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Raymond Pearl

Born: 3-Jun-1879
Birthplace: Farmington, NH
Died: 17-Nov-1940
Location of death: Hershey, PA
Cause of death: Heart Failure

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Biologist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Biogerontology

Statistician and biologist Raymond Pearl conducted extensive research into nutrition, death, and eugenics, and he is considered a founding father of biogerontology (the biology-based study of aging). One of America's best-known scientists in the first half of the 20th century, he conducted landmark studies of the heredity and reproduction of poultry, cattle, and people, and founded Quarterly Review of Biology in 1926.

In 1927 he became the first prominent biologist to criticize the eugenics movement, and in 1938 he published a study conclusively linking use of tobacco to increased likelihood of early death. At the height of prohibition in America, he published research showing that the rate of alcohol-related deaths had more than tripled, and another study showing that moderate consumption of alcohol actually extends lifespan. Another Pearl study showed that factors such as relative prosperity and overcrowding decrease birth rates, while poverty and difficult conditions have the opposite effect, increasing birth rates.

Along with Alfred A. Knopf, Pearl was a regular member of H. L. Mencken's "Saturday Night Club", an informal gathering of intellectuals for social, drinking, and musical purposes. He was an outspoken anti-Semite, and supported eugenics for many years before his change of heart. In his 1939 book The Natural History of Population, he used statistical analysis to plot the past and future of world population, and predicted that by the year 2100 world population might reach 2.6 billion.

Father: Frank Pearl (grocery clerk)
Mother: Ida May McDuffee Pearl
Wife: Maud DeWitt Pearl (m. 1903, two daughters)
Daughter: Ruth DeWitt Pearl Jencks
Daughter: Penelope Pearl Mackey

    High School: Rochester, NH (1895)
    University: BA Biology, Dartmouth College (1899)
    University: PhD Zoology, University of Michigan (1902)
    Teacher: Zoology, University of Michigan (1902-05)
    Scholar: Biology, University College London (1905-06)
    Teacher: Zoology, University of Pennsylvania (1906-07)
    Teacher: Biology, University of Maine at Orono (1907-18)
    Professor: Biometry and Vital Statistics, Johns Hopkins University (1918-23)
    Professor: Biology, Johns Hopkins University (1923-40)

    Food and Drug Administration Statistics Division (1917-19)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Philosophical Society
    American Statistical Association President (1939)
    National Academy of Sciences 1916
    National Research Council
    English Ancestry

Author of books:
Variation and Differentation in Ceratophyllum (1907)
Modes of Reearch in Genetics (1914)
Diseases of Poultry (1914)
Reference Handbook of Food Statistics in Relation to the War (1918)
The Nation's Food (1920)
The Biology of Death (1922)
Introduction to Medical Biometry and Statistics (1923)
Studies in Human Biology (1924)
The Biology of Population Growth (1925)
Alcohol and Longevity (1926)
To Begin With: Being Prophylaxis against Pedantry (1927)
The Rate of Living (1928)
The Present Status of Eugenics (1928)
Constitution and Health (1933)
The Ancestry of the Long-Lived (1934)
The Natural History of Population (1939)


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