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Garland E Allen

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Name  Garland Allen

Role  Historian
Garland E. Allen httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommons44
Books  Life science in the twentieth century, Thomas Hunt Morgan, Biology, Life Sciences in the Twentieth Century
People also search for  Jeffrey J. W. Baker, Jane Maienschein, Roy MacLeod

Garland E. Allen is an American historian and biographer at Washington University in St. Louis. His research interests lie primarily in the history of genetics, eugenics and evolution.



Allen was raised in Kentucky and graduated from the University of Louisville in 1957. He completed his PhD in the history of science at Harvard University in 1966 under the direction of Ernst Mayr and Everett Mendelsohn after spending a few years as a high school biology teacher. He has taught at Washington University and has held several visiting professorships at Harvard.

Thomas Hunt Morgan

To date, Allen has offered the fullest treatment of the life and work of Thomas Hunt Morgan, himself of Kentucky native. Allen's extensive review of Morgan presents the story of an experimentalist who staunchly avoided open political ties to science for fear of biasing the research. His discussion of the fly room, first at Columbia, then at Caltech, suggests that the collaborative environment within which Morgan worked with his students, H.J. Muller, Alfred Sturtevant, Calvin Bridges, and Theodosius Dobzhansky played an important role in establishing Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism for genetics, and launching the careers of these titans of 20th century genetics. Allen's work contributes to the body of history chronicling the emergence of American science.


Allen is an international leader on the history of eugenics. His work suggests that eugenics movements were not merely localized to Germany, Britain and America, but rather that eugenics constituted an international ideological shift from social darwinism, whereby nature would weed out people with poor heredity, to an ideology where humanity must control its own genetic stock. He has suggested that with the unveiling of the human genome, we should be cautious of a new wave of the eugenics movement.


  • Matter, Energy, and Life (4 Editions)
  • Life Sciences in the 20th Century (1975)
  • Thomas Hunt Morgan: The Man and his Science (1978)
  • Biology: Scientific Process and Social Issues (2002)
  • Accolades

  • Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (2011)
  • Trustee and Chairman of the history committee at the Marine Biological Laboratory
  • President of the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology
  • George Sarton Lecture AAAS
  • References

    Garland E. Allen Wikipedia