Pearson and Galton on Ethel Elderton

The extracts below mostly come from letters written by Francis Galton or Karl Pearson. The extracts are chosen in order to give some information about Ethel M Elderton; some of the information tells us a little about the projects she is working on, other extracts tell us something about Galton and Pearson's opinion of her. The letters are written between 1904 and 1910. The main sources are

Karl Pearson, The Life, Letters and Labours of Francis Galton: Correlation, Personal Identification and Eugenics (Cambridge University Press, 1930).

Karl Pearson, The Life, Letters and Labours of Francis Galton: Characterization, especially by Letters, Index (Cambridge University Press, 1930).

1. Pearson on Ethel M Elderton's appointment:

Galton, when he returned to England, circularised many folk, issuing small finger-printing apparatus, and asking for the prints of the two forefingers of as many relatives to be taken as possible. To aid him in the reduction of these and other data Galton desired to find an assistant. On the advice of Dr Alice Lee, he selected Miss Ethel M Elderton - a most happy choice. She received her first training from Francis Galton, then became successively Secretary to the Eugenics Record Office, Galton Research Scholar in the Eugenics Laboratory, then Galton Fellow, and is now Assistant-Professor in that Laboratory. Perhaps this was the best result that flowed from the forefingers-print collection!

2. Pearson writes about Work and Correspondence of 1904:

Two events of this year had importance in relation to Eugenics, the one dealing with scientific research and the other with popularisation. The first was Galton's gift of £1500 to the University of London for the furtherance during three years of the scientific study of Eugenics. I have already referred to the Galton Research Fellowship when discussing the definition of Eugenics. Our correspondence for the latter end of the year chiefly dealt with the various candidates for the Fellowship with some of whom I was acquainted as well as with their work. The selection committee ultimately recommended Mr Edgar Schuster, an Oxford student of Weldon's, who had already done good biometric work, and Miss E M Elderton was appointed as his assistant. University College provided rooms at 50, Gower Street, which at Galton's request were entitled the "Eugenics Record Office." In the same house were lodged for working purposes two or three post-graduates, an overflow from the Biometric Laboratory, but there was no other link between that Laboratory and the Office Galton himself was in control, and the main scheme in hand was to form a register of " Able Families," of which only the portion dealing with Fellows of the Royal Society reached completion. Schuster during his tenure of the Fellowship also wrote two memoirs, one on The Inheritance of Ability in conjunction with Miss Elderton and a second entitled The Promise of Youth and the Performance of Manhood. These two memoirs were excellent pieces of work ...

3. Galton to Pearson 25 August 1905:

It was with self-restraint that I did not write to say how grieved I was at your domestic sorrow, and how deeply I sympathise with you. I feared to extract a reply and knew you were overworked. This note is merely to enclose my brand-new circular, which I begin to distribute among friends, and hereafter I hope much more widely. If you think any of your lady co-operators especially are likely to help and take interest, I would gladly send circulars to them. Miss Elderton is established now at the "Eugenics Record Office" and at work there. [Note by EFR: Francis Galton hesitated about a woman taking part in academic matters].

4. Galton to Milly Lethbridge (Galton's niece) 28 October 1905:

Always, at the very last, there is some difficulty to be settled. I think now, what with Schuster's willing help, Miss Elderton's business-like ways and the Advisory Committee, the Eugenics Office ought to run on its own legs while I am away.

5. Galton to Edgar Schuster 11 December 1905:

You have indeed your hands full with Miss Elderton's batch of extracts. It is a big job and will be very interesting at the end. ... When the corrections to Miss Elderton's papers come in, you will probably attack first some particular class of noteworthies and get them as far as may be off-hand before beginning another. However you will soon discover the lines of least resistance.

6. Galton to Edgar Schuster 22 December 1905:

I am very sorry about Miss Elderton's illness. I hope it is nothing bad.

