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Category: 2 – Letters to Smith from Sir Francis Galton

These files of correspondence contain letters from Sir Francis Galton to Frederick Smith, and chiefly relate to work the two men were carrying out regarding a consistent method of measuring horses from photographs. During this period, Smith was working at the Woolwich Remount Depot, and was preparing a paper titled ‘Relation between the Weight of a Horse and its Weight-carrying Power’. It seems that Smith intended to have this paper presented at the Royal Society, but it was eventually published in the Journal of Comparative Pathology and Therapeutics in 1899. [A reprint of this article can be found at FS/2/3/1/3]. Galton was preparing an article titled ‘Photographic Measurement of Horses and other animals’, published in ‘Nature’ in 1898, and a copy of this article is catalogued at FS/3/3/2/6.

There are no letters from Smith to Galton found in this collection. Galton’s notepaper all has a black border, indicating a recent death, and this is assumed to be for Galton’s wife, Louisa Jane Butler, who died in 1897.

1 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 27 Nov 1897

In this letter Galton writes that he is researching horses, and has looked at the records of the American Trotting Horse, which are currently quite inaccessible. He is writing to Smith to ask about measurement of horses,…

2 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 1 Dec 1897

Galton writes to thank Smith for his help. He suggests amendments to the method of photographing horses for measurement. He asks Smith to send him samples of horse hair, in order to help him create an optical instrument to…

3 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 7 Dec 1897

In this letter, Galton suggests alterations to the position of photographing horses for measurement. He also mentions sending Smith (dog?) whistles, and suggesting Smith trial them on cats and children. He writes about experiments with sound, including using a whistle whilst visiting the zoo to observe its effect on animals…

4 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 15 Dec 1897

In this letter Galton asks Smith to let him know before he continues photographing and measuring horses, as he has simplified and improved his method. He also mentions that he is sending an enclosure to be read at the Royal Society. [This was not found at time of cataloguing]…

5 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 5 Jan 1898

In this letter Galton writes with feedback for Smith’s draft paper ‘Relation between the Weight of a Horse and its Weight-carrying Power’. Galton suggests that if Smith wants to submit it to the Royal Society, it will need to be shorter. He also mentions that his own article ‘Measurements of Horses by Photography’ will soon appear in ‘Nature’,…

6 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 7 Jan 1898

In this letter Galton sends Smith a copy of his article ‘Photographic Measurement of Horses and other animals’, which was published in ‘Nature’ 6 Jan 1898. The article is enclosed.

7 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 13 Jan 1898

In this letter Galton thanks Smith, and returns his results from measurements. He comments on his method, and mentions learning from Captain Hayes about a possible improvement for measuring ‘fidgety’ horses…

8 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 18 Jan 1898

In this letter Galton writes in response to Smith asking about the height of the brisket (chest) of the horse. He also writes about the suggestion from a friend that…

9 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 26 Jan 1898

In this letter, Galton writes regarding Smith’s paper submitted to the Royal Society. He also asks about the use of a rope stretched across in front of a horse when photographed to aid measurement. Galton has made illustrative sketches in the letter…

10 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 28 Jan 1898

In this letter Galton writes to congratulate Smith on his medal. He mentions that he is ill in bed, and will write further when back at work.