CHILDREN ABOVE 180 IQ STANFORD-BINET:
ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT
Leta Stetter Hollingworth
Shortly after the year 1924 Leta S. Hollingworth prepared a
manuscript on "Children above 180 IQ (Stanford-Binet)" in which
she surveyed the material on the topic available up to that date
and added accounts of five cases which she had studied individually.
 As the years went by she held back the manuscript from
publication and one by one she found seven more cases to be
included in her list. At the time of her death in 1939 she had
begun to revise this manuscript, bringing the survey up to date
and adding the new cases. The present book gives as much of this
revision from her own hand as is available. The Preface and
Chapters 1, 2, and 3 are as she wrote them. The accounts of the
first five cases are given just as she originally wrote them
up, but to them "editorial supplements" have been added in which
an endeavor has been made to present for each case such data as
have been found in her files, with little in the way of discussion
The seven new cases which the original author had intended to
include in the manuscript she had not yet written up. For these,
therefore, it has been necessary to study the data she had
accumulated for each child, to secure additional data when and
where possible, and to present such an account of each as she
might herself have written, patterned after her reports of the
Much is lost that would have been contributed had the author lived
to complete her project. She knew these cases intimately and at
first hand. Some of them she had followed for as long as twenty
years, taking a personal interest in the individual children and
their problems, advising them, assisting them, continuously
observing them, and frequently testing and measuring them.
Particularly inadequate must be the accounts of the later
development of the individuals herein described, for many of the
details well known to the author she not committed to paper, since
she fully expected to complete the manuscript herself. It is to be
regretted that a follow-up study of these recent developments
could not have been undertaken, and a hope is expressed that this
may yet be done.
The chapters summarizing the group of twelve new cases are wholly
without Leta S. Hollingworth's touch. It seemed desirable, however,
to give such a summary as could be made under the circumstances.
Had the original author been able to complete her book, we know
that penetrating light would have been thrown on many of the more
personal difficulties of these children of rare intelligence. This
experience and insight can no longer be recovered. It must suffice
to put on record chiefly the factual data now available, leaving
it for future workers to follow up, if it should seem desirable,
the subsequent career and destiny of the individuals whose early
development and background are herein reported. Identification of
these children is not made in this book, but the necessary facts
for this purpose are on file and identification can be made at any
time in the interests of educational research.
The third section of this book as originally outlined by Leta S.
Hollingworth was to have dealt with general principles and with
the social and educational implications of the study of children
of very high intelligence. Up to the time of her death nothing
of this character had been written by her explicitly, but throughout
the years in which her projected book was developing she wrote a
number of papers and reports bearing on the subject, and these
were published from time to time in technical journals. It is well
known that the content of these papers was dictated by her study of
such cases as are herein reported, by her familiarity with the
reports of other students in this field, and by her own very
concrete and long experience in the organization and conduct
of two experimental projects in the schools of New York City.
It is, in fact, likely that the final chapters she had in mind
for this book would have been a reorganization of the conclusions
set forth in these articles.
Consequently, the last five chapters of this book, instead of being
an attempt to guess at what the author might have said in them, are
all from her own hand. They are either selections from or complete
reproductions of papers she had published on what she considered
to be the implications of her observations of children of rare
The publication of this book has been made possible by funds
granted by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. That Corporation
is not, however, the author, owner, publisher, or proprietor of
this publication, and it is not to be understood as approving by
virtue of its grants any of the statements or views expressed
Harry L. Hollingworth
Columbia University, New York
 Chapter 9 of Gifted Children, published in 1926, bears the
title "Children Who Test above 180 IQ (Stanford-Binet)." Some of
the cases described more fully in the monograph manuscript are
also sketched in that chapter.
PART I: ORIENTATION
1. THE CONCEPT OF INTELLECTUAL GENIUS
Concepts of the Ancients, Dictionary Definitions, Concepts of
Genius, Miscellaneous Observations Tending to Define Characteristics
of Genius, Speculation and Comment Concerning Genius
2. EARLY SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF EMINENT ADULTS
Origin of Eminent Adults, Yoder's Study, Terman's Inferences
3. PUBLISHED REPORTS ON TESTED CHILDREN
Modern Approach to the Study of Ability, Binet's Method, The Range
of Intellect above 180 IQ, Children Observed before the Era of
Binet, Children Who Test above 180 IQ by Binet-Simon Tests, Children
Who Test above 180 IQ by Stanford-Binet Tests, Generalizations
PART II: TWELVE CASES NEW TO LITERATURE CONCERNING TESTED CHILDREN
4. CHILD A
Family Background, Preschool History, School History, Judgments
of Teachers, Mental Measurements, Traits of Character, Physical
Measurements and Health, Miscellaneous Characteristics
5. CHILD B
Family Background, Preschool History, School History, Traits of
Character, Judgments of Teachers, Mental Measurements, Physical
Measurements, Miscellaneous Characteristics
6. CHILD C
Family Background, Preschool History, School History, Traits of
Character, Mental Measurements, Physical Measurements, Later
7. CHILD D
Family Background, Preschool History, Traits of Character, Mental
Measurements, Physical Measurements and Health, Miscellaneous
Characteristics, School History
8. CHILD E
Family Background, Early History, School Achievement, Mental
Measurements, Social Habits, Tastes, etc., Later Mental Measurements,
Later Physical Measurements, Later Scholastic Records, Extracurricular
Activities, Teachers' Comments, Summary up to 1921, Eventual
Scholastic Records, Researches of E, Summary of Development
9. CHILD F
Family Background, Preschool History, Early School History, Early
Test Scores, Home Rating, Miscellaneous Characteristics, Later
10. CHILD G
Family Background, Educational History, Early Mental Tests,
Later Test Records, Traits of Character, Physical Measurements,
High School Record, G's Brother's Record
11. CHILD H
Family Background, Preschool History, Mental Measurements, Physical
Measurements, Intellectual Ability
12. CHILD I
Family Background, Preschool History, Early Educational History,
Mental Measurements, Physical Measurements and Health, Miscellaneous
13. CHILD J
Family Background, Childhood Characteristics, Later Mental Tests
14. CHILD K
Family Background, Early Development, Mental Measurements, Physical
Measurements, Later Educational Progress
15. CHILD L
Family Background, Early History, Achievement at Speyer School,
High School Record to Date of Writing, Later Tests and Inventories
16. SUMMARIES OF HEREDITIES AND EARLY BEHAVIOR
Family History and Background, Physical and Behavioral Development
17. SCHOLASTIC ACHIEVEMENT AND CREATIVE ACTIVITY
Scholastic Achievement and Educational Adjustment, Creative Work,
PART III: GENERAL PRINCIPLES AND IMPLICATIONS.
18. ADULT STATUS AND PERSONALITY RATINGS.
Adult Status of Highly Intelligent Children, Critique of the
Concept of "Genius" as Applied in Terms of IQ, Application of
Bernreuter Inventory of Personality to Highly Intelligent Adolescents
19. THE DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONALITY IN HIGHLY INTELLIGENT CHILDREN
General Considerations, The Part Played by Physique, Problem
of Leadership, Problems of Adjustment to Occupation, Learning
to "Suffer Fools Gladly", The Tendency to Become Isolated, The
Concept of "Optimum Intelligence", Conclusion
20. THE CHILD OF VERY SUPERIOR INTELLIGENCE AS A SPECIAL PROBLEM
IN SOCIAL ADJUSTMENT
The Quality of Gifted Children, The Problem of Work, The Problem
of Adjustment to Classmates, The Problem of Play, Special Problems
of the Gifted Girl, Problems of Conformity, The Problems of Origin
and of Destiny, General Considerations
21. THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLING OF VERY BRIGHT CHILDREN
Considerations in Planning the Curriculum, Enrichment Units at
Speyer School, Special Work, Emotional Education, Matters of
22. PROBLEMS OF RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY
SCHOOLS IN THE CASE OF HIGHLY INTELLIGENT PUPILS
The Elementary School, Transition from Elementary to Secondary
School, Consideration of the Questions Arising, What about Genius?
This study is founded upon the work of Francis Galton, on the one
hand, and of Albert Binet, on the other. It goes back to Galton's
Hereditary Genius, read as a prescribed reference in the courses
of Professor Edward L. Thorndike, in 1912; and to the publication
in 1916 of Professor Lewis M. Terman's Stanford Revision of the
Binet-Simon Scale for Measuring Intelligence. It comprises
observations, measurements, and conversations covering a period of
twenty-three years, during which acquaintanceships and friendships,
every one of them delightful, have been formed and maintained
with the twelve individuals who form the basis of the study.
It was in November, 1916, shortly after taking appointment as
instructor in educational psychology at Teachers College, Columbia
University, that I saw for the first time a child testing above
180 IQ (S-B). I was teaching a course in the psychology of mentally
deficient children, and it seemed to me that my class should if
possible observe under test conditions one bright child for the
sake of contrast. Accordingly, I asked whether any teacher present
could nominate a very intelligent pupil for demonstration.
Miss Charlotte G. Garrison and Miss Agnes Burke, teachers in the
Horace Mann School, Teachers College, New York City, thereupon
nominated the child who is called E in this monograph. E was
presented at the next meeting of the class. It required two
full classroom periods to test this child to the limits of the
Stanford-Binet Scale, which had just then been published. E
exhausted the scale without being fully measured by it, achieving
an IQ of at least 187. He was on that date 8 years 4 months old.
This IQ of at least 187 placed E in Galton's Class X of able
persons; i.e., more than six "grades" removed from mediocrity.
Taking 1 PE#dis# as one "grade," it placed him at least plus 11
PE from the norm; for 1 PE (Probable Error) equals 8 IQ, according
to Terman's original distribution of 905 school children. 
This appeared as sufficiently striking to warrant permanent
recording, since it would rate E as one in a million for statistical
frequency, assuming "zeal and power of working" to be also
I did not at that time have any expert knowledge of highly
intelligent children. I had been working for some years in the
hospitals of New York City with persons presented for commitment
to reformatories, prisons, and institutions for mental defectives.
I had tested thousands of incompetent persons, a majority of them
children, with Goddard's Revision of the Binet-Simon Scale,
scarcely ever finding anyone with an IQ rating as high as 100. This
thoroughgoing experience of the negative aspects of intelligence
rendered the performance of E even more impressive to me than it
would otherwise have been. I perceived the clear and flawless
working of his mind against a contrasting background of thousands
of dull and foolish minds. It was an unforgettable observation.
I then began to look for children like E, to observe them with
reference to the principles of education. This search has been
conducted in a desultory manner, in "odd" moments, ever since 1916.
At times, as in 1922-1923 and in 1935-1936, when pupils were being
sought for special classes at Public School 165, Manhattan, or at
Public School 500, Manhattan, the search has been systematic.
Usually, however, the quest has been quite otherwise, for in the
course of long searching I have learned that it is nearly useless
to look for these children, because so few of them exist. In
twenty-three years' seeking in New York City and the local
metropolitan area, the densest center of population in this country
and at the same time a great intellectual center attracting able
persons, I have found only twelve children who test at or above
180 IQ (S-B). This number represents the winnowing from thousands
of children tested, hundreds of them brought for the testing
because of their mental gifts. Of course there were and are
others who have not been found, since [this] search has never
The most interesting part of this research is yet to come, in the
form of a record of the mature performances of these gifted persons
observed in childhood. However, I propose to make a report now of
origin and development; to be followed, if I live so long, by
further reports of adult status. Such researches require more than
the life span of one investigator, since time is of the essence
of the task. Universities should make provision for institutional
prosecution of these long-time studies as distinguished from
individual prosecution. In any case, I shall try to leave the
records to some younger student who will comprehend them, and
who will amplify them if I prove unable to do so myself.
Galton, in his efforts to understand ability, was limited to
the study of the eminent adult, dead and gone. The only test
he could use was that of reputation, for at the time he was at
work on the problem, mental measurement had not yet been developed
as a technique. He wished for a more valid method of gauging
ability, and he fully realized that it would be of greater
advantage to study "the living individual." "Is reputation a fair
test of natural ability?" he asked. "It is the only one I can
employ . . . am I justified in using it? How much of a man's
success is due to his opportunities, and how much to his natural
power of intellect?"
Galton's work was finished before Binet's studies made it possible
to measure natural ability apart from reputation; and what is most
essential of all, to measure natural ability in childhood. It
was Binet's great and original service that he rendered it possible
to determine accurately the permanent intellectual caliber of an
undeveloped human being. It has always been possible to appraise
the ability of people forty or fifty years old, after they have
met "the tests of life," but for the pursuit of education and
social science it is not very practically useful to know what a
person is like only at the end of his life. It is essential,
rather, to know with a high degree of precision and certainty the
mental endowment of persons at the beginning of their lives if
anything is to be done in the matter of special training for
The facts derived from the study of the twelve exceptional persons
herein described, and from the study of others like them, and
the principles deduced from these facts, are of that order of
importance for social science which Galton ascribed to them.
Nevertheless, to hear of the tremendous differences between the
dullest and the most intelligent individual, between the average
man and the person who falls more than +10 PE away from him in
mental ability, is extremely tedious to the typical American
listener. This is only too well known to one who has long tried
to interest foundations and moneyed persons in the education of
gifted children. There is an apparent preference among donors for
studying the needs and supporting the welfare of the weak, the
vicious, and the incompetent, and a negative disregard of the
highly intelligent, leaving them to "shift for themselves."
Perhaps a wider dissemination of facts such as have been adduced
in the studies of Professor Lewis M. Terman and other educators,
and in this study, may eventually bring about a more constructive
point of view, one more conducive to a recognition of national
welfare involved in educational plans for the unusual student.
It is desirable in this introduction to make known some of the
etiquette and ethics involved in the scientific study of very
gifted children. This is a new area in the field of human
relationships and the investigator who works within it comes
rather frequently upon certain questions of good manners which
do not arise in any other field of psychological research.
For instance, persons who test above 180 IQ (S-B) are almost sure
to read and recognize in books and articles whatever has been
written about them, no matter how anonymously they may have been
described. This is true of them even as children. When the book
Gifted Children was published, in 1926, Child A, who is described
therein as well as in these pages, was thirteen years old. He read
the book within two weeks of publication; for, as he said in
mentioning the matter to the author, "I go every week to the
Public Library and look first at the shelf of new books." The
problem always in the foreground is how to present the whole
truth about such matters as family history, social-economic
status, and character, without invading the privacy of those
described and without identifying them to the general public
or to curious persons.
Those who test above 180 IQ (S-B) are characterized by a strong
desire for personal privacy. They seldom volunteer information
about themselves. They do not like to have attention called to
their families and homes. They are reluctant to impart information
concerning their plans, hopes, convictions, and so forth. The
question arises, then, how to avoid presumption; for it is by no
means easy for a young person politely to evade an older person
who can lay claim to having known one "all one's life."
Thus, in this study, in order to preserve the privacy of those
concerned, some items have been omitted from the histories which
would have been of interest to students of child psychology.
Let it be understood at once, however, that the omissions include
nothing discreditable to any of the twelve individuals studied;
rather, many of these items are highly creditable. There have been
acts of moral courage, acts of skill, and acts of self-sustaining
heterodoxy that if told at all should be told only by those who
performed the actions. Perhaps autobiographies may some day be
written by these persons, telling whatever they may wish to tell.
In the matter of the attitude of people in general toward gifted
children, there are, of course, a majority who are kindly and
understanding and helpful, but it is a melancholy fact that there
are also malicious and jealous people who are likely to persecute
those who are formally identified as being unusual. It may prove
a handicap rather than a help to a gifted youngster to have been
identified in book or article or school as extraordinary. Some of
the children herein described have suffered considerably from the
malice of ill-mannered persons, even their instructors, who have
felt the impulse to "take them down a peg." Specific instances of
such persecution can be cited from public prints, and reference
will be made to them in the course of this monograph.
It would be of interest to present a photograph of each child
herein observed, to show how in personal appearance they are
diametrically opposite to the popular stereotype of the highly
intelligent child; but photographs would tend to identification.
These questions of what is right and what is wrong, what is
permissible and what is forbidden, in reporting the origin
and development of the gifted cannot be fully determined here.
The policies pursued in this study have been discussed from time
to time with gifted children and their parents, and I have been
guided by their advice. Everything has been presented that is
consistent both with scientific interest and with the preservation
of personal privacy. The work as it stands has taken hundreds
of hours of the time of these children and of their parents
and teachers, over a period of twenty years. They are all very
busy people, yet they have given time and energy for tests,
measurements, and interviews as requested. It is obvious that
without this coöperation no study could have been made.
Leta S. Hollingworth
New York City
 EDITORIAL NOTE. The larger and better sampling of subjects
tested for the 1937 Stanford Revision showed a wider variability
than the 1916 group and indicates that the true PE of the IQ
distribution of unselected children is in the neighborhood
of 11 IQ points, according to Terman.
 All such records have been deposited in the psychological
laboratory of Barnard College, Columbia University.
THE CONCEPT OF INTELLECTUAL GENIUS
It would be an ambitious project to find and discuss all the
definitions of genius that have ever been offered in writing.
To do this is beyond our present purpose, which is, rather, to
illustrate the various concepts that have been formulated and to
take guidance from them in the consideration of children of great
ability. It will perhaps be many years before it will be apparent
whether the children studied herein are geniuses or not. Perhaps
this can never be determined, as the word "genius" may eventually
be found to have no meaning that can be agreed upon. All we know
about the status of the subjects of the present study is that
they test above 180 IQ (S-B) and are thus more than +10 PE removed
from mediocrity in general intelligence.  It may be possible
to arrive at some comparison between their characteristics and
performances on the one hand, and the concepts of genius that have
been offered on the other.
CONCEPTS OF THE ANCIENTS
The concept of the genius is very ancient. Ovid (12),  referring
to Caesar and his preparations to complete the conquest of the
world, notes the manner in which a genius acts in advance of his
Though he himself is but a boy, he wages a war unsuited
to his boyish years. Oh, ye of little faith, vex not your souls
about the age of the gods! Genius divine outpaces time, and
brooks not the tedium of tardy growth. Hercules was still
no more than a child when he crushed the serpent in his baby
hands. Even in the cradle, he proved himself a worthy son
The Greeks called that person's "daemon" which directed and
inspired his creative work. Dictionaries refer to the Roman
concept of genius as "a spirit presiding over the destiny of a
person or a place; a familiar spirit or a tutelary." The genie
was one of the powerful nature demons of Arabian and Mohammedan
lore, believed to interfere in human affairs and to be sometimes
subject to magic control.
Thinkers in any and every field, no matter how remote from that of
psychology, have confidently discussed the nature of genius.
Philosophers, poets, litterateurs, physicians, physiologists,
psychiatrists, anthropometrists, lexicographars, encyclopedists—
all have offered definitions, each according to his light. It has
been deemed a subject on which anyone might legitimately express
an opinion. The result is, as might be expected, an interesting
miscellany of contradictions.
