Popular Science Monthly/Volume 51/August 1897/General Notices


The evolution of special lines of culture is a most interesting study. Tylor's Primitive Culture and Early History of Mankind have been followed by a host of books of a general or a special kind, in which almost everything has been "traced." Curiously, however, there is no serious work upon art evolution—using the term art in its wide sense to include all the fine arts—Tylor's arts of pleasure. The book before us, which is the fourth in the Anthropological Series, undertakes to study the Beginnings of Art.[1] Dr. Grosse holds that in modern savages we may safely hope to find similar crude beginnings to those made by primitive man long ago. He denies our right to draw illustrations from among barbarous or civilized peoples, and insists upon taking them from savages only. In marking out culture stages, he emphasizes the mode of gaining food supply, and considers those peoples only as savages—Naturvölker—who depend upon hunting and wild food. There are really few such peoples: the Australians, Andamanese, Bushmen, Fuegians, Botocudos, and Eskimos are about all. From these Dr. Grosse collects his examples of primitive art forms. There are two classes of arts—arts of rest (i. e., plastic and graphic) and arts of motion (i. e., the dance, poetry, and music). The former appear to begin with ornamentation and personal decoration, but real representative art also begins early. The arts of the dance, poetry, and music are usually closely connected in savage life. Not only does Dr. Grosse try to show how the various art forms began, he also tries to show how the art reacts upon the artist; he traces the social influence of arts. This is one of the strikingly original features of the work. The book is a translation from the German; the translator has done his part faithfully. The book is perhaps the best that has so far appeared in the Anthropological Series.

Prof. Tarr has not undertaken to make this book[2] a perfectly balanced treatise by giving each part of his subject just the prominence due to its intrinsic value. He has made a book for a special purpose—the instruction of pupils in high schools—and has proportioned it as he deems best for that purpose. He believes that stratigraphical geology should be, for the most part, left to a more advanced stage than that of the secondary school, and so has included only its main truths and some examples of its evidence here. But with structural and dynamical geology, he says, "the body of fact necessary for elementary understanding is not so great nor so difficult to grasp. The teachings of these truths are illustrated on every hand, and, in fact, some of them are already familiar to the pupil before he enters upon the study. They deal with phenomena in the midst of which we dwell, and hence should become a part of the mental possessions of every high-school pupil." Accordingly, he devotes about three fifths of the volume to the dynamic side of the subject, and gives a hundred pages to structural geology, leaving also a hundred for the stratigraphical division. In the structural portion he gives most attention to describing the minerals and rocks that occur extensively in the earth's crust, and by the use of simple language and many photo-engravings of well-selected specimens he makes their nature remarkably clear. In the dynamical division the processes of weathering, erosion, deposition, stratification, metamorphism, and the formation of mountains, volcanoes, etc., are made clear by the same means. The stratigraphical division probably contains as much material as the pupil is likely to assimilate. It opens with an explanatory chapter on the uses of fossils, then the kind of life that prevailed in each geologic age is described with the aid of figures of fossils and ideal landscapes of the several ages, and the account closes with an outline of the changing geography of the United States from Archæan to Cenozoic time. Throughout the work the author is careful to distinguish important doctrines that are proved from those that remain hypothetical. The volume is printed in large, clear type, and contains two hundred and sixty-eight figures and twenty-five plates, including a colored geological map of the United States.

His various investigations and writings, extending over a term of years, have well equipped Prof. Israel C. Russell with material for making a book on the North American glaciers.[3] In the volume which he has recently put forth he not only enumerates and describes the glaciers of this continent that have been explored, but he also explains the theory and depicts the behavior of these solid rivers, so that the reader untrained in science may follow him. The glaciers of the Alps, being in a region that is surrounded on all sides by thickly populated countries, have been the most studied. But Prof. Russell points out that "North America offers more favorable conditions for the study of existing glaciers and of the records of ancient ice sheets than any other continent. Of each of the three leading types of glaciers thus far recognized—namely, the Alpine, Piedmont, and continental—North America furnishes magnificent examples." After describing the glaciers of each locality from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Greenland, our author discusses the climatic changes indicated by the glaciers of North America and the evidence that the great ice sheets are retreating. The how and why of glacier movement, and the life history of a glacier, form the subjects of the two closing chapters. The volume is illustrated with twenty-two plates and ten smaller figures.