7. Pearson to Galton 24 January 1906:

I was seeing Dr Pearl yesterday and put my head into Miss Elderton's door; she seemed bright and fresh, and said she had plenty to do; so I hope the work of your Eugenics Office is going forward.

8. Galton to Pearson 25 October 1906:

... it would be convenient if Schuster continued as a stop-gap, working as you suggest at tuberculosis, for that would retain Miss Elderton and the rooms. I would ask him if you thought well.

9. Pearson to Galton 22 December 1906:

I would suggest that Miss Elderton be no longer spoken of as a clerk, but be made a Francis Galton Scholar. She is quite capable of doing original work. I should give her a little additional instruction in statistical methods, and set her on to research work either alone or in conjunction with Heron, so that her name would appear on the publication of it. I would further suggest that her stipend be raised. My reasons for this are as follows. ... She is very competent* and is now fairly well trained, and it is very desirable that we should retain her services. She is keen on the work. Further, if we are to get really good workers, we must give them a method of insuring to some extent their future. Now to have published something and been a Francis Galton Scholar, not merely a clerk, will give Miss Elderton a better chance if she passes later into social work of any kind.
* The opinion of the first Galton Fellow may be cited here: "Miss Elderton has certainly been a remarkable success at the Eugenics Office; but I think her marvellous energy and quickness to learn anything new would have enabled her to succeed at anything she undertook."

10. Galton to Pearson 22 December 1906:

I am particularly glad that you feel that the appointment of Miss Elderton as "scholar" is feasible from the University point of view, and that you propose to raise her salary. She has always seemed to me an invaluable member of the staff. The computer will prove a real help and a relief to the future work of the Office.

11. Pearson to Galton 9 March 1907:

The Eugenics Laboratory goes steadily along. Miss Elderton has got the ten types of cousins worked out for two characters and will soon have them done for four. The general conclusion is that cousins have almost exactly the same degree of resemblance as grandparents and grand children, i.e. correlation equal about 0.3. This seems to me of very considerable importance, because (i) cousins are contemporaries and can be more easily and accurately investigated than grandparents, (ii) there are far more of them than in the case of grandparents, and hence a closer estimate can probably be made from them. Further, as far as I can judge, the marriage of first cousins must stand on exactly the same footing for good or ill as the marriage of a descendant with an ascendant in the second degree.

12. Galton to Pearson 27 May 1907:

I wonder whether, when the lecture is over, I could persuade Miss Elderton to write a primer of the proposed lessons. If the idea takes, it would be worth her while. Ladies often do these things better than men.

13. Pearson to Galton 27 May 1907:

I shall still hope that it may be possible for you to deliver the lecture yourself, for although I would not have you make any effort that would have risk to health in it, I still know what a great pleasure it would be to many at Oxford to hear you speak yourself. As soon as you have got this over, you must see Miss Elderton and talk your project over with her. [His lecture led to the publication of a Primer of Statistics by W Palin Elderton and Ethel M Elderton.]

14. Pearson to Galton 20 June 1907:

The Education Committee of the L.C.C. has consented to place its material - observations on the mental and physical condition of London school-children - at our disposal. I believe there are 8000 cases to be dealt with. This has relieved my mind a good deal, for I was growing very anxious as to whether I could provide the Laboratory with enough material to work at. Miss Elderton is simply a cormorant! We are slowly collecting several series of data, but the time to get them up to a number big enough for safe conclusions must be long, and some of the data that have been sent to us have not proved very good. Heron's memoir on " Inheritance of the insane Tendency " will go to press as soon as I have the time to throw into shape his rough draft, I hope early next month. Miss Elderton's work on cousins is practically done ...

15. Galton to Edgar Schuster 30 August 1907:

Miss Elderton seems to be doing an immense deal of good work at the Laboratory. What a nice and capable lady she is.

