Pearson Letters

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 103 MS ADD 141
  • Dates of Creation
      11 Jul 1931-13 Sep 1933
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      4 letters

Scope and Content

Letters from Karl Pearson to Edgar Charles Fieller at the Galton Laboratory, on probability and random selection.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in London, 27 March 1857; educated at University College School and King's College Cambridge; Third Wrangler in Mathematics Tripos, 1879; studied medieval and sixteenth-century German literature, Berlin and Heidelberg Universities, 1879-1880; read law, called to the Bar by Inner Temple, 1881; delivered lectures on mathematics, philosophy and German literature at societies and clubs devoted to adult education; deputised for the Professor of Mathematics, King's College London, 1881, and for the Professor of Mathematics at University College London, 1883; formed the Men and Women's Club, with some others, to discuss equality between the sexes; appointed to Goldsmid Chair of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics, University College London, 1884; appointed Professor of Geometry, Gresham College, 1891; collaborated with Walter Frank Raphael Weldon, Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy, in biometry and evolutionary theory, 1891-1906; elected Fellow of the Royal Society, 1896; founded journal 'Biometrika' with Weldon and Francis Galton founder of the School of Eugenics at University College London, 1901; appointed first Galton Professor of Eugenics, University College London, 1911; formed Department of Applied Statistics incorporating the Biometric Laboratory and Galton Laboratory, University College London; founded journal 'Annals of Eugenics', 1925; retired, 1933, died at Coldharbour, Surrey, 27 April 1936.

Access Information


The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Related Material

University College London Special Collections also holds Pearson's correspondence with Sir Francis Galton, 1893-1911 (Ref: GALTON); papers and correspondence of Pearson's son, Egon Sharpe Pearson, Professor of Statistics at University College London (Ref: PEARSON, EGON); and the Hacker papers, 1860-1975, being materials collected for a biography of Karl Pearson by his youngest daughter Helga Sharpe Hacker (Ref: HACKER).

Kings College Modern Archive Centre at Cambridge University holds letters to Henry Bradshaw, 1880-1885, (Ref: Bradshaw papers/2/72), and letters to Oscar Browning, 1877-1884, (Ref: OB); the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine holds correspondence with the Eugenics Society, 1921-1932, (Ref: SA/EUG); the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland holds correspondence with M L Tildesley, [1920-1936], (Ref: MS 294/17); the Royal Society holds some letters (see HMC MS papers of British scientists 1600-1940, 1982).