By derivation the word "genius" means to beget or to bring forth,
coming from genere, gignere. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary—from
which Galton took his point of departure in choosing the word
"genius" for the title of his work on ability—defines a genius as
"A man endowed with superior faculties."
Funk and Wagnall's Dictionary offers the following definition:
"Very extraordinary gifts or native powers, especially as displayed
in original creation, discovery, expression, or achievement."
Webster's New International Dictionary defines "genius" as
"Extraordinary mental superiority; esp. unusual power of invention
or origination of any kind; as, a man of genius."
The Dictionary of Psychology defines "genius" in part in terms of
IQ, but at the same time denies the word any special meaning as
a recognized scientific term: "Genius—a very superior mental
ability, especially a superior power of invention or origination
of any kind, or of execution of some special form, such as music,
painting, or mathematics. . . . It has no special technical
meaning, but has occasionally been defined as equivalent to an
intelligence quotient (IQ) of 140 or above."
Generally speaking, then, dictionaries define genius as a superior
or superlative degree of intellectual capacity, and avoid claiming
it for any concept of an added, different, or abnormal element in
CONCEPTS OF GENIUS
As a manifestation of abnormal psychology. A number of thinkers
in fields allied to psychology have laid emphasis upon a supposed
connection between genius and nervous instability or insanity.
This idea is embodied in the statement by Pascal: "L'extrême
esprit est voisin de l'extrême folie." Lamartine refers to "la
maladie mentale qu'on appelle génie." Lombroso (10) is perhaps
the most widely quoted among those who have held or who hold
this point of view.
As constituting a different species. The idea has been expressed
by thinkers other than professed psychologists—and at times
by psychologists themselves—that men of genius are a separate
species, partaking of qualities not shared in any degree by
persons at large. This concept is at one with that which would
regard the idiot and the imbecile as distinct in kind, not in
degree only, from the mass of mankind. Genius would thus be not
merely more of the same but a different sort altogether. Thus
Hirsch (7) specifically declares:
The genius differs in kind from the species, man. Genius
can be defined only in terms of its own unique mental and
temperamental processes, traits, qualities, and products. Genius
is another psychobiological species, differing as much from man,
in his mental and temperamental processes, as man differs from
As a hypertrophied and highly specialized aptitude for specific
performance. The thought has been advanced that intellectual
genius is a matter of specialization; that the mind of a genius
will not, typically, work on all data with superior results,
but that it is adapted only or primarily to certain kinds of
intellectual performance. In other words, the genius is thought
to lack general ability. A recent statement by Carrel (2) seems
to express in part at least this theory:
There is also a class of men who, although disharmonious
as the criminal and the insane, are indispensable to modern
society. They are the men of genius. They are characterized
by a monstrous growth of some of their psychological
activities. A great artist, a great scientist, a great
philosopher, is rarely a great man. He is generally a man of
common type, with one side over-developed.
As a combination of traits. Galton (6) thought of genius as that
which qualifies a person for eminence, and he believed that
achieved eminence must be founded on a combination of no less than
three essentials. He wrote:
By natural ability I mean those qualities of intellect and
disposition which urge and qualify a man to perform acts that
lead to reputation. I do not mean capacity without zeal, nor
zeal without capacity, nor even a combination of both of them,
without an adequate power of doing a great deal of very
laborious work. But I mean a nature which, when left to
itself, will, urged by an inherent stimulus, climb the path that
leads to eminence, and has strength to reach the summit . . .
one which, if hindered or thwarted, will fret and strive until
the hindrance is overcome, and it is again free to follow its
labour-loving instinct. It is almost a contradiction in terms
to doubt that such men will generally become eminent.
Again, Galton says:
We have seen that a union of three separate qualities—intellect,
zeal, and power of work—are necessary to raise men from
Lehman (9) has recently expressed this same idea, as a result of a
statistical study of the most productive years of intellectual
Indeed, it is doubtful that genius is solely the fruit of any
single trait. It is the belief of the writer that the fruits of
genius are, on the contrary, a function of numerous integers,
including both the personal traits of the individual worker,
environmental conditions that are not too hostile, and the
fortunate combination of both personal traits and external
As quantitative. Galton (6) was the first to place the study of
genius on the basis of quantitative statement, so that comparisons
might be made and vertifications be effected. Galton formulated
the theory that genius (great natural ability) is nothing more
nor less than a very extreme degree in the distribution of a
combination of traits—"intellect, zeal, and power of working"—
which is shared by all in various "grades" or degrees. Reasoning
thus, Galton applied for the first time in human thought the
mathematical concepts of probablity to the definition of genius.
Quetelet (13), drawing objects from congeries of known composition,
had elaborated the form which the probabilities take of drawing
a given combination. This form, with the law of deviation from
the average governing it, is now, of course, a commonplace in
psychological laboratories, so that it is hard to realize that
when Galton made the mental leap from this curve to the abilities
of men, no one had ever thought of human minds as "fitting" the
curve drawn by Quetelet. Such a "fit" had already been thought
of in connection with measurements of physique, and had been
demonstrated for measurements of the shrimp (16) and for physical
traits of persons. But that "natural ability" should be susceptible
to the probability curve and "the curious theoretical law of
deviation from an average" as length is among shrimps, or as
circumference of the chest is among Scottish soldiers (as shown
by Quetelet), was not conceived. With the modern methods of mental
measurement it is easy enough to perceive the truth of this. But
Galton was working in the dark, entirely without instruments
of precision; and his table of frequency "for the classification
of men according to their natural gifts" must be regarded as one
of the most prescient statements in the history of social science.
Working with the tables devised by Quetelet, Galton proposed the
tabular "classification of men according to their natural gifts"
CLASSIFICATION OF MEN ACCORDING TO THEIR NATURAL GIFTS
GRADES OF NATURAL NUMBERS OF MEN COMPRISED IN THE SEVERAL GRADES OF NATURAL ABILITY, WHETHER IN RESPECT
ABILITY, SEPARATED TO THEIR GENERAL POWERS OR TO SPECIAL APTITUDES
BY EQUAL INTERVALS
Below Above Proportionate; In Each Million In Total Male Population of the United Kingdom, Say
Average Average viz., One in of the Same Age 15 Millions, of the Undermentioned Ages
20-30 30-40 40-50 50-60 60-70 70-80
a A 4 256,791 651,000 495,000 391,000 268,000 171,000 77,000
b B 6 161,279 409,000 312,000 246,000 168,000 107,000 48,000
c C 16 63,563 161,000 123,000 97,000 66,000 42,000 19,000
d D 64 15,696 39,800 30,300 23,900 16,400 10,400 4,700
e E 413 2,423 6,100 4,700 3,700 2,520 1,600 729
f F 4,300 233 590 450 355 243 155 70
g G 79,000 14 35 27 21 15 9 4
All grades All grades
below g above G 1,000,000 1 3 2 2 2 0 0
Interpreting this theoretical tabulation, Galton (6) wrote:
It will be seen that more than half of each million is contained
in the two mediocre classes a and A; the four mediocre
classes a, b, A, B, contain more than four fifths, and the six
mediocre classes more than nineteen twentieths of the entire
population. Thus, the rarity of commanding ability and the
vast abundance of mediocrity is no accident, but follows of
necessity from the very nature of these things.
On decscending the scale, we find by the time we have
reached f that we are already among the idiots and imbeciles.
We have seen that there are 400 idiots and imbeciles to any
million of persons living in this country; but that 30 per cent
of their number appear to be light cases, to whom the name of
idiot is inappropriate. There will remain 280 true idiots and
imbeciles to every million of our population. This ratio coincides
very closely with the requirements of class f. No doubt
a certain proportion of them are idiots owing to some fortuitous
cause . . . but the proportion of accidental idiots cannot
be very large.
Hence we arrive at the undeniable but unexpected conclusion
that eminently gifted men are raised as much above
mediocrity as idiots are depressed below it; a fact that is calculated
to enlarge considerably our ideas of the enormous difference
of intellectual gifts between man and man.
MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS TENDING TO
DEFINE CHARACTERISTICS OF GENIUS
In addition to the formulation of the rather definite concepts
of genius which have been discussed, there are to be
found in the literature of this topic a large number of general
observations ascribing certain characteristics to persons of
genius. There are also many remarks as to the conditions
of living, of education, of genetics, and so forth, which are
alleged to foster or to hinder the development of genius.
Many of these observations and remarks emanate from others
than professed psychologists, some of the most interesting
coming from litterateurs and philosophers.
One of the most penetrating discussions of genius by a litterateur
is that of Shaw (15) in his Preface to Saint Joan. Shaw regards
Saint Joan as a young genius, and in introducing his readers
to this point of view he says:
Let us be clear about the meaning of the terms. A genius
is a person who, seeing farther and probing deeper than other
people, has a different set of ethical values from theirs, and has
energy enough to give effect to this extra vision and its valuations
in whatever manner best suits his or her specific talents.
Here is brought out the tendency to heterodoxy which
characterizes genius and is the source of much of its difficulty.
Shaw dwells upon these difficulties in saying:
But it is not so easy for mental giants who neither hate nor
intend to injure their fellows to realize that nevertheless their
fellows hate mental giants and would like to destroy them, not
only enviously because the juxtaposition of a superior wounds
their vanity, but quite honestly because it frightens them. Fear
will drive men to any extreme; and the fear inspired by a
superior being is a mystery which cannot be reasoned away.
Being immeasurable it is unbearable when there is no presumption
or guarantee of its benevolence and moral responsibility;
in other words, when it has official status.
This is the same trend of thought which Mill (11) follows in his
Essay on Liberty, noting the originality that characterizes
genius and the troubles that result from it, and insisting upon
freedom for genius in the interests of the general welfare.
It would not be denied by anybody that originality is a
valuable element in human affairs. There is always need of
persons not only to discover new truths, and point out when
what were once truths are true no longer, but also to commence
new practices, and set the example of more enlightened
conduct, and better taste and sense in human life. . . . It is
true that this benefit is not capable of being rendered by
everybody alike; there are but few persons in comparison with
the whole of mankind, whose experiments, if adopted by others,
would be likely to be any improvement on established practice.
But these few are the salt of the earth; without them, human
life would become a stagnant pool. . . . Persons of genius,
it is true, are and are always likely to be, a small minority;
but in order to have them, it is necessary to preserve the
soil in which they grow. Genius can only breathe freely in an
atmosphere of freedom. Persons of genius are, ex vi termini,
more individual than any other people . . . less capable,
consequently, of fitting themselves, without hurtful
compression, into any of the small number of moulds which
society provides in order to save its members the trouble of
forming their own character. If from timidity they consent to
be forced into one of these moulds, and to let that part of
themselves which cannot expand under the pressure remain
unexpanded, society will be little better for their genius. If
they are of strong character, and break their fetters, they
become a mark for the society which has not succeeded in
reducing them to common-place, to point with solemn warning as
"wild," "erratic," and the like; much as if one should complain
of the Niagara River for not flowing smoothly between its
banks like a Dutch canal.
Mill says further:
I insist thus emphatically on the importance of genius, and
the necessity of allowing it to unfold itself freely both in
thought and in practice, being well aware that no one will deny
the position in theory, but knowing also that almost everyone,
in reality, is totally indifferent to it.
Mill, indeed, had much to say about the conditions under which
the exceptional individual contributes to social change and
progress, which bears immediately upon the education of highly
Bearing further upon the persecution to which genius is
often subject as a penalty for nonconformity, Havelock Ellis
(5) after studying a large number of British men of genius
It is practically impossible to estimate the amount of
persecution to which this group of preëminent persons has been
subjected, for it has shown itself in innumerable forms, and
varies between a mere passive refusal to have anything to do
with them or their work and the active infliction of physical
torture and death. There is, however, at least one form of
persecution, very definite in character, which it is easy to
estimate, since the national biographers have probably in few
cases passed over it. I refer to imprisonment. I find that at
least 160, or over 16 per cent, of our 975 eminent men were
imprisoned, once or oftener, for periods of varying length,
while many others only escaped imprisonment by voluntary exile.
This is a conclusion reached by one investigating the condition
of genius among what are probably the most liberal
people in the world—the British, a nation of protestants.
Another condition of genius frequently alleged is that of
personal isolation. Shaw makes Saint Joan say, "I was always
alone." Schopenhauer (14) says: "It is often the case
that a great mind prefers soliloquy to the dialogue he may
have in the world." Hirsch (7) dwells at some length upon
The genius is constantly forced to solitude, for he early
learns from experience that his kind can expect no reciprocation
of their generous feelings. . . . Solitude can best be
defined as the state in which friends are lacking or absent,
rather than as the opposite of sociability. . . . Solitude is
but a refuge of genius, not its goal. Time after time one
detects, from the lives or writings of genius, that solitude is
not its destiny but only a retreat; not the normal fruition of
its being, but an empty harbor sheltering it from the tortures,
griefs, and calumnies of the world. . . . It is a grievous error
to credit the genius with an innate inclination to shun men. But
in his youth he learns by experience that solitude is preferable
to suffocation, stupefaction, or surrender.
Alger (1) sees isolation as a necessary corollary of the
insistence upon perfection and accuracy which characterizes
A passion for perfection will make its subject solitary as
nothing else can. At every step he leaves a group behind.
And when, at last, he reaches the goal, alas, where are his
These references to the early experience of the genius in
meeting the uncordial response of the world as constituted,
with its resultant tendency to isolation, connect themselves
with an account found in the Apocryphal New Testament, in
a portion called the Hebrew Gospels.
And Joseph, seeing that the child was vigorous in mind and
body, again resolved that he should not remain ignorant of the
letters, and took him away, and handed him over to another
teacher. And the teacher said to Joseph: I shall teach him the
Greek letters, and then Hebrew. He wrote out the alphabet
and began to teaching him in an imperious tone, saying: Say
Alpha. And he gave him his attention for a long time and
he made no answer, but was silent. And he said to him: If
thou art really a teacher, tell me the power of the Alpha and I
will tell thee the power of the Beta. And the teacher was
enraged at this, and struck him.
SPECULATION AND COMMENT CONCERNING GENIUS
The ecology of genius has evoked speculation and comment.
Thus Churchill (3) says:
Mountain regions discourage the budding of genius because
they are areas of isolation, confinement, remote from the great
currents of men and ieas that move along river valleys. They
are regions of much labor and little leisure, of poverty today
and anxiety for the morrow, of toil-cramped hands and
toil-dulled brains. In the fertile alluvial plains are wealth,
leisure, contact with many minds, large urban centers where
commodities and ideas are exchanged.
The origins of genius have also engaged the attention of
speculative thinkers. For instance, Dixon (4) and also
Hirsch (7) offer the hypothesis that racial mixture is an
antecedent of genius. Kretschmer (8) would by inference
subscribe to this theory, since he holds that genetically genius
results from the union of unlike elements, to which he refers
The investigation of the family history of highly talented
individuals demonstrates very clearly the effect of biological
"bastardization," and shows why it may lead to the production
of genius. . . . It results in a complicated psychological
structure, in which the components of two strongly opposing
germs remain in polar tension throughout life. . . . This
polar tension acts as an effective and dynamic factor and
produces in the genius the labile equlibrium, the effective
super-pressure, that continuous, restless impulsiveness, which
carries him far beyond placid, traditional practice and the
simple satisfaction of life. On the other hand, in regard to his
intellectual abilities, the polar tension creates in the genius
his wide mental horizon, the diverse and complicated wealth of
his talent, the all-embracing personality.
Kretschmer also allies himself with those who hold the
concept of genius as closely related to insanity, quoting
selected cases in proof:
"Bastardization" produces internal contrasts and conflicts,
affects tensions, highly strung and uncompensated passions,
and a spiritual lability. It consequently creates a
predisposition to genius . . . but also [[points]] to
psycho-pathological complications. Thus the research on
"bastardization" becomes closely interwoven with the old,
familiar questions, leading us back to the problem: "Genius
1. ALGER, WILLIAM. The Genius of Solitude, page 144.
2. CARREL, ALEXIS. Man the Unknown. See pages 140-141. Harper
& Brothers, New York; 1935.
3. CHURCHILL, ELLEN SEMPLE. The Influence of Geographic Environment
on the Basis of Ratzel's System of Anthropogeography. Houghton
Mifflin Company, Boston; 1909.
4. DIXON, ROLAND B. The Racial History of Man. Charles Scribner's
Sons, New York; 1923.
5. ELLIS, HAVELOCK. A Study of British Genius. Constable, London;
6. GALTON, FRANCIS. Hereditary Genius. The Macmillan Company,
7. HIRSCH, N. D. M. Genius and Creative Intelligence. Sci-Art
Publisher, Cambridge, Massachusetts; 1931.
8. KRETSCHMER, E. The Psychology of Men of Genius. Translated
by R. B. Cattell. Harcourt, Brace & Co., Inc., New York; 1931.
9. LEHMAN, HARVEY C. "The Creative Years in Science and Literature."
Scientific Monthly (August, 1936).
10. LOMBROSO, C. The Man of Genius. Scott, London; 1891.
11. MILL, JOHN STUART. Essay on Liberty. See page 76 ff. The
Macmillan Company, New York; 1926 Ed.
12. OVIDIUS NASO, PUBLIUS. Ars Amatoria (The Love Books of
Ovid). Translated by J. Lewis May. Privately printed for the
Rarity Press, New York; 1930.
13. QUETELET, M. Letters on Probability. Translated by Downes.
Layton & Co., London; 1849.
14. SCHOPENHAUER, ARTHUR. "Essay on Genius," in The Art of
Literature, Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer. Willey Book Company,
15. SHAW, GEORGE BERNARD. Saint Joan. Dodd, Mead, & Co., Inc.,
New York; 1924, 1936.
16. WELDON, W. F. R. "Certain Correlated Variations in Crangdon
Vulgaris," Proceedings of The Royal Society, Vol. 51, page 2
 See endnote  in Preface.
 Numbers in parentheses refer to correspondingly numbered
references in the Bibliography at the end of each chapter.
EARLY SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF EMINENT ADULTS 
Because, strictly speaking, the present study is limited in its
interest and data to childhood, no attempt will be made to review
in detail the somewhat numerous studies of exceptional adults.
ORIGIN OF EMINENT ADULTS
Such studies as those undertaken by Galton (11, 12), De Candolle (9),
Ellis (10), Odin (17), and Cattell (4, 5) show that those who, as
adults, become eminent in intellectual work, are in disproportionately
great numbers the children of the "upper" (nobler or professional)
classes; and that they are usually born either in cities or
on large country estates (in France, in the chateaux). Very few
eminent adults have originated in the families of laborers, and
relatively few have been born in agricultural districts, in countries
long settled. Beyond these facts of origin, the investigators
of eminence in adults have not given much information about their
subjects of inquiry in respect to childhood.
We shall begin our detailed reference to previous observations
with Yoder's study, published in 1898. Yoder (25) made a systematic
attempt to gather data about the boyhood of very eminent men.
He thus tracked down certain facts about fifty great persons
concerning whom he could find data bearing on their childhood.
