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Letters of Notable Victorians

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Galton Papers
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Credit: Letters of Notable Victorians. In copyright

About this work


Letterbook containing letters to Francis Galton from notable Victorian scientists, travellers, politicians and others. Arranged largely in alphabetical order in two series, usually with MS notes [by Karl Pearson?] giving biographical details about the author and other relevant details.

These letters primarly cover the period 1855-1880, where there are gaps in the main series of Galton correspondence. In a note on the front endpaper of this book Karl Pearson suggested that Louisa Galton must have sorted through her husband's correspondence of this period and selected the letters from people of note, possibly destroying the rest if she did not recognise the names.



Physical description

203 items

Biographical note

Some letters became detached and were at one time placed in a separate folder with the reference number 190A. The book was in a fragile condition and in June 2013 was conserved and re-bound. An attempt has been made to replace the loose letters in the correct order within the book, but there are several whose original place could not be identified; these have been added at the end.

Ownership note

The letters in this book were selected for their autographs from Galton's correspondence by his wife Louisa, and on Galton's death were given by his executors - regardless of their biographical importance - to Louisa's nephew Professor H E Butler. He informed Karl Pearson that he had some letters of Galton in his autograph book in 1920, and they were then copy-typed. Some of them were deposited in the Galton Laboratory. Professor Butler gave others to the College Union Society to sell for their athletic funds, and some of these were recovered by Karl Pearson from a bookseller's catalogue, supposing them to have been stolen. An offer to purchase all the Galton letters in Butler's possession so they might be preserved intact led Professor Butler to present them to the Galton Laboratory. They are gathered together in this book with some other Galton letters found or purchased by Pearson. There is nothing to indicate which letters were purchased or presented.

Location of duplicates

A digitised copy is held by the Wellcome Library as part of Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics.

Terms of use

The papers are available at UCL Special Collections and Archives subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.


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