Science: Genetics

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Genetics, the study of life processes, had two good and separate hours in the news last week. At Cold Spring Harbor, L. I., the Carnegie Institution of Washington conducted a genetics display to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its own incorporation and the coeval establishment of its Departments of Genetics. In Manhattan, at the American Museum of Natural History, the Eugenics Research Association (founded 1913) and the American Eugenics Society (founded 1925) jointly conducted a festival exposition on their specialty, the science of development through artificial selection.

Carnegie Institution. Ranking next to the $550,000,000 which the John Davison Rockefellers have given to social agencies is the $350,000,000 which Andrew Carnegie (1837-1919) gave. The sum constituted nine-tenths of his fortune. To endow the Carnegie Institution of Washington he assigned $10,000,000 in 1902. After a special act of Congress incorporated the Institution in 1904, it received $12,000,000 more from Mr. Carnegie directly and $5,000,000 from Carnegie Corp. of New York, which he established in 1911 to maintain his funds for "aiding technical schools, institutions of higher learning, libraries, scientific research, hero funds, useful publications, and by such other agencies and means as shall from time to time be found appropriate therefor." A notable addition to the Carnegie Institution's basic $27,000,000 endowment was the half-million which Mrs. Edward Henry Harriman, sole heir and active manager of the late great railroad organizer's $100,000,000 estate, gave in 1918. She was and is interested in problems of human heredity.

John Campbell Merriam, 59, paleontologist, educator, has been president of the Carnegie Institution since 1920 and administrator of its 13 subsidiary bodies of scientific research. He is a veritable tycoon. But where most tycoons are acquisitive of fortunes, he is a dispenser.

Department of Genetics. Charles Benedict Davenport, 63, was an associate professor at the University of Chicago in 1904. He had the idea of a station for experimental evolution, and to him was given the direction of the Carnegie Institution's station at Cold Spring Harbor at its creation a quarter-century ago. Its first work was on plants and animals. Mrs. Harriman a few years later established a eugenics record office adjoining his station. The two were later combined under him, and his supervision extended over research on all forms of life. He is still director and was, as such, host of last week's genetics display at Cold Spring Harbor.

A chart of the Morgan family of financiers, with photographs, was both arresting and instructive among the exhibits. Beginning with Joseph Morgan (born 1790), who gained control of a Massachusetts stage-coach system, to the present John Pierpont Morgan and his children, who control railroad, steamship, telephone, telegraph and wireless systems, the family has shown a consistent "inheritance of capacity for organization and financial leadership."

The Dodge-Phelps-Stokes family of industrial, financial and philanthropic organizers goes back six generations. Five generations of the Jefferson family of actors are recorded.

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