Reginald Ruggles Gates

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Reginald Ruggles Gates
Reginald Ruggles Gates Portrait.jpg
Reginald Ruggles Gates in 1921
Born (1882-05-01)May 1, 1882
Died August 12, 1962(1962-08-12) (aged 80)
Fields Spermatophytes, Oenothera[1]
Institutions King's College London
Alma mater Mount Allison University
McGill University
University of Chicago
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 geneticist who published widely in the fields of botany and eugenics.

Early life[edit]

Reginald Ruggles Gates was born on May 1, 1882 near Middleton, Nova Scotia. He had a twin sister named Charlotte.[2]

Gates graduated with first class honours in science from Mount Allison University in 1903.[5] Further studies toward a second B.Sc. from McGill University were interrupted by a year in which he returned to his childhood home in Middleton, Nova Scotia, where he served as vice-principal in a local school. He completed this second B.Sc. in 1905, focusing on botany, before accepting a Senior Fellowship at University of Chicago where he completed his Ph.D. on heredity in Oenothera lata (evening primrose) in 1908.


Gates did botanical work in Missouri in 1910. Later, he was a Professor of Biology at King's College London.[6] He was known for his studies of Oenothera and other plants.[7]

Gates was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1931.[1][2] His nomination reads

Additionally, Gates was a eugenicist. In 1923, he wrote Heredity and Eugenics. He maintained his ideas on race and eugenics long after World War II, into the era when these were deemed anachronistic.[9] He was a founder of Mankind Quarterly and the International Association for the Advancement of Ethnology and Eugenics.[6] He was a strong opponent of interracial marriage and, according to A.S. Winston, "argued that races were separate species."[6]

Personal life[edit]

In 1911, Gates married Marie Stopes, but the marriage was annulled in 1914. In 1955, he married Laura Greer.

Death and legacy[edit]

The grave of Reginald Ruggles Gates in Brookwood Cemetery

Gates died on August 12, 1962 and was buried in Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey. He is memorialized by the Ruggles Gates Award at Mount Allison University.[10][11]


Illustration from Heredity in Man
  • Heredity and Eugenics. (1923). Constable & Co Limited. London, Sydney, Bombay.
  • 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.


  1. ^ a b Alan R. Rushton (2004). "Gates, Reginald Ruggles (1882–1962)". The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33355. 
  2. ^ a b c Roberts, J. A. F. (1964). "Reginald Ruggles Gates 1882-1962". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 10: 83–26. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1964.0006. 
  3. ^ IPNI.  R.R.Gates. 
  4. ^ "Reginald Ruggles Gates (1882-1962): botanist, cytologist and anthropologist. FRS 1931.". John Innes Centre. John Innes Centre. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Roberts, J. A. Fraser. "Reginald Ruggles Gates, 1882-1962". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. Royal Society. JSTOR 769313. 
  6. ^ a b c Winston, Andrew S. (Spring 1998). "Science in the service of the far right: Henry E. Garrett, the IAAEE, and the Liberty Lobby - International Association for the Advancement of Ethnology - Experts in the Service of Social Reform: SPSSI, Psychology, and Society, 1936-1996". Journal of Social Issues. 54: 179–210. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1998.tb01212.x. 
  7. ^ Mendel's Legacy: The Origin of Classical Genetics By Elof Axel Carlson, pg 128
  8. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue, Reginald Ruggles Gates". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2013-12-23. 
  9. ^ The Retreat of Scientific Racism By Elazar Barkan 168-175
  10. ^ The Ruggles Gates Award
  11. ^ The Ruggles Gates Chair In Biology