16. Edgar Schuster to Galton 2 September 1907:

Miss Elderton has certainly been a remarkable success at the Eugenics Office; but I think her marvellous energy and quickness to learn anything new would have enabled her to succeed at anything she undertook.

17. Pearson to Galton 23 November 1907:

Miss Elderton has been away with a bad cold. The radiators in the rooms have proved incapable of doing their work and we have had great difficulties. So bad indeed that Dr Alice Lee has resigned, which will be a great loss to me, although she had recently been a little difficult to work with. I know only one person her equal in rapid and correct calculation and that is Miss Elderton; we must keep the latter at the Eugenics Laboratory, if we can. I passed her memoir for press finally today. She has worked out about 60 correlation coefficients for Uncles and Aunts and this mass of material shows that the intensity of resemblance is much the same as for Cousins. I have advised her to write a second paper on Uncles and Aunts, and discuss the whole point as to this paradox. She has put in a reference to this in the Cousin paper.

18. Galton to Pearson 26 November 1907:

I was becoming anxious through not hearing from you, knowing that you were not well and are overworked. This is bad weather for your cold and for that of Miss Elderton. I grieve that you are losing Dr Alice Lee. It is most desirable that the paradox of almost identical intensity of kinship to an uncle and to an uncle's son should be faced, as you propose, by Miss Elderton, and I am very glad that the intention is referred to in her Cousin paper.

19. Pearson to Galton 1 December 1907:

I fully appreciate your point as to the facing what people will say about cousins being at least as alike as uncle and nephew. When Miss Elderton did the cousins' work, we had only my eye-colour work (based on your material) to compare with it. For a series of eye-colour correlations each embracing about 1200 cases we found a mean correlation value .265. Miss Elderton has worked out 32 series from my General Family Records - for uncles and nephews, etc. For Health and Intelligence we get mean of 16 series of about 1000 each, .272, practically the same as for my eye-colour work. Temper and Success which involve more doubtful judgments give about .20. You will see that these are comparable with Miss Elderton's cousin resemblance of .267.

20. Galton to Pearson 20 December 1907:

How nice Miss Elderton's paper looks. The Laboratory publications make a most respectable show.

21. Pearson to Galton 30 December 1907:

In February it will be a year since our regime began, and the appointments of Mr Heron and Miss Elderton will come up for consideration, as well as my own relations to the Laboratory. ... As for the Galton Fellow and Scholar, I think we ought to give them some notion as to the future. The Fellow has done good work, but has not at present quite as much initiative as I shall look for later; the Scholar has much impressed me, and is even more able than I anticipated.

22. Galton to Pearson 1 January 1908:

We are fortunate in having Heron and Miss Elderton, and it would be natural to continue their appointments, unless you - and I understand that you do not - wish otherwise. I am sure I should be sorry to lose them.

23. Pearson to Galton 7 October 1908:

Heron is nearing the end of his London children and Miss Elderton of her Glasgow children. She finds the employment or non-employment of mothers influences sensibly but not very markedly the physique of the child, but the employment of the father as measured by the mortality of that employment is also influential, though not so sensibly. Perhaps the greatest difficulty is that the employment of the mother is correlated with the mortality rate of the father's trade. If he follows a bad trade with a high mortality rate, then the mother generally has employment out, or home work. So the wheels of the whole machine are interlocked and it is very difficult to get the simple independent causes either of degeneracy or of physical fitness in children.

24. Pearson to Galton 30 November 1908:

I shall make an effort to hear Miss Elderton on Wednesday week.

25. Galton to Milly Lethbridge (Galton's niece) 7 December 1908:

A good deal in the Eugenics line is going on this week. Miss Elderton, the very capable Research Scholar, reads a memoir on Cousin Marriages. She has been working at 2000 of them for some months with the usual result that their ill-effects are statistically insignificant. When observed, they seem due to both cousins having the same bad quality. But I have not seen her paper yet. She is such a zealous, capable, nice girl, and is now familiar with the higher statistics.

