The Info List - William Z. Ripley

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William Zebina Ripley (October 13, 1867 – August 16, 1941) was an American economist, lecturer at Columbia University, professor of economics at MIT, professor of political economics at Harvard University, and racial theorist. Ripley was famous for his criticisms of American railroad economics and American business practices in the 1920s and 1930s and later his tripartite racial theory of Europe. His work of racial anthropology was later taken up by racial physical anthropologists, eugenicists and white nationalists and was considered a valid academic work at the time, although today it is considered to be a prime example of scientific racism.[1][2]


1 Early life 2 The Races of Europe 3 Economics 4 See also 5 References 6 External links

Early life[edit] He was born in Medford, Massachusetts
Medford, Massachusetts
in 1867 to Nathaniel L. Ripley and Estimate R.E. (Baldwin) Ripley. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his undergraduate education in engineering, graduating in 1890, and he received a master's and doctorate degree from Columbia University
Columbia University
in 1892 and 1893 respectively. In 1893, he was married to Ida S. Davis. From 1893 to 1901, Ripley lectured on sociology at Columbia University and from 1895 to 1901, he was a professor of economics at MIT. From 1901 onwards, he was a professor of political economics at Harvard University.[3] He was a corresponding member of the Anthropological Society of Paris, the Roman Anthropological Society, the Cherbourg Society of Natural Sciences, and in 1898 and 1900 to 1901, he was the vice president of the American Economic Association.[4] The Races of Europe[edit]

Ripley's map of cephalic index in Europe, from The Races of Europe (1899).

In 1899, he authored a book entitled The Races of Europe: A Sociological Study, which had grown out of a series of lectures he had given at the Lowell Institute at Columbia in 1896. Like many Americans of his time, at every level of education, Ripley believed that the concept of race was explanatory of human difference. Even further, he believed it to be the central engine to understanding human history, although his work also afforded strong weight to environmental and non-biological factors, such as traditions. He believed, as he wrote in the introduction to Races of Europe, that:

"Race, properly speaking, is responsible only for those peculiarities, mental or bodily, which are transmitted with constancy along the lines of direct physical descent from father to son. Many mental traits, aptitudes, or proclivities, on the other hand, which reappear persistently in successive populations may be derived from an entirely different source. They may have descended collaterally, along the lines of purely mental suggestion by virtue of mere social contact with preceding generations." [5]

Ripley's book, written to help finance his children's education, became a widely accepted work of anthropology, due to its careful writing, compilation of seemingly valid data, and close criticism of the data of many other anthropologists in Europe
and the United States. Ripley based his conclusions about race on his attempts to correlate anthropometric data with geographical data, especially using the cephalic index, which at the time was considered a reliable anthropometric measure. Based on these measurements and other socio-geographical data, Ripley classified Europeans into three distinct races:

Teutonic — members of the northern race were long-skulled (or dolichocephalic), tall in stature, and possessed pale eyes and skin. Alpine — members of the central race were round-skulled (or brachycephalic), stocky in stature, and possessed intermediate eye and skin color. Mediterranean — members of the southern race were long-skulled (or dolichocephalic), short in stature, and possessed dark eyes and skin.

In his book, Ripley also proposed the idea that "Africa begins beyond the Pyrenees", as he wrote in page 272:

"Beyond the Pyrenees begins Africa. Once that natural barrier is crossed, the Mediterranean racial type in all its purity confronts us. The human phenomena is entirely parallel with the sudden transition to the flora and fauna of the south. The Iberian population thus isolated from the rest of Europe, are allied in all important anthropological respects with the peoples inhabiting Africa north of the Sahara, from the Red Sea to the Atlantic." [6]

