Journal of the History of Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 435–471 | Cite as

Ella Thea Smith and the Lost History of American High School Biology Textbooks

Article

Abstract

Two influential articles published in the 1970s suggested that pressure from Christian fundamentalists, subsequent to the Scopes trial of 1925, forced American high school biology textbook authors and publishers to significantly limit discussion of the topic of evolution. The conclusions reached by these studies have become foundational for historians examining the interplay between science and religion in the United States in the twentieth century. However, a reexamination of key twentieth century biology textbooks suggests that the narrative that the treatment of the theory of evolution was held hostage to anti-rational cultural forces is largely a myth, created first as part of a public relations effort by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) to differentiate, defend, and promote its work, and later as part of an attempt by scholars to sound a warning concerning the rise of the religious right. A focus on this narrative has not only allowed biologists to sidestep uncomfortable questions regarding the race-biased and class-biased assumptions embedded within the concept of evolutionary progress, it has also limited reliance on the texts in question as reliable reflections of the cultural assumptions of educators and scientists. A reexamination of the most popular American biology textbooks from 1907 to 1963, particularly the work of Ella Thea Smith, provides evidence in support of these contentions.

Keywords

Biological Sciences Curriculum Study biology textbooks BSCS civic Biology creationism Ella Thea Smith evolution exploring Biology modern Biology racial development scopes trial 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Baitsell, George Alfred. 1940. Human Biology. New York: McGraw-Hill Book CompanyGoogle Scholar
  2. Baker Arthur O., Lewis H. Mills. 1933. Dynamic Biology. New York: Rand McNally & CompanyGoogle Scholar
  3. Baker Arthur O., Lewis H. Mills. 1943. Dynamic Biology Today. New York: Rand McNally & CompanyGoogle Scholar
  4. Bates Marston. 1952. Where Winter Never Comes. New York: Charles Scribner’s SonsGoogle Scholar
  5. BSCS. 1963. (“Blue” Version) Biological Science: Molecules to Man. Boston: Houghton Mifflin CompanyGoogle Scholar
  6. BSCS. 1963. (“Green” Version) High School Biology. Chicago: Rand McNally & CompanyGoogle Scholar
  7. BSCS. 1963. (“Yellow” Version) Biological Sciences: An Inquiry into Life. New York: Harcourt, Brace & WorldGoogle Scholar
  8. Bowler, Peter J. 1983. The Eclipse of Darwinism. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University PressGoogle Scholar
  9. Bowler, Peter J. 1988. The Non-Darwinian Revolution: Reinterpreting a Historical Myth. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University PressGoogle Scholar
  10. BSCS. 1959a. Minutes of the First Meeting of the Steering Committee, February 5–7, 1959. Boulder, Colorado: BSCSGoogle Scholar
  11. BSCS. 1960. BSCS Newsletter No. 3. Boulder, Colorado: BSCSGoogle Scholar
  12. BSCS. 1961a. Minutes of the Fourth Meeting of the Steering Committee, February 2–3, 1961. Boulder, Colorado: BSCSGoogle Scholar
  13. BSCS. 1961b. BSCS Newsletter No. 7. Boulder, Colorado: BSCSGoogle Scholar
  14. Cain, Joe. 2003. Publication History for Evolution, a Journal of Nature. Archives of Natural History 30: 1–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Carlson, Elof Axel. (ed.). 1973. Man’s Future Birthright: Essays on Science and Humanity. Albany: State University of New York PressGoogle Scholar
  16. Clawson, Marion. 1989. The Forest and the Sea. American Forests 95: 71Google Scholar
  17. Curtis, Francis D., Otis W. Caldwell, Nina Henry Sherman. 1934. Biology for Today. Boston: Ginn and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  18. Curtis, Francis D., Otis W. Caldwell, Nina Henry Sherman. 1943 Everyday Biology. Boston: Ginn and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  19. Curtis, Francis D., John Urban. 1955. Biology in Daily Life. Boston: Ginn and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  20. Dodge, Ruth A. 1952. Smallwood, Reveley, and Bailey’s Elements of Biology. Boston: Allyn and BaconGoogle Scholar