"There is perhaps little that need be said prefatory to a work of this character," say the authors of a volume of problems, and for the same reason a description of the work can not be long.[4] The authors have prepared it in the belief that any text in physics needs to be supplemented by problem work in considerable variety. An introduction contains the tables of physical constants required in working the problems, while tables of logarithms, sines, etc., and a fist of answers appear at the end of the volume. The use of directed quantities, graphic methods, averages, and approximations is briefly set forth in several preliminary chapters. The problems are divided among the subjects of mechanics, solids, the behavior of liquids and gases, beat, electricity, magnetism, sound, and light. A few problems have been inserted which can not be satisfactorily worked by other than calculus methods, while here and there graphic methods have been suggested that may be profitably extended by the student. Occasional questions not requiring numerical answers have been asked.

The fourth volume of the American History Series deals with a period of growth. Between 1817 and 1858 the territory of the United States was increased by the acquisition of Florida, Texas, and Oregon.[5] The population of the older States, pushing toward the west and southwest, made settlements and organized communities in the hitherto unorganized territories. In this task they were largely re-enforced by immigrants from Europe. It was a period also of the growth of pent-up forces, which later produced the outbreak of the civil war. The question as to the policy of a United States Bank and that of the right of a State to nullify a Federal law were settled in this period. But the slavery question only grew more pressing, the several attempts to adjust it all proving ineffective. Prof. Burgess has given us a history of public affairs in this period drawn from original sources. He has made a special effort to shun the bias of prejudice and preconceptions, to refrain from glorifying lawlessness in behalf of whatever opinion it was committed, and to credit men and communities with whatever of integrity and sincerity they actually possessed, instead of rating them as gods or demons, according to their position on some one question. Our author has confined himself to those events which, in his opinion, are significant of our progress in political civilization, and he has hoped to so treat them as to remove the traces of misunderstanding between the North and the South which still linger. He does not attempt to do this by conceding that the South was as much right as the North, but takes the position that the South was in error in secession and rebellion, and must acknowledge its error before complete national cordiality can be established. The volume contains five maps, tables of electoral votes in detail, of cabinet officers, of chronology, of bibliography, and a full index.

Since the days when Redfield and Espy and Ferrel struggled with the larger theoretical questions of winds and storms the advance of the science of meteorology has been remarkable. Its practical applications have not lagged behind, being, in fact, the chief motive for the support that has been given to the study of the science. Until lately little has been done toward popularizing the knowledge that has been gained in this field. In a book now before us Dr. Waldo, formerly a professor in the United States Signal Service, has undertaken to give an outline of the science in simple form.[6] The first of the meteorological elements that he treats is temperature. He tells how the atmosphere gets its heat and how temperatures vary in different places and at different times. This chapter is illustrated by many charts on which the average and the extreme temperatures of the earth's surface are indicated. The variation and distribution of air pressure are similarly treated, and a brief discussion of winds naturally follows. The author considers the moisture of the atmosphere with reference to three steps in the cycle that it passes through—as distributed through the air whether invisible or in cloud and fog, as precipitated, and as taken up again from the earth by evaporation. After briefly calling attention to some optical and electrical phenomena, the author returns to movements of the air, describing first the larger circulatory movements, then the secondary circulation in the form of cyclones and local and miscellaneous winds. There is a chapter on weather predictions—the part of meteorology having most popular interest and one on climate in general, which is followed by an extended analysis of the climate of the United States. The book is suitable for use as a text-book or for general reading. Its mechanical form is attractive, and it is illustrated with one hundred and twenty-one diagrams and other figures.

Prof. Johnson has added to his valuable works on engineering subjects a very complete treatise on structural materials.[7] In his preliminary chapters he describes the behavior of materials under the several kinds of stress, the matter here given being designed to supplement that usually contained in text-books on applied mechanics. A second division of the work, which the author intends to be read by engineering students if they do not get the information in other ways, deals with the manufacture and general properties of cast and wrought iron, steel, and other metals, lime, cement, brick, and timber. The attention given to the structural properties of wood is a feature of the work. Little accurate information on this topic had been available until the Forestry Division of the United States Department of Agriculture began the systematic study of timber and timber trees some five or six years ago. Prof. Johnson has been intimately connected with these investigation, having had entire charge of the mechanical tests. In the chapter on the characteristics of wood a list of over a hundred timber-producing trees of the United States is given, with a brief description of each and a figure of its leaf and fruit. The part of the volume upon which the author expects the student to put his serious work relates to the methods of applying tests of materials and to the machines employed in testing. This is followed by a group of chapters relating to the mechanical properties of the materials of construction as revealed by actual tests, in which the author expects that selections will be made for students according to the course they are taking. Among the special subjects here treated are the strength of iron and steel wire and wire rope, and the magnetic testing of iron and steel. The volume is illustrated with six hundred and thirty-five figures and diagrams and eleven plates. The author has avoided the use of tables, preferring to arrange in diagrams the data often appearing in tabular form. There are appendices relating to the micrographic analysis of iron and steel, to attempts to secure uniform tests of materials, and to standard specifications for structural steel.

