Holmes, Samuel J. (Samuel Jackson), 1868-1964Alternative names
Samuel Jackson Holmes was born in 1868 to Joseph Holmes and Avis Folger nee Taber. In 1890 Holmes matriculated at the University of California. Following receipt of his Sc.D. in Zoology in 1893, and his M.Sc. in Zoology in 1894, Holmes attended the University of Chicago, and earned his Ph.D. there in 1897. Holmes taught on the faculty at the Departments of Zoology at the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin until 1911. In 1912, he returned to the University of California, Dept. of Zoology. He became a full professor in 1917. His primary teaching and research interests included genetics, animal behavior, and eugenics. Holmes retired in 1938, but was active on campus until his death in 1964. He was a strong advocate of academic freedom during the University of California Loyalty Oath Controversy, and wrote extensively on eugenics and ethics throughout his lifetime.
From the description of Samuel J. Holmes papers, 1837-1964 (bulk 1894-1964). (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 25730164
Zooligist at the University of California, Berkeley.
From the description of Correspondence to Morley Roberts, 1936. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 640155917
Background and Education
Samuel Jackson Holmes was born in 1868 to Joseph Holmes and Avis Folger née Taber. In 1890, attracted to the work of Joseph LeConte, Holmes matriculated at the University of California. Following receipt of his Sc.D. in Zoology in 1893, and his M.Sc. in Zoology in 1894, Holmes attended the University of Chicago, and earned his Ph.D. there in 1897.
Academic Career and Professional Life
Following his doctoral examinations, Holmes taught high school science in San Diego for one year, then spent the next fourteen years as a member of the faculty at the Departments of Zoology at the University of Michigan (1899-1904) and the University of Wisconsin (1905-1911). In 1912 Holmes returned to Berkeley to replace his former teacher and mentor, Harry Beal Torrey, in the Department of Zoology. He became a full professor in the department in 1917. His primary areas of teaching and research included experimental morphogenesis, genetics, animal behavior, and eugenics. Holmes retired his position at the department in 1938, but remained very involved in campus life until his death. During the University of California Loyalty Oath Controversy (1949-1952), Holmes strongly opposed what he perceived as a direct threat to the academic freedom of university faculty.
Holmes was active in a variety of professional organizations. He served as President of the American Society of Naturalists, as well as chairman of the American Association of University Professors' Committee on Freedom of Teaching in Science.
Holmes also served on the initial board of the Human Betterment Foundation, and on the Advisory Board of the National Society for the Legality of Euthanasia.
Publications and Research Interests
Besides composing a number of technical articles and textbooks, including The Biology of the Frog (1907), The Evolution of Animal Intelligence (1911), Studies in Animal Behavior (1916), and General Biology (1937), he also wrote a biography, Louis Pasteur (1924, 1961), as well as philosophical discourses: Life and Morals (1948), and the unfinished Ethics of Enmity (circa 1964).
Holmes often sought to apply his extensive technical knowledge and research experience to questions with broad social implications. Holmes composed a number of monographs and articles related to eugenics. These works include Studies in Evolution and Eugenics (1923), Life and Evolution (1926), The Trend of the Race (1921), A Bibliography of Eugenics (1924), Differential Mortality in the American Negro (1931), as well as The Eugenic Predicament (1933), and The Negro's Struggle for Survival (1937).
Holmes married Cecilia Warfield Skinner in 1909. They had five children: Samuel, John, Joseph, Avis and Marion.
Samuel Jackson Holmes died on March 5, 1964, at the age of 95.
From the guide to the Samuel J. Holmes papers, 1837-1964, bulk 1894-1964, (The Bancroft Library)
- Loyalty oaths
- California--Berkeley (as recorded)