July and August, 1865. Francis Galton publishes a two-part article in MacMillan's Magazine, split between the July and August editions. This article, entitled "Hereditary Character and Talent," contains his earliest published thoughts on the heritability of genius.
"Hereditary Character and Talent" is considered one of Galton's key works (BBC, n.d.). In the article, Galton traces 330 esteemed and renowned men from both science and literature, and demonstrates how many were related. The conclusion Galton drew from this was the eminence, "talent and character" were hereditary (Galton, 1865 ; BBC, n.d.), much like physical features. In the same article, Galton suggests that civilization has preserved the lives of men who would have perished under natural selection, and thus civilization has diminished the ability of man to keep improving himself (Galton, 1865). These are foundations of eugenics theories. The articles are also noted for suggesting that embryos of the next generation come from those of the previous one - a theory which was proven by August Weismann almost 20 years later (Reeve, 2001).
These views were criticized in popular opinion upon the articles initial publication, although only a few short years later, "many of the highest authorities on heredity" accepted Galton's theory as true (Galton, 1869). Following this work, Galton published Hereditary Genius in 1869.
Read the entire article here .
-Colette Leung and Amy Dyrbye
Galton, F. (1865). Hereditary Character and Talent. Macmillan's Magazine, vol. 12, 157-166.
BBC. (n.d.). Deviance, disorder and the self: Race Introduction. Retrieved from: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/deviance/race1/11HereditaryTalent/index.htm
Galton, F. (1869). Hereditary Genius. London: MacMillan and Co.
Reeve, E. (Ed.). (2001). Encyclopedia of Genetics. New York: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers.