Library Services


Galton Laboratory Book Collection

Front cover of Karl Pearson’s The life, letters and labours of Francis Galton, II (COLLEGE COLLECTON DG 17 PEA)


Topic(s) covered 

Statistics, genetics, eugenics


c. 5,000 items

Scope and content

The core of the collection is Francis Galton’s personal library. It grew through the addition of the working library of the Galton Laboratory, which was compiled by various researchers who were active in the lab, including Karl Pearson and Lionel Penrose. It comprises of books, periodicals and pamphlets with a focus on statistics, genetics and the pseudoscience of eugenics, but also covering natural history, anatomy, mathematics, and anthropology. Many books contain letters, including from and to Galton. The material ranges in date from the early eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century.

The book collection complements the Galton Papers and the Galton Laboratory Records. Museum material relating to the history of the Galton Laboratory can be found in the UCL Museum collections.


Francis Galton’s library and papers were deposited in University College London by his executors soon after his death in 1911. The library of the Galton Laboratory was accumulated between its creation in 1904 and the late 20th Century.


The collection is fully catalogued. To browse the records, conduct a search for GALTONLABORATORY, without spaces, on Explore.