Collection K/PP65 - GATES, Professor Reginald Ruggles (1882-1962)

Key Information

Reference code



GATES, Professor Reginald Ruggles (1882-1962)


  • 1896-1969 (Creation)

Level of description



52 boxes

Scope and content

Papers of Reginald Ruggles Gates, 1896-1969, including diaries and research notebooks, papers relating to Botanical Biology ; Gates' research files; photographs; appointment diaries; correspondence; papers relating to professional memberships and conference material; press cuttings and published articles on his research interests. Including diaries and research notebooks, 1906-1962. Papers relating to Botanical Biology , an unpublished work by Gates, including manuscript notes, statistics, photographs and plant seeds. Research files, including draft papers by Gates such as notes from publications, articles, lecture transcripts, lecture notes, chapters of books, book reviews and others. Also photographs, articles, tables of data on physical characteristics of various peoples, graphs and charts, press cuttings and correspondence, on a variety of subjects including botany, oenothera , ethnic groups, race, genetics, biology, anthropology and Gates' anthropological studies in Australia, Canada, Cuba, India, Japan, Mexico, New Guinea, Okinawa, South Africa and Taiwan. Photographs from Gates' travels to Algeria, the Amazon river, Andamanese Islands, Australia, California, Canada, Canadian Arctic, Cuba, England, Gibraltar, Italy, India, Japan, Kenya, Morocco, New Guinea, Russia, Sicily, South Africa, South Rhodesia, Spain, Swedish Lapland and Tunisia; photographs of plant life, particularly oenothera ; lecture slides; photographs used for publication in various books and articles by Gates; photographs of human and ape skulls and skeletons, photographs of people suffering from genetic diseases and personal photographs. Appointment diaries, 1921-1962. Personal and professional correspondence, including personal financial papers, 1903-1962. Papers relating to professional memberships and conference material, 1922-1962; press cuttings collected by Gates, 1915-1962 and printed material collected by Gates and his widow, 1928-1966, on subjects relating to his research including oenothera , botany, race, blood groups, physical anthropology, human biology, genetics, prehistoric man and population.

System of arrangement

The original order of the collection has been maintained as much as possible, although some alterations have been implemented. The research files retain their original order in a series of 114 files divided by subject. Appointment diaries and notebooks, professional memberships and conference material, papers relating to Botanical Biology, and press cuttings have retained their original order. Photographs have retained their original order where possible, many photographs were loose within the boxes and some attempt has been made to return these to their original groupings. Gates' correspondence lies in 31 chronological bundles: 7/11-7/30 are in their original order, arranged by year and alphabetically by name of correspondent. All others have been arranged chronologically. Printed material has been arranged chronologically by subject.

