The Kallikak Family (1)

Lies of Accentuation

I received a copy of the second printing of Henry Herbert Goddard’s 1912 book The Kallikak Family: A Study in the Heredity of Feeble Mindedness today. While I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it later, but I couldn’t resist throwing a sample out for consideration.

Anyone who has read Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man might remember that Goddard was the man who introduced the word “moron” into our current vocabulary. Gould alleged that the photos in the book were retouched. What do you think? Have a closer look at the faces of the mongoloid morons photographed from life by Miss Elizabeth S. Kite.


No Photoshopery involved here, folks. Just simple use of a retouching pencil and/or an etching knife, or perhaps some clumsy alterations of the printing plates. It is hard to determine the method from the printed result. These are straight scans with only minimal gamma correction.