  21. Engleman, Laura. (ed.). 2001. The BSCS Story: A History of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study. Colorado Springs: BSCSGoogle Scholar
  22. Englert, Marie. 13 April 1954. Mrs. Ella Cox, Former Salem Teacher, Now Fulltime Writer. Salem News Google Scholar
  23. Engles, Eric W. 1991. Biology Education in the Public High Schools of the United States from the Progressive Era to the Second World War: A Discursive History. Ph.D. diss., University of California, Santa CruzGoogle Scholar
  24. Glass Bentley. 1945. Exploring Biology; Exploring Biology Work Book. The Quarterly Review of Biology 20: 169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Glass Bentley. 1946. Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race. The Quarterly Review of Biology 21: 127–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Glass Bentley. 1949. Exploring Biology; Workbook to Accompany Exploring Biology; Tests for Smith’s Exploring Biology. The Quarterly Review of Biology 24: 227Google Scholar
  27. Glass Bentley. 1962. Renascent Biology: A Report on the AIBS Biological Sciences Curriculum Study. The School Review 70: 16–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Glass Bentley. 1981. A Hidden Chapter of German Eugenics Between the Two World Wars. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 125: 357–367Google Scholar
  29. Glass Bentley. 1990. Forward. The Quarterly Review of Biology 65: 413–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Glass, Bentley., Curt, Stein. 1986. Geneticists Embattled: Their Stand Against Rampant Eugenics and Racism in America During the 1920s and 1930s. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 130: 130–154Google Scholar
  31. Gould Stephen Jay. 1983. Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes. New York: W. W. Norton & CompanyGoogle Scholar
  32. Gould Stephen Jay. 1983. Bully for Brontosaurus. New York: W. W. Norton & CompanyGoogle Scholar
  33. Grabiner, Judith V. and Miller, Peter D. 1974. “Effects of the Scopes Trial.” Science 832–837Google Scholar
  34. Grobman Arnold B. 1969. The Changing Classroom: The Role of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & CompanyGoogle Scholar
  35. Gruenberg Benjamin C. 1908. The Practical, Pedagogical, and Scientific Bases for the Study of Biology. School Science and Mathematics 9: 540–543Google Scholar
  36. Gruenberg Benjamin C. 1919. Elementary Biology: An Introduction to the Science of Life. Boston: Ginn and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  37. Gruenberg Benjamin C. 1925. Biology and Human Life. Boston: Ginn and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  38. Gruenberg Benjamin C. 1929. The Story of Evolution. Garden City, New York: Garden City Publishing CompanyGoogle Scholar
  39. Holmes S. J. 1931. Life and Evolution. London: A. & C. BlackGoogle Scholar
  40. Hunter George W. 1907. Elements of Biology. New York: American Book CompanyGoogle Scholar
  41. Hunter George W. 1910. The Methods, Content, and Purpose of Biological Science in the Secondary Schools of the United States. School Science and Mathematics 10(1–10): 103–111Google Scholar
  42. Hunter George W. 1911. Essentials of Biology. New York: American Book CompanyGoogle Scholar
  43. Hunter George W. 1914. Civic Biology. New York: American Book CompanyGoogle Scholar
  44. Hunter George W. 1923. New Essentials of Biology. New York: American Book CompanyGoogle Scholar
  45. Hunter George W. 1926. New Civic Biology. New York: American Book CompanyGoogle Scholar
  46. Huxley Julian. 1964. Evolution: The Modern Synthesis. New York: John Wiley & SonsGoogle Scholar
  47. Jordan David Star, Vernon Lyman Kellogg. 1916. Evolution and Animal Life. New York: D. Appleton and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  48. Hurd, Paul deHart. 1961. Biological Education in American Secondary Schools. American Institute of Biological SciencesGoogle Scholar
  49. Jacobson Matthew Frye. 2000. Barbarian Virtues: The United States Encounters Foreign Peoples at Home and Abroad, 1876–1917. New York: Hill and WangGoogle Scholar
