stand-point of Science: An Address Delivered at Newcastle. London: Adam & Charles Black.
• Pearson, Karl (1908). A Second Study of the Statistics of Pulmonary Tuberculosis: Marital Infection. London: Dulau & Co. (editor).
• Pearson, Karl (1910). Nature and Nurture, the Problem of the Future: A Presidential Address. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1911). The Academic Aspect of the Science of Eugenics: A Lecture Delivered to Undergraduates. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1912). Treasury of Human Inheritance, 2 Vol. Dulau & Co., London (editor).
• Pearson, Karl (1912). Eugenics and Public Health: An Address to Public Health Officers. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1912). Darwinism, Medical Progress and Eugenics. The Cavendish Lecture: An Address to the Medical Profession. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1912). Social Problems, their Treatment, Past, Present, and Future: A Lecture. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1914). On the Handicapping of the First-born: Being a Lecture Delivered at the Galton Laboratory. London: Dulau & Co.
• Pearson, Karl (1914). Tables for Statisticians and Biometricians. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (editor).
• Pearson, Karl (1919–22). Tracts for Computers. Cambridge University Press (editor).
• Pearson, Karl (1921). Side Lights on the Evolution of Man: Being a Lecture Delivered at the Royal Institution. Cambridge University Press.
• Pearson, Karl (1922). Tables of the Incomplete Γ-Function. London: Pub. for the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research by H.M. Stationery Office.
• Pearson, Karl (1923). Charles Darwin, 1809–1882: An Appreciation. Being a Lecture Delivered to the Teachers of the London County Council. Cambridge University Press.
• Pearson, Karl (1927). The Right of the Unborn Child: Being a Lecture Delivered... to Teachers from the London County Council Schools. Cambridge University Press.
• Pearson, Karl (1934). Tables of the Incomplete Beta-function. Cambridge University Press. 2nd ed., 1968 (editor).

See also

• Biophysics
• Gresham Professor of Geometry § List of Gresham Professors of Geometry
• Kikuchi Dairoku, a close friend and contemporary of Karl Pearson at University College School and Cambridge University
• Scientific racism


