Galton's family data on human stature

Article: 'Transmuting' women into men: Galton's family data on human stature The American Statistician, 58(3) 237-243. August 2004.

Poster: .pdf file (LARGE!)

R command to run Shiny App to implement Galton's Height Forecaster:

Source: Under my direction, and with the permission of University College London, the material was located, the data transcribed, and the original version of the spreadsheet created, by Beverly Shipley in March 2001. The digital photographs (.jpg) were taken by Colin Hanley and Louise Koo in February 2003. The article "Transmuting" women into men: Galton's family data on human stature, is published in The American Statistician, 1 August 2004, vol. 58, no. 3, pp. 237-243.

Record of Family Faculties: The correspondent for each family used an album, entitled Record of Family Faculties, to mail the family data to Galton. The selected photographs [published with the permission of Special Collections, Library Services, University College London] are from the only completed Record of Family Faculties remaining in the Galton Papers; the others were returned to the families by Galton. In accordance with Galton's promise to contributors (see fly leaf), J Hanley has digitally edited out the name of the family.

Notebook containing the family data on height: This notebook contains a "listing" of the heights. Families are sorted according to the father's, and within these, the mother's height. The 205 families are identified by the numbers 1-135, 136A, 136-204.

[photos published with the permission of Special Collections, Library Services, University College London]

Galton's letters to The Times thanking it for publicity, and announcing the prize winners [courtesy Times archives, accessed via McGill University]

Datafile [ comma-separated plain-text format ]: This was created from the notebook entries. To encourage end-users to look not just at the electronic data, but also in some detail at Galton's carefully 'manu-scripted' data, the datafile made available here is INCOMPLETE, with entries for 8 of the 205 familiies left blank. Those who would like to use the full dataset may complete the datafile using the hard copy. Note also that we entered the original offspring data 'as written', and so an entry can be a number, some text, or a mix of both. Please let J Hanley know if there are any discrepancies between the datafile provided here, and the hard copy [one person has noticed two errors... see notes in datafile].

Article: The .pdf , and the online full-text, version of the article (on the publisher's website) seem to have been created as a monochrome scan of the printed paper version, rather than as a pdf file from which the paper version was printed. Unfortunately, the lighter dots in Figure 3 were lost in this conversion. If you cannot obtain an electronic or hard copy version in which the lighter dots are visible, you may e-mail J Hanley (James.Hanley@McGill.CA) to obtain a copy in which they are. [or look under the r e p r i n t s / t a l k s tab in JH's home page]

Galton's scientific work: The website, maintained by Gavan Tredoux, contains a large selection of Galton-related material. Almost all of Galton's scientific papers and essays (about 300 in number) are also republished there in facsimile form, as are most of his major book-length works. 

Acknowledgments: Thanks to Stephen Stigler for his book, and for directing me to the Galton Papers; Rebecca Fuhrer, formerly a professor at University College London (UCL), and now chair of my department at McGill, for introducing me to her UCL graduate student Beverly Shipley; Beverly for locating, extracting, and computerizing the raw data; Kate Lewis and archivist Gill Furlong of the Special Collections section of UCL Library Services for encouraging, and arranging for, us to "bring Galton to a wider audience"; and Colin Hanley and Louise Koo for photographing the material. This work was supported by an operating grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The photographs are published with the permission of the Director of Library Services of University College London.

James A. Hanley

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University, 1020 Pine Avenue West , Montreal, Quebec , Canada H3A 1A2
Telephone: +1 (514) 398 6270 ; Fax: +1 (514) 398 4503


August 25, 2004

Websites with extensive Galton Material Gavan Tredoux     UCL