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EARNEST ALBERT HOOTON November 20, 1887-May 3, 1954 BY STANLEY M. GARN AND EUGENE GILES OVER FOUR DECADES Earnest Albert Hooton became known nationally and internationally for his contributions to the study of human evolution, for his comprehensive com- parisons of nonhuman primates, and for his management of mass-scale anthropometric studies both of skeletal popu- lations and on the living. He also became well known to a generation of newspaper readers for his pithy ant! often irreverent comments on the human condition and for his advocacy of a woman president. As an early exponent of applied physical anthropology and human engineering, Hooton was responsible for improvements in clothing siz- ing, work space, and air frame and seating design. For years Earnest Hooton was the principal source of graduate stu- dents in physical anthropology and, through his students, was responsible for much of the growth and direction of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION Earnest Albert Hooton was born in Clemansville, Wis- consin, on November 20, 1887, the third child and only son of an English-born Methodist minister marries! to a Cana- ~lian-born woman of Scotch-Irish ancestry. Both parents 67
68 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS emphasized learning ant! macle sure that all three Hooton children went to college, despite the meager salary accorclec! a clergyman. Besicles, Hooton's small size and myopia macle him a scholar from the start "with my nose always stuck in a book." Hooton also clemonstrated an ability for cartooning at an early age, and he enlivened both his high school and _ _ 11 _ _ _ _ ~ ·, ~ O college annuals wire cartoons en cl more serious artwork, a skill he maintained for the rest of his sixty-six years. Earnest Hooton graduates! from Lawrence College at the ~ . . . age ot nineteen anct went on to the University of Wiscon- sin, where he attained his Ph.D. degree in the classics, hav- ing great proficiency in Latin and more skills in ancient Greek. His 1911 Ph.D. thesis was titled "The Evolution of Literary Art in Pre-hellenic Rome." With this eclucational background and his outstanding academic record, he ap- pliecl for en cl was awarder! a Rhocles scholarship, electing to study at Oxford. There he moved in succession from classical archeology to iron-age and Viking-periocI archeol- ogy, assisting in the excavation of Viking boat burials en cl description of the remains. At Oxford, under R. R. Marett, Hooton turner! to anthropology, taking a diploma in gen- eral anthropology in 1912. He then worked with Arthur Keith, where he developed a lifelong interest in human paleontology, especially paTeoanthropic fossils from Englanc! and the continent. With Marett's strong support, Hooton was offered a teach- ing position at Harvard in 1913, en cl he remained there for four clecacles. Besides teaching introductory physical an- thropology and iron-age archeology, he busied himself with descriptive analyses of skeletal remains, writing many acI- clencia or technical notes to archeological reports and lec- turing to alumni and professional groups on the relevance of physical anthropology to medicine and dentistry. Though clisquaTifiecl from military service because of his
EARNEST ALBERT HOOTON 169 nearsightedness, requiring six diopters of correction, he volunteered for training at the Civilian Military Training Center at Plattsburgh, New York, becoming a passable rifle- man at ~ 00 yards but a wild shot at greater distances. Hooton also became involved in revising military recruitment stan- dards, a necessity given the large number of smallish immi- grants who could not qualify for service under the existing dimensional requirements standards. A RECORD OF RESEARCH During the 1920s, Hooton moved on from his earlier descriptions of individual skeletal remains found in the course of archeological digs and isolated fossil crania (like the La Quina skull) to metric and morphological analyses of large skeletal assemblages, including the remains of the ancient inhabitants of the Canary islands, originally collected in 1915. Studies on the remains from Pecos Pueblo, compris- ing over 500 individuals of all ages, marked a turning point in human skeletal biology, for the sample was large enough to allow attention to age changes in this prehistoric skeletal population, as well as a careful and detailed description of such pathological conditions as osteoarthritis and rheuma- toid arthritis, accomplished in conjunction with radiologists and pathologists. Chapter X of the Pecos report (Pathology) included a detailed analysis of the age incidence and population preva- lence of antemortem fractures (some 7 percent overall), with the highest age incidence in the elderly. The Pecos report also included appendixes on the dentition (by Habib J. Rihan) and a separate chapter on the pelvis (by Edward Reynolds). The entire study was facilitated by a sizeable group of devoted laboratory and statistical assistants, in- cluding Ruth O. Sawtell, who later wrote a series of popular