  50. Kennedy Manert H. 1975. Evolution in High School Texts. Science 188: 203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Kevles, Daniel J. 1986. In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity. Berkeley: University of California Press. Google Scholar
  52. Kinsey Alfred C. 1926. An Introduction to Biology. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott CompanyGoogle Scholar
  53. Largent, Mark Aaron. 2000. These Are Times of Scientific Ideals: Vernon Lyman Kellogg and Scientific Activism, 1890–1930. Ph.D. diss., University of MinnesotaGoogle Scholar
  54. Larson Edward J. 1997. Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing Debate over Science and Religion. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University PressGoogle Scholar
  55. Larson Edward J. 2003. Trial and Error: The American Controversy over Creation and Evolution, 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  56. Larson Edward J. 2004. Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Idea. New York: The Modern LibraryGoogle Scholar
  57. Linville Henry R., et al. 1909. The Practical Use of Biology. School Science and Mathematics 9: 121–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Linville Henry R. 1910. Old and New Ideals in Science Teaching. School Science and Mathematics 10: 210–216Google Scholar
  59. Linville Henry R. 1923. The Biology of Man and Other Organisms. New York: Harcourt, Brace and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  60. Miller, Peter D. 1966. Darwin and the Textbooks. Honors thesis, Harvard UniversityGoogle Scholar
  61. Montagu M. F. Ashley. 1942. Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race. New York: Harper & BrothersGoogle Scholar
  62. Moon, Truman J. 1921. Biology for Beginners. New York: Henry Holt and Company. Reproduced in facsimile. 1981. New York: Holt, Rinehart and WinstonGoogle Scholar
  63. Moon Truman J., Paul B. Mann. 1933. Biology for Beginners. New York: Henry Holt and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  64. Moon Truman J., Paul B. Mann. 1946. Biology: A Revision of Biology for Beginners. New York: Henry Holt and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  65. Moon, Truman J., Paul B. Mann, James H. Otto. 1951. Modern Biology. New York: Henry Holt and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  66. Moon, Truman J., Paul B. Mann, James H. Otto. 1956. Modern Biology. New York: Henry Holt and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  67. Moon, Truman J., Paul B. Mann, James H. Otto. 1960. Modern Biology. New York: Holt, Rinehart and WinstonGoogle Scholar
  68. Moore John A. 1993. Science as a Way of Knowing: The Foundations of Modern Biology. Cambridge: Harvard University PressGoogle Scholar
  69. Moore John A. 2002. From Genesis to Genetics: The Case of Evolution and Creationism. Berkeley: University of California PressGoogle Scholar
  70. Moore Randy. 2001. The Lingering Impact of the Scopes Trial on High School Biology Textbooks. BioScience 51: 790CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Muller Hermann J. 1959. One Hundred Years Without Darwinism Are Enough. The Humanist 1: 139–149Google Scholar
  72. Nelkin, Dorothy. 1977. Science Textbook Controversies and the Politics of Equal Time. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT PressGoogle Scholar
  73. Numbers Ronald. 1992. The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism. Berkeley: University of California PressGoogle Scholar
  74. Otto James H., Albert Towle. 1963. Modern Biology. New York: Holt, Rinehart and WinstonGoogle Scholar
  75. Otto James H., Albert Towle. 1969. Modern Biology. New York: Holt, Rinehart and WinstonGoogle Scholar
  76. Parshley Howard M. 1940. Biology. New York: John Wiley & SonsGoogle Scholar
  77. Pauly, Philip J. 1991. “The Development of High School Biology: New York City,” Isis 82. Reprinted in Numbers, Ronald L. and Charles E. Rosenberg (eds.). 1996. The Scientific Enterprise in America. Chicago: The University of Chicago PressGoogle Scholar
  78. Peabody James Edward., Arthur Ellsworth Hunt. 1914. Elementary Biology: Plant, Animal, Human. New York: The Macmillan CompanyGoogle Scholar
