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 The Passing of the Great Race Madison Grant completed the manuscript for The Passing of the Great Race in the spring of 1916 and showed it to three of his closest friends, Charles Stewart Davison, Moses Taylor Pyne, and Henry Fairfield Osborn, all of whom suggested numerous corrections. Charles Stewart Davison, yet another member of Grant’s circle who was descended from the Puritans, received an excellent education (he earned a B.A. and a master’s from Cambridge University and an LL.B. from Columbia University) and then embarked on a successful Manhattan legal career, aided in no small measure by his extremely distinguished countenance, which featured a perfectly trimmed beard and majestic mustache. Davison had first become acquainted with Grant and his brother DeForest in the municipal reform movement of 1894 and was a member of all the same social clubs as the Grants. An avid outdoorsman, Davison worked with the Grant brothers in many conservation organizations (including the Boone and Crockett Club, the American Bison Society, the American Society of Mammalogists, and the National Council on Parks and Forests). The rabidly anti-Semitic Davison (who, like Grant, never married) had utter contempt for the masses, leading Grant to declare proudly that Davison “is saturated with my point of view.”1 Davison served with Grant on the boards of a number of right-wing groups, including the American Defense Society and the Immigration Restriction League, and later collaborated with Grant in editing two anti-immigration books, The Founders of the Republic on Immigration (1928) and The Alien in Our Midst (1930). Grant turned to Davison for advice on his manuscript of The Passing of the Great Race because Davison was a talented writer and quite faThere is a peculiar kind of vehemence, a main ingredient of our literature, which can be achieved only by Americans disillusioned with America. Perry Miller miliar with animal husbandry (he owned a farm in Massachusetts where he bred Dutch belted cattle and Hampshire swine). Grant also showed a draft of his book to his friend Moses Taylor Pyne. Pyne was the son of Percy Rivington Pyne, who had been one of the leading financiers in New York City and a founder of the American Museum of Natural History. Moses Taylor Pyne graduated from Princeton in 1877 (where he and Henry Fairfield Osborn were classmates and close friends), received his LL.B. from Columbia University in 1879, and went on to become a prominent lawyer and financier with numerous railroad, banking, insurance, and industrial interests in New York and New Jersey. Pyne was involved in many benevolent activities, including years of service to Princeton University. He was an influential trustee of the university for thirty-six years and once declined an offer of the presidency. (He is commemorated on the campus today by Pyne Hall.) The impossibly handsome and refined Pyne, with his classic Nordic visage, piercing blue eyes, blond hair, and clipped mustache, was a mainstay of Grant’s social world. He also had an amateur interest in scientific matters (he was a charter member of the Half-Moon Club) and was sufficiently knowledgeable that Grant turned to him for assistance with his manuscript. Grant’s third adviser, Henry Fairfield Osborn, not only submitted suggestions but also supplied a three-page preface that lauded The Passing of the Great Race for launching “a new and fascinating field of study,” to wit, the interpretation of history in terms of race. “There is no gainsaying that this is the correct scientific method of approaching the problem of the past,” wrote America’s foremost evolutionist. But the true importance of Grant’s book, according to Osborn, was not so much its elucidation of the past as its relevance to “our day and generation”—and to the future. Osborn was confident that the application of Grant’s eugenic teachings would ensure the “conservation of that race [the Nordic race] which has given us the true spirit of Americanism.” Osborn, the former neo-Lamarckian, congratulated Grant for extending the work of Galton and Weismann, and for compelling us to recognize that heredity is “more enduring and potent than environment.”2 After incorporating the suggestions of Davison, Pyne, and Osborn, Grant submitted his manuscript to Charles Scribner’s Sons. Though Grant clumsily attempted to convince “old CS” (Charles Scribner II) that he was simultaneously negotiating with other publishing houses, there was never any doubt as to who his publisher would...


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