70 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS detective stories featuring human bones and skeletal icienti- location. During the ~ 930s, Hooton turner! his attention to anthropometric surveys and anthropometric studies of liv- ing human beings, including a very large series of criminals measured in ten different states, and years later, an anthropometric survey of the Irish. Such studies represented a major management task, keeping track of workers at dis- tant locations, a major accomplishment in ciata hancIling (thousands of completecI anthropometric and observational forms), ant! a major accomplishment in ciata analysis, macle possible by the use of IBM puncher! carcis and the Holler-' ith carcl sorter. Though his criminal study (publishecl as The American Criminal in 1939) was criticized as Lombroso-like in assum- ing the existence of criminal types, Hooton clic! demon- strate that different classes of felons differed substantially in bocly' size and proportions, pickpockets being the small- est and forgers being the tallest ant! best eclucatecI. Self- selection and occupational selection clearly accounted! for such climensional and proportional differences, as we have since come to know also for different groups of Olympic athletes. Hooton also operates! an anthropometric booth at the New York WorI(l's Fair, gathering novel (limensional data on the visitors, and he was involved in annual anthropometric studies on Harvard freshmen, extending investigations origi- nally initiated by Dudiey Sargent at the turn of the century. MILITARY AND CIVILIAN APPLICATIONS In the course of his anthropometric studies, Hooton cle- veloped a mode! for mass surveys ant! for ciata analysis us- ing punched cards en cl card-sorting equipment locater! in his statistical laboratory atop the Peabody Museum. This
EARNEST ALBERT HOOTON 171 model proved especially applicable to mass data surveys re- lating to equipment design, both civilian and military, which Hooton helped organize and provided direction. As a re- sult, many of Hooton's students became involved in ap- plied human engineering with the Air Force (previously the Army Air Corps), the Chemical Warfare Service (later the Army Chemical Corps), and the Quartermaster Corps, among others. Gas masks, oxygen masks, aircraft seating, tank interiors, military uniforms, ~suits, and tank helmets all became more comfortable, better-f~tting, and more user friendly because of Hooton's efforts and directions. it was his notion that equipment and garments should fit the user, rather than vice versa, and Hooton was a proponent of ergonomics long before the term was coiner] by Le Gros Clark. Many of the national and international nutrition surveys conducted well after the midcentury mark also reflect Hooton's designs and contributions, through the efforts of his students of an earlier period. Hooton also conducted an anthropometric study of com- muters in Boston's North Station in order to develop more comfortable train seats for the Heywood Wakef~eld Com- pany, as described in A Survey of Seating (1945~. (Hooton's principal assistant in that study later became the director of the Kinsey Institute.) From such endeavors Hooton was able to provide alternative employment for many of his students, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, for example, and at the Quartermaster Laboratories in Natick, so that academia was no longer the only source of jobs for physical anthropolo- gists. OTHER LITERARY CONTRIBUTIONS Besides technical monographs and book-length research reports (one over a thousand pages in length), Hooton also
72 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS wrote several introductory texts that were widely user! and lasted through multiple revisions. Up from the A]ie (1931, 1946) was his best-known work, covering the scope anct range of physical anthropology and providing detailed, illustrated instructions on anthropometry. Man's Poor Relations (1942) was the first comprehensive treatise on primates, primate taxonomy, en c! primate behavior. Their titles were sufficiently catchy to attract a wicle and appreciative audience, and they were written in a friendly expository style so that students found them pleasant reacting despite the wealth of techni- cal material en cl the polysyllabic Greco-Latin names bestowed! on in(livi(lual fossils and primate genera anti species. Hooton also extenclec! his writing to popularizect accounts of his own contributions (such as Crime and the Man), en c! he was caller! upon to write a popular description of the Grant study at Harvard University. Since the study was decli- catec! to a biobehavioral understanding of normal college unclergracluates, Hooton titled that popular work Young Man, You Are Normal. Hooton also penned cloggerel that has been likened to the work of Ogden Nash. Some of these verses were in- cluded in his scholarly texts, some fount! their way into his popular works, and others were user! to enliven his cIass- room lectures and the lectures he was invites! to give at conventions and conferences. His Ode to a Dental Hygienist was especially well received by dentists, who frequently in- vitec! Hooton to serve as a clinner speaker. Some of Hooton's more notable verses have been reprinted in volumes of po- etry, anct a representative selection (with illustrations also by Hooton) was reprinted posthumously uncler the title Subverse ~ ! 961~ . Like Ogden Nash, Hooton made use of unorthodox and surprising rhyme combinations. Hooton became an accomplishecl cartoonist in his high school and college days and returned to this skill in the
