Francis Galton

Hereditary Genius

By Francis Galton. This pioneering work in the study of hereditary and human ability laid the groundwork for the science of eugenics, inheritance and intelligence studies.

Galton’s methodology consisted of making a list of eminent people and their extended relations to determine how many prominent relatives they had.

If genius was hereditary, Galton reasoned, there should be more eminent people among the relatives than among the general population.

He also proposed a number of methods to separate the effects of heredity and environment, which included adoption studies and trans-racial adoption studies.

The conclusion to which all the data propelled Galton was that intelligence was clearly hereditary. A groundbreaking work, now despised, but as valid as the day it was written. As the author later said, this book’s title should have been “Hereditary Ability.”

Sir Francis Galton (1822–1911), was an English Victorian polymath, anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, pyschometrician, statistician and founder of the science of eugenics. He was knighted in 1909.


Introductory Chapter

Classification of Men According to Their Reputation

Classification of Men According to Their Natural Gifts

Comparison of the Two Classifications


The Judges of England Between 1660 and 1865


English Peerages, Their Influence Upon Race


Literary Men

Men of Science





Senior Classics of Cambridge


Wrestlers of The North Country

Comparison of Results

The Comparative Worth of Different Races

Influences That Affect the Natural Ability of Nations

General Considerations



Exact reproduction of the original.

408 pages. Paperback.


Additional information

Weight 19.22 oz
Dimensions 6 × 0.85 × 9 in

Francis Galton

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