Our material for the study of infant psychology has received a carefully prepared addition in The Mental Development of a Child, by Kathleen Carter Moore, issued as a monograph supplement to the Psychological Review (Macmillans, paper, $1). This is a record by a mother embracing the manifestations of activity and of change in her own child, and the conditions under which each action or change was manifested. This material is supplemented by summaries reviewing the mental condition of the child at given periods. The first of these reviews overs all lines of activity; later, when there was more to record, each set of activities is summarized separately. The observations are grouped under the four chief heads Movements, Sensations, Ideas, and Language, and many of them, especially those relating to language, are tabulated besides being described.

The sixth volume of the series in Philolology, Literature, and Archæology of the publications of the University of Pennsylvania is devoted to Researches upon the Antiquity of Man, by Henry C. Mercer (Ginn, $2). The contents comprise descriptions of excavations made and articles found in several localities, and are introduced by a discussion of the chipped stone implements which are the most numerously preserved examples of the handiwork of savage man. The first finds herein described are those made at an ancient argillite quarry and blade workshop on the Delaware River. Here were found one hundred and seventy-four hammer stones, large numbers of "turtle backs" and chips, and a few miscellaneous objects. An account of the exploration of an Indian ossuary on the Choptank River, in Maryland, is given by Mr. Mercer, with a description by the late Prof. Cope of the human bones discovered there, and an examination by R. H. Harte, M. D., of traces of disease in the bones. There are also accounts of explorations of aboriginal shell heaps on York River, Maine, where traces of cannibalism were found; of a rock shelter in the Delaware Valley and of Durham Cave, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The text is illustrated with fifty-one figures and diagrams.

The Philosophical Society of Washington has issued a substantial volume as the twelfth in its series of Bulletins, containing the publications of the society from 1892 to 1894. The address of Prof. T. C. Mendenhall, as retiring president, on The Uncertainty of Conclusions, and that of G. K. Gilbert, also as retiring president, on The Moon's Face, are included in the contents, and among the more extended papers are The Origin of Igneous Rocks, by Joseph Paxson Iddings; Summer Hot Winds on the Great Plains, by Isaac Monroe Cline: and Mean Density of the Earth, by Erasmus Darwin Preston. Several of the papers are accompanied by views or diagrams. There are obituary notices of eleven members, those of Garrick Mallery and James Clarke Welling being accompanied by portraits.

An elementary text-book on Electricity and Magnetism has been prepared by Prof. Charles A. Perkins (Holt, $1.10), which, while it acknowledges the impossibility of such a work being up to date, still aims to implant initial conceptions that are in accordance with the best modern theories. A brief introductory chapter on dynamics gives some of the general ideas relating to force which are applied later to the special subject of the volume. The usual topics are taken up, and the language and the amount of mathematics employed adapt the book to college preparatory or freshman year classes. There is a directness and conciseness about the mode of treatment that contrasts with the formal and encyclopedic character of some works of a generation ago, which are still in use. The volume contains one hundred and sixty-five diagrams and figures of instruments.

The contrast between old and new methods in education can not be better illustrated than by comparing an old-fashioned primer with Our Little Book for Little Folks, arranged by W. E. Crosby. In the latter we do not find an alphabet on the first page, followed by the most mechanical of word exercises, with a few crude black pictures interspersed among them. We have, instead, little sentences in which some words are in vertical script, while others are represented by well-drawn pictures. Some pages are in white on black, as they would appear on a slate or blackboard; some of the lessons consist of verses set to simple music; at intervals through the book are plates on which appear in their natural colors the objects drawn in black and white on the reading pages; there is a frontispiece plate of seven national flags, and a plate at the end on which the three primary colors are shown and the three secondary colors produced by combining the primary; another feature is the many simple outline figures which the child can copy with the pencil or by laying sticks together. If this is not a "royal road" to learning it is at least a flowery path. (American Book Company, 30 cents.)