26. Pearson to Galton 13 December 1908:

You will have been expecting to hear from me about Miss Elderton's paper, but alas! I could not get to hear it. I have been crippled with lumbago for a week and was perforce absent. ... Heron gave a good account of Miss Elderton's paper, but I wish I could have been there to give her some aid.

27. Galton to Pearson 14 December 1908:

I am assured from many sides that Miss Elderton did her lecturing excellently.

28. Pearson to Galton 14 December 1908:

Miss Elderton came to me to-day and said that she had received an offer of the post of Secretary to a London College from the Principal of that College and that she had been given till Friday to consider her answer. That she had at first made up her mind to refuse, because she much preferred research work to executive work, and had not intended to tell me. But on second thoughts she felt she must ask my advice. How I know exactly what this means, that home affairs are not too flourishing, and the post at the College means a definite post with steady rise, and a good position if needful for further advance. My impression of her is that she is a remarkably able woman with capacity in more than one direction. The first impulse was to say, but "you must stay here, the Eugenics Laboratory will collapse without you," but I felt without knowing your views, that this was hardly fair to her or to you. Now I want your advice before Friday. I cannot think of the Laboratory without Miss Elderton, she is the life and soul of the place, knows the whole of the material, writes all the letters and keeps everything going. I am sure she does not want to go, enjoys the work and is keen on the subject, and would find the secretarial work at a College less to her taste, but it offers an assured future. Now what ought we to do in the matter? I have always considered that you must look upon the Laboratory as on its trial and that if we failed to satisfy you, you must ruthlessly change the system or close the Laboratory as seemed to you best. Am I right therefore in trying to induce her to stay? I have no doubt, she is so valuable that she will always get a post, but suitable posts don't turn up every day and I feel if we advise her to stay we ought to say: If the Laboratory is closed or re-organised we will give you long enough notice to find a new berth. I don't think she would mind for herself, but, as I said before, her contribution to home funds is of some importance. On the other hand, if we go on, she is almost indispensable. It would take years to get any one with the same training, if even they had the same aptitude. Now what shall we do? It is not, I think, a question of money. There was ample when I last saw the accounts, and notwithstanding that there will be a heavy publication expenditure in the next six months (there are four memoirs nearly ready, and there is the Treasury) there is quite enough for present purposes and for a future pledging of resources. May I say to Miss Elderton; W e will give you a permanent appointment subject to a year's notice, or such shorter period as would seem good to you and fair to her? The problem then is: Ought we in justice to her future to let her go? Or, ought we for the sake of the Laboratory to keep her with a more permanent post and perhaps an increase of salary? May I guarantee her, say £ - or £ - with a year's notice? I feel the answer cannot rest with me, because it depends to some extent on the future of the Laboratory. I don't want you to keep the Laboratory going for our sakes; we are all keen and ready to go on with the work on the lines which our powers render possible. But whenever you feel that we are not doing what you think best for the acquirement of that knowledge, which I know you have most at heart, then you must simply give me the word and we will bring things to a close. In this matter of Miss Elderton's, by advising her to refuse the College post I might be protracting the life of the Laboratory beyond your wishes, and thus I must consult you on the point. I do not know whether I have put her own wish strongly enough, she wants to stay and would do it at personal sacrifice, but here home calls on her have to be considered.

29. Galton to Pearson 15 December 1908:

All you say in favour of Miss Elderton I am fully prepared to believe from my much less but still not inadequate knowledge of her. She most certainly ought to be retained if possible, as the far future working of the Laboratory will be much more hopeful if she continues in it. ... It is worth considering whether Miss Elderton's position in the Laboratory might be altered, by hereafter calling her Secretary, and on the next occasion abolishing the Research Scholarship altogether. It would not do to promote her over Heron, but hereafter when his term terminates it might easily be done. Possibly you may think that the two duties of Secretary and Research Fellow might be worked simultaneously, but if so, it must be clear which of the two is the responsible head, and I do not see my way here. Anyhow on the next vacancy the promotion could easily be made.

