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GALTON, Francis.

Hereditary Genius:

An Inquiry into its Laws and Consequences.

London : 1869 Stock Code: 139155
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First edition of the author's most significant work, and a major inspiration for the eugenics movement. "Inspired by his reading of the Origin of Species (published in 1859), and most probably by the fact that Charles Darwin was his first cousin, Galton became interested in the question of whether human mental traits could be inherited, and if they were, whether they could be made susceptible either to natural or to artificial selection" (ODNB). "Galton originated the practice of empirical research in medical genetics. In Hereditary Genius, his best-known and most influential book, Galton investigated the heritability of scholarly, artistic and athletic talent, using the records of notable families as data. He concluded that such talents have a high degree of heritability, and that people vary in the kind and degree of hereditary abilities they possess. He applied the Gaussian or normal curve to the range of human abilities, expanding upon Quetelet's observation that certain measurable human characteristics are distributed like the error function, and thus gave a new importance to biological and psychological variation, which had previously been regarded as unimportant" (Norman). "I do not think I ever in all my life read anything more interesting and original", Darwin wrote to his gratified cousin on publication.
With the bookplate of Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe (1858-1945), the accomplished Liberal statesman who served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1892 to 1895, Leader of the House of Lords from 1908 to 1916, Secretary of State for India from 1910 to 1915, and as Lord President of the Council from 1915 to 1916. Also with a few slips from the sale of the book by his descendants and afterwards, tipped-in to the initial blank.

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Octavo (214 x 134 mm). Contemporary half calf, red morocco label to spine, gilt to compartments, marbled sides, endpapers, and edges.


With 2 folding tables.


Bound without half-title. Front joint cracked but holding, light wear at extremities, a touched rubbed, contents clean and unmarked. A good copy.


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