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GALTON, Francis.

Finger Prints.

London: Macmillan & Co., 1892 Stock Code: 143521
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First edition of Galton's work designed to assist with classifying and indexing large numbers of fingerprints.

"The use of fingerprints for the identification of criminals had been advocated in 'Nature' in 1880 by both Henry Faulds and Sir William Herschel, but was put on a scientific basis only in Galton's book on Finger Prints, published in 1892" (Bulmer, p. 35). Of particular importance was Galton's work on establishing that "the pattern of a person's fingerprints did not change from youth to old age and creating a taxonomic system by which the variations in fingerprint patterns could be described and catalogued" (ODNB). "In 1892, in his book Finger Prints, Galton gathered together all these earlier studies by Purkinje, Faulds, and Herschel and recorded other experiments, illustrated from photographs and drawings. The outcome of this was the appointment in 1899 of a Royal Commission which came out in favour of the adoption of the system by the British police forces" (PMM).

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Octavo. Original burgundy cloth, spine lettered and triple-ruled in gilt, boards ruled in blind, edges uncut.


With 16 lithograph plates.


Small stamp of E. Carleton Hood on front and rear free endpapers, slip of owner's notes loosely inserted. Spine sunned, lightly rubbed, contents unmarked. A very good copy.


Garrison & Morton 186; Heirs of Hippocrates 1905; Norman 867; Printing and the Mind of Man 376. See Michael Bulmer, Francis Galton: Pioneer of Heredity and Biometry (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003).


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