General Information

Name of creator


Biographical history

Born Middleton, Nova Scotia, 1882; educated Middleton High School; BSc, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, 1899-1903; McGill University, 1903-1904; Vice-Principal of Middleton High School, 1904; Demonstrator in Botany, McGill University, 1905; research at Woods Hole, Massachusetts 1906-1908; Senior Fellow and graduated PhD, University of Chicago, 1908; first major visit to Europe (France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Holland and England), 1910; moved to England, 1911; research in laboratory of Farmer, Imperial College of Science, 1911; awarded Mendel Medal, 1911; Married Dr Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes, 1911 (marriage annulled 1916); Lecturer in Biology, St Thomas's Hospital, London, 1912-1914; Huxley Medal and Prize, Imperial College, University of London, 1913; Lecturer in Cytology, Bedford College, London, 1912, 1914 and on Heredity in Relation to Cytology, Oxford University, 1914; moved to USA, 1914; Associate Professor in Zoology, University of California, [1915]; worked at the New York botanical garden [1915-1916]; returned to England and enlisted in the Artists' Rifles, 1916; Instructor in aerial gunnery, Royal Flying Corps (Corporal), 1917-1918; Reader in Botany, University of London King's College, 1919-1921; Professor of Botany, University of London King's College, 1921-1942; Society of Experimental Biology, Secretary, 1923-1928; Amazon expedition, 1925; expedition to Kola Peninsula tundra and inspecting Russian plant breeding stations, 1926-1927; Canadian Arctic expedition (the Mackenzie River) recording blood group frequencies amongst the Inuit and indigenous Canadian population, 1928, South African expedition, making photographic records of South African peoples 1929; married Jane Williams, 1929 (marriage dissolved); Consultative Council, Eugenics Society; Royal Anthropological Institute, Council, 1927-1933, 1935-1937; Council, Linnean Society, 1928-1932, Fellow of the Royal Society, 1931; Vice-President, 1931-1932; Council Royal Microscopical Society, Secretary, 1928-1930, President, 1930-1932, Honorary Fellow, 1951; delegate from British and American Associations to Indian Science Congress, Calcutta (Kolkata), 1937, also travelled in India during this time collecting botanic material and photographing indigenous jungle-dwelling people; De Lamar Lectures at Johns Hopkins University on Human Heredity and Society, 1932; Lecture tour in American Universities, 1940-1942; Emeritus Professor, King's College London, 1943; Fellow of King's College; Lowell Lectures on Human Heredity, 1944; Research Fellow in Biology, Harvard University, 1946-1950; gave series of lectures at Howard University, Washington DC, 1947, but left after petitioning by academic staff on the grounds of his being racist; Honorary President of 7th International Botanical Congress, Stockholm, 1950 and of 8th Botanical Congress, Paris, 1954, while in Sweden visited Lapland to study Arctic vegetation and the Lapps; expedition to Cuban to study mixed race families, 1952; visit to North Africa, 1953; expedition to Mexico to study mixed race people, 1953; expedition to Eastern Canada to study indigenous Canadians, 1953; expedition to Japan to study Ainu people, racial genetics of the Japanese, and mixed race Japanese children, 1954; anthropological studies in South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, 1955; married Laura Greer, 1955; studies in Australia, especially of mixed race indigenous Australians, 1958, studies in New Guinea, New Zealand, 1958; studies in India, including the Kurumbas and the Kanikars in South India and the Asurs, Bihors and Muria Gonds in North India, 1959; Far East, 1960; co-founded controversial anthropology journal Mankind Quarterly, 1960; Anthropological Studies in Iran, 1961; accused of 'scientific racism' by anthropologist Juan Comas, 1961; Guest of Indian Statistical Institute, 1961-1962; died 1962.

Publications (selection only): The mutation factor in evolution, with particular reference to Oenothera (Macmillan & Co, New York, 1915) Heredity and eugenics (Constable & Co, London, 1923) A botanist in the Amazon valley (Witherby, London, 1927) Heredity and man (Constable & Co, London, 1929) Human genetics 2 vols(Macmillan & Co, London and New York, 1946) Human ancestry (Harvard University Press, 1948) Pedigrees of Negro families (Blakiston & Co, Philadelphia and Toronto, 1949) Genetic linkage in man (W Junk, The Hague, 1955) Taxonomy and genetics of oenothera : forty years study in the cytology and evolution of the Onagraceae (W Junk, The Hague, 1958).

Custodial history

Gates' papers were, among his library of books and pamphlets, presented to the library of King's College London in 1968 by his widow Mrs Laura Ruggles Gates.

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied from open material for research purposes only.

Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Archives.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Finding aids

Detailed Catalogue available online and in hard copy in the College Archives reading room.

Related materials

King's College London Library Special Collections holds Gates' library of books and pamphlets.

Related descriptions

Publication note

A full bibliography of Gates' works was published in the Biographical memoirs of the Fellows of the Royal Society , vol 10, Nov 1964.

Alternative identifier(s)

Genre access points

Rules and/or conventions used

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000.


Archivist's note

Sources: Who's Who; Dictionary of National Biography; National Register of Archives; British Library OPAC. Compiled by Robert Baxter.

Accession area