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Caleb Saleeby

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Caleb Saleeby

Caleb Williams Saleeby (1878 – 9 December 1940) was an English physician, writer, and journalist known for his support of eugenics. During World War I, he was an adviser to the Minister of Food and advocated the establishment of a Ministry of Health.


Saleeby was born in Sussex, the son of E. G. Saleeby.[1] At Edinburgh University, he took First Class Honours and was an Ettles Scholar and Scott Scholar in Obstetrics. In 1904, he received his Doctor of Medicine degree. He was a resident at the Maternity Hospital and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, and briefly at the York City Dispensary.

He became a prolific freelance writer and journalist, with strong views on many subjects.[2] He became known in particular as an advocate of eugenics: in 1907 he was influential in launching the Eugenics Education Society, and in 1909 he published (in New York) Parenthood and Race Culture.

He was a contributor to the first edition of Arthur Mee's The Children's Encyclopædia.[3] Like Mee, he was a keen temperance reformer. Saleeby's contributions to the Encyclopedia were explicitly race realist: he saw mankind as the pinnacle of evolution, and white men as superior to other men, based on "craniometry".[2]

He predicted the use of atomic power, "perhaps not for hundreds of years". He favoured the education of women, but primarily so they should become better mothers.[4] In Woman and Womanhood (1912), he wrote: "Women, being constructed by Nature, as individuals, for her racial ends, are happier and more beautiful, live longer and more beautiful lives, when they follow, as mothers or foster-mothers the role of motherhood". Yet, at this time when the suffragette movement was at its peak, he also wrote that he could see no good reason against the vote for women: "I believe in the vote; I believe it will be eugenic".

During World War I, he was an adviser to the Minister of Food and argued in favour of the establishment of a Ministry of Health. Later, he moved away from eugenics, and did not publish any further writings on this subject after 1921—though he continued to write on health matters in particular. He also campaigned for clean air and the benefits of sunlight, founding a Sunlight League in 1924.[2]

He died on 9 December 1940 from heart failure at Apple Tree, Aldbury, near Tring.[1]

Selected works

  • Cycle of life according to modern science (1904)
  • Worry the Disease of the Age (1907)
  • Health, strength and happiness (1908)
  • Parenthood and Race Culture (1909)
  • The methods of race-regeneration (1911)
  • Woman and Womanhood (1911)
  • The Progress of Eugenics (1914)
  • (1st ed 1923. 5th ed 1929)

See also


Further reading

External links

  • List of books published by C.W. Saleeby

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