Those desirous of having a popular volume from the pen of the late G. J. Romanes will be pleased with the collection of Essays which Prof. G. Lloyd Morgan has prepared (Longmans, $1.75). Prof. Morgan has chosen ten essays which Mr. Romanes had contributed to various English and American reviews, only one of them, that on the Origin of Human Faculty, in Brain, being taken from the pages of a technical journal. Several of the essays deal with psychology, which was the especial field of the author, for example. The Darwinian Theory of Instinct, Mind in Men and Animals, Mental Differences between Men and Women, and Hypnotism, while in those treating of other subjects, as folklore in the essay on Primitive Natural History, hygiene in the one on Recreation, or disease in that on Hydrophobia and the Muzzling Order, the philosophical insight of the man into mental states and operations, and his power of placing his thoughts clearly before the reader are everywhere apparent.

The second and concluding part of the reports secured by the Secretary of the Treasury on the Condition of Seal Life on the Rookeries of the Pribilof Islands has been issued as a Senate document. This publication contains descriptions of the condition of the rookeries in 1893, 1894, and 1895, by C. H. Townsend, a similar description for 1895 from an examination made by F. W. True, and an account of the mode of seal hunting practiced by a Canadian sealing schooner, as reported by A. B. Alexander, all of these writers being officers of the United States Fish Commission. All these reports furnish conclusive evidence as to the large proportion of female seals in milk that are killed, the consequent starvation of thousands of nursing pups, and the rapidly progressive reduction in the numbers of seals on the rookeries that is going on. The volume is fully illustrated with maps and photographic views.

The author of America and the Americans, from a French Point of View, draws no very flattering picture of our social life and institutions. It has been suggested that he is not a Frenchman at all, but an American who under this convenient disguise tells his countrymen some disagreeable but wholesome truths about themselves. The book is nowhere on the title-page mentioned as being a translation, a fact which seems to favor this view. Whoever the author may be, he shows himself intimately acquainted with the peculiarities and customs of the country he so severely criticises. Evidently a man of culture who knows men and manners on both sides of the Atlantic, he touches with a caustic pen on the less lovable characteristics of our social and political life. He notes down his first contact with our people on the journey from Liverpool to New York, and his impressions of the metropolis on its social side, as revealed in public and private functions. He devotes a chapter to the American business man, one to politics, and one to the newspaper. He pays flying visits to Boston, Concord, Plymouth, Cambridge, and Chicago, the Black Belt, and to various summer resorts. Perhaps the most biting chapter is that on Young America, as indeed the difference in rearing children here and on the other side with its well-known results most forcibly strikes a foreigner. The author dubs our children "young Saxon Bedouins, the most terrible of all enfants terribles." The book may not flatter our vanity, but as a fearless criticism on some of the crudities of western civilization it should open our eyes a little more to our own shortcomings. (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1897, $1.25.)

The value of Mr. Frederick J. Brown's statistical study of The Northern Movement of the Colored Population rests, it seems to us, not so much upon any evidence it affords as to a definite or very great movement northward, as upon its explanation of the tendencies of the movements of the negroes. They seem to act very much as the whites do—to go where they can do best, north, south, or to other parts of their own region of residence. They are governed by the prospect of employment, by social motives, and by the promise of good treatment—drawn, not driven, as the author expresses it in one place. A goodly number come north, and goodly numbers go in the other directions (Baltimore: Gushing & Co. Price, 25 cents).

  1. The Beginnings of Art. By Ernst Grosse. The Anthropological Series. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1897. Pp. xiv + 327, 6mo. Price, $1.75.
  2. Elementary Geology. By Ralph S. Tarr. New York: The Macmillan Co. Pp. 499, 12mo. Price, $1.40.
  3. Glaciers of North America. By Israel C. Russell. Boston: Ginn & Co. Pp. 210, 8vo. Price, $1.90.
  4. Problems and Questions in Physics. By Charles P. Matthews and John Shearer. New York: The Macmillan Company. Pp. 247, 8vo. Price, $160.
  5. The Middle Period, 1817-1858. By John W. Burgess. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Pp. 544, 12mo. Price, $1.75.
  6. Elementary Meteorology. By Frank Waldo, Ph. D. New York: American Book Company. Pp. 373, 12mo. Price, $1.50.
  7. The Materials of Construction. By J.B. Johnson. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Pp. 787, 8vo. Price, $6.