30. Pearson to Galton 15 December 1908:

I think, the younger workers, who really have worked hard and toiled forward against a good deal of outside (and even inside) discouragement need is the knowledge that you really care for their work, and I think your letter really helps in that. You hardly realise how much they think of almost anything you do or say! Among the fourteen workers in the Biometric and Eugenics Laboratories at present we have five women and their work is equal at the very least to that of the men. I have to treat them as in every way the equals of the men. They are women who in many cases have taken higher academic honours than the men and who are intellectually their peers. They were a little tried therefore when your name appeared on the Committee of the Anti-suffrage Society! I refer to this merely to show that what you think and do does produce effect in the Laboratory, and therefore the knowledge that you really care for their work helps us all round. I think that your approval accordingly counts for a great deal more than you realise. I know Miss Elderton is very keen on the work and wants to devote all her energies to it, but I am sure the feeling that you think she is doing good work weighs as much as or more than any opinion of mine. I ventured to tell her that she was indispensable and that there was no immediate fear for the life of the Laboratory. I can trust you to bear this in mind if anything should happen to me.

31. Galton to Pearson 22 December 1908:

I have written both to Miss Elderton and to Heron, saying nice things.

32. Galton to Pearson 30 December 1908:

Miss Elderton comes here for a week-end on January 30th (I think), so I shall hear many details from her as to what is going on.

33. Galton to Milly Lethbridge (Galton's niece) 31 January 1909:

Miss Elderton, of the Eugenics Laboratory, is staying with us for this weekend. She is a bright capable girl, and does her work excellently.

34. Pearson to Galton 4 February 1909:

I wrote to Hartog, the University Registrar, asking him to get Heron reappointed for a third final year, and Miss Elderton's scholarship also extended and raised to £ - . I told him that you had been consulted on the point, and that you generally approved. It might be well for you to write a line to him to show that we have talked over the proposal.
Another point has been troubling me which I want to write to you about. Mrs Gotto has asked for Miss Elderton's and Heron's lectures for publication. I hope she will not think me churlish in feeling compelled to refuse. This refusal arises from more than one cause. Miss Elderton gave material and some results of work which is not yet finished, and which it is our duty to finish and publish in a form rather more academic than the publications of the Society. Heron not only gave work which he hopes shortly to publish in the Galton Laboratory Memoirs, but I gave him free run of my diagrams, some of which relate to work in progress, and of which it would not do to anticipate the publication. Neither had at the time thought of publication but only of interesting the Society in work in progress. I think you will see that it is not churlish, but practically desirable not to anticipate full publication.

35. Galton to Pearson 6 February 1909:

I have written to Hartog about Heron and Miss Elderton adding that I suppose he will hardly think it necessary to summon a Committee, but that if he does I am too infirm to attend it.

36. Galton to Pearson 10 March 1909:

I hope to be fit in May (latish) to take part in the proposed meeting of the Committee to discuss future work of the Eugenics Laboratory. I feel that its work depends so largely on yourself, that I shrink from suggesting anything. ... How far can Heron and Miss Elderton stand alone? With your support and supervision they do their work admirably, but without it I should fear errors in planning. There are so very few besides yourself competent to supervise, and you may begin to feel the onus of doing so too great for continuance. Tell me, please, exactly what you think about this. I am very glad that Heron's lecture pleased you, and that you think so highly of his powers and promise. Miss Elderton (with her brother) has just concluded and sent me a typed copy of the elementary book that I proposed should be written (in my Oxford lecture). I have seen some parts of it already, and must go through it to-morrow.

37. Pearson to Galton 18 March 1909:

Now as to the Eldertons' booklet. I have not yet seen it; it is something which they have done quite off their own bats, and I am very curious to read it. I think it would probably be quite an addition to our smaller format series and help that on, but I am not sure whether it would get the same sort of circulation that a well-known publisher would procure for it, as we spend very little on advertisement. We must consider that point.