  79. Peabody James Edward., Arthur Ellsworth Hunt. 1927. Biology and Human Welfare. New York: The Macmillan CompanyGoogle Scholar
  80. Rudolph John L. 2002. Scientists in the Classroom: The Cold War Reconstruction of American Science Education. New York: PalgraveGoogle Scholar
  81. Scott Eugenie C. 1997. Antievolutionism and Creationism in the United States. Annual Review of Anthropology 26: 263–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Selden Steven. 1999. Inheriting Shame: The Story of Eugenics and Racism in America. New York: Teachers College PressGoogle Scholar
  83. Shaffer Dale E. 1999. Salem Looks Back. Salem, Ohio: Dale E. ShafferGoogle Scholar
  84. Shapiro, Adam. 2007. Losing the Word: The Scopes Trial, Biology Textbooks, and the Evolution of Biblical Literalism. Ph.D. diss., University of ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  85. Simpson, George Gaylord, Pittendrigh, Colin S. and Tiffany Lewis H. 1957. Life: an Introduction to Biology. Harcourt, Brace and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  86. Simpson George Gaylord. 1975. Evolution and Education. Science 187: 389–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Skoog Gerald. 1979. Topic of Evolution in Secondary School Biology Textbooks: 1900–1977. Science Education 63: 621–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Smallwood W. M., Ida L. Reveley, Guy A. Bailey. 1924. New Biology. Boston: Allyn and BaconGoogle Scholar
  89. Smith, Ella Thea. 1932. Biology: The Science of Life. Unpublished. Salem, Ohio: Salem Historical AssociationGoogle Scholar
  90. Smith Ella Thea. 1938. Exploring Biology. New York: Harcourt, Brace and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  91. Smith Ella Thea. 1942. Exploring Biology: New Edition. New York: Harcourt, Brace and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  92. Smith Ella Thea. 1949. Exploring Biology: Third Edition. New York: Harcourt Brace and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  93. Smith Ella Thea. 1952. An Active Human Biology. The Quarterly Review of Biology 27: 130–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Smith Ella Thea. 1953. Man and His Biological World. The Quarterly Review of Biology 28: 158–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Smith Ella Thea. 1954. Exploring Biology: Fourth Edition. New York: Harcourt, Brace and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  96. Smith Ella Thea. 1959. Exploring Biology: Fifth Edition. New York: Harcourt, Brace and WorldGoogle Scholar
  97. Smith Ella Thea., Thomas Gordon Lawrence. 1966. Exploring Biology: Sixth Edition. New York: Harcourt, Brace and WorldGoogle Scholar
  98. Smocovitis Vassiliki Betty. 1996. Unifying Biology: The Evolutionary Synthesis and Evolutionary Biology. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University PressGoogle Scholar
  99. Smocovitis Vassiliki Betty. 1999. The 1959 Darwin Celebration in America. Osiris 14: 274–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Smocovitis Vassiliki Betty. 1994. Science as a Way of Knowing: The Foundations of Modern Biology. The Quarterly Review of Biology 69: 388–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Tax, Sol. (ed.). 1960. Evolution After Darwin, vol. 2. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press; reprint, Midway [1977]Google Scholar
  102. Toumey Christopher P. 1991. Modern Creationism and Scientific Authority. Social Studies of Science 21: 681–699CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Vance, B. B. and Miller D. F. 1946. Biology for You. Chicago: J. B. Lippincott CompanyGoogle Scholar
  104. Vance, B. B. and Miller D. F. 1958. Biology for You. Chicago: J. B. Lippincott CompanyGoogle Scholar
  105. Villee Claude A. 1957. Biology, 3rd Edition. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders CompanyGoogle Scholar
  106. Walter Herbert E. 1913. Genetics: An Introduction to the Study of Heredity. New York: The Macmillan CompanyGoogle Scholar
  107. Woodruff Lorande Loss. 1922. Foundations of Biology. New York: The Macmillan CompanyGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Empire State CollegeState University of New YorkNiskayunaUSA

Personalised recommendations