1. Yule, G. U.; Filon, L. N. G. (1936). "Karl Pearson. 1857–1936". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society. 2 (5): 72–110. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1936.0007. JSTOR 769130.
2. "Library and Archive catalogue". Sackler Digital Archive. Royal Society. Archived from the original on 25 October 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
3. "Karl Pearson sesquicentenary conference". Royal Statistical Society. 3 March 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2008.
4. "[...] the founder of modern statistics, Karl Pearson." – Bronowski, Jacob (1978). The Common Sense of Science, Harvard University Press, p. 128.
5. "The Concept of Heredity in the History of Western Culture: Part One," The Mankind Quarterly, Vol. XXXV, No. 3, p. 237.
6. "Pearson, Carl (or Karl) (PR875CK)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
7. Pearson, Karl (1897). "The German Passion-Play: A Study in the Evolution of Western Christianity," in The Chances of Death and Other Studies in Evolution. London: Edward Arnold, pp. 246–406.
8. Pearson, Karl (1888). "A Sketch of the Sex-Relations in Primitive and Mediæval Germany," in The Ethic of Freethought. London: T. Fisher Unwin, pp. 395–426.
9. Walkowitz, Judith R., History Workshop Journal 1986 21(1):37–59, p 37
10. Warwick, Andrew (2003). "4: Exercising the student body: Mathematics, manliness and athleticism". Masters of theory: Cambridge and the rise of mathematical physics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 176–226. ISBN 978-0-226-87375-6.
11. Pearson, Karl (1934). Speeches Delivered at a Dinner Held in University College, London, in Honour of Professor Karl Pearson, 23 April 1934. Cambridge University Press, p. 20.
12. Pearson, Karl (1880). The New Werther. London: C, Kegan Paul & Co., pp. 6, 96.
13. Provine, William B. (2001). The Origins of Theoretical Population Genetics. University of Chicago Press, p. 29.
14. Tankard, James W. (1984). The Statistical Pioneers, Schenkman Pub. Co.
15. Blaney, Tom (2011). The Chief Sea Lion's Inheritance: Eugenics and the Darwins. Troubador Pub., p. 108. Also see Pearson, Roger (1991). Race, Intelligence and Bias in Academe. Scott-Townsend Publishers.
16. McGrayne, Sharon Bertsch. The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy: Yale UP, 2011. Print. "Karl Pearson...was a zealous atheist..."
17. Porter, Theodore M. Karl Pearson: The Scientific Life in a Statistical Age. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2004. Print.
18. "Karl Pearson Blue Plaque," at
19. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0-902-198-84-X.
20. Herbert, Christopher (2001). "Karl Pearson and the Human Form Divine," in Victorian Relativity: Radical Thought and Scientific Discovery, Chicago University Press, pp. 145–179.
21. Pearson, Karl (1900). The Grammar of Science. London: Adam & Charles Black, pp. vii, 52, 87.
22. Pearson, Karl (1901). National Life from the Standpoint of Science. London: Adam & Charles Black, pp. 43–44.
23. Pearson, Karl (1892). Introduction to The Grammar of Science. London: Water Scott, p. 32.
24. Pearson, Karl (1901). National Life from the Standpoint of Science. London: Adam & Charles Black, pp. 19–20.
25. Pearson, Karl (1888). "The Woman's Question," in The Ethic of Freethought. London: T. Fisher Unwin, pp. 370–394.
26. Patai, Raphael, & Jennifer Patai (1989). The Myth of the Jewish Race. Wayne State University Press, p. 146. ISBN 978-0814319482
27. Pearson, Karl; Moul, Margaret (1925). "The Problem of Alien Immigration into Great Britain, Illustrated by an Examination of Russian and Polish Jewish Children". Annals of Eugenics. I (2): 125–126. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1809.1925.tb02037.x.
28. Farrall, Lyndsay A. (August 1975). "Controversy and Conflict in Science: A Case Study The English Biometric School and Mendel's Laws". Social Studies of Science. 5 (3): 269–301. doi:10.1177/030631277500500302. PMID 11610080.
29. Pearson, Karl (1897). "Mathematical Contributions to the Theory of Evolution. On the Law of Ancestral Heredity". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. 62 (379–387): 386–412. Bibcode:1897RSPS...62..386P. doi:10.1098/rspl.1897.0128. JSTOR 115747.
30. Pence, Charles H. (2015). "The early history of chance in evolution". Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. 50: 48–58. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/j.shpsa.2014.09.006. PMID 26466463.
31. Morrison, Margaret (1 March 2002). "Modelling Populations: Pearson and Fisher on Mendelism and Biometry". The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. 53: 39–68. doi:10.1093/bjps/53.1.39.
32. Pearson, Karl (1892). The grammar of science. The contemporary science series. London : New York: Walter Scott ; Charles Scribner's Sons.
33. Pearson, Karl (1 January 1896). "Mathematical Contributions to the Theory of Evolution. III. Regression, Heredity, and Panmixia". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 187: 253–318. Bibcode:1896RSPTA.187..253P. doi:10.1098/rsta.1896.0007. ISSN 1364-503X.
34. Gillham, Nicholas (9 August 2013). "The Battle Between the Biometricians and the Mendelians: How Sir Francis Galton Caused his Disciples to Reach Conflicting Conclusions About the Hereditary Mechanism". Science & Education. 24 (1–2): 61–75. Bibcode:2015Sc&Ed..24...61G. doi:10.1007/s11191-013-9642-1.
35. "PEARSON, Karl". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. p. 1373.
36. Mackenzie, Donald (1981). Statistics in Britain, 1865–1930: The Social Construction of Scientific Knowledge, Edinburgh University Press.
37. Hald, Anders (1998). A History of Mathematical Statistics from 1750 to 1930. Wiley, p. 651.
38. Analyse Mathematique. Sur Les Probabilties des Erreurs de Situation d'un Point Mem. Acad. Roy. Sei. Inst. France, Sci. Math, et Phys., t. 9, p. 255–332. 1846
39. Wright, S., 1921. Correlation and causation. Journal of agricultural research, 20(7), pp. 557–585
40. Stigler, S. M. (1989). "Francis Galton's Account of the Invention of Correlation". Statistical Science. 4 (2): 73–79. doi:10.1214/ss/1177012580.
41. Pearson, K. (1900). "On the Criterion that a given System of Deviations from the Probable in the Case of a Correlated System of Variables is such that it can be reasonably supposed to have arisen from Random Sampling". Philosophical Magazine. Series 5. Vol. 50 no. 302. pp. 157–175. doi:10.1080/14786440009463897.
42. Neyman, J.; Pearson, E. S. (1928). "On the use and interpretation of certain test criteria for purposes of statistical inference". Biometrika. 20 (1/2): 175–240. doi:10.2307/2331945. JSTOR 2331945.
43. Pearson, K. (1901). "On Lines and Planes of Closest Fit to Systems of Points is Space". Philosophical Magazine. Series 6. Vol. 2 no. 11. pp. 559–572. doi:10.1080/14786440109462720.
44. Jolliffe, I. T. (2002). Principal Component Analysis, 2nd ed. New York: Springer-Verlag.
45. Pearson, K. (1895). "Contributions to the Mathematical Theory of Evolution. II. Skew Variation in Homogeneous Material". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 186: 343–414. Bibcode:1895RSPTA.186..343P. doi:10.1098/rsta.1895.0010.
Most of the biographical information above is taken from the Karl Pearson page at the Department of Statistical Sciences at University College London, which has been placed in the public domain. The main source for that page was A list of the papers and correspondence of Karl Pearson (1857–1936) held in the Manuscripts Room, University College London Library, compiled by M. Merrington, B. Blundell, S. Burrough, J. Golden and J. Hogarth and published by the Publications Office, University College London, 1983.
Additional information from entry for Karl Pearson in the Sackler Digital Archive of the Royal Society

