Updated June 27, 2027. Originally published January 18, 2019.

As of January 1, 2019, copyrighted works from 1923 are now in the public domain, including 3 important biology textbooks. One, New Essentials of Biology, is by “Scopes’ textbook” author George W. Hunter. More on it when its companion, New Civic Biology, falls out of copyright in two years. The two others, Henry Linville’s Biology of Man and Other Organisms and Gilbert H. Trafton’s Biology of Home and Community, are an interesting study in contrast. Trafton is gentle and thorough, Linville wildly eugenic – See chapter: “Up From Savagery” (p. 154-180).

As of June 27, 2021, two of the three high school biology textbooks published in 1924 are available as a full text. The first is a doozy. Biology and Human Welfare by James E. Peabody and Arthur E. Hunt was among the most harshly prescriptive biology textbooks ever published. Though the authors avoid any discussion of evolution, the book does not shy from eugenics as it related to protecting one’s “heritage.” New Biology by W. M. Smallwood, Ida L. Reveley, and Guy A. Bailey, a significant update to the authors’ 1920 Biology for High Schools, was, on the other hand, avoided harsh prescriptions, and would evolve into the most popular textbook of the 1930s.

The remaining 1924 textbook, Living Things, An Elementary Biology by Arthur Clement, is not yet available online. But it, along with its revision published just one year later, offer an interesting case illustrating the changes publishers implemented after the Scopes Trial of 1925. While yet unavailable online, you can read about it here.

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