38. Galton to Pearson 22 March 1909:

I write now about the Eldertons' little elementary book, for the cost of publication of which I am responsible. It never occurred to me before, but the Eugenics Education Society are just the people to publish it. It is exactly in their way. They have published several essays and are about to republish mine (I received a letter this morning), and as the writing of the Eldertons' book was due to the suggestion in my Oxford lecture, it would come into their series of publications with aptness. ... I am writing to Miss Elderton.

39. Pearson to Galton 25 March 1909:

I have not yet seen the Eldertons' MS but I suppose I shall eventually. I shall be quite ready to publish it as a Laboratory publication if that seems desirable to those concerned. I am not at all sure, however, that it would not be well to try it with a good publisher first of all. It would save the expense of publication and get a reasonable amount of notice from the Press and advertisement. I think Mr Elderton is a little frightened of the idea of the Eugenics Education Society. [Note by EFR: Eugenics is beginning to get a bad name and the Eldertons' seem to be trying to avoid being too closely associated.]

40. Galton to Pearson 8 April 1909:

I am glad you approve on the whole of the Eldertons' primer. I have written to Miss Elderton by this post, suggesting that the consideration of where to publish should be deferred till after this number of the Review has appeared, which will indicate its probable future status, and may advertise the books it is intended by them to issue, among which, if their proposed programme is carried out, the primer might suitably be included and get advertised where likely purchasers would see it.

41. Pearson to Galton 13 May 1909:

Miss Elderton gave quite a good lecture. She speaks with great clearness and is perfectly self-possessed. Her audience was about 45, and quite a good one in quality. Her lecture on Tuesday ought to be an interesting one as it will be the first attempt to give a quantitative comparison of Nature and Nurture.

42. Pearson to Galton 18 May 1909:

Miss Elderton gave a very good lecture to-day - I think quite the best of the series - but for some reason her audience was rather smaller. It was a pity as the material was very good and she lectured fluently for over an hour.

43. Galton to Pearson 11 June 1909:

I heard from Heron, that M- shied at the idea of publishing the little book by Miss Elderton and her brother. Of course I am prepared to contribute towards the cost of the publication, if on those terms only a good publisher would accept it.

44. Pearson to Galton 15 June 1909:

You will be glad to know that Messrs Adam & Charles Black have accepted the Eldertons' book at their own cost giving to the authors a 10% royalty on copies sold. I think these are as good terms as we could expect. ... Will you write a brief introduction to the Eldertons' booklet? What shall we call it - A Primer of Biometry or of Statistics or what?

45. Galton to Pearson 16 June 1909:

You have done unexpectedly well about the Eldertons' little book. If, as you suggest, it is called a Primer, it ought to be of Biometry and Eugenics. The two latter words are important. I shall be very happy to write a few words of introduction, quoting from my lecture at Oxford (the Indian Anarchist's Foundation), on the need of such a book. [Note by EFR: In fact the book was called A Primer of Statistics. It is clear that the Eldertons wouldn't want 'Eugenics' in the title.]

46. Galton to Pearson 29 June 1909:

... as we have got (thanks to you) satisfactory workers at the Eugenics Laboratory one cannot do better than give more permanence to their positions than at present. ... In fixing the future titles and emoluments of Heron, Miss Elderton and Miss Barrington, if you can get in a word to absolve us from granting pensions on retirement, it might be well. I have known much grievance created on the part of those who had "expectations" in other Societies and Offices. For my part, I think it will be much more satisfactory to rearrange the titles of our officials, as you propose. I wonder what those titles will be, out of "Secretary," "Librarian," "Editor," "Computer," and so forth. Miss Elderton should if possible have a title to herself, and not "Assistant ..." All this is merely suggestion. You know the ropes so far better than I do, that I am sure to acquiesce in whatever proposal you may make as to these not unimportant details.