From these he was able to make the following generalizations:
1. The child who will become a great man may be born at any time,
over a very wide range of the productive period in the lives of
parents. The mothers of the fifty great persons studied ranged
in age from 18 to 44 years, when the great man was born, with
a median of 29.8 years. The fathers ranged in age from 23 to
60 years, with a median of 37.7 years.
2. The average number of siblings of these persons was 5+, not
including half brothers and sisters.
3. In families of more than one child, there was found to be a
strong tendency (chances of nearly 2 to 1) for the great man
to be in the elder half of the siblings.
4. Of those listed, 17 were only sons, either by order of birth
or by death of other sons born. (This is not to say that they
were only children.)
5. There was found no evidence that the great were sickly or
physically weak in childhood, to a more marked extent than average.
6. There appeared a tendency to great height among them than among
persons in general, "though the tendency is not very marked."
7. Play interests were keen among these children, though the play
was often of an unusual kind. "Solitary play" is repeatedly
described. Of Emerson, his biographer says: "I don't think he ever
engaged in boys' plays, not because of any physical disability,
but simply because from earliest years he dwelt in a higher
sphere." Others are said to have been "disinclined to general
intercourse." Instead of joining in the usual childish games,
Newton preferred to play with his machines, Darwin with his
collections, Shelley to read, Stevenson to make clay engines,
and Edison to mix his chemicals. Of Byron it was written: "The
love of solitude and of meditation is already traceable in the
child. He loves to wander at night among the dark and solitary
cloisters of the abbey." To quote Yoder: "Solitude seems to have
played a rather striking role in the lives of these great men.
Either by nature or by opportunity, they have stayed a great
Nevertheless, many of the fifty persons studied by Yoder enjoyed
physical activity. Washington loved outdoor sports, Schiller was
a leader in athletics, Byron was an enthusiastic swimmer and rider,
and Lincoln was the champion wrestler and woodcutter of his
8. The popular idea that great men owe their success to their
mothers' influence upon their education does not receive verification
from a study of these cases. The mother's place seems very often
to have been filled by some other person, frequently an aunt,
either because the mother had died, or because there were many
other children to care for. "The role of the aunt stands out
9. These great persons were, in the decided majority of cases,
derived from well-to-do families. Most of them were privately
educated, by tutors or in private schools. Very few were "self
TERMAN'S INFERENCES FROM BIOGRAPHY
Terman (20) has effected an interesting advance over Yoder's
method, in the interpretation of evidence from the biography of
adults.  By analyzing data in the biography of Francis Galton,
and by relating these data to modern knowledge of mental tests,
Terman derives that the IQ of Francis Galton in childhood must
have been not far from 200.
As Terman has elsewhere pointed out, these attempts to study genius
in childhood by inference from the biography of adults are very
unsatisfactory. In the first place, only those whose potentialities
have been realized are included in such study. Since factors other
than innate intellectual power act also as determinants of
eminence, we cannot be sure whether equal capacity for selective
thinking may have existed in persons who died before the age of
achievement, who were younger sons, who were girls, or who were the
children of the poor. Moreover, such evidence as can be gleaned
concerning those who have achieved eminence is comparatively
unsystematic and unreliable as regards childhood.
Most clearly related to our present study are the previously
reported observations of children made directly, during childhood,
by trained investigators. The modern development of mental tests
has now enabled psychologists to identify young children who
deviate from average in the direction of superiority as regards
selective thinking, and to follow their development for some
years. Eventually, therefore, it will be known how to recognize
those children who can become "great," and whether extreme
deviation in mental tests is a basis of prophecy.
1. BINET, A. _Psychologie des grandes calculateurs et joieurs
d'échecs. Hachette, Paris; 1894.
2. BRIMHALL, D. "Family Resemblances among American Men of
Science," American Naturalist, Vol. 56 (1922) and Vol. 57 (1923).
3. CASTLE, C. S. "Statistical Study of Eminent Women." Archives
of Psychology, Vol. IV, No. 27 (1913).
4. CATTELL, J. McK. "A Statistical Study of Eminent Men." Popular
Science Monthly (1903).
5. ——— "Families of American Men of Science." Popular Science
Monthly, Vol. 86, pages 504-515 (1915).
6. CLARK, E. L. American Men of Letters: Their Nature and
Nurture. Columbia University Press, New York; 1916.
7. COX, C. M. The Early Mental Traits of Three Hundred Geniuses.
Genetic Studies of Genius: Vol. 2. Stanford University Press,
Stanford University, California; 1926.
8. DAVIES, G. R. "A Statistical Study of the Influence of the
Environment." Quarterly Journal of the University of North
9. DE CANDOLLE, A. Histoire des Sciences et des Savants depuis
Deux Siècles. Geneva, Switzerland; 1873.
10. ELLIS, HAVELOCK. A Study of British Genius. Hirst and
Blackett, London; 1904.
11. GALTON, FRANCIS. English Men of Science. The Macmillan
Company, London; 1874.
12. ——— Hereditary Genius. The Macmillan Company, New York,
1914. (Original edition, London; 1869.)
13. LEHMAN, HARVEY C. "The Creative Years in Science and Literature."
Scientific Monthly, Vol. XLIII, pages 151-162 (1936).
14. LOMBROSO, C. The Man of Genius. Scott, London; 1895.
15. MIDDLETON, W. C. "The Propensity of Genius to Solitude."
Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, Vol. 30, pages
16. MITCHELL, F. D. "Mathematical Prodigies." American Journal of
Psychology, Vol. 18, pages 61-143 (1907).
17. ODIN, A. Genèse des Grands Hommes des Lettres Français
Modernes. Paris et Lausanne; 1895.
18. RASKIN, E. "Comparison of Scientific and Literary Ability:
A Biographical Study of Eminent Scientists and Men of Letters
of the Nineteenth Century." Journal of Abnormal and Social
Psychology, Vol. 31, pages 20-35 (1935).
19. SCHUSTER, E. "The Promise of Youth and the Performance of
Manhood." Eugenics Laboratory Memoirs, Vol. 3, pages 16 ff.
20. TERMAN, LEWIS M. "The IQ of Francis Galton in Childhood."
American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 28, pages 209-215 (1917).
21. VISHER, S. S. "A Study of the Type of Place of Birth and
of the Occupation of Father of Subjects of Sketches in Who's Who
in America." American Journal of Sociology, 1925.
22. ——— "The Comparative Rank of the American States." American
Journal of Sociology, Vol. 36, pages 735-757 (March, 1931).
23. WHITE, R. K. "Note on the Psycho-pathology of Genius." Journal
of Social Psychology, Vol. 1, pages 311-315 (1930).
24. ——— "The Versatility of Genius." Journal of Social
Psychology, Vol. 2, pages 460-489 (1931).
25. YODER, G. E. "A Study of the Boyhood of Great Men." Pedagogical
Seminary, Vol. 3, pages 134-156 (1894).
 EDITORIAL NOTE. No revision of this chapter has been found
among the author's papers. In the earlier manuscript reporting
but five cases, there was a brief section entitled "Inferences
from the Study of Adults," and in the incompletely revised
manuscript a list of references is given for this chapter which
had not yet been written. The earlier sections and the revised
bibliography are, therefore, all that is available for this
chapter. The bibliography will be sufficient to guide any reader
who may be further interested in the details of the scientific
study of adults.
 EDITORIAL NOTE. Had these pages been written at a later date,
or revised by the author, of course the more recent work of C. M.
Cox (7), inspired by Terman, would have been considered.
PUBLISHED REPORTS ON TESTED CHILDREN
Galton and those who built directly upon his pioneer thought about
ability were limited to the study of those who had passed the tests
of life itself, the study of the old and the dead, upon whom
developing theories and processes of education have no bearing.
Today one of the principal reasons for obtaining knowledge
concerning able persons is that they and others like them may be
properly educated for the social functions which they alone can
perform. Inferences from study of eminent adults are, therefore, of
negligible importance compared to the identification and education
of today's gifted children.
MODERN APPROACH TO THE STUDY OF ABILITY
In 1905 Binet and Simon (3), announcing their scale for the
measurement of intelligence in children, rendered it possible
to know at the beginning of a human being's existence where—within
narrow limits of error—he or she, in comparison with all others,
grades in caliber of general intelligence. This work, relating
itself to work done also by others—notably Spearman (21) and
Thorndike (28, 30)—created a new epoch in the study of ability
and inaugurated the so-called modern, or present-day, approach
to the subject.
No extended discussion of what "general intelligence" is will be
undertaken in these pages, as it would not be germane to the
purposes of this monograph. It will be sufficient to refer to the
concept which Binet had in mind in standardizing his scale (4): "It
seems to us that there is a fundamental faculty, the alteration or
the lack of which is of the utmost importance for practical life."
It is this "fundamental faculty" which Binet named "judgment" that
is the variable upon which rests the extreme position of the
children who are to be studied herein.
The quantitative methods which make possible the study of the
status of these children when they have reached adulthood are those
developed in recent years by Thorndike (30) and his students. As
the children identified years ago by Binet's method grew to
adulthood, there were developed in the various laboratories of
Columbia University methods of measuring the intelligence of
superior adults, based on the fundamental principles which are the
same for mental measurement at all periods of development. Methods
have thus been made available for making quantitative statements
of the status of these individuals both during development and
THE RANGE OF INTELLECT ABOVE 180 IQ
It is pertinent to inquire what are the limits of variation
in terms of standard use in respect to human intelligence. How
far superior to the average person are the most highly intelligent
individuals currently produced? Galton's (9) X grade of man was
defined in terms of incidence as "one in a million." But this X
man was not a product of one variable. Galton's X man resulted from
an intellect in combination with "zeal and power of working." The
incidence of this combination of traits would probably be less
than the incidence of intellect alone in degree sufficient for X.
Our purpose in this chapter will be to consider investigations,
made by direct methods, of the origin and development of children
of a type extremely rare in occurrence, incidence being based on
one variable only; i.e., intelligence measured in terms of IQ
(S-B). For this purpose the line might be drawn at any point
farther than +7 PE or +8 PE from the mean. A choice of 180 IQ
(S-B) as a minimum insures a degree of plus deviation very rarely
found even in
metropolitan cities and their suburbs, as is clear from the
reports of mental surveys conducted during the present century.
The choice of 180 IQ (S-B), instead of 179 or 181 or some other
amount of IQ in the extreme upper range, is obviously arbitrary
and is adopted merely for the purpose of defining a point at and
above which there are very few children who score.
Frequency of occurrence. Just how often does a child testing
above 180 IQ (S-B) appear in the juvenile population of the United
States? We cannot tell exactly until we know more about the spread
of the distribution of IQ (S-B). In terms of PE (1 PE = ±8 IQ),
according to Terman's original findings (24) we should come upon
a deviate of +10 PE only once in more than a million times,
provided the distribution of IQ corresponds exactly or even
rather closely to Quetelet's (17) curve of probability as respects
spread; for on this curve cases above or below ±5 PE approach
zero in frequency.
It is certain, however, even from existing data, that the
distribution of IQ extends for at least ±10 PE (even assuming that
wider data will define 1 PE as ±10 instead of ±8 as found by
Terman. It is probable that children who test above 180 IQ are
actually present in our juvenile population in greater frequency
than at the rate of one in a million. This does not mean that
intellect when finally measured in true units may not conform
in variability to the mathematics of chance; it means only in
terms of IQ (in terms of ratio and not of absolute units) the
conformity is probably not exact, as respects the law of deviation.
There may be one, or two, or three, or more children among every
million born in the United States under present conditions who
test at or above 180 IQ (S-B). In any case, however, they are
extremely rare, and the study of their origin and development is
of correspondingly great interest. In the course of discovering
about 1000 children testing at or above 140 IQ (S-B) in the state
of California, Terman (26) found 15 who tested at or above 180
IQ (S-B). Children who test at and above 140 IQ (S-B) are as 1 in
250 of children in large California cities and environs. Thus 140
IQ (S-B) defines a frequency of about 4 in 1000 of urban juvenile
population in California. About 1.5 per cent, therefore, of those
children who are as 4 in 1000 reach the status of which we are
here treating; i.e., 180 IQ (S-B).  Nor can we take the children
of California urban districts as a true sample of the population
of the United States at large, since there is reason to believe
that among urban children there is an uncommon proportion of
intelligent individuals (8). Also it should be conceded that
California has a total population that is above the average of
the United States in general as regards mental ability (37). In
any case, it may be guessed with some degree of approximation
to fact how very few there are among American children who test
at or above 180 IQ (S-B).
CHILDREN OBSERVED BEFORE THE ERA OF BINET
Scattered observations of children estimated by more or less
competent persons as very unusual are to be found dating from
quite early years. In this period the literature of child psychology
was still in the state of narrative. The earliest of these
narrations bears the date of 1726 (1) and concerns the child
Christian Heinrich Heineken. Born February 6, 1721, the "Little
Heineken," of Lübeck, was the son of an artist. When the child was
10 months old, his elders first noticed that he was looking with
sustained attention at the figures wrought in gold on a grotesque
that decorated the walls of his room and that were also on a white
stove that stood therein.
Den 3 Dezember 1721 bemerkte man zuerst, dass das kind diese
Figuren hin und her, eine Zeitlang ohne Unterlass ansah und seine
Äugelchen auf eine derselben gleichsam anklebte. Man sagte ihm
daher die Namen dieser Figuren, das sei eine Katze, das ein
Turm, ein Schäfchen, ein Berg. Den andern Tag, den 4 Dezember,
fragte man es wieder, wo die Katze, der Berg, das Schäfchen wäre
und siehe da, das Kind deutete mit seinen kleinen Fingerchen
hin und traf immer das rechte Bild, das man ihm genannt hatte.
Noch mehr, nun gab es sich Mühe, die ihm vorgesagten Wörter:
Katze, Berg, Turm selbst nachzusprechen: es sah daher mit
unverwandten Blicken dem Redendend nach dem Munde, gab auf
die Bewegung der Lippen und der Zunge desselben beständig acht,
lallte das Wort nach und wiederholte dies so oft, bis es
endlich eine Silbe nach der andern herauspresste. [a]
By the time this child was 14 months old he had learned all the
stories in the New Testament. At this age he was still not weaned
from the breast of his nurse, and had an antipathy to other foods.
In order to get him accustomed to other forms of food, the family
took him to sit with them at meals, but instead of eating "he did
nothing but learn." When he saw the various appurtenances he asked
persistently how the dishes were named, where they came from, what
else could be made from the things, and did not rest until he
had discussed every piece of information.
In this mode of life the child remained always happy and in good
humor. He was lovable. Only when at times he was refused answers
to his questions, because it was feared that he might be injured
by too many remembrances, the child was "sorely grieved." The
extent of his learning in the fourth year of life was as follows:
Es konnte gedruckte und geschriebene Sachen lateinisch und
Schreiben konnte es noch nicht, seine Fingerchen waren zu
Das Einmaleins konnte es in und ausser der Ordnung hersagen.
Auch numerieren, subtrahieren, addieren und multiplizieren
In Französischen kam es soweit, dass es ganze Historien in
dieser Sprache erzählen konnte.
In Latein lernte es über 1500 gute Sprüche aus lateinischen
Plattdeutsch hatte das Kind von seiner Amme, von der es nicht
lassen wollte, gelernt.
In der Geographie fuhr es fort, das Merkwürdigste eines jeden
auf der Landkarte steheneden Ortes zu fassen. [b]
On a journey across the sea to Copenhagen, undertaken for the boy's
health, a storm arose and the passengers were badly frightened,
all but the child, who said, smiling "Qui nescit orare, discate
navigare." When subsequently the ship came safely to anchor, he
remarked, "Anchora navis sistitur; deserit ille suos nunquam, qui
When the boy was brought before the Danish king, he said of the
diamond order that the king gave him to hold, "C'est l'Ordre
d'Elephant, garni de diamant." And gazing at the diamonds, he
added, "Les bijoux sont precieux, mais la vie du Roi est plus
The "little Heineken" died at the age of 4 years 4 months, in
accordance with the popular superstition that early death awaits
the highly intelligent child, "a wonder for all time."
Karl Witte. The father of Karl Witte (35) has furnished a
somewhat elaborate account of his son's development, from which
we learn that the young Karl could read fluently before his fourth
birthday. He learned to write soon thereafter. At the age of
7 years 10 months a public demonstration of his ability to read
was given, covering Italian, French, Greek, and Latin. He passed
tests of preparedness to matriculate at the University of Leipsic
[Leipzig] when he was 9 years old. In the field of mathematics
he pursued analytical geometry at 11 and calculus at 12 years
of age. At 14 he achieved the degree of Doctor of Philosophy,
and was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws at 16. At 23 he
became full professor of jurisprudence at the University of
Breslau. He was then called to Halle, and continued there for
the remainder of his life, teaching and writing. At the age of 83,
still vigorously engaged in mental tasks, he died, thus outliving
the melancholy promise of early death which had often been
prophesied to his father.
Pastor Witte, who directed his son's education, did not claim for
him extraordinary intelligence. "Any man normally well endowed
can become a great man if properly educated," he wrote (35). His
special method of educating the boy seems to have been simply to
afford him companionship. He describes the child as strong,
healthy, and playful, without vanity or conceit. From the total
record one must conclude that Karl Witte's intelligence quotient
in childhood was in excess of 180, comparing his history with
those studied in this monograph. His performances in childhood
compare favorably with those of the children we have known with
IQ (S-B) in the range above 185.
Otto Pöhler. IN 1910 Berkhan (2) recorded the performance of Otto
Pöhler, "the early reading child of Braunschweig," the son of a
master butcher (erstes und einziges Kind der Sclachtermeisters),
born August 20, 1892. This child learned to walk and talk and his
teeth erupted "at the right time." At the age of 1 year 3 months,
when his grandmother led him forth on short neighborhood walks,
she would read to him from signs on the streets. And at this
period she wrote for him his name, "Otto." Soon he could recognize
the word "Otto," when he saw it in the newspaper. Then the
grandmother explained to him the alphabet, and read him single
words. When Otto was taken to Dr. Berkhan, he was 1 year 9 months
old, and he could read incidental matter, such as "April 27,"
written in Latin across the calendar in Dr. Berkhan's office.
Otto Pöhler, geborn den 20 August 1892 zu Braunschweig,
erstes und einziges Kind des Schlachtermeisters, bekam zu
rechter zeit Zähne und lernte zu rechter Zeit laufen und
sprechen. Als er 5/4 Jahre alt war, führte ihn die Grossmutter
vor die Tür und in die nächsten Strassen und nannte ihm dabei
die Namen, welche auf den Haus- und Strassenschildern standen,
auch hatten ihm Angehörigen mehrfach seinen Vornamen Otto
aufgeschrieben. Als das Kind nun eine Zeitung in die Hände
bekam, zeigte es den mehrfach in derselben gedruckten Namen
Otto. Von da ab erklärte ihm die Grossmutter die Buchstaben
und las ihm einzelne Worte vor; dabei ergab sich, dass das
Kind ein ungeheures Gedächtnis für Buchstaben, Worte, und
Als mir der kleine Otto zugeführt wurde, war er wie ich
vorhin anführte 1 3/4 Jahre alt. Er tat sehr vertraut, kletterte
sofort mehrfach auf meine Kniee, zeigte sich überhaupt sehr
beweglich und unruhig. Als er einen neben dem Schreibtisch
hängenden Wandkalender erblickte, las er unaufgefordert laut
die auf demselben lateinisch gross gedruckte Anzeige: April 27
= "April zwei sieben. . . ."
