Digital Library now available for Galton Laboratory for National Eugenics and (some of) Biometric Laboratory at University of London

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Legacies Digital Library


Here at the "Legacies of Eugenics" project at UCL, we have be busy researching the eugenics research and advocacy of key people within the institution. One predictable focus of attention has been Karl Pearson, director of both the Galton Laboratory for National Eugenics and the Biometric Laboratory. Combining resources from both, Pearson was able to develop a productive research community partially focused on eugenics research.




This is partly described in familiar work such as Kevles: IN THE NAME OF EUGENICS. We think one of the most important sources for Pearson's activities at UCL is Farrall's 1969 PhD dissertation, which we reprinted (with permission) in 2019 and make available free open access:


Lyndsay Andrew Farrall. 2019. The origins and growth of the English eugenics movement, 1865-1925. STS Occasional Papers number 9

(London: UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies). ISBN 978-1-78751-001-2.


Pearson the publisher


Pearson well known as a researcher and director. He is poorly appreciated as a publisher, having started two substantial journals (BIOMETRIKA and ANNALS OF EUGENICS) as well as seven specialist serials associated with his two research groups. The many publications in these serials are scattered today because these serials were privately produced under imprints associated with the laboratories. Only a few institutions collected them systematically, and idiosyncrasies associated with their publication schedule led to bibliographic confusion.


My colleague, Dr Maria Kiladi, and I have worked to clarify the publishing records for both the Galton Laboratory for National Eugenics (GLNE) and the Biometric Laboratory. For the imprint that was the GLNE, I recently published a bibliography:


Cain, Joe. 2021. Publications produced by the Francis Galton Laboratory for National Eugenics. The Library 22(4): 523-48. (open access) (Available mid-December 2021)


We have reconstructed the list of publications published in serials under the imprint of Biometric Laboratory, too; however, this does not capture all publications from that group. Numerous standalone items were published, too, and we've yet to trace everything.


Legacies Digital Library


Scattered though the physical copies may be, we have begun the process of creating a digital library of publications associated with these groups. Our first step has been to locate or create digital copies of all items published in GLNE series without a preference for hi-end imaging. Our goal has been to secure ?best available? quality. In some cases, the quality leaves considerable room for improvement, but we took the view that some form of access was better than no access at all. These editions now are available through the Legacies Digital Library as open access pdfs under CC-BY-NC license when applicable.


These are available free open access, supported by funding from the UCL Office of President and Provost.


We also have identified accessible versions of items associated with serials from the three serials published by the Biometric Laboratory. More material will be added as we process them.


Our next step is to replace the low quality materials with high quality digital editions. We are working in collaboration with UCL Special Collections, who hold a substantial collection of materials associated with Pearson and his research groups. We expect this improved range of materials to come online later in 2022. An announcement will come in due course.


These publications are provided under the following disclaimer:


Publication of this material online is done strictly for historical and academic reasons. The work of eugenicists was pervaded by racial, ethnic, gender, and ableist prejudice. Readers must be alert to these biases in this material. Reproduction of this work here is not an endorsement or promotion of the views expressed or eugenics in general. Quite the reverse. All articles are published in full, except where necessary to protect individual privacy. We believe there is a clear academic interest in making this historical material more widely available.


We are happy to answer any questions that arise.


The UCL Legacies of Eugenics project involves:

Professor Joe Cain

Maria Kiladi





Professor Joe Cain

UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies

Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT United Kingdom  |  @profjoecain  |

Legacies of Eugenics project: