Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/877

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

As showing how far mechanical and chemical economy has saved labor on the farm, Prof. Brewer cited Johnson, who estimated fifty years ago that ninety per cent of the capital of the United States was invested in farming; to-day the proportion has fallen to one third.

Anthropological Material.—In his anniversary address as President of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Prof. E. B. Tylor remarked on the fear felt by some that one of the main topics of anthropology would before long dwindle or disappear. When the savages and barbarians are disposed of by civilization or extirpation, their anthropological material is more or less exhausted. At present, however, this is so far from having happened that the supply is on the whole better and more plentiful than ever. With many tribes, indeed, the record is closed, as with the Tasmanians, those representatives of the palæolithic age in modern times, who can give us few more details of the lowest known stage of culture beyond those collected by Mr. Ling Roth. Not to give a whole list of modern works, it is enough to say that for minutely accurate accounts of uncultured life, none excel Coddrington's Melanesians and Kubari's treatise on the Pelew Islanders, and we can only regret that the anthropologists of past centuries were not alive to the need of such minutely careful study of the tribes who were then, but are not now, in a state to be thus studied. One class of anthropological material, of which the quantity available has only lately been appreciated, is folk lore. When, fourteen years ago, the speaker took part in founding the Folk-lore Society, for the preservation and publication of popular traditions, legendary ballads, local proverbial sayings, superstitions, and old customs, and all subjects relating to them, he as little as others anticipated how many volumes of such matter it would produce, or of how great value they would be, as to the main purpose of tracing the development and diffusion of popular tradition and fancy, and as to the incidental knowledge of man which is preserved in them. Especially to students of the development of ethical ideas, folk-lore studies are exceptionally valuable, recording as they do in their incidents what were the ideas on good and bad actions, not indeed of the ago in which the stories are gathered, but of a remote past kept thus in memory. Speaking of the reports of investigations among the Indians of Northwest America, Prof. Tylor said it was a ground of satisfaction, in looking through them, to feel that a systematic account of the anthropology of British Northwest America is to a great extent completed. "Not that everything requiring record has been recorded. Observation of rapidly changing native life will still tax to the extreme the efforts of the anthropologists of the Canadian Dominion, but it is a great work to have the framework already set up to be filled in future years."

Officers of the American Association.—The next meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science is to be held August 1(5 to 22, 1894, probably in Brooklyn, N. Y., under the presidency of Daniel G. Brinton, of Media, Pa. The following are the vice-presidents and secretaries of sections and general officers elect: Vice-Presidents: (A) Mathematics and Astronomy—George C. Comstock, Madison, Wis.; (B) Physics—William A. Rogers, Waterville, Me.; (C) Chemistry—Thomas H. Norton, Cincinnati, Ohio; (D) Mechanical Science and Engineering—Mansfield Merriman, South Bethlehem, Pa.; (E) Geology and Geography—Samuel Calvin, Iowa City, Iowa; (F) Zoölogy—Samuel H. Scudder, Cambridge, Mass.; (G) Botany—Lucien M. Underwood, Greencastle, Ind.; (H) Anthropology—Franz Boas, Worcester, Mass.; (I) Economic Science and Statistics—Henry Farquhar, Washington, D. C. Permanent Secretary: F. W. Putnam, Cambridge (office, Salem), Mass. General Secretary: H. L. Fairchild, Rochester, N. Y. Secretary of the Council: James Lewis Howe, Louisville, Ky. Secretaries of the Sections: (A) Mathematics and Astronomy—Wooster W. Beman, Ann Arbor, Mich.; (B) Physics—Benjamin W. Snow, Madison, Wis.; (C) Chemistry—S. M. Babcock, Madison, Wis.; (D) Mechanical Science and Engineering—John H. Kinealy, St. Louis, Mo.; (E) Geology and Geography—William Morris Davis, Cambridge, Mass.; (F) Zoölogy—William Libbey, Jr., Princeton, N. J.; (G) Botany—Charles R. Barnes, Madison, Wis.; (H) Anthropology—Alexan-