EARNEST ALBERT HOOTON 173 second half of his academic career. Some cartoons enTiv- ened his popular works, and a selection can be found in .S~'h7Jer.sP, including his rather hilarious drawing of a Harvard faculty meeting showing Conant at the dais and a back view of Hooton himself lounging in the front row. HOOTON AND HIS PH.D. STUDENTS For three decades, 1920-50 approximately, Earnest Albert Hooton was the major source of Ph.D. recipients in physi- cal anthropology in the United States and indeed the world. This preeminence in the supply side stemmed, in equal parts, from Hooton's location in the Peabody Museum of Harvard University, from the laboratory and statistical fa- cilities he built, from his inspiring teaching, and from his personality. The Department of Anthropology, in the Peabody Museum, was rich in archeological and ethnological hold- ings and had access to a remarkably complete research li- brary, with Tong runs of scientific journals in many lan- guages. The bone lab grew under Hooton and came to include extensive primate collections as well as collections of human skeletons from many parts of the world. Hooton also expanded his statistics laboratory, beginning at the time he participated in the Civilian Military Corps during World War I, and with continuing cooperation of the International Business Machines Corporation thereafter, thus providing a facility for data reduction and data analyses without paral- lel in the field. Hooton excelled as a teacher, teaching all of the courses n physical anthropology himself until the postwar expan- sion of physical anthropology demanded additional course offerings. With continuing programs of research, with ex- peditions to staff, and (later) with commercial and military projects, he was able to provide work-related training and i
74 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS financial support at a time when fellowships were scarce anal uncommon. Though a shy man in public, Hooton had a warm rela- tionship with his graduate students, according each in turn the feeling of being most favored. While many professors doled out bits of research as thesis topics along their own lines of interest, Hooton encouraged his graduate students to look wicle in search of investigative problems and then proviclec! advice and counsel in the course of data acquisi- tion and thesis writing. As a result, Hooton's students were diverse in their interests, some excelling in primate com- parisons; some concentrating on prehistoric and protohistoric skeletal remains and skulls; other working in nonulation 1 · 1 _1 ~ ~ . ~ ~ ~ . - 131010g~l, aemograpny, and tne secular Generational) changes of Americans or immigrant populations; ant! some in hu- man genetics and histology. Besides hour-Ion" student conferences of the formal sort, Hooton hacI regular afternoon teas (especially on Satur- ciays), which provided social interaction, good conversation, and the opportunity to meet visitors from around the worIci. Thus, along with jasmine tea and shortbread, Hooton's graclu- ate students (anc! other graduate students in anthropology) became acquainted! with a wider academic worIcI. As one of his former students calculated, getting a Ph.D. degree with Hooton incluclect twenty-three gallons of jasmine tea, six- teen pounds of Scotch shortbread, and a surprising variety of people. Most of the cloctoral-level students produced by Hooton went on to professional positions in physical anthropology, thereby changing the composition of the American Associa- tion of Physical Anthropologists, which hac! been largely macle up of anatomists and clinicians at the time of its inception. As their numbers grew, ant! as they gained in academic status, Hooton's students came to dominate the
EARNEST ALBERT HOOTON 175 AAPA for decades, eventually providing all of the elected officers for years and the majority of the executive commit- tee. Given this start and a long-term near-monopoly of gradu- ate students, it is not surprising that many of Hooton's prod- ucts were elected to the National Academy of Sciences, including Baker, Garn, Howells, Hulse, Shapiro, and Washburn. HOOTON'S PLACE IN NATURE It is difficult to evaluate Hooton or to rank him among his peers for he held a unique position in physical anthro- pology and was without parallel. Only Franz Boas at Colum- bia and Ales Hrdlicka at the Smithsonian had comparable stature and recognition in the scientific community. Hooton's honors included membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the Viking Fund Medal in Anthropol- ogy (he was the second recipient), and an honorary degree from Lawrence College. He was one of the founding mem- bers of the American Association of Physical Anthropolo- gists, serving as president from 1936 to 1938 and associate editor of the American journal of Physical Anthropology from 1928 to 1942, working closely with Hrdlicka. Hooton was also much esteemed as a guest lecturer and dinner speaker at various professional conventions, including the NAACP. Life magazine devoted a six-page spread to him under the title "Hooton of Harvard" (Aug. 7, 1939, pp. 60-661. Hooton was often quoted in daily newspapers and news magazines, for his pithy comments were highly quotable. That and some of the titles of his popular books (Apes, Men and Morons, The Twilight of Man, etc.) did not sit well with more conservative colleagues and publicity-averse members of the Harvard faculty, including Harvard president James Bryant Conant. Hooton's comments were much appreci- ated by generations of Harvard undergraduates, however,