Im Oktober, 1894, stellte ich den jungen Otto im Alter von
2 Jahren und 2 Monaten dem ärztlichen Landesverein vor. Als
derselbe nach Beendigung meines über ihn gehaltenen Vortrags
in den Sitzungssaal geführt wurde, zog einer der Ärzte den
Börnerschen Medizinal-Kalender hervor mit der Aufforderung,
die lateinische Aufschrift zu lesen. Er las fliessend: "Re—ichs
Medizinal-Kalender. Begründet von Dĕr Pa—ul Börnēr. Eins acht
neun vier." [c]
When Otto was 4 years old, Stumpf reported concerning him in the
Vossiche Zeitung, of January 10, 1897, describing him as "not
strongly yet not poorly developed, physically." The back of the
skull was said to be conspicuous; the face, delicate; and the eyes,
"wise and alive, taking on a remarkably concentrated expression
in thinking." The general impression was that made by a merry,
unspoiled youngster, seeing the world. His great passion was still
for reading, and the most important things in the world to him were
history, biography, and geography.
Er ist körperlich nicht stark, aber auch nicht schlecht
entwickelt. Auf den ersten Blick fällt der lange Schädel und der
starke Hinterkopf auf. In dem zierlichen Gesicht fesseln kluge,
lebhafte Augen, die beim Nachsinnen einen merkwürdig ernsten
konzentrierten Ausdruck annehmen. . . . Im ganzen macht er
keineswegs den Eindruck eines ungesunden, abgematteten, sondern
eines noch ganz frisch und lustig in die Welt schauenden
Jungen. . . .
Seine grösste Leidenschaft ist noch immer das Lesen, und
das Wichtigste in der Welt sind ihm historische, biographische
und geographische Daten. Er kennt die Geburts- und Todesjahre
vieler deutscher Kaiser, auch vieler Feldherren, Dichter,
Philosophen, zumeist sogar auch Geburtstag und Geburtsort;
ferner die Hauptstädte der meisten Staaten, die Flüsse, an
denen sie liegen u. dergl. Er weiss Bescheid vom Anfang und
Ende des dreissigjährigen und des siebenjährigen Krieges, von
den Hauptschlachten dieser und anderer Kriege. Das alles hat
er sich nach Aussage der Mutter ohne fremdes Zutun durch das
emsige Studium eines "patriotischen Kalenders" und ähnlicher im
Hause vorfindlicher Literatur, auch durch Entzifferung von
Denkmalsinschriften in den Städten (wofür er besondere
Leidenschaft hat) angeeignet. Als ihm auf zwei verschiedenen
Blättern nacheinander 2 zwölfstellige Zahlen gezeigt wurden,
die sich nur durch eine der mittleren Ziffern unterschieden,
las er sie sogleich als Milliarden und konnte dann, ohne die
Blätter wieder anzusehen, mit Sicherheit angeben, worin der
Unterschied lag. [d]
Stumpf further said:
. . . Dr. Placzek u.a. die den Knaben früher beobachteten,
den bestimmten Eindruck gewannen eines besonders geweckten,
rasch und scharf denkenden und zugleich eines gutartigen,
durchaus liebenswürdigen Kindes. An den Eltern und zumal
an der Mutter hängt er mit der grössten Zärtlichkeit. [e]
When Berkhan saw Pöhler in July, 1907, the boy was an Obersekundaner
in a gymnasium [f]. In April, 1909, aged 16 years 8 months, he
appeared as an intelligent, wonderfully retentive, cultured young
man, who oriented himself easily and who, although favored over
and above his contemporaries, had kept a modest and lovable nature.
Jetzt, fast 17 Jahre alt, ist er ein intelligenter, mit einem
bewunderungswerten Gedächtnis ausgestatteter, kenntnisreicher,
sich auffallend leicht orientierender junger Mann, der, obgleich
in seiner Weise vor der Mitwelt bevorzugt, sich ein bescheidenes,
liebenswürdiges Wesen bewahrt hat. [g]
Pöhler's plan, when seen on this final occasion, April, 1909,
was to go at Easter, 1910, to the university, to become a student
of German history.
Other cases. General discussions of mental gifts in children
which bear interestingly upon the subject here under discussion
but fail to present any specific instances of individuals who
exemplify extreme status, are those by Dolbear (7) and by Hartlaub
(12), and the lectures given in 1930 before the Hungarian Society
for Child Research and Practical Psychology (31). Among the cases
cited by Waddle (33) there are none that belong to our study. In
the research of Cox (6), the following eminent persons were rated
as having been in childhood at or above 180 IQ (S-B): John Stuart
Mill, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Blaise
Pascal, Thomas Babington Macauly, and Hugo de Groot (Grotius). We
would, however, venture to guess, from what we have observed over
a long period of the work of persons who in childhood tested from
135 to 200 IQ (S-B), that a large number of the persons included
in Cox's study would have tested in childhood at or above 180 IQ
(S-B); and that the reasons why they failed of such rating as
studied by Cox were two: (1) the data of childhood requisite for
the valid rating were lacking; (2) the raters were not sufficiently
familiar with what is required in terms of IQ to make possible the
evaluation of those studies, because only a few children testing
so high could have been seen by any rater, and nothing was as yet
known of the performance of tested children at any stage of maturity.
Many of the persons studied by the methods of Cox were rated at
140, 150, 155 IQ (S-B), whose performances in early maturity were
far in excess of what can be expected of persons who represent
nothing better than what the upper quarter of American college
students can do (6). It is only when children test at least as
high as 170 IQ (S-B) that they render performance in early maturity
that suggests anything like the achievements of the persons studied
CHILDREN WHO TEST ABOVE 180 IQ BY BINET-SIMON TESTS
After the publication of the Binet-Simon tests (3), a few cases
of children testing very high by means of them were reported
in the literature which resulted from the tests before they
were revised by Terman (24). At that time, which was previous
to the appearance of the Stanford-Binet tests, the IQ was not used
in expressing mental status, but we are able to calculate what
this was from the data of Mental Age. These early cases, definitely
measured, are as follows:
Bush's daughter, B. In 1914 Bush (5) reported upon the mental
examination of his daughter, B, who at the age of 3 years 6 months
tested at 6 years by the Binet tests of 1911. Her IQ would thus
be proved at about 185, calculated from her father's detailed
record of responses. This report was rendered primarily to show
that the Binet tests were too easy, as no child could possibly
be really so advanced mentally as was B. "B's state is in no wise
extra-normal, or beyond what it should be. She represents the norm."
Additional data concerning B are that she "is of a happy disposition
. . . strong and well of body," and that her parents are both
teachers. This record clearly reveals a child of surpassing
intelligence, contrary to the father's belief that "she represents
Elizabeth, recorded by Langenbeck. In 1915 Langenbeck (15)
contributed observations of a 5-year-old girl, Elizabeth, who
tested at a mental level of about 11 years by the Binet-Simon
tests of 1911, administered in the Psychological Laboratory at
John Hopkins University. This would yield an IQ of about 220
(assuming the tests of 1911 to be approximately comparable with
Stanford-Binet in power to distribute intellect).
Elizabeth is described as an only child. At 16 months she had a
speaking vocabulary of 229 words, some English and some German,
as she had a German nurse. At 5 years of age she had a speaking
vocabulary of 6837 words, which are inscribed in the record. The
observer writes of her as follows:
Her quickness of thought and readiness with an instant and
convincing answer were typified one dusty, blustering day
when we were out walking. A cloud of dust enveloped us, to
her great indignation, and being a very vehement character she
exclaimed, "I should like to kill the dust!" In answer to
my reproof, "Do not be so foolish. How can anyone kill the
dust?" she replied, "Very easily—pour a little water on it."
This was at the age of 4 years. . . . She is highly imaginative,
and lives largely in a dream world of her own creation.
Her games are nearly all pretense that she is someone else,
and that she is surrounded by companions, sometimes purely
fictitious, though often characters out of books that have been
read to her. . . . When being read to, she asks the meaning
of every unfamiliar word, and rarely forgets it, using it
thereafter in its proper place. . . . Many of her forebears
have been distinguished men and women, and on both sides her
family have been people of more than average capacity and
cultivation. . . . From an early age she has shown unusual
muscular coördination, using her fingers daintily and with
precision. From her eighth month she used a paper and pencil,
drawing recognizable figures. At 4 years she could illustrate
a little story composed by herself. . . . The source of much
of her knowledge is a mystery to her parents, and can only be
explained by her keen observation and retentive memory, as
well as by a power of comprehension much beyond her years.
However absorbed she may appear to be in her play, talking
vigorously to herself and to imaginary companions all the time,
she nevertheless hears everything that is said in her presence,
though months will often pass before she alludes to it. . . .
She taught herself her letters from street signs and books,
and could print them all before she was three, and during
the next few months would write letters of several pages,
of her own composition, having the words, of course, spelled for
her. . . . She has an accurate ear and could sing a tune
correctly before her second birthday, and dances in excellent
time. . . . Every new thought or impression is at once associated
with some previous idea. Hence, doubtless, her marvelous memory.
For example, in a country walk she noticed a typical Virginia
snake fence, having never seen one before. After a single
moment's hesitation she said, "You see that M or W fence?" . . .
At the age of five years she had coined twenty-three words—
e.g., laten, to make late; neaten, to make neat; plak,
to pretend; up-jar, pitcher.
Rusk's case, from Scotland. In 1917 Rusk (19) published an
account of a Scottish boy whose IQ, calculated from Rusk's detailed
record, was 166 on first test and about 200 on second test given
two and a half years later, the Binet-Simon tests of 1911 being
used. This child was the son of a widow in Dundee, who lived and
supported her two sons by letting rooms to lodgers. The young
brother of this boy was not judged to be remarkably intelligent,
but no test was given to substantiate this impression. Details
of family history are not recorded.
The boy was brought to attention at the age of 5 years by his
teachers, who noted particularly his aptitude for mathematics.
The mother was unaware of her son's extraordinary intelligence,
but she had noticed that he spent a considerable amount of time
on the floor, counting. He would count such objects as cigarette
coupons begged from lodgers. Also the mother observed that he
"had learned before going to school, or being taught to read, to
recognize certain words."
CHILDREN WHO TEST ABOVE 180 IQ BY STANFORD-BINET TESTS
Beatrice. Terman and Fenton (25) first described Beatrice in 1921
under her own name. In 1930 Terman (27) again described this child,
under the name of Beatrice (evidently being then convinced that
pseudonyms are to be preferred in designating children studied),
adding data about development.
The child's four grandparents were respectively of Swedish,
German-French, English, and Scottish descent. "The mother is
a woman of more than average intelligence, and of considerable
musical ability. The father's line of ancestry includes several
notables, among them a Lord Mayor of London. The father is
a physician, and the author of the Ford Stitch, favorably
mentioned in standard texts on surgery. Betty [Beatrice] has
no sisters or brothers."
Beatrice was born in San Francisco, January 21, 1912, and was first
tested six weeks before her eighth birthday, by Stanford-Binet,
yielding then a mental age of 14 years 10 months and an IQ of 188.
Her speaking vocabulary was at that time 13,000 words. A variety
of mental tests gave nearly the same composite result as that
achieved by Stanford-Binet. At the time of testing, the child
had never attended school but had been given a little private
instruction at home. Her scores on standard tests of scholastic
knowledge ranged, nevertheless, from fifth-grade norms (in the
four fundamental processes in arithmetic) to second year of college
(in tests of poetic appreciation). Her median score in eight
scholastic tests was about eighth grade (where the median birthday
age of pupils is about 14 years, and where pupils have been in
school on an average of eight years).
Ratings for traits of character and for physique gave this child
a score much above average in both respects. She weighed 11
pounds and 15 ounces at birth, and at the age of 8 years 2 months
corresponded to the standard for 9 years 6 months in weight
and for 10 years 6 months in stature. Her hand grip at this time
was equal to that of the average 10-year-old. She began to walk
at 7 months of age, which is the earliest age of walking recorded
for any of the children so far studied, including those who are
the special subjects of this monograph. At 19 months she talked
clearly and knew the alphabet; and at the age of 4 years 6 months
she was discovered reading Heidi, a book of about fourth-grade
degree of difficulty. Her parents did not know that she could
read, and they have no idea when or how she learned. By her eighth
birthday Beatrice had read approximately seven hundred books, many
of them twice. At that age it was one of her favorite pastimes
to write stories or poems and to illustrate them with original
drawings. Her health was said by her parents to be excellent. The
measurements given show her to be large and strong for her age.
Beatrice was not entered at school until she was 11 years old, but
studied at home under her mother's guidance. There was little
formal instruction—as a rule there was arithmetic, from ten
to twenty minutes daily. At 11 years of age Beatrice entered
the ninth grade of a private school for girls, which she attended
for two years. She entered the university when she was 14 years
8 months old, and graduated at 17. In college Beatrice earned
A and B grades in English and languages and C's in science. She
fell barely short of Phi Beta Kappa Election. Throughout her life
she has had few playmates and few intimate friends. Her desire
is for a literary career.
Root's case, VIII A. In 1921 Root (18) described a boy who at
the age of 8 years 0 months scored at a Mental Age of 16 years
0 months, with an IQ (S-B) of 200. Other tests agreed in placing
this boy near an average adult level in processes of thought. The
stature of the child at this time was 4 feet, and the weight 59
The ancestry in the case is predominantly English. Father and
mother both graduated from high school. The father was a railroad
engineer. Two maternal aunts held prominent places in the public
schools. The family had "all comforts but few luxuries." "The aunt
who has guided the [[boy's]] education seems a rare combination;
her educational ideas are a happy union of radical, common sense,
and practical factors." "Nervous temperament" is judged by Root
to be characteristic of the family on the mother's side.
This boy was an only child. His mother stated that he had never been
ill, but it is to be considered that she was a Christian Scientist.
He was educated at home until he was 7 years 6 months old, learning
reading and arithmetical processes through multiplication. He had
read the Young Folks' Cyclopaedia of Common Things "over and
over." His chief interests were at this time games and reading and,
to a lesser degree, animals and flowers.
The following is a letter from his aunt, describing his home
At the age of three he learned his letters untaught by anyone
apparently, and was spelling words. It was felt that this
would interfere with his learning to read later on, so he was
taught to read by the phonic method. This was done with no
more time and personal attention than any first-grade teacher,
with ordinary numbers of pupils, could give to each one,
provided she were generously supplied with different books, and
not limited to one or two sets—state series or otherwise. A
few months after his fourth birthday he was reading with
independence and an almost perfect power to recognize new
words. His only noticed failures were such foreign words as
"Chevrolet" seen on billboards, and unusual words like "aisle,"
used without context, which he pronounced "alicie." His ease
in reading was, of course, made possible, or at least greatly
facilitated, by the fact that an effort had always been made to
use an extended vocabulary in talking to him. Even at two,
he would surprise acquaintances and strangers with expressions
which meant no greater effort to him than a child's baby-talk;
such as, "Oh, the spider has attached his web to the board."
This ability to read opened a new world, for he read car-signs,
billboards, newspapers, magazines, and books. His books and
magazines were carefully selected. His access to newspapers,
especially the funny sheets, had the most questionable results.
But The Child's Garden of Verses and others proved a veritable
dream world—as real as the everyday one. He once asked his
mother, "Does Robert Louis Stevenson know when I'm naughty?"
At another time he wrote a letter to some of the characters
in another book. At the age of six he read Swiss Family
Robinson and Champlin's Cyclopedia of Common Things—the two
books which have been and still are his favorites. Other books
which he read before entering school at seven years were:
Overall Boys, Brownie Book, Kipling's Just-So Stories
(read over and over for two or three years), Swift's Gulliver's
Travels, Kingsley's Heroes, Aesop's Fables, Tolstoy's
Stories for Children, Grimm's Fairy Tales, Arabian Nights,
Barrie's Peter Pan and Peter and Wendy.
He entered school at seven and a half years and was put in the
B1 (beginner's) class. In the two days he was kept there, he
developed a distinct aversion to school since nobody discovered
he could do anything and the class confinement and need for
sitting still (coupled with the fact that he did not find the
toilet for over a week) made school most disagreeable to him.
On the third day a member of the family intervened and the
teacher very reluctantly allowed him to enter the second grade.
She insisted that he could not do the work, as he did not know
his sounds. Of course he did "know his sounds," but perhaps he
refused to do such baby-work, although he never expressed his
unwillingness at home, and seemed quite afraid of displeasing
his teacher. In the second grade he was forced to sit for
20 to 25 minutes, studying a reading book, which he could have
read through in that time. At home he was told to take some work
to school, but the teacher refused to let him read in school,
even the Cyclopedia of Common Things. At the end of a week
and a half he was in absolute rebellion and was taken out
The family then took this child to a teacher of fourth grade,
who was personally acquainted with him, and asked her to examine
him for proper placement. This resulted in a more appropriate
adjustment. By February of his first year in school he had reached
Grade 5A in school placement, and had had thirteen different
teachers, including those for special subjects such as music,
nature study, and the like. His initial aversion to school
lessened, but he found no positive joy in attending. Root describes
the temperament of the boy as "somewhat irascible." This case
illustrates in extreme degree the maladjustment to school which
is characteristic of children testing above 180 IQ (S-B).
Twins A and B. In 1922 Gesell (10) reported the case of twin
girls, both of IQ 183 (S-B). Gesell was interested but incidentally
in the IQ ratings of these girls, his main interest centering
in the condition of twinning. Measurements were taken with a view
to comparing twins, and therefore many details that would be
of interest for our present purpose—for instance, those of family
history—are omitted from the report.
A and B were born by Caesarean section, somewhat prematurely,
weighing 4.3 pounds and 5.3 pounds, respectively. Notwithstanding
their premature birth, in six months A was able to rise spontaneously
to a sitting posture in her mother's lap, and very soon thereafter
B did likewise. At 11 months both had begun to walk, and to talk
in sentences. At the age of 3 years they began the study of
French, and in less than a year from that time they were reading
elementary English, French, and Esperanto. At the age of 4 they
could distinguish parts of speech. They entered the third grade
in school at the age of 6 years, and at the time of report they
had achieved the seventh grade and were engaged in junior high
school work at the age of 9 years.
They are not prigs: they are attractive, animated, sociable
children, with a bubbling sense of humor. They are popular
with their playmates. They can take charge of a gymnasium
class in which most of the members are two to four years their
seniors, and preserve excellent attention and discipline. They
speak mature but not pedantic English, and they speak French
with the fluency of a native. They have read the Book of
Knowledge in its entirety in French; and a year ago embarked
on Russian. They play duets on the piano, but not with rare
distinction. They swim; they ride horseback; they write jingles;
and they read by the hour. Their school work does not tax them;
they do not worry about it; and they are far from fastidious
in regard to the form of their written work.
