Full text: Problems in eugenics

Exhibit C 96—97.39 
the reader safely to draw conclusions from it. His personal 
observations are mixed up with those gathered by means of inquiry 
sheets circulated by him in such a way that one cannot make out how 
he has arrived at his weights at birth and mortality. Information is 
lacking with regard to the nutrition of the children, their age at the 
conclusion of the investigations, the length of marriage, the rapidity 
of birth sequence and so on. It is, therefore, indispensable to await 
the more detailed report before Laitinen’s information can be made 
use of. Bezzola has sent in in a modified form the data which he 
presented to the Eighth International Congress against Alcoholism 
in Vienna in 1901, on the effect of acute intoxication on the 
origin of feeble-mindedness. With their help the curve on 
Figure C 97 has been constructed, showing the distribution of 
illegitimate births in Switzerland during the different months of 
the year from Bezzola’s data and the corresponding curve of the 
births of mentally eminent individuals (taken from Brockhaus’ 
encyclopaedia.) The author supplies the following comments :— 
“ Comparison between the general birth curve and the corresponding one for 
the birth of feeble-minded children.” 
The casual observation at the registration of the personal history of 
feeble-minded individuals that 50 per cent, of the birth dates fall within 
only fourteen weeks of the year (New Year, carnival, and wine harvest) has 
aroused the desire to deal with the seasonal incidence of the begetting of the 
feeble-minded on the basis of as much material as possible. For this pur­ 
pose the author’s census of feeble-minded school children, which took place 
in the year 1897, and referred to the years 1886-90 inclusive, seemed specially 
suited. Originally (in 1901) a curve was plotted in which all the 8,186 feeble­ 
minded and idiotic children were included whose exact birthdays were known, 
and this curve was compared with the total curve for that period. (Schweiz. 
Statistik 112 Liefg.) The latter was constructed in the following manner 
from the whole number of births (934,619) which occurred in these eleven 
years :—The general daily average was taken as 100, and the daily average 
for each month was expressed proportionately. Thus numbers above 100 
show a daily birth frequency above the average, while for numbers below 
100 the reverse is the case. The curve for the 8,136 feeble-minded persons 
was constructed in a similar way, and thus a comparison with the general 
population producing them was made possible. Subsequently (1910-rr), in 
order to secure homogeneous material, the first and last years were left out, 
since by including them, owing to the non-agreement of the school year 
and the astronomical year, the earlier months (January-April) were much 
weighted. By this restriction of the material dealt with the number of 
feeble-minded is reduced to 7,759, but the material for each separate year 
is more homogeneous. Distributed between 2,922 days (eight years), the 
daily production of the feeble-minded is 2-648, the corresponding total 
number of births of the years 1882-89 is 677,083, or 231.7 per day. 1.14 per 
cent, of all births are included in the figure for the feeble-minded. If one 
treats the total number of births for each month as well as the number of 
births of feeble-minded according to the method described above, and used 
by the Federal Statistical Bureau, two curves are produced which diverge 
considerably from each other in particular months. On the whole the curve 
for the feeble-minded (thick line) is flatter than the curve for the total. 
Especially striking are the drop in May and June (corresponding to the proC 97
	        

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