176 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS and his popular "Anthropology A" course was Tong well at- tenclec! by premedical students, liberal arts majors, and so- cialites alike. Lectures, according to Hooton, "need not be the same as a steeping pill." THE LAST YEARS Though Hooton reached the official retirement age at Harvarc! after his sixty-fifth year, he was invited to return by a new anti more favorable administration at Harvarc! anct happily resumed teaching introductory courses that had clecreased in enrollment. He was actively teaching "Anthro- pology 10" when he flier! unexpectedly of a vascular acci- clent. Shortly before his cleath, Earnest Hooton expressed a desire to visit England once again to renew his acquain- tance with Sir Arthur Keith, his old mentor and friend and "hear his cheerful voice again." This was an unusual cleci- sion on Hooton's part, for he cletestecI travel except to the annual meetings of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, and his yearly treks to Pinehurst, North Carolina, to play golf. Hooton was survives! by his wife Mary Camp Hooton whom he married in 1913, by two sons (Newton and Jay), one daughter (Emma Hooton Robbins) and two grancichil- dren. Though he tract agrees! to accept a doctor of letters degree at the University of Wisconsin-Mactison, the award was macle posthumously at the 1954 spring commencement. Thereafter, an Earnest Albert Hooton professorship was es- tablishec3 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and its first incumbent was, fittingly enough, a pupil of a pupil of Hooton's.
EARNEST ALBERT HOOTON SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 1914 Note on the La Quina skull. Am. Anthropol. 16:267-68. 1916 177 The relation of physical anthropology to medical science. Medical Review of Reviews. April, pp. 260-64. 1916 Preliminary remarks on the archaeology and physical anthropology of Tenerife. Am. Anthropol. 18:358-65. 1917 Oral surgery in Egypt during the Old Empire. Harv. African Stud. 1 :29-32. 1918 On certain Eskimoid characters in Icelandic skulls. Am. I. Phys. Anthropol. 1 :53-76. 1925 The ancient inhabitants of the Canary Islands. Haw. African Stud. 7:1-401. The asymmetrical character of human evolution. Am. I. Phys. Anthropol. 8:125-41. 1928 Note on the anthropometric characters of the Yahgan and the Ona. New York Museum of the American Indian Hey e Foundation Contribu- tions 10:41-47. 1930 Doubts and suspicions concerning certain functional theories of primate evolution. Hum. Biol. 2:223-49. The Indians of Pecos Pueblo: A Study of Their Skeletal Remains. Papers of the Southwestern Expedition No. 4. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Uni- versity Press.
178 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS 1931 Up from the Ape. New York: Macmillan Co. 1932 Preliminary remarks on the anthropology of the American crimi- nal. Am. Philos. Soc. Pro c. 71:349-55. 1934 Apes, men and teeth. Sci. Mon. 38:24-34. 1935 Homo sapiens whence and whither. Sigma Xi Q. 23:6-24. 1936 An anthropologist looks at medicine. Science 83:271-76. Plain statements about race. Science 83:511-13. With E. Reynolds. Relation of the pelvis to erect posture: an explor- atory study. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 21 :253-78. 1937 Apes, Men, and Morons. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Apology for man. Forum 97:332-38. 1939 The American Criminal: An Anthropological Study. Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Press. Crime and the Man. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Twilight of Man. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1940 Viny Men Behave Like Apes and Vice Versa; or, Body and Behavior. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Stature, head form, and pigmentation of adult male Irish. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 26:229-49. 1942 Man's Poor Relations. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday.
EARNEST ALBERT HOOTON 1943 Medico-legal aspects of physical anthropology. Clinics 1:1612-24. 1945 179 Young Man, You Are Normal: Findings from a Study of Students. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. A Survey of Seating. Gardner, Mass.: Heywood Wakef~eld Co. 1946 Up from the Ape. Rev. ed. New York: Macmillan Co. The science of the individual. In Serving Through Science, pp. 91-93. The United States Rubber Company. Anthropometry and orthodontics. Am. [. Orthod. Oral Surg. (Orth- odontics Section) 32:673-81. The evolution and Revolution of the human face. Am. I. Orthod. Oral Surg. (Orthodontics Section) 32:657-72. 1951 With C. W. Dupertuis. Age Changes and Selective Survival in Irish Males, eds. W. W. Howells and S. L. Washburn. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Edwards Brothers, Inc. 1954 The importance of primate studies in anthropology. Hum. Biol. 26:179- 88. 1961 Subverse. Paris: Finisterre Press.