A complete family chart of the twin sisters, A and B, would
show evidence of superior endowment in the immediate ancestry
on both the maternal sides. Scientific and linguistic ability
of high order and physical energy are some of the traits which
are found in the two immediate generations. The trait of
twinning likewise has a hereditary basis in this instance, for
the mother also bore two boys, twins who died in infancy.
Measurements of physique show A and B to be slightly smaller
than children of their age in good private schools, but very
well nourished. The children have no living brothers or sisters.
Elizabeth, reported by Hirt. Elizabeth was reported from the
public schools of Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1922, by Hirt (13). She
was born January 16, 1914, and was tested June 14, 1921, aged 7
years 5 months. Her Mental Age was found to be 14 years, 0 months,
yielding an IQ of 189 (S-B).
Elizabeth's mother was a member of a large family of children
brought from Germany to America by their parents. The father
(Elizabeth's maternal grandfather) died soon after their arrival
in America, and the mother (Elizabeth's maternal grandmother)
worked hard to keep her family together and to give them all an
elementary school education. Elizabeth's father is of Pennsylvania
German descent. He has a high school education, and attended a
business college. His occupation in 1922 was that of a postal
This child weighed 10 pounds at birth, 22 pounds at 6 months,
28 1/2 pounds at 12 months, and at the age of 7 years 5 months
she weighed 61 pounds and was 51 inches tall. Superior size was
thus consistently maintained from birth to the time of first
report, in 1921. Two teeth erupted before she was 5 months old.
She was not quite a year old when she began to repeat words.
He first sentence was, "Open the door, Daddy," uttered at the age
of 17 months. The parents remembered this sentence as a sudden
transition from one-word communications into sentence structure.
The only illness Elizabeth had ever had until she was 7 years
4 months old was mumps, which came on at that age.
Hirt's report continues as follows:
Among Elizabeth's first toys was a set of cubical blocks with
letters and numbers on four sides. One of the baby's favorite
amusements was to hold up a block and point to one side after
the other for her entertainer to tell what was on the side of
the block indicated. Gradually the game changed, and the
baby held up the block and pointed to the picture called for by
the entertainer. At the age of 15 months she made no mistakes
in finding the animals called for, and very soon afterwards
she could find the letters in the same way.
One of her first books was The Story of the Naughty Piggies.
The child seemed never to tire of hearing the story read,
and by the time she was two and a half years old, when she
sat in the lap of the reader, she could turn the page at just
the right place in the story. About that time the two leaves
in the center of the book loosened and dropped out. The
German grandma made a mistake in sewing them in, putting
the second first. Elizabeth quickly discovered the mistake and
was very unhappy about it. She followed her grandmother
about, asking her to fix it. The grandmother could not understand
what the child meant, and finally appealed to the child's
mother, who discovered what was wrong. Elizabeth was not yet
three years old, and they could not believe that the child
detected the difference between these two pages of the book.
But after the grandmother ripped out the stitches and replaced
the leaves in their proper sequence, the little girl showed
unmistakable satisfaction and content.
At three and a half years of age, Elizabeth was spelling
everything she saw printed and asking what the letters spelled,
and she could recognize many words. At four years, she read
the advertisements in the streetcars, as well as everything in
all the books she possessed. During all this time there was no
attempt on the part of the parents to make their daughter
precocious. They were pleased with her readiness to learn,
but they did not look upon her as an unusual child.
In September, 1920, Elizabeth was enrolled in the first grade,
in the public schools of Erie, Pennsylvania. She was then
6 years, 8 months old. On her second day in school her teacher
discovered that should could read anything that was placed
before her. The principal put her in the second grade until
she had time to investigate her case. She spent forty-two days
in the second grade, during which time the principal observed
her closely, and decided to place her in the fourth grade.
Elizabeth had no trouble in completing that grade in the
remainder of the school year, the principal giving her some special
help in spelling and arithmetic. . . . Elizabeth is not a skillful
writer, as far as penmanship goes, but she seldom makes a mistake
in either spelling or punctuation, and the content of her
letters and compositions is superior, even for the advanced grade
in which she is now working. . . . Intellectually speaking,
this child takes everything to which she is exposed, and she is
not satisfied unless she understands the subject fully.
Unfamiliar words or terms bring from her the question, "Just
what does that mean?" She has a cheery disposition, and laughs
often and heartily. She is contented in any environment,
because her imagination makes it as she wishes it. . . .
When she is reading or studying, she becomes so engrossed that
it is hard to attract her attention to anything outside her
book. . . . She is slow in her written work, and she is slow and
rather awkward in some of her motor coördinations.
After less than a month in the fifth grade, in September, 1921
(age 7 years 8 months), Elizabeth was promoted to the sixth
grade, where she is doing superior work. In the examinations
at the end of the last semester she ranked about the middle
of the class, due to the fact that she is still slow in her
written work. But in comprehension she easily leads the class.
Thus far nothing has been done for this exceptional child
except to move her along from grade to grade five times as
rapidly as the average child can go. When we see her at times
very evidently bored while a teacher is trying to make a subject
clear to pupils of average ability, we wonder what would have
happened if Elizabeth were now in the second or third grade
where most eight-year-old children are found.
In 1925 Hirt again reported upon the child, Elizabeth, as follows:
By February, 1923, she had completed the work of the six
elementary grades, and she was promoted to the junior high
school. Now, at the end of her fifth year in school, she is
ready for the second semester's work in the ninth grade. . . .
After her promotion to the junior high school, some of her
teachers complained that she was lazy; others said that she was
very inattentive; and all declared that she was "very silly."
The school psychologist had a conference with these teachers,
and it was decided that Elizabeth should be given a heavier
schedule, and Latin was added to her program. She has been
enthusiastic over this subject from the very first. . . . During
the past year there has been a steady improvement in Elizabeth's
attitude toward her school work as well as in her behavior
in general. Though some of her teachers still consider her
"silly," they all recognize her unusual mental ability. While
they give her B and C grades in most of her subjects, they
realize that she could easily do A work in every subject if she
cared to. They say that she wastes much time, though her mind
seems always to be busy. Her mother says that when she is at
home "she writes, and writes, and writes, covering reams
of paper." Elizabeth has told her mother that she is writing
a book and a play.
In the spring of 1925, when a friend asked Elizabeth where
she was going to spend her summer vacation, the child replied,
"Why, I expect to take a trip around the world." Then seeing
the surprise in her friend's face, she explained, "Of course,
it is not probable that I shall go far from our porch swing, but
I find the swing a very satisfactory conveyance; it is perfectly
safe, and it always takes me exactly where I want to go."
When Elizabeth entered the tenth grade, in senior high school,
in 1926, she was 12 years 8 months old. Her social behavior was
at about the level for this age, and her teachers were coldly
critical, unable or unwilling to reconcile her conduct with
her physical size and intellectual maturity. She made very few
friends. She was graduated from high school in June, 1929, with
the reputation of being lazy. She excelled in the languages, but
her work in other subjects was mediocre.
After she was graduated from high school, funds were not available
for Elizabeth to attend college away from home or to pay tuition.
Consequently, because she must live at home she enrolled in a State
Teachers College, though she had no desire to become a teacher.
She was 15 years 8 months old at this time, and her work was very
uneven in excellence. When the time arrived for practice teaching,
she was assigned to teach high school pupils of about her own
age, and failed in this branch of the work, so that she was not
graduated. She received, however, an honorable discharge from the
college. During these years, 1929-1933, her situation was further
complicated by the passing of a state law prohibiting students
below 17 years of age from attending the State Teachers College.
As Elizabeth was then still below the age specified in the new
law, she was forced to withdraw and wait for time to pass, resuming
her studies as soon as she fell within the law.
When Elizabeth was discharged from the Teachers College, interested
friends made attempts to secure for her a subsistence and tuition
scholarship at some good liberal arts college, but no such
opportunities were found. One college otherwise interested in
granting a tuition scholarship now found her "too old," she being
then aged 19 years.
The scholastic history of Elizabeth is too long to be told here
in greater detail. It affords an instructive and tragic example
of the blindness of current educational practice in dealing with
children who test in the highest ranges of intellect. At 22 years
of age Elizabeth lives at home, without suitable occupation,
writing poetry and helping with the tasks of the household. Her
education as conducted has not provided her with any recognized
equipment for enter for entering into the intellectual life of
her world, although she possesses one of the best intellects
of her generation.
The case of J. M. The history of J. M., a 10-year-old girl
of IQ 190 (S-B), was presented by Washburne (34) in 1924. This
girl was a pupil in the public schools of Winnetka, Illinois,
where the plan of individualized instruction is followed, with
individual subject promotions.
At the age of 10 years 6 months, J. M. was 54.5 inches tall and
weighed 88.5 pounds. This is decidedly in excess of the standards
for average children, as regards size. She was doing work of good
quality in the eighth grade, and could have been in high school
had not the school authorities checked her progress in the seventh
grade by giving her a large amount of extra work to do. Her school
record shows that she entered the public schools of Chicago in the
first grade, in September, 1919. The teacher of first grade
immediately discovered that she knew too much for that grade and
brought about her placement in the second grade. There she remained
until the following April, when her family moved to Winnetka.
In Winnetka, J. M. entered the second grade and was promoted
in June. Her reading, tested by the Monroe and Gray tests, was
up to fifth-grade standard when she reached third grade, and had
reached the sixth-grade standard by December, 1920. Her progress
in other school subjects was such that in September, 1921, she
entered the fifth grade. Her rapid progress was halted somewhat,
as she "was carrying a double language course, finishing the fourth
grade and beginning fifth-grade work simultaneously." When in
May, 1922, she began the sixth-grade work, she completed it
in two weeks. "June, 1922, found her, therefore, doing advanced
sixth-grade reading, through with sixth grade spelling, almost
through with sixth-grade arithmetic, and promoted to the seventh
grade in language. She was then nine years old." In the course
of this progress, the grade standard in penmanship was last to be
achieved. The perplexities which now arose in connection with this
child's education are set forth as follows, by Washburne:
In spite of the fact that she was so clearly ready for
seventh-grade work in the fall of 1922, we hesitated about
having her come from the lower grade school to our junior
high school. She was smaller and younger than any of the
children in the junior high, and we felt that she was already so
far advanced that still more progress was perhaps undesirable.
But she had formed a warm attachment for two girls a year or
so older than herself, both possessed of high IQ's, and she
felt that there would be nothing for her to do in the sixth
grade if we held her back. This was so obviously true that
we admitted her to the junior high school with an agreement
that she would remain there until she was twelve years old.
We felt that while she doubtless could do the work of the
junior high school within a year, or at the most in a year and
a half, since our junior high contains only the seventh and
eighth grades, she ought not to go to the senior high school too
young. We agreed to give her a widely enriched curriculum
of electives and special courses, to keep her active and happy
for three years. But it didn't work!
When she found that no effort on her part would get her through
any sooner, she stopped making effort. The end of the first year
(June, 1923) found her with seventh-grade cooking, seventh-grade
art, and seventh-grade pottery, all incomplete. She had taken up
general science toward the end of the year, and of course had
not finished it either. She had, on the other hand, completed
all of the seventh-grade English and arithmetic, including some
advanced work; had done exceptionally well in French. In
dramatics she first had a know-it-all attitude, owing to her
mother's success in amateur theatricals, but later did very good
work. In social studies she had been inclined to superficiality,
trusting to her quick grasp on a single reading of the material
(Rugg's Social Science Pamphlets) and doing little real
thinking. But she was interested, and finished the course
within the year.
The general feeling of the teachers, and of J. M. herself
. . . was that she had "loafed on the job" a good deal, had
been over-confident, and had "let down" generally when the
stimulus of rapid advancement was taken away. This gives
us some inkling as to what would have happened to her in a
regular school system, where the class lockstep is the rule.
This year J. M. is taking a straight eighth-grade course with
one elective, and is tying up the loose ends left undone at the
end of last year.
. . . The child's strong desire to move forward with the
children who are now her friends, and the undesirable effect
on her of our last year's experiment in holding her back
regardless of her effort or ability to go forward, have resulted
in our decision to let her graduate this coming June.
Her parents, however, have requested that we keep her in
our junior high school for a postgraduate year, because they
feel that the influence of this school is needed by J. M. We
shall, therefore, try to provide a special course for her next
fall. If we found out that it does not work out successfully, we
will enter her in the senior high school in February, 1925. If,
on the other hand, we find that we can give her the sort of
education that will be helpful to her in our junior high school
and that she responds rightly, we shall hold her here until
June, letting her enter the senior high school at the age of
twelve and one half years.
Interpreting and summarizing our experience with J. M.: Our
system of individual instruction has permitted her to make
full use of her intellectual ability. When we tried to depart
from it to prevent her progress from becoming too rapid, she
showed a lack of interest and in some parts of her school work
she did not work up to capacity, and even became to a slight
extent a discipline problem. Given, however, an incentive to
first-class work and the training in social behavior which we
are trying to give in our junior high school, J. M. developed
successfully and well. On the whole, our system has enabled
us to deal with her flexibly and as an individual. It has
prevented us from prolonging our mistakes. Probably no system,
or uniform plan, can be made to fit children of such exceptional
mental endowments. The most we can hope for is a flexibility
which will enable us to deal with such children as individuals,
feeling our way as we go along.
As for family background, J. M. originates from ancestors of very
superior intelligence. Her parents were both tested by means of
Army Alpha and both scored far above the generality of adults.
Her father was educated as an electrical engineer but subsequently
went into investment banking. J. M.'s paternal grandfather
was an architect, trained in Manchester School of Science.
He also attended the University of Edinburgh. The paternal
great-grandfather was an architect and shipbuilder, expert in
laying out factories, and he was descended from a line of builders.
The paternal grandmother was an English woman, educated by her
aunt, "who had advanced ideas on what a girl should study."
The father of this grandmother was a dealer in building materials.
On the maternal side, J. M.'s grandfather was first a teacher,
then a merchant, who became very wealthy, and a mayor of a Southern
town for eighteen years. The line of his descent was through
Southern planters. The maternal grandmother was the daughter
of a college professor, who in turn was the son of a physician
and surgeon, coming from a long line of physicians. The mother
of the maternal grandmother was descended from wealthy farmers.
It is of some interest that for three generations at least,
J. M. and her immediate progenitors were born when the parents
were thirty years or older, in some cases being more than sixty
The case of E. B. This child was described in 1924, by Stedman
(22), as having "the highest IQ yet reported." Exception was
taken some years ago by the present writer to this description,
on the ground that the test by which E. B. registered an IQ of 214
was not first given to the child. She had been tested previously
by Stanford-Binet, at the age of 5 years 9 months, earning an IQ
of 175. When tested in the Psychological Department of the Los
Angeles city schools at the age of 8 years 11 months, E. B. made
the record of a superior adult, earning an IQ of 214 (S-B). The
record is thus ambiguous, and will be included here only because
we cannot say how much allowance should be made for "test wisdom"
on second test. However, subsequent history points to 175 IQ as
the more probably correct status for this child, since when she was
tested at the age of 21 years 1 month, by Lorge and Hollingworth
(16), using CAVD, Levels M, N, O, P, and Q, and other tests of
cultural and specifically scientific knowledge, the result placed
her among individuals who in childhood had tested between 170 and
180 IQ (S-B).
E. B. was born on September 21, 1913. When 4 years 6 months old
she was placed in a convent school on account of her mother's
departure for France. She was not enrolled as a pupil but was
allowed to sit with the high first grade when she wished, because
her chum sat there. In four months, at the close of the school
year, it was discovered that she could read any page in the reader
which had been used as a text, and any page in the public school
first reader, which she had never seen before. Accordingly, though
not yet 5 years old, she was "promoted" to the second grade.
At the close of the next school year she was promoted to the
fourth grade, aged 5 years 9 months. Before E.B. was 6 years
old she had read practically every book listed by the public
library at Des Moines for children of the first six grades. At
the age of 9 years 4 months she was doing eighth-grade and
post-eighth grade work. Her favorite books at the age of 9
years include Barrie's The Little Minister, Sentimental
Tommy and Tommy and Grizel; Hugo's Les Misérables;
Dickens's Oliver Twist, Our Mutual Friend, and David
Copperfield; Eliot's Silas Marner and Mill on the Floss;
Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress; Hutchinson's If Winter Comes
and This Freedom. . . . Until she entered the opportunity
room, E. B. never had a child companion, and was unpopular with
children. She was friendly but shy, and was unable to comply
with the play standards of other children. In the opportunity
room she made better social adjustments. She is cheerful,
affectionate, and considerate to the point of self-denial.
She obeys implicitly, but is forgetful in the commission of
small duties, perhaps because engrossed with more interesting
matters. She thinks along economic and political lines, and
can hold her own even with many adults in conversing on these
subjects. . . . Health is excellent. She has had the usual
children's diseases, but has recuperated very quickly. . . .
E. B. is of French, English, and Scotch descent. The father
finished high school at 13, and was an A and B student at
the University, taking gold medals for original composition.
He is a writer and an editor. . . . The paternal grandfather
is a lawyer, teacher, and author. The paternal grandmother
has mathematical ability. E. B.'s mother entered school at
8 years, and completed high school at 15. She then entered
business college, and completed the course in less than three
months. She then entered college, working her way through with
consistently A records. She was editor of a national magazine
at 25, and at the time of investigation was an editorial writer
on Screenland. . . . The maternal grandfather's history is
unknown. It is thought that he was average; but the maternal
great-grandfather was probably superior. At 21 he could neither
read nor write, but just at this time a public school was
established near his home. He entered, and finished the
course for the entire eight grades in sixteen months. . . .
E. B.'s mother states that E. B. first spoke words with meaning
at 7 or 8 months of age, and that she walked at 10 months.
When she was 3 years old her parents discovered that she
knew the alphabet, which she seems to have learned by asking
questions about printed signs. She has had very little formal
instruction at home, for her mother has been active in newspaper
work most of the time, usually working at night.
E. B. entered college in a large city at 12 years 0 months of age.
The girls in this college are very highly selected for intellect,
and E. B. did not do outstanding work among them. She encountered
many difficulties, but graduated at the age of 16 years 9 months
with a creditable rating. At the age of 20 years she married,
holding also at that age a very responsible post in charge of cash
for the metropolitan branch of one of the largest manufacturing
and distributing companies in the United States. It is her aim
to become a writer.
Verda. In 1925 Terman (26) reported two children not elsewhere
described, with IQ's above 180 (S-B), Verda and Madeline [below],
both discovered during the census of the gifted taken in California.
The occupational level among Verda's male ancestors has been
largely in the professions and in business. Her father is a
successful life insurance salesman, and shows musical, mechanical,
and literary ability. He is of Scotch-Irish extraction. Her mother
is of French and English ancestry, a descendant in direct line
from Governor Bradford, of colonial New England, and is related
to many notables. Verda has no brothers or sisters.