Ripley's tripartite system of race put him at odds both with others on the topic of human difference, including those who insisted that there was only one European race, and those who insisted that there were at least ten European races (such as Joseph Deniker, who Ripley saw as his chief rival). The conflict between Ripley and Deniker was criticized by Jan Czekanowski, who states, that "the great discrepancies between their claims decrease the authority of anthropology", and what is more, he points out, that both Deniker and Ripley had one common feature, as they both omitted the existence of Armenoid race, which Czekanowski claimed to be one of the four main races of Europe, met especially among the Eastern and Southern Europeans.[7] Writing at a time when such racialist theories were widely accepted among academics, Ripley was the first American recipient of the Huxley Medal of the Royal Anthropological Institute in 1908 for his contributions to anthropology. The Races of Europe, overall, became an influential book of the era in the then-accepted field of racial taxonomy.[8] Ripley's tripartite system of racial classification was especially championed by the racist propagandist Madison Grant, who changed Ripley's "Teutonic" type into Grant's own Nordic type (taking the name, but little else, from Deniker), which he postulated as a master race.[9] It is in this light that Ripley's work on race is usually remembered today, though little of Grant's racist ideology is present in Ripley's original work.[citation needed] Economics[edit] Ripley worked under Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
on the United States
United States
Industrial Commission in 1900, helping negotiate relations between railway companies and anthracite coal companies. He served on the Eight Hour Commission in 1916, adjusting railway wages to the new eight-hour workday. From 1917 to 1918, he served as Administrator of Labor Standards for the United States
United States
Department of War, and helped to settle railway strikes. Ripley was the Vice President of the American Economics Association 1898, 1900, and 1901, and was elected president of it in 1933. From 1919 to 1920, he served as the chairman of the National Adjustment Commission of the United States
United States
Shipping Board, and from 1920 to 1923, he served with the Interstate Commerce Commission. In 1921, he was ICC special examiner on the construction of railroads. There, he wrote the ICC's plan for the regional consolidation of U.S. railways, which became known as the Ripley Plan. In 1929, the ICC published Ripley's Plan under the title Complete Plan of Consolidation. Numerous hearings were held by the ICC regarding the plan under the topic of "In the Matter of Consolidation of the Railways of the United States
United States
into a Limited Number of Systems".[10][11] Starting with a series of articles in the Atlantic Monthly
Atlantic Monthly
in 1925 under the headlines of "Stop, Look, Listen!", Ripley became a major critic of American corporate practices. In 1926, he issued a well-circulated critique of Wall Street's practices of speculation and secrecy. He received a full-page profile in the New York Times
New York Times
with the headline, "When Ripley Speaks, Wall Street
Wall Street
Heeds".[12] According to Time magazine, Ripley became widely known as "The Professor Who Jarred Wall Street".[13] However, after an automobile accident in January 1927, Ripley suffered a nervous breakdown and was forced to recuperate at a sanitarium in Connecticut. After the Wall Street
Wall Street
Crash of 1929, he was occasionally credited with having predicted the financial disaster. In December 1929, the New York Times
New York Times

"Three years ago [Ripley] spoke some plain words about Wall Street. An automobile crash and a nervous breakdown followed. A few weeks ago Wall Street
Wall Street
had its crash and breakdown. Now Professor Ripley is preparing to return to his Harvard classes next February."[14]

He was unable to return to teaching until at least 1929. However, in the early 1930s, he continued to issue criticisms of the railroad industry labor practices. In 1931, he had also testified at a Senate banking inquiry, urging the curbing of investment trusts. In 1932, he appeared at the Senate Banking and Currency Committee, and demanded public inquiry into the financial affairs of corporations and authored a series of articles in the New York Times
New York Times
stressing the importance of railroad economics to the country's economy. Yet, by the end of the year he had suffered another nervous breakdown, and retired in early 1933. Ripley died in 1941 at his summer home in East Edgecomb, Maine. An obituary in the New York Times
New York Times
implied that Ripley had predicted the 1929 crash with his "fearless exposés" of Wall Street
Wall Street
practices, in particular his pronouncement that:

"Prosperity, not real but specious, may indeed be unduly protracted by artificial means, but in the end truth is bound to prevail."[3]

His book, Railway Problems: An Early History of Competition, Rates and Regulations, was republished in 2000 as part of a "Business Classic" series.[15] See also[edit]

US corporate law


^ Cravens, H. (1996). " Scientific racism
Scientific racism
in modern America, 1870s–1990s". Prospects. 21: 471–490. doi:10.1017/S0361233300006633.  ^ Spiro, Jonathan P. (2009). Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant. University of Vermont Press. ISBN 978-1-58465-715-6.  ^ a b Biographical information taken from "Professor Ripley of Harvard Dies". New York Times. 17 August 1941. p. 39.  ^ "RIPLEY, William Zebina," in Albert Nelson Marquis, ed., Who's Who In New England (Chicago: A.N. Marquis & Co., 1916) , p. 909. ^ William Z. Ripley, The Races of Europe: A Sociological Study (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1899), p.1. ^ William Z. Ripley, The Races of Europe: A Sociological Study (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1899), p.272. ^ Czekanowski, Jan (1934). Człowiek w Czasie i Przestrzeni (eng. A Human in Time and Space) - The lexicon of biological anthropology. Kraków, Poland: Trzaska, Ewert i Michalski - Bibljoteka Wiedzy.  ^ Leonard, Thomas C. (2003). "'More Merciful and Not Less Effective': Eugenics
and Economics in the Progressive Era". Historical of Political Economy. 35 (4): 687–712.  Discussion of Ripley's work on p. 690. [1]. ^ Guterl, Matthew Press (2001). The Color of Race in America, 1900–1940. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Harvard University
Press. ISBN 978-0-674-00615-7 , and Spiro, Jonathan P. (2000). Patrician racist: The evolution of Madison Grant. Ph.D. diss., Dept. of History, University of California, Berkeley.  ^ See Appendix B, "Review of Recent Railroad Merger History" in United States Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, A Review of National Railroad Issues (NTIS Order #PB-250622, December 1975). [2] ^ Miranti, Jr., Paul J. "Ripley, William Z. (1867-1941)" In History of Accounting: an International Encyclopedia, edited by Michael Chatfield and Richard Vangermeersch. New York: Garland Publishing, 1996. Pp. 502-505. ^ Much of this biographical information comes from the article, "When Ripley Speaks, Wall Street
Wall Street
Heeds". New York Times. 26 September 1926. p. 7 , as well as "Professor Ripley of Harvard Dies". New York Times. 17 August 1941. p. 39.  ^ Obituaries, Time magazine (25 August 1941). ^ S.T. Williamson, " William Z. Ripley
William Z. Ripley
— And Some Others" New York Times (29 December 1929), p. XX2. ^ William Z. Ripley. Railway Problems: An Early History of Competition, Rates and Regulations. Beard Books, 2000.

