Reginald Ruggles Gates

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Reginald Ruggles Gates
Born (1882-05-01)May 1, 1882
Died August 12, 1962(1962-08-12) (aged 80)
Fields Spermatophytes, Oenothera[1]
Alma mater McGill University
Notable awards Fellow of the Royal Society[2]
Author abbrev. (botany)
Spouse Marie Stopes (1911-1914, annulled)
Jennie Williams (1929, dissolved)
Laura Greer (1955-)[4]

Reginald Ruggles Gates (May 1, 1882 – August 12, 1962), was a Canadian born anthropologist, botanist, and geneticist. He did most of his work in the United Kingdom and the United States. He received his Bachelor of Science from McGill University with further education in Chicago and London. He did botanical work in Missouri in 1910 and later worked in London. He alternated between work in Britain and the United States. He won various awards and in 1931 was elected to the Royal Society.[2][1]


Gates had become known for his studies of Oenothera and other plants,[5] but in 1923 he brought out Heredity and Eugenics. He had a long interest in eugenics, but it was after this book onward that his reputation as a eugenicist become prominent. He considered racial differences to be great, but did not necessarily believe in a pure form of Caucasian. He maintained his ideas on race and eugenics long after World War II, into the era when these were deemed anachronistic.[6] He was a founder of Mankind Quarterly, which at that time was associated to the International Association for the Advancement of Ethnology and Eugenics.

Personal life[edit]

Gates was born near Middleton, Nova Scotia and had a twin sister named Charlotte.[2] In 1911, he married Marie Stopes, but the marriage was annulled in 1914. In 1955, he married Laura Greer.


Illustration from Heredity in Man
  • Heredity in Man. (1929). Constable & Company.
  • A botanist in the Amazon Valley. (1927). H. F. & G. Witherby.
  • Human Genetics. (1946). The Macmillan company (2 volumes).
  • "Racial elements in the aborigines of Queensland, Australia". (Jan. 1960). Zeitschrift für Morphologie und Anthropologie. Bd. 50. H. 2. pp. 150–166.

Awards and honours[edit]

Gates was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1931. His nomination reads

Gates is memorialized by the Ruggles Gates Award at Mount Allison University.[8][9]