The child's first words were articulated at 7 months, and she
talked in sentences at 15 months. She hummed a tune at 17 months'
could name all the primary colors at 22 months; could count to 13
at 25 months. Her first poem (said in rhyme and meter) was composed
at the age of 2 years 9 months. This was recorded by her mother.
She did not herself put on paper her literary compositions until
the age of 5 years, when she learned to print. After this the
stories she composed were no longer recorded by her mother. Soon
after she was 4 years old she brought a book to her parents and
read to them. Up to that time she had had no formal instruction
in reading but she had been read to.
Verda did not enter school until she was 8 years 7 months old,
beginning in the high fourth grade.
Her IQ was first determined at the age of 11 years 1 month by
an incomplete test, made as a demonstration before by an incomplete
test, made as a demonstration before a group of teachers in
the limited time of fifty minutes, and was calculated at 175.
When at age 11 years 7 months she was fully tested in a standard
situation, she passed every test provided on Stanford-Binet,
proving at an IQ ("corrected" ) of 186. Through four years
of high school she received an "A" grade in every academic subject,
with the exception of one semester of French and one of biology,
in which the grade was "B." She was graduated from high school
at age of 16 years 9 months.
According to her own testimony, Verda's usual amount of study
during her senior year was only six hours a week outside of school
hours. "She is fond of parties and dances, and is very active
in student life, particulary through her literary contributions.
She rates herself as rather disliking study. She would rather read,
play the piano, compose music, stories, or plays, or spend time
with her friends." (In 1926 she won a gold medal in a piano-playing
contest.) She has shown a wide margin of energy and ability
over and above what is necessary for a "straight A" record in
There is much more in the description of this child that is
interesting, but the case cannot here be quoted in full.
Madeline. At the age of 6 years 7 months Madeline yielded an IQ
of 192 (S-B). She was then in the third grade, but her scores on
Stanford Achievement Tests corresponded to fifth- and sixth-grade
norms. At 7 years of age, her parents' chief concern in regard
to her was to prevent her from reading too much.
At 7 months of age Madeline was able to distinguish all the
pictures on the walls of her home when they were named to her. She
could identify the pictures of six American poets when she was a
little over a year old. She knew the common flowers by name before
the age of 3. Her mother reported that "reading seemed to be born
in her." She could count to 100 at 3 years, played parchesi at
4 years, and "carried the powers of 2 mentally to the 20th,
as a Sunday afternoon pastime before the age of 6." At 7 years
of age she was writing poetry with religious thought expressed.
Entering school in the first grade at the age of 4 years 11 months,
Madeline was held in the ordinary course on account of her age
and in order to improve in handwork, in which she seemed deficient.
She was listless and bored at school, and developed habits of
procrastination and time-wasting. In high school, however, she
began to take an interest in the work offered, and at the time
of report she was finishing the ninth grade with "A" ratings in all
except an occasional course which she regarded as uninteresting
Often when she is sent out to the back yard at night to dispose
of kitchen refuse, she fails to return until her mother goes
in search of her. Her mother always finds her studying the
heavens. Madeline has recently developed a strong interest in
astronomy, has devoured several books on the subject, and is
planning to become an astronomer.
The health of this child has always been good. She has had the
usual children's diseases, and contracts colds, but has never been
Madeline's ancestry is very superior. On the paternal side, the
grandfather was of English-Irish descent; the grandmother, of
Scottish-French descent. Teaching and preaching have been the
usual occupations. On the maternal side, the grandfather was of
German-Dutch descent; the grandmother, of English descent. The
child's parents are both university graduates, and they have done
graduate work. She has two younger sisters, of 167 and 162 IQ
(S-B), respectively. The family is in very moderate financial
circumstances, having taken responsibility in the care of relatives.
Rosemarie. In 1928, Schorn (20) reported upon a girl aged 4 years
6 months, who tested at 8 years Mental Age in the Psychologisches
Institut at Würzberg. This report gives her an IQ of 184. She
was brought to attention because she could read fluently at the age
of 3 years 6 months, without having been schooled.
The case of this child illustrates some of the points of
misunderstanding of such children by those who have not seen
several like them. Because she could not perform motor tasks
in advance of her years, it was concluded that she "was not
The case of K. In 1934 Goldberg (11) described the case of K,
a boy who achieved an IQ of 196 (S-B) when tested at the age
of 6 years 7 months.
K was born June 25, 1927, in New York City, of Jewish parents,
and is an only child. The parents state from memory that K started
to walk at 14 months of age, and could talk rather fluently at
the age of 1 year 6 months. Dentition began at 8 months of age.
His health has been very good, and he has had no serious illnesses.
When K was 20 months old, he knew his alphabet and within a
short while after that he was able to recite it backwards.
At about the same time he had a set of blocks, which offered
him additional opportunity for developing a well-nigh astounding
feat. He could by looking at one of the figures on a given
block call off from memory the other five objects on the
remaining sides. This he was able to do for almost the entire
set. At about 2 years of age K knew his own name and address
and what is more significant the addresses and telephone numbers
of the entire family, numbering about a dozen.
By studying a calendar he learned to tell on what particular
day a certain date would fall. For example, if he were asked
on what day of the week July 16 would fall he would indicate
Thursday. . . .
K began to read at about 4 years of age. He was given no
formal training in the beginning mechanics of reading. The
only assistance he received was a suggestion that he "pronounce
words by syllables." At this time he was already reading simple
K is of Jewish origin. Mr. K at the time of K's birth was
32 years of age, and Mrs. K was 35. Neither K's mother
nor his father has had the benefit of college training. They
are for the most part self-educated. Mr. K is a proprietor of
a small retail business.
At the age of 6 years 7 months K's height with shoes was 47.3
inches, and his weight was 52 pounds. He is well nourished, and
his physical condition was found negative for all unfavorable
indications. When asked for the year, in the test at year IX (S-B),
K said, "It is 1934, but if you believe in the Jewish calendar,
it is 5694."
The case of B. Witty and Jenkins (36) have reported the case
of B, a gifted Negro girl, who was tested at the age of 9 years
4 months, earning an IQ of 200 (S-B), "corrected" score, and of
187, "uncorrected" score.  At the time of testing, B was in
the low fifth grade at school, her mental age being 17 years
5 months at least ("uncorrected" score). She had received but one
double promotion though others were offered by the school, because
B's mother is afraid that the child will get too far from her
B was discovered by asking a teacher to nominate the "most
intelligent" and "best student" among children in her class.
B was nominated as "best student," while a girl four years older,
whose IQ turned out to be below 100, was nominated as "most
intelligent." This circumstance is illustrative of the lack of
insight which necessarily exists in relation to such children where
teachers have no special instruction in regard to them. The report
The following items were secured from B's baby book, and
from the mother's reports. B, an only child, was born November
18, 1924. The mother was then 27 years of age, and the father
31. B weighed 6 3/4 pounds at birth, 14 pounds at 3 months, and
17 1/2 pounds at 9 months. At 9 years and 5 months, B weighed
60 pounds and was 50 inches in height; this is normal for a
child of her height and age (Baldwin-Wood norms).
B walked a few steps at 8 months (under the excitement of
running after a dog), but walked no more till she was 12
months old. She employed short sentences when she was about 16
months of age. Her mother reports that B expressed her thought
in sentences, rather than in isolated words, almost from the
beginning of language development; she excited considerable
comment among friends by displaying an extensive vocabulary
and by using nursery rhymes at age 2.
B was taught to read by her mother at age 4, by the "picture-story"
method. (She knew the alphabet long before.) A few lessons only
were given her and thereafter B read and has continued to read
B has had no serious illnesses or accidents; her health history
appears normal and her physical condition at the present time
is excellent. Furthermore, she seems unusually well balanced
from the standpoint of mental hygiene. B exhibits regularity
in habits, sleeps soundly, seldom reports dreams, displays no
unusual fears, and adapts herself quickly and successfully to
the demands of her child-group.
B's parents appear distinctly above the average both in
intelligence and in academic training. The mother finished a
two-year normal course and taught for a number of years in
a metropolitan school system. The father is an electrical
engineer, a graduate of Case College of Applied Science; he has
pursued graduate studies at Cornell University, and has done
some college teaching. At present he is a practicing electrical
engineer. . . . Her maternal great-grandfather (who is still
active and robust at age 82) was private secretary to each of
four executives of a large railroad system. . . . Her paternal
grandfather was an inventor and manufacturer of polishes and
waxes. . . .
The mother reports B to be of pure Negro stock. There is
no record of any white ancestors on either the maternal or
B has not much ability or interest in music. Her favorite subject
is science, and chemistry attracts her to the extent that she
wishes to become a chemist.
Child R. In 1936, Zorbaugh and Boardman (38) described a boy,
R, of IQ 204 (S-B). They mention also three other children of IQ
above 180, tested at New York University's Clinic for the Social
Adjustment of the Gifted, but R is the only one described.
R was brought to the Clinic when he was 8 years old, and
at that time he had on the Stanford-Binet an IQ of 204. His
father, an engineer, is a well-known writer in the scientific
field. His mother holds a doctor's degree in physical chemistry
from a foreign university. Neither the father nor the mother
has been tested, but they are both persons of very unusual
mental ability. R's two younger brothers are also of very
superior mentality. The family is of Jewish origin and both
the father and the mother were born in a foreign country.
R, their first child, was born when the mother was thirty
and the father was thirty-five. His early development was
exceedingly precocious. His first tooth erupted at five months
of age; he began to walk at nine months and was running at
eleven months; he was talking in sentences at eleven months;
he learned to read at four years of age, and was reading
omnivorously before he entered school. When he entered school
he had an unusual vocabulary, using such words as "casuistry"
and "disproportionate." At the age of 2 he was modeling in
clay, and at the age of 3 he began to design and make machines.
He applied through his father to the United States Patent Office
for two patents before he was 8 years old. At 8 years of age
he had a large library in his home composed mostly of books
of science, history, and biography, which he had catalogued
himself, on the Dewey decimal system. At this age he was writing
a book on electricity. Also at the age of 8 he had a small
machine shop in which he was working on his machines. At the age
of 6 he enjoyed discussing philosophy. At the age of 7 he would
debate on the significance of religion in world development.
The day he first came to the Clinic, Claudel's experiments
on developing power by raising the colder water from the lower
levels of the sea had just been reported in the scientific
section of the New York Times. R explained the theory involved
much more clearly than had the scientific writer of the Times.
R is well developed physically, above average in height, and
considerably above average in weight, likes the outdoors,
especially hiking and riding horseback. At the age of 9 he showed
the first symptoms of the approach of puberty. R is well adjusted
to his school and his playmates, plays on their soccer and
baseball teams, is well liked, and is a leader in many of their
Other cases. In addition to these children who have been somewhat
fully described, a few others testing above 180 IQ (S-B) have
been mentioned in the literature of gifted children or their
records have appeared in tabulations. In 1923 Dvorak told of a boy
of IQ 183 (S-B) who was examined at the University of Minnesota.
This boy was conspicuously maladjusted at school. He "hated
school," and did poor work there. He was 8 years 7 months old
at the time of examination, and passed the tests at a mental
level of 15 years 9 months. The educational authorities were
unsympathetic and resistant to advice, but finally placed the
child in the fifth grade, where both work and conduct improved
greatly. This observer also mentions a boy of 189 IQ (S-B) who was
tested at the same University.
Cyril Burt, writing of mental tests in the schools of London,
cites an English boy of 190 IQ, but does not give a description
of him. The value of these mere mentions is slight because there
is no elaboration and no subsequent history of the cases which
would be useful for purposes of generalizations.
The preceding [cases] describe in some detail 19 cases rating
180 IQ or better, if those be included (3 cases) that were reported
before the Stanford Revision came into use. Although the reports
are lacking in uniformity and vary in emphasis, it is possible
to glean from them a few generalizations concerning origin and
development among the gifted.
Origin is extremely varied as regards racial stock. In describing
the 14 American children, German descent is mentioned 3 times,
French 3, Scottish 5, English 5, Swedish 1, Scotch-Irish 1,
Dutch 1, Jewish 1, Negro 1. There is one German child.
The occupational status of the fathers all fall in Class 1 or
Class 2 of Taussig's rating—professional, clerical, or business
proprietors. Social-economic status wherever mentioned is said
to be moderate. None is stated to be very wealthy or very poor.
Age of parents at birth of the exceptional child covers a wide range.
Development is decidedly ahead of schedule for the group in all
respects. Reported age of walking (7 cases stated) ranges from
7 months to 14 months. Talking in sentences, in the 10 cases in
which it is given, ranges from 8 months to 19 months. In 13 cases
the age of reading is assigned, this being always 3.5 or 4 years.
General health is, whenever mentioned, always reported as good,
and except for the twins, born prematurely, physique is superior.
In the array of 19 cases there are 12 girls and 7 boys, whereas
of the 12 cases to be [later] reported [in] this study only 4 are
girls. In the grand total there are 16 girls and 15 boys.
1. BERKHAN, OSWALD. "Das Wunderkind Christian Heinrich Heineken."
Zeitschrift für Kinderforschung, Vol. 15, pages 225-229 (1910).
2. ——— "Otto Pöhler, Das Frühlesende Braunschweiger Kind."
Zeitschrift für Kinderforschung, Vol. 15, pages 166-171 (1910).
3. BINET, A., et SIMON, TH. "New Methods for the Diagnosis of the
Intellectual Level of Subnormals." L'Année Psychologique, 1905,
4. ——— "The Development of Intelligence in the Child."L'Année
Psychologique, 1908, pages 1-90.
5. BUSH, A. D. "Binet-Simon Tests of a Thirty-nine-Months-Old
Child." Psychological Clinic, 1914.
6. COX, C. M. The Early Mental Traits of Three Hundred Geniuses.
Genetic Studies of Genius: Vol. 2. Stanford University Press,
Stanford University, California; 1926.
7. DOLBEAR, K. E. "Precocious Children." Pedagogical Seminary,
Vol. 19, pages 461-491 (1912).
8. DUFF, F., and THOMSON, GODFREY H. "The Social and Geographical
Distribution of Intelligence in Northumberland." British Journal
of Psychology (1923).
9. GALTON, FRANCIS. Hereditary Genius. The Macmillan Company,
London; 1892. (First Ed., 1869.)
10. GESELL, ARNOLD. "Mental and Physical Correspondence in Twins."
Scientific Monthly (1922).
11. GOLDBERG, SAMUEL. "A Clinical Study of K, 196 IQ." Journal
of Applied Psychology, Vol. 18, pages 550-560 (1934).
12. HARTLAUB, G. F. Der Genius im Kinde. Hirt, Breslau; 1930.
13. HIRT, ZOE I. "A Gifted Child." Training School Bulletin,
Vol. 19, pages 49-54 (1922).
14. I. E. R. Intelligence Scale CAVD, Levels A to Q. Printed in 5
parts. Teachers College, Columbia University, New York; 1925.
15. LANGENBECK, M. "A study of a Five-Year-Old Child." Pedagogical
16. LORGE, I., and HOLLINGWORTH, L. S. "The Adult Status of Highly
Intelligent Children." Journal of Genetic Psychology, Vol. 49,
pages 215-226 (1936).
17. QUETELET, M. Letters on Probability. Translated by Downes.
Layton & Co., London; 1849.
18. ROOT, W. T. A Socio-Psychological Study of Fifty-three
Supernormal Children. Psychological Monographs, 1921, 29, No. 133,
pages 134 ff.
19. RUSK, R. R. "A Case of Precocity." Child Study, 1917.
20. SCHORN, M. "Zur Psychologie des Frühbegabten Kindes."
Zeitschrift für Psychologie, pages 105, 302-316 (1928).
21. SPEARMAN, G. "General Intelligence Objectively Determined
and Measured." American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 15, pages
22. STEDMAN, L. M. Education of Gifted Children. World Book
Company, Yonkers-on-Hudson, New York; 1924.
23. TERMAN, LEWIS M. "A New Approach to the Study of Genius."
Psychological Review, Vol. 29, pages 310-318 (1922).
24. ——— The Measurement of Intelligence. Houghton Mifflin
Company, Boston; 1916.
25. TERMAN, LEWIS M., and FENTON, J. C. "Preliminary Report on a
Gifted Juvenile Author." Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 5,
pages 163-178 (1921).
26. ——— et al. Mental and Physical Traits of a Thousand
Gifted Children. Genetic studies of Genius: Vol. 1. Stanford
University Press, Stanford University, California; 1925.
27. ——— et al. Ibid., Genetic Studies of Genius: Vol. 3.
Stanford University Press, Stanford University, California; 1930.
28. THORNDIKE, E. L. An Introduction to the Theory of Mental and
Social Measurements. Science Press, New York; 1904.
29. ——— "Animal Intelligence." Psychological Review Monograph
Supplements, Vol. 2, No. 8 (1898).
30. ——— The Measurement of Intelligence. Bureau of Publications,
Teachers College, Columbia University, New York; 1926.
31. Tehetsegproblemak (Problems of Talent). Thirteen lectures
by various authors, delivered before the Hungarian Society for
Child Research and Practical Psychology, Budapest; 1930.
32. VON SCHÖNEICH, CHRISTIAN. Taten, Reisen und Tod eines sehr
klugen und sehr artigen 4-jährigen Kindes, Christian Heinrich
Heineken aus Lübeck. Zweite veränderte Auflage. Göttingen, 1779
(Erste Auflage, 1726).
33. WADDLE, C. W. "Case Studies of Gifted Children," Part I.
Twenty-third Yearbook, pages 185-207, National Society for the
Study of Education. Public School Publishing Company, Bloomington,
34. WASHBURNE, C. W. "Case History of J. M.," Part 1. Twenty-third
Yearbook, National Society for the Study of Education. Public
School Publishing Company, Bloomington, Illinois; 1924.
35. WITTE, K. The Education of Karl Witte. (Translated by L.
Wiener.) Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 1914.
36. WITTY, P. A., and JENKINS, M. D. "The Case of 'B'—a Gifted
Negro Girl." Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 6, pages 117-124
37. YERKES, R. M. (Editor). "Psychological Examining in the
United States Army." Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences,
Vol. 15 (1921).
38. ZORBAUGH, H. W. and BOARDMAN, RHEA K. "Salvaging Our Gifted
Children." Journal of Educational Sociology, Vol. 10, pages
 It is not absolutely clear from Terman's text whether the 15
children above 180 IQ (S-B) are to be thought of as representing
the 643 children statistically treated in Genetic Studies of
Genius: Vol. I, or whether they rest upon the "nearly one thousand"
as a base, who were located. [[In a personal communication Professor
Terman writes that it was 15 out of 643.]]
 Correction is attempted according to a formula for records
exceeding the top of S-B, but this formula has never been actually
 See previous footnote.
[a] "On December 3rd, 1721, someone first noticed that the child
watched these figures here and there for a long time without
stopping, and his little eyes at the same time stuck [upon them].