External links[edit]

William Z. Ripley
William Z. Ripley
at Find a Grave
Find a Grave

v t e

Historical race concepts

By color

Black Bronze Brown Red White Yellow


Australoid Capoid Caucasoid Mongoloid Negroid


Alpine Arabid Armenoid Atlantid Borreby Brunn Caspian Dinaric East Baltic Ethiopid Hamitic Dravidian Irano-Afghan Japhetic Malay Mediterranean Neo-Mongoloid Neo-Danubian Nordic Northcaucasian Ladogan Lappish Pamirid Proto-Mongoloid Semitic Turanid


Miscegenation Ethnogenesis List of racially mixed groups


Louis Agassiz John Baker Erwin Baur John Beddoe Robert Bennett Bean François Bernier Renato Biasutti Johann Friedrich Blumenbach Franz Boas Paul Broca Alice Mossie Brues Halfdan Bryn Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon Charles Caldwell Petrus Camper Samuel A. Cartwright Houston Stewart Chamberlain Sonia Mary Cole Carleton S. Coon Georges Cuvier Jan Czekanowski Charles Davenport Joseph Deniker Egon Freiherr von Eickstedt Anténor Firmin Eugen Fischer John Fiske Francis Galton Stanley Marion Garn Reginald Ruggles Gates George Gliddon Arthur de Gobineau Madison Grant John Grattan Hans F. K. Günther Ernst Haeckel Frederick Ludwig Hoffman Earnest Hooton Julian Huxley Thomas Henry Huxley Calvin Ira Kephart Robert Knox Robert E. Kuttner Georges Vacher de Lapouge Fritz Lenz Carl Linnaeus Cesare Lombroso Bertil Lundman Felix von Luschan Dominick McCausland John Mitchell Ashley Montagu Lewis H. Morgan Samuel George Morton Josiah C. Nott Karl Pearson Oscar Peschel Isaac La Peyrère Charles Pickering Ludwig Hermann Plate Alfred Ploetz James Cowles Prichard Otto Reche Gustaf Retzius William Z. Ripley Alfred Rosenberg Benjamin Rush Henric Sanielevici Heinrich Schmidt Ilse Schwidetzky Charles Gabriel Seligman Giuseppe Sergi Samuel Stanhope Smith Herbert Spencer Morris Steggerda Lothrop Stoddard William Graham Sumner Thomas Griffith Taylor Paul Topinard John H. Van Evrie Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer Rudolf Virchow Voltaire Alexander Winchell Ludwig Woltmann


An Essay upon the Causes of the Different Colours of People in Different Climates (1744) The Outline of History of Mankind (1785) Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question (1849) An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races
An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races
(1855) The Races of Europe
(Ripley, 1899) The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (1899) Race Life of the Aryan Peoples
Race Life of the Aryan Peoples
(1907) Heredity in Relation to Eugenics
(1911) Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development (1916) The Passing of the Great Race
The Passing of the Great Race
(1916) The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy
The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy
(1920) The Myth of the Twentieth Century
The Myth of the Twentieth Century
(1930) Annihilation of Caste
Annihilation of Caste
(1936) The Races of Europe
(Coon, 1939) An Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus (1943) The Race Question
The Race Question


Eugenics Great chain of being Monogenism Polygenism Pre-Adamite


History of anthropometry Racial categorization

in India in Latin America

in Brazil in Colombia

in Singapore in the United States

Scientific racism

Nazism and race

Racial hygiene Olive skin Whiteness

in the United States



Passing Racial stereotypes Martial race Master race Color names



v t e

Presidents of the American Economic Association


Francis A. Walker (1886) Charles F. Dunbar (1893) John B. Clark (1894) Henry C. Adams (1896) Arthur T. Hadley (1898) Richard T. Ely
Richard T. Ely


