Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911)
Measurements from Galton's Anthropometric Lab, December 11, 1888
Ink, cards, 10 x 5.25 inches
Collection of Rich Pell, Center for PostNatural History
This record from Sir Francis Galton’s Anthropometric Lab shows fingerprint images as well as a number of different anthropometric measurements taken of a single person over the course of four years. Visitors to Galton’s lab, which was open to the public as noted on the forms, would pay for the privilege of being measured and described, and would receive a copy of their measurements upon completion. Galton, in a manner similar to AncestryDNA today, would also then file a copy of this data to use in his own research on statistics, which included work on the distribution of human characteristics throughout a population. Measurements including “breathing capacity” and “reaction time measured in hundredths of a second” are similar to those collected and examined by the work of Brazilian artist Letícia Parente (1930-1991).