Someone said to him the names of these figures: that would be
a cat, that a tower, a little sheep, a mountain. The following
[lit. "other"] day, the 4th of December, someone asked him again,
where the cat, the mountain, the little sheep were and [to] look
there; the child indicated with his little tiny fingers there,
and always hit upon the right picture, that they had named to him.
Even more, now he gave effort himself to repeat the previously
said words: cat, mountain, tower: hence, he saw with unrelated
glances [likely, unrelated to the figures he was previously
transfixed on] the speaking from the mouth [likely, of whoever
named the objects], got the movement of the lips and the tongue
[with] the same steady attending, slurred the word afterward and
repeated this so often, until he finally pressed out one syllable
[b] He [pronoun is literally "it," derived from neut. case noun
"das Kind" i.e., "the child"] could read printed things in Latin
He could not also write them; his little fingers were too weak
to do so.
He could recite times tables both in and out of order. He could
also count, subtract, add, and multiply.
In French, he got so far, that he could recount entire histories
in this language.
In Latin, he learned over 1,500 good sayings from Latin-language
He learned Low German from his nurse, of whom he didn't want to
In geography, he continued to grasp the most curious things on each
of the maps of existing places.
[c] Otto Pöhler, born the 20th of August, 1892 to Braunschweig,
first and only child of a master butcher, got teeth at the correct
time and learned to walk and speak at the right time. When he
was five fourths of a year old, his grandmother led him outside
the door and into the next streets and in the course of this
named to him the names which were on the house and street signs,
and also relatives wrote down him first name, Otto, multiple times.
When the child then got a newspaper in his hands, he showed
the same printed name, Otto. From then on, the grandmother
explained to him the letters and read aloud to him single words;
in the process, it resulted that the child had a prodigious
memory for letters, words, and numbers.
When the little Otto was brought to me, he was, as I previously
cited, 1_3/4 years old. He was very conversant, climbed immediately
multiple times onto my knees, showed himself, overall, very mobile
and restless. When he caught sight of one of the hanging wall
calendars next to the writing table, he read loudly, unprompted,
the large-print, Latin display on the same (April 27): "April
In October, 1894, I brought the young Otto, at the age of 2 years
and 2 months, before the physician's country club. When the end of
my delivered lecture about him came, which was led in the boardroom,
one of the doctors showed the Börner's Medicinal-Calendar, with
the request to read the Latin inscription. He read fluently:
"Imperial Medicinal-Calender. Founded by Pa-ul Börner. One, eight,
[d] He is not physically strong, but also not badly developed. At
first glance the long skull and the strong back of the head stand
out. In the delicate face clever, expressive eyes are captivating,
which, with pondering, take on at first a curiously serious,
concentrated expression. In the whole, he does not at all make an
impression of an unhealthy, jaded child, but rather of a boy with
a completely fresh and merry view of the world.
His biggest passion is still always reading, and the most important
thing in the world to him are historic, biographic, and geographic
dates. He knows the birth and death years of many German Kaisers,
also many generals, poets, philosophers, mostly also birthdays and
places of birth; furthermore the capitals of most states, rivers
on which they lie and the like. He knows decisions of the beginning
and end of the Thirty Year's and Seven Year's Wars, of the main
battles of these and other wars. From statements of the mother,
everything he picked up on without outside help, through the
diligent study of a "patriotic calendar" and similarly discoverable
literature in the house, also through the deciphering of monument
inscriptions in the cities (for which he especially has passion).
When two different pages with two 12-digit numbers were shown to
him in succession, [the numbers of] which differed by one of the
middle digits, he read them as far as the billons and could then,
without looking at the pages again, with certainty, specify
wherein the difference lay.
[e] Dr. Placzek et al. who earlier observed the boy, the definitive
impression prevailed of a specially aroused, rapid, and sharp-thinking
and, at the same time, a benign, quite loveable child. With the
parents and particularly with the mother he's involved with the
[f] An Obersekundaner is a pupil in seventh year of a German
secondary school. "Gymnasium" here means secondary school.
[g] "Now, almost 17 years old, he is an intelligent, young man,
equipped with an admirable memory, full of knowledge; a young man
easily getting noticed, orienting, who, although in his way
preferred before his contemporaries, has proven [to have] a humble,
TWELVE CASES NEW TO LITERATURE CONCERNING TESTED CHILDREN
Child A is a boy, born June 18, 1914. He was brought by his parents
to Teachers College, Columbia University, in the latter weeks
of 1920, for mental tests. This was on the advice of the principal
of the school A attended, for the boy was a school problem.
He did not adjust himself readily to the work of the classroom
in the second grade where he was at that time placed, at the age
of 6 years 6 months. The school had found A ready for work beyond
the second grade in reading and arithmetic, but because of his age
and size it had decided to place him in second grade. The record
made at that time and subsequently reads as follows:
A is descended from German Jews on both sides of his family. His
parents are not related by blood so far as can be known. He is of
the third generation to be born in the United States.
The paternal grandfather is living [] and well, a tailor
by trade. He is "very handy" in making helpful devices to use
in his shop. The paternal grandmother is living [] and well,
a competent housewife, who has evinced no noticeable intellectual
No dependent or incompetent relatives of the father are known.
It is usual for the progenitors in the paternal branch to die
between the ages of 80 and 100 years. The paternal great-grandfathers
of A died aged 86 and 89 years, respectively. The paternal
great-grandmothers both died at 40 years. The paternal
great-great-grandmothers died at 101 and 102 years, respectively.
There have been no constitutional diseases in the ancestry.
A's father has but one sibling, A's paternal uncle, who is
a successful dentist. He married a teacher, and has two young
daughters, A's cousins. One of these, about 6 months older than
A, has twice been tested by Stanford-Binet, her IQ's being 170
and, a year later, 161. At the age of 8 years, this girl had
reached the fifth grade in public school. She now [] attends
a special class organized for children of her age who test over
150 IQ. The other of these cousins was tested by Stanford-Binet
on November 9, 1923, yielding an IQ of 129. These two girls are
the only first cousins A has.
A's maternal grandfather is living [] and well. He is a cloth
salesman, but he has always seemed dissatisfied with this vocation.
He had to go to work at an early age. The maternal grandmother is
living [] and well, a competent housewife, not especially
interested in intellectual pursuits.
No dependent or mentally incompetent relatives of the mother
are known. All are self-sustaining. There are no constitutional
diseases in the maternal ancestry. It is usual for the progenitors
on the maternal side to die between the ages of 60 and 70 years,
but one of A's maternal great-grandmothers lived to the age
of 90 years. A's mother has but one sibling, A's maternal uncle,
a salesman, who is unmarried.
Father. A's father is a large, strong man, now following
the profession of organization engineer. He is a high school
graduate and a graduate of Webb Academy, holding a diploma from
the latter as marine engineer and marine architect. He has invented
and patented a complete combustion furnace, and has designed a set
of torpedoes which were used in the Japanese-Russian war. During
the war of 1914-1918, he participated in the development of a fleet
destroyer, and designed a boat superior to previous models for
transporting nitrocellulose. He made the original layout for one
of the largest steel plants in the United States. His rating on
Army Alpha is 180 points. His grip is 70 kg. in the right hand
and 64 kg. in the left hand (Smedley's dynamometer). He was
29 years old when A was born.
Mother. A's mother was graduated from high school at the age
of 18 years. Before marriage she was in business, as an executive
in charge of advertising for one of the largest drug concerns
in this country. She has handled business affairs involving large
sums for a tobacco company. She also did some newspaper work.
Formerly she had excellent health, but she has not been entirely
well since the birth of her children. She was 27 years old when
A was born.
Noteworthy relatives. In the paternal branch these include
cousins who founded the Banking House of Tuch, in London. The
father's maternal grandfather (A's great-grandfather), a tailor,
devised and patented a union suit, said to have been the first
union suit. He also invented an improved buckle for adjusting
men's vests in the back. It was said of him, "He was always
trying to invent things."
Noteworthy relatives of the mother include the founder of the
Lemaire Optical Goods firm. This firm has an international
reputation for fine lenses. A cousin of the mother is a judge.
Another relative was a leader of Jewish reform movements.
Immediate family. A is the first-born child. He has one brother,
three years younger than himself. This brother is large, strong,
and handsome. His IQ on repeated tests, at intervals of a year,
has stood at 145, 152, 145, 161. He too displays the special
interest in mathematics which characterizes A. For instance, at
the age of 5 years he set himself the project of counting all
his footsteps until he had counted a million consecutive steps.
This project he carried out, his parents submitting to the numerous
inconveniences incident to it. The growth of this brother affords
an interesting comparison with that of A, since we have here two
children, both of extremely superior intelligence, of the same
ancestry, and living under the same school and home conditions,
one of whom is nevertheless as superior to the other—in terms
of IQ—as that other is superior to the average child.
The preschool history of A has been elicited from the parents and
from the "baby book" kept by them. A was born at full term, and
the birth was normal in all respects. He weighed 7 pounds 9 ounces,
and was breast fed for the first several months of life. He began
to articulate words at 10 months, and at 14 months could pick out
letters on the typewriter at command. At 12 months he could say the
alphabet forward, and at 16 months he could say it backward
as well. His parents had no idea that he could reverse the alphabet
until one day he announced that he was "tired of saying the letters
forward" and guessed he would "say them backward." The concepts
of "forward" and "backward" had thus been developed by the age of
16 months. At 12 months he began spontaneously to classify his
blocks according to the shape of the letters on them, putting
V A M W N together, Q P O G D together, and so forth. This love
of classifying has remained one of his outstanding characteristics.
As an infant, he would for hours thus amuse himself with his
When 18 months old he was able to carry out simple errands
involving not more than three or four items. By the time A was
30 months old he could copy all the colored designs possible with
his kindergarten blocks. Before the age of 3 years he enjoyed
rhymes, and would amuse himself rhyming words together. From
the time he was old enough to be taken out to walk, he would
point out letters on billboards and signs with keen interest
and delight, crying, "Oh, see D! There's J, Mother! There's
K and O!" Also before the age of 3 years A objected to stories
containing gross absurdities. For instance, he rejected the story
of the gingham dog and the calico cat who "ate each other up." A
pointed out that this could not be, "because one of their mouths
would have to get eaten up before the other mouth, and no mouth
would be left to eat that mouth up." He was irritated by this
obvious lapse from logic and requested that the story be read
to him no more.
A learned to read for himself during the third year of life, and
read fluently before he entered school.
The photograph in Figure 1 [not included] shows one of A's amusements
at the age of 10 months—balancing and rolling simultaneously
a large ball between his hands and another between his feet as
he lay on his back in his crib. This activity illustrates his
power of motor coördination in infancy, and it is especially
interesting in connection with the errors of judgment made by
A's teachers to the effect that "A is below average in control
of his body."
FIG. 1. CHILD A AT THE AGE OF 10 MONTHS.
First year. A has always attended private schools. He started
school at the age of 5 years, in Philadelphia. Here he was placed
in the kindergarten, though the question was raised by teachers
as to the greater advisability of placement in the first grade.
After a few months in this school the family moved to New York,
where A entered an excellent private school at the age of not
quite 6 years. By this time he had developed many numerical
processes by himself. On one occasion the mother went to speak
to the teacher regarding the advisability of teaching such advanced
processes to so young a child at school, and the teacher replied
in great surprise that she had been on the point of asking the
parents not to teach so young a child these matters.
Second year. In the autumn of 1920, A entered a private school
which he attended for several years. It was here that he was
considered to be a school problem. It was recognized that he was
ready scholastically for a grade much beyond his age and size.
As a compromise he was placed in the second grade. Soon the teacher
of the second grade advised that he be considered for the third
grade, as he did not "fit" into second-grade work. Thereupon
he was brought to Teachers College for educational guidance. The
report stated that A stood far ahead of the other second-grade
children in reading and arithmetic but that he was "poor in carrying
out projects," and did not seem interested in the activities
of the second grade.
After mental examination of A, revealing an intelligence level of
12 years 2 months, it was explained that there had never been
worked out an established appropriate procedure for variants of
such rare occurrence. The advice given was to place A in the third
grade; for although his Mental Age was then more than 12 years
(his physical age at this time was 6 years 6 months), many of the
8-year-olds in this school would approximate A's mental capacity,
since the median IQ of the pupils there was about 120. A was
accordingly placed in the third grade, where he had the good
fortune to meet a teacher of extraordinary knowledge and ability.
At the end of that year he was promoted to the fourth grade.
Third year. In the autumn of 1921 A was in the fourth grade,
with the same teacher he had had in the third grade. Outside of
school hours he took special work in sports and games with a group
of young boys. At the end of that year he was promoted to the fifth
grade, and placed in a special fifth-grade group which had been
formed of the brightest children of this status in the school.
During this time a special effort was made to develop A in social
activities and to interest him in group projects, with the result
that "he became much more a member of the group." Nevertheless,
he still liked to "lie down on his back and look up at the
ceiling," instead of joining common projects. "His mind often
seems to be miles away."
Fourth year. In the autumn of 1922 A was in the fifth grade,
composed of the special group referred to above, with classmates
about two years older than himself, whose IQ's ranged above 140.
At the end of that year he was promoted to the sixth grade, at age
9 years. He seemed happy and contented during his fourth year in
school but displayed many characteristics which might well try
the patience of any but a very wise teacher. The tendency to
become absorbed in his own line of thought continued, giving an
impression at times of indifference, absent-mindedness, and
non-coöperation. Also, he was "slow to take advice." He decided,
for instance, not to learn French, as he was "not interested in
it." He persisted in this attitude until it was clearly explained
to him that people who go to college must know French, whereupon
he applied himself and learned the language. The relative difficulty
in handwriting, shopwork, and other manual tasks which such a child
experiences in comparison with older classmates is also a problem
for the teacher.
Fifth Year. In the autumn of 1923 A entered the sixth grade.
He was at this time 9 years old.
JUDGMENTS OF TEACHERS
Teachers' judgments of A show the usual disagreements and errors.
His superior intelligence has been recognized to some extent
by nearly all. One teacher, however, has felt his superiority
to be merely for reading and arithmetic. Several teachers have
judged A to be inferior in respect to manual dexterity and motor
coördination, forgetting that their comparison was based always
on older children, A's classmates. Only one teacher bore this
fallacy of judgment in mind in reporting her estimates. For
instance, one of the supervisors who had observed A, reported
that he was below the average child of his age in penmanship.
A was then 6 years old. This supervisor seemed not to recall
that the average child of that age has no penmanship whatever.
Direct quotation from teachers' estimates will best show how
A has been appraised.
He was quite a desirable pupil, and we should have been glad
to keep him. From the headmaster of the school A first entered.
Though ahead of the class in arithmetic and reading, he reasons
like a child of 6. He has undeveloped judgment. From a teacher,
He seems to like the third grade, and the children like him.
Intellectually he is able to carry the work of the grade, and
while he is not yet very responsive in manual work, I think he
can gain the muscular control he needs here as well as in a
lower grade. He has made a splendid effort in the matter of
penmanship. He is still very imperfectly adjusted to the school
situation, but in time will find himself able to meet the
requirements, I am sure. From a report of a classroom teacher,
for February 1 to March 18, 1921.
Although A still has lapses of inattention during class lessons,
in general he complies with class requirements and he has
learned to use his free time without direction. His gain in
penmanship has been marked. From report of a classroom teacher,
for March 21 to May 27, 1921.
He is doing well, but needs handwork. From report of a special
He is slow to take advice but has shown big improvement over
last term. He seemed to go ahead suddenly. From report of a
special teacher, 1921.
He has got little from the playground. Doesn't "get into
the game," and is a trial to his mates. From report of a
teacher in charge of playground, 1921.
Manifests considerable musical ability. Lovely voice, and
true to pitch. From report of a music teacher, 1921.
A is making excellent progress both socially and in his work.
Mr. W reports that his shopwork is good, considering his age,
and that it is improving. Miss C says there is continued
improvement in art. I find that his writing of figures is
improving more than written English. He does not like to
write, and is apt to neglect written homework. From report
of a classroom teacher, for November 17, 1921, to January
A is the youngest child in his group (he is 7 and in the fourth
grade, in which the average age is about 9). It is difficult
to classify him in general terms as the first in scholastic
standing, as he is with a group which numbers nine or ten
superior children with IQ's running from 140 to 175; but in
scholastic standing, with the exception of written work, he is
among the best. If one compares his age with that of the
others, his ability is of course most marked. Even in this group
he is conspicuous for his accuracy and lucidity of statement and
for the clear thinking this indicates.
One noticeable indication of his intelligence is his ability to
criticize his own concepts; unless he understands every detail
of a subject, he does not consider that he understands it.
His ability in academic work seems well distributed, though
strongest in mathematics. For this grade he is markedly low
in art and industrial work; but he would be average in second
grade, where his age would under ordinary circumstances place
him. His artistic feeling is all for music and literature. He is
moderately interested in drawing, but doesn't like modeling
and does not want to draw unless it is for some special purpose,
or because everybody else is doing so and it is the social thing
to do. For example, he has made posters and designs for holiday
cards, which, while very crude, had an idea to express and
were suitable for their purpose. He enjoys shopwork and here
does better technically than in other types of handwork. I
think he is rather clumsy with his hands, even for his age,
though not much below the average child. With his mental
ability he can learn to do anything in which his interest is
This ability to attack any sort of problem is shown in his
physical work. He makes an excellent effort and comprehends
what is to be done, but in bodily coördination, in muscular
strength, and in rhythmic response he would rank in the lower
half of a second grade. From a specially requested report
of a classroom teacher, June 20, 1922.
In short, I am fully convinced that A requires most of all
training which will develop a proper harmony and rhythm between
mind and body. From the report of the instructor in the special
boys' group, to which A belonged, outside of school, April
A's teachers seem to hold the universal opinion that he is not
doing well in his work unless prodded or specially urged. It
was to be expected that the handwork, such as art and shopwork,
would be hard for him, but he seems to do poor work and at the
same time to be entirely satisfied with it, his teachers say.
Miss B finds he is not an observer of nature, but rather
inclined to tell what he has read in books.
However, on the academic side, in French and the regular
classroom studies, he seems to require the same prodding. His
sleepiness and inattention are quite marked at times. When
aroused, I find him capable of good thinking, and excellent
memory work. I have been afraid to overstimulate him, but
in order to accomplish the work of the fifth grade creditably
we must develop in him more of a feeling of responsibility on
his own account. His immaturity shows rather clearly in some
of these respects. Of course his work is more than passing,
because of the fine coöperation at home and his own vigorous
response when sufficiently urged. From a report of a classroom
teacher, for September 18, 1922, to January 31, 1923.
It is still a problem to get A to make contributions to the
work of the class. His mind works along lines of special
interest at the time. Although urged by the parents to push A
a little harder, I have hesitated to do much urging. One
fears to stimulate unduly. And yet I find that A is learning
in many ways all the time. There are still, of course, some
Mr. P reports no marked improvement on the physical side.