Edwin R. A. Seligman (1902) Frank W. Taussig (1904) Jeremiah W. Jenks (1906) Simon N. Patten (1908) Davis R. Dewey (1909) Edmund J. James
Edmund J. James
(1910) Henry W. Farnam (1911) Frank A. Fetter (1912) David Kinley (1913) John H. Gray (1914) Walter F. Willcox (1915) Thomas N. Carver (1916) John R. Commons
John R. Commons
(1917) Irving Fisher
Irving Fisher
(1918) Henry B. Gardner (1919) Herbert J. Davenport
Herbert J. Davenport
(1920) Jacob H. Hollander (1921) Henry R. Seager (1922) Carl C. Plehn (1923) Wesley C. Mitchell (1924) Allyn A. Young (1925)


Edwin W. Kemmerer
Edwin W. Kemmerer
(1926) Thomas S. Adams (1927) Fred M. Taylor
Fred M. Taylor
(1928) Edwin F. Gay (1929) Matthew B. Hammond (1930) Ernest L. Bogart (1931) George E. Barnett (1932) William Z. Ripley
William Z. Ripley
(1933) Harry A. Millis
Harry A. Millis
(1934) John M. Clark (1935) Alvin S. Johnson (1936) Oliver M. W. Sprague (1937) Alvin H. Hansen (1938) Jacob Viner (1939) Frederick C. Mills (1940) Sumner H. Slichter (1941) Edwin G. Nourse (1942) Albert B. Wolfe (1943) Joseph S. Davis (1944) I. Leo Sharfman (1945) Emanuel A. Goldenweiser (1946) Paul H. Douglas (1947) Joseph A. Schumpeter (1948) Howard S. Ellis (1949) Frank H. Knight (1950)


John H. Williams (1951) Harold A. Innis (1952) Calvin B. Hoover
Calvin B. Hoover
(1953) Simon Kuznets
Simon Kuznets
(1954) John D. Black (1955) Edwin E. Witte (1956) Morris A. Copeland
Morris A. Copeland
(1957) George W. Stocking (1958) Arthur F. Burns
Arthur F. Burns
(1959) Theodore W. Schultz (1960) Paul A. Samuelson (1961) Edward S. Mason (1962) Gottfried Haberler (1963) George J. Stigler (1964) Joseph J. Spengler (1965) Fritz Machlup
Fritz Machlup
(1966) Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman
(1967) Kenneth E. Boulding
Kenneth E. Boulding
(1968) William J. Fellner (1969) Wassily Leontief
Wassily Leontief
(1970) James Tobin
James Tobin
(1971) John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth Galbraith
(1972) Kenneth J. Arrow (1973) Walter W. Heller (1974) R. Aaron Gordon (1975)


Franco Modigliani
Franco Modigliani
(1976) Lawrence R. Klein (1977) Jacob Marschak (1978) Tjalling C. Koopmans (1978) Robert M. Solow (1979) Moses Abramovitz (1980) William J. Baumol (1981) Gardner Ackley
Gardner Ackley
(1982) W. Arthur Lewis
W. Arthur Lewis
(1983) Charles L. Schultze (1984) Charles P. Kindleberger (1985) Alice M. Rivlin (1986) Gary S. Becker (1987) Robert Eisner (1988) Joseph A. Pechman (1989) Gérard Debreu
Gérard Debreu
(1990) Thomas C. Schelling (1991) William Vickrey
William Vickrey
(1992) Zvi Griliches (1993) Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen
(1994) Victor R. Fuchs (1995) Anne O. Krueger (1996) Arnold C. Harberger (1997) Robert W. Fogel (1998) D. Gale Johnson (1999) Dale W. Jorgenson (2000)


Sherwin Rosen (2001) Robert E. Lucas, Jr. (2002) Peter A. Diamond (2003) Martin Feldstein
Martin Feldstein
(2004) Daniel McFadden (2005) George A. Akerlof (2006) Thomas J. Sargent
Thomas J. Sargent
(2007) Avinash K. Dixit (2008) Angus Deaton
Angus Deaton
(2009) Robert E. Hall (2010) Orley Ashenfelter
Orley Ashenfelter
(2011) Christopher A. Sims
Christopher A. Sims
(2012) Claudia Goldin (2013) William D. Nordhaus (2014) Richard Thaler
Richard Thaler
(2015) Robert J. Shiller
Robert J. Shiller
(2016) Alvin E. Roth
Alvin E. Roth
(2017) Olivier Blanchard
Olivier Blanchard

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 45143903 LCCN: n50054856 ISNI: 0000 0000 8224 1641 GND: 120910659 SELIBR: 362203 SUDOC: 09040954X MGP: 215628 NLA: 35453