Further reading

• Eisenhart, Churchill (1974). Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 10, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, pp. 447–473.
• Norton, Bernard J (1978). "Karl Pearson and Statistics: The Social Origins of Scientific Innovation" (PDF). Social Studies of Science. 8 (1): 3–34. doi:10.1177/030631277800800101. PMID 11615697.
• Pearson, E. S. (1938). Karl Pearson: An Appreciation of Some Aspects of his Life and Work. Cambridge University Press.
• Porter, T. M. (2004). Karl Pearson: The Scientific Life in a Statistical Age, Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-12635-7.

External links

• O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Karl Pearson", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
• Karl Pearson at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
• John Aldrich's Karl Pearson: a Reader's Guide at the University of Southampton (contains many useful links to further sources of information).
• Encyclopædia Britannica Karl Pearson
• Gavan Tredoux's Francis Galton website,, contains Pearson's biography of Francis Galton, and several other papers – in addition to nearly all of Galton's own published works.
• Karl Pearson and the Origins of Modern Statistics at The Rutherford Journal.
• Texts on Wikisource:
o Nock, Albert Jay, "A New Science and Its Findings", The American Magazine (The Phillips Publishing Co.) LXXIII (5): 577 (March 1912)
o "Biometrika" from The Doctor's Dilemma by George Bernard Shaw
o "Pearson, Karl" . Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.
• "Studies in the history of probability and statistics, L: Karl Pearson and the Rule of Three"[permanent dead link], Stigler 2012
• From Masaryk to Karl Pearson, Philosophy as Scientia Scientiarum
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