47. Pearson to Galton 4 September 1909:

I enclose two notices. I believe some of the daily papers also had notices. Miss Elderton's Lecture on Nature and Nurture ought to be out this week.

48. Pearson to Galton 10 September 1909:

I enclose a rough copy of Miss Elderton's Lecture. It ought to be out tomorrow.

49. Galton to Pearson 12 September 1909:

Thanks for Miss Elderton's lecture. How well and clearly much of it is written. It would tax the power of a consummate literary genius to make statistical reservations easy to grasp.

50. Pearson to Galton 18 October 1909:

Miss Elderton asks me to answer your card, because she is not quite sure as to one or two points. It depends to some extent on two matters: (1) How the mid-parent is defined ... (2) The existence or absence of assortative mating between father and mother. ... [Note by EFR. We have omitted the many technical details in this letter.]

51. Pearson to Galton 31 October 1909:

Heron and Miss Elderton are both struggling to finish their big memoirs ... [Note by EFR. More attacks on Eugenics and Pearson considers retiring.] I will give every aid - no less than at present - for the forthcoming year to Heron and Miss Elderton so that they can finish the work they have in hand, and there will be time to think of the future during the year. This will relieve you of any anxiety for the continuity of matters, but I shall give the aid, not as director but as a personal friend of the young people here.

52. Galton to Pearson 25 November 1909:

It so happened this morning that while I was writing to Miss Elderton, the post brought Press cuttings, including this of the Pall Mall (Nov. 23). I wrote to her about it, quoting a sentence from a recent speech of the Poet Laureate: "Do not resent criticism and never answer it," which seems to contain much of value. ... I send my little volume of reprinted lectures. The little book by the Eldertons will surely do some good.

53. Pearson to Galton 9 January 1910:

I got Miss Elderton's paper on parental alcoholism finally passed and to press. ... Miss Elderton also has done a good deal of teaching work last term.

54. Galton to Eva Biggs (Galton's great-niece) 21 May 1910:

The Times has a favourable leading article and a long analysis of Miss Elderton's paper about the children of drunkards, which will make Saleeby tear his hair.

55. Galton to Eva Biggs (Galton's great-niece) 31 May 1910:

Miss Elderton and a sister of Miss Jones came yesterday to tea, and such-like events at present complete the round of my daily life.

56. Galton to Milly Lethbridge (Galton's niece) 31 January 1909:

I expect Miss Elderton every moment for the weekend and have asked a few friends for a Eugenics tea to-morrow.

57. Galton to Pearson 4 July 1910:

Yesterday I got together to tea, Miss Elderton, Crackanthorpe and Ploetz. Crackanthorpe made himself very agreeable in a long tête-à-tête with Miss Elderton, but I fear was insufficiently penitent to receive full forgiveness. [Note by EFR. Montague Crackanthorpe had written to The Times doubting the value of biometric conclusions since they are "based on the 'law of averages', which again is based on the 'theory of probabilities', which again is based on mathematical calculations of a highly abstract order."]

58. Galton to Pearson 4 August 1910:

What pleasure and health you must have given Miss Elderton.

59. Further comment by Pearson:

In later years Galton formed a considerable collection of family prints of the two forefingers only. These were tabled and reduced in 1920 by Miss Ethel M Elderton, who demonstrated the general inheritance of the ridge patterns, but noted that two finger-prints were far from adequate to determine the intensity of heredity, as although a parental peculiarity of pattern might pass to the same finger in the child, or with less probability to the homologous finger, it might also pass to any one of the remaining eight fingers; this, if it happens to any individual finger with still less probability, may occur with equal or even greater probability when we take into account the total eight of them. While the existence of ten fingers in man is a distinct advantage in the matter of personal identification - or if we like a distinct misfortune to the criminal - it is also something of a misfortune to the geneticist.

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