However, on the side of participation in the sports of the
group, I find a great improvement in A. He appears to be
enjoying himself during a ball game, and even catches a ball
Miss B says she hopes that A will have some real country and
nature during the summer. He needs a chance to roam and think
and observe for himself rather than to learn facts from books
or other people.
In the French class his interest and attitude have improved.
From report of a classroom teacher, for February 1 to June
15, 1923, on the occasion of A's promotion to the sixth grade.
These remarks from teachers bring clearly to notice some of the
difficulties in adjustment to school procedure when a child has
a 12-year-old capacity for thinking and the body of a 7- or
8-year-old, combined with the life of a 6-year-old. Motor control
is, of course, far behind abstract thinking; writing is slow and
feeble, while reading is rapid and fluent; shopwork is poor but
arithmetic is excellent; he can surpass 8- and 9-year-olds—even
those of superior intelligence—in the classroom, but in playing
with them he cannot catch a ball and is always the last to be
selected when sides "choose up," because he is a handicap in any
From these remarks and estimates it is also easy to see how such
a child may provoke adverse comments from teachers, may be found
unsuited to school organization, and eventually even be reputed
stupid or "foolish." Fortunately for A, most of his teachers have
had unusual training and have been rigidly selected, besides,
for insight and personality. If you have read Edison's biography,
you will recall that under teachers less highly selected young
Thomas "did not get on in school," was regarded as "foolish," and
eventually was removed from school by his mother, who educated
him at home, she herself being a teacher.
These difficulties of discrepancy between mental development
and physical development are seen to be greatest in the earliest
years of childhood. The judgments show that as A grew from his
sixth birthday to his ninth birthday, he became less and less
conspicuous in his poor penmanship and in his inaptitude at games.
General intelligence tests of A have been made as follows:
DATE BIRTHDAY STANFORD-BINET ARMY ALPHA
AGE OF A MA IQ POINTS
A Norm A Norm A Norm
Dec. 30, 1920 6-6 12-2 6-6 187 100 (Not given)
Jan. 2, 1922 7-6 14-4 7-6 191 100 76 0 (Form 5)
Apr. 22, 1922  7-10 14-8 7-10 187 100 (Not given)
Feb. 22, 1923 8-8 (Not given) 95 0 (Form 7) 
Mechanical skill. On January, 2, 1922 (aged 7 years 6 months),
A was given the Stenquist Assembling Tests of General Mechanical
Ability and he made a score of 7 points only. He could tell what
mechanisms were to be constructed from the materials in five
out of the ten instances, but he was not "handy" enough to put
them together. (The test depends very much upon size and strength
of hands and upon the degree to which motor coördination is
developed. Young children, therefore, of whatever degree of
intelligence, are unable to succeed in it).
Musical sensitivity. On February 22, 1923, Seashore's Tests
of Musical Sensitivity yielded results as follows, using the
figures for eighth-grade children for comparison, because of A's
TEST PERCENTILE (EIGHTH GRADE) PERCENTILE (ADULTS)
A A'S FATHER
Consonance Below 27th 36th
Pitch 91st 81st
Intensity 41st 26th
Time Below 17th 78th
Tonal memory 70th 9th
Design. On January 2, 1922, the examiner made the following note
in reference to A's performance with Milton Bradley color cubes
(with which he always asks to play when he comes to the laboratory):
The child can construct the most complicated designs with
Milton Bradley's color cubes in less than three minutes each,
from memory—the design being exposed to vision and studied
for one minute. Three colors are involved—red, blue, yellow,
TRAITS OF CHARACTER
A has not been rated by any scale for traits of character as,
for instance, were the children reported by Terman. There are at
hand only statements by persons who know A. The parents both say
that A has no troublesome traits of character except "a tendency
to fail to take his own part in a fight." If a child strikes him,
he often does not strike back but simply does nothing. His parents
feel that this indicates a lack of "give and take" that is
essential to getting along in the world. The parents describe
him as "especially honest, truthful, reliable, affectionate,
kind, generous, and modest, with strong control of his emotions."
Traits of A which are faulty from the point of view of teachers
are absentmindedness, lack of interest in group activities,
untidiness, and obstinacy. One teacher estimated him as "a little
bit selfish." The desirable traits most often mentioned by teachers
are kindliness, amiability, affection, good humor, reticence, and
precision in treating the data of thought. The following are
quotations from teachers:
I am so sorry about A's coat. I laid it on his desk, as he
was cooking when it came. . . . Evidently he didn't notice it
on his desk when he came in later. Knowing A's absent-minded
habits, I ought to have called his attention to the coat.
A is not neat nor orderly.
A still has lapses of inattention during class lessons.
He is slow to take advice.
He is affectionate and kindly, while not over-demonstrative.
The class in which he has been for a year and three months
was slow in accepting him, but now they appreciate his intellect
and his good humor, and treat him with the kindly tolerance
of older brothers and sisters. A responds to this attitude well
and loves to fool and frolic with the others, somewhat kitten
fashion. In the goal ball games he wants to play though he is
simply a figurehead, and he knows enough to obey the rules
and not get in anyone's way.
In working with a group, A is inclined either to be dictatorial
or to insist upon doing everything himself. This may be because
of youth or because he sees so clearly what is to be done, but I
think he is a little selfish and obstinate. A is a very lovable
child with a tender heart and a good deal of emotional capacity,
generally kept hidden, so he is not difficult to manage. It is
difficult, however, to make him assume responsibilities about
material or work which is irksome, such as writing, and he is
It has been a pleasure to have A in my class. He has been
friendly and pleasant in his relations with his teachers as well
as with his classmates.
The physician who attended A when his ankle was twisted in an
accident (mentioned later in this account) rated him very high
The character traits which have stood out repeatedly and most
noticeably in the course of visits to the laboratory for mental
tests appear to the present writer to be amiability, reticence,
emotional control in the face of mishaps (such as falling off
a chair in a strange place and bumping his head severely), and
obstinacy in pursuit of his plans and activities. He does not seek
advice, and does not take it readily. He is easily bored by
unnecessary repetitions of matter once presented. For instance,
in certain mental tests, where the standard procedure demands
that the same question be asked several times (Stanford-Binet
fables, "What lesson does that teach us?"), A grew more and more
restive at each repetition, and finally said, "We don't need that
every time, do we?"
The nickname is an important datum in estimating a child. A's
nickname among the children at school is "Sleeping Beauty."
This name was given, the teacher thinks, because of A's abstraction
and because he was never ready in games.
PHYSICAL MEASUREMENTS AND HEALTH
Physique measurements. The following measurements were made by
the present writer, using the standard scales and stadiometer
of the Teachers College Laboratory. The measurement of cranial
circumference was made with a reinforced fabric tape.
[PART 1 OF 2]
DATE WT. HT. (STAND.,
A Norm A Norm
Jan. 1, 1921 56.0 44.8 48.0 46.6
Sep. 17, 1921  58.0 128 cm
Jan. 2, 1922 66.5 51.7 50.3 48.3
Feb. 22, 1923 68.7 55.9 52.7 50.1
[PART 2 OF 2]
HT. (STAND., HT. HT.-WT. CRANIAL
IN.) (SIT., IN.) COEFF. CIR. (IN.)
A Norm A A Norm A
48.0 46.6 25.5 1.01 .96
50.3 48.3 26.5 1.26 1.07
52.7 50.1 28.1 1.24 1.12 21.3
In the case of the measurements made in clothing, subtracting
.5 inch, the height of heels, from standing height, and 4 pounds
for clothing from weight, we see that in all measurements of
physique taken, A decidedly exceeds Baldwin's norms for the
selected children in good private schools.
Grip measurements. Grip in the hand has been repeatedly measured
with Smedley's dynamometer, with the following results:
DATE Right Hand Left Hand
A Norm A Norm
January 1, 1921 13.0 10.0 10.0 9.0
February 22, 1923 16.0 13.0 14.0 12.0
The superior size of A is, therefore, accompanied by superior
strength of hand.
Growth curves of A and his brother compared. In the case of A and
his young brother, we have two boys of the same ancestry, living
in the same school and home environment, both falling into the
highest one per cent of the population as respects intelligence,
yet very widely separated in terms of IQ. The repeated measurements
show that the children do not become either more alike or more
different as time passes, but that each remains a constant,
maintaining a static relationship to the other in mind and body.
The pressure of the similar environment does not bring them closer
together in ability.
Nervous stability. The supervisor who judged A's penmanship to be
inferior to that of the average child of 6 years, also interpreted
this difficulty in writing to be a symptom of nervousness,
especially when considered in connection with his abstraction and
general maladjustment to work of the second grade. For this reason
the parents obtained statements from two physicians who knew
A well, as to the child's nervous stability. The physician who
removed A's tonsils wrote as follows:
I am glad to state that he is as free from any nervous stigmata
as is possible for any child of his age. Because of his
brightness, he was treated as an older child before his tonsil
operation, and what was about to be done was explained to
him, and he underwent the anesthesia in a perfectly natural
manner. His convalescence was unusually rapid, and at no
time did he show the slightest indication of any neurosis.
From careful observation I can truthfully say that A would
pass the severest tests, and show no abnormality.
The other physician wrote:
At the time I examined A in 1917 I found no neuropathic stigmata.
In fact, he impressed me as a boy who was rather well developed
physically. By physically I mean inclusive of his nervous system.
A's parents rate him as "well balanced." The present writer would
rate him as far above the average child of his years in nervous
Organic condition. Physical examinations reveal no defect
except a serious degree of "progressive myopia." To correct
this, glasses are worn and the use of eyes is limited.
Medical history. A has always been healthy. He has never been
subject to a chronic disorder. He sleeps well and has a keep
appetite for food. As an infant there was never any trouble in
feeding him. He cried very little, and was easy "to care for."
When he was 3 years 6 months old he was almost run over by an
automobile, but escaped with a twisted ankle. After that, for
about a year, he had a series of boils. At the age of 5 years
A was threatened with a mastoid infection and the drum of his
right ear was pierced, liberating a large quantity of pus. Hearing
was not, however, impaired. Adenoids and tonsils were removed at
the age of 6 years. These had never been especially troublesome,
but the parents decided on the operation because A breathed
through the mouth. He has not had "children's diseases," and
except for the incidents narrated, his medical history is negative.
Diversions. At the age of 5 to 6 years A had much difficulty
in playing with children of his own age because he could not be
satisfied with play involving merely sensory stimulation and
diffuse motor activity. He always tried to diver the play to
some planned end, to organize it, in ways not appreciated
by others of his age. When he was 6 years old, boys of 12 to
14 years of age were preferred by A as playmates, and he would
join them whenever they would accept his company. However, he
had and continued to have chums of approximately his own age.
At the age of 6 years 6 months A's favorite diversions were
reading, playing games of intellectual skill (like geographical
Lotto), and playing in sand (building). At the age of 8 years
8 months his favorite diversions were reading, chess, and pinochle.
Imaginary land. At the age of 3 to 6 years A had an imaginary
land which he called "Center Land." This fantasy appears to have
started when his brother was born. When this event occurred
A asked just how it happened. His mother thereupon gave him
the real physiological facts. To these he made no immediate
comment. Several days later he said he had no doubt his brother
did come into the world in just that way, but that he, A, did
not. He, A, originated in Center Land, where he chose his father
and mother. Thereafter, the imaginary land developed rapidly.
In this land children stayed up all night. They could play with
fire whenever they wished. He lived there in a hundred story
house, with an elevator he could run by himself. Two playmates,
"Katharine" and another child, lived there also. By the age
of 6, this imaginary country had almost ceased to engage him,
and at the age of 9 he no longer thinks of it.
Religious experiences. Between the ages of 6 and 8 years (Mental
Ages 12 to 15 years) A became very religious. Prayer was regarded
as extremely sacred, and God was much reverenced. Now, at the age
of 9 years (Mental Age beyond the limits of ordinary maturity),
he is no longer seen to devote himself to these observations.
Career ideas. At the age of 6 years 6 months A wanted to become
"an eye doctor." "I like to tend to mother's eye. I like to tend
to people's eyes." At the age of 8 years 8 months, in answer to
the question, "What will you be when you grow up?" A replied, "I
will do something with arithmetic in it; whatever has the most
mathematics in it."
Reading interests. To the question, "What do you like to read?"
A gave the following responses:
(Age 6 years 6 months) "True books, like The Fall of Jerusalem—
that's the best one, and Burgess Animal Books, Burgess Bird
Books, Our First Flag, The Arabian Nights."
(Age 8 years 8 months) "Books about people who really lived."
A has always preferred books of fact to books of fancy—"true
books," as he called them; but now he enjoys fairy tales more
than he did when he was younger. This may be because the fact
behind the fancy now makes a stronger appeal. The following list
represents six months' reading, from the age of 7 years 0 months
to 7 years 6 months, some of the books being read to A, to reduce
On Plymouth Rock S. A. Drake
Four Great Americans J. Baldwin
Stories of New York A. T. Lovering
The Children's City E. Singleton
The Burgess Bird Book Thornton Burgess
The Burgess Animal Book
The Empire State J. W. Redway
Around the World with the Children F. G. Carpenter
East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon G. W. Dasent
Miles Standish H. W. Longfellow
The Wreck of the Hesperus H. W. Longfellow
Tales and Teachings from the
Pentateuch M. M. Joseph
The Little Gray Grandmother Carolyn S. Bailey
Stories of the Bible Louise M. Pleasanton
The Pied Piper of Hamelin R. Browning
Tanglewood Tales N. Hawthorne
First Jungle Book R. Kipling
Second Jungle Book R. Kipling
Poems J. W. Riley
Poems Eugene Field
Poems R. L. Stevenson
The Wonder Book of Knowledge
The Blue Bird M. Maeterlinck
Historic Boyhoods R. S. Holland
The Friendly Stars M. E. Martin
This list gives an idea of the reading preferences of A, at
the age of 7 years. Within the year following, the preference
for biography and autobiography developed.
Interest in astronomy. Because other very young children of more
than 180 IQ known to the present writer had been especially
interested in astronomy—particularly Child E—it was desired to
observe what would be the reaction of A if knowledge of astronomy
were made accessible to him. Books which had interested Child E at
the age of 6 to 7 years were therefore made accessible to A. He at
once became interested in the heavenly bodies and their movements.
Tendency to classify and diagram. A's love of classifying—
first noted at the age of about 12 months—is a conspicuous
characteristic. He classifies events, objects, names, numbers,
and other data of experience. He can think in terms of diagrams
and sometimes draws a diagram to clarify or condense his meaning.
Lightning calculation. A's keenest intellectual interest is
probably in numbers, and he has responded very readily to his
father's instruction in short-cut methods of calculation. By March,
1922, he could very quickly square any number up to 100; multiply
any two numbers of a sum not to exceed 200; square any number up
to 1000 ending in 5 such as 865, 935, etc.); square any number up
to 10,000, ending in 55 or in 555; solve problems in proportion,
such as 9 : 21 :: 21 : x, 8 ÷ 42 :: x ÷ 21, 8 : 9 :: 10 : x,
subtract the square of one number ending in 5 from the square
of another number ending in 5, where the difference between
the two numbers is 10, or 20, or 30 (e.g., 2255² or 2245² or
3345² or 3325²). Also at that age he could calculate series of
operations, thus: "Take 2, square it, square that, divide by 4,
cube it, add 17, take the square root, add 7, square it, square it,
give the result," his calculations taking about five seconds each.
The author's original write-up of Child A ends with the above,
written early in 1923. From records in the author's files the
following further data concerning later development may be added:
December 26, 1923
AGE: 9 years 6 months
SCHOOL GRADE: Sixth
TEST RECORD: Given Stanford-Binet by L. S. H. with Mental Age of
16-11. This would give IQ 178, but the comment is made, "Can no
longer be measured by Stanford-Binet." On this day also given
Army Alpha, with a score of 128 points, this being the score
assigned to chronological age 17 years 8 months.
Standing height 54.2 inches
Sitting height 27.9 inches
Weight 74.3 pounds
Head circumference 21.5 inches
Right grip 14, 17, 18
Left grip 14, 12, 14
TEACHERS' REPORTS. (Private school, September 22-December 19,
1924) "A's reports show that he has attained high credit in
mathematics and history; low credit in French, shopwork, art,
music, and physical training; average credit in other subjects.
His written work shows improvement.
"He presents the usual problem of the unadjusted. There is now
more alertness in his manner, but still a lack of the will to do
work because it is a group demand. Something more of maturity
has come to him with his greater freedom. He has started the
manual-training problem with some sense of self-discipline.
"If he will now attack his work with the mental grip of which
he must be capable, and give to the group the benefit of his
ability, it will be a joy to have him among us."
December 22, 1924
AGE: 10 years 6 months
SCHOOL GRADE: Seventh
TEST RECORD: On Stanford-Binet, passed 4 of the 6 Superior
Adult Tests, failing on Tests 1 and 4. Alpha score, 166 points.
Standing height 56.2 inches
Sitting height 29.4 inches
Weight 80.5 pounds
Head circumference 21.5 inches
Right grip 18, 18, 16
Left grip 19, 17, 15
December 22, 1925
AGE: 11 years 6 months
SCHOOL GRADE: Eighth
TEST RECORD: Passed all tests on Superior Adult level,
Stanford-Binet. Took two forms of Army Alpha. Form 7, 162
points, and on Form 5, 168 points.
PHYSICAL MEASUREMENTS: Norm
Standing height 58.1 inches 56.7 inches
Sitting height 29.4 inches
Weight 88.8 pounds 75.5 pounds
Head circumference 21.7 inches
November 18, 1926
AGE: 12 years 5 months
TEST RECORD: Score on Army Alpha, 175 points
PHYSICAL MEASUREMENTS: Norm
Standing height 60.0 inches 57.8 inches
Sitting height 30.0 inches
Weight (without coat) 93.0 pounds 84.6 pounds
January 12, 1929
AGE: 14 years 7 months
SCHOOL GRADE: Third Year High School
TEST RECORD: Score on Army Alpha, 194 points
PHYSICAL MEASUREMENTS: Norm
Standing height 64.2 inches 62.2 inches
Sitting height 32.5 inches
Weight (clothed) 118 pounds 98.9 pounds
(stripped) 114 pounds
October, 1929, to February, 1930
English Literature C+
English Composition C
January and June, 1931
AGE: 16 years 6 months to 17 years
SCHOOL GRADE: Now a freshman in college
TEST RECORD: Was given CAVD test, Levels M, N, O, P, Q, at
two different sittings—one in January, the other in June.
Score 422 points. (According to available information 400
points is twelfth-grade college entrance score in high-type
colleges, while 421 points is the upper quartile score of
candidates for advanced degrees in Teachers College, Columbia
University, the median being 415.)
January 20, 1932
At the age of 17 years 7 months, in the third year of college,
he scored 204 points on Army Alpha, Form 8, a score made
only by the top one per cent of college juniors, seniors, and
November 23, 1939
Notice was received of A's marriage.
 Demonstration test before a class of teachers.
 The score of 95 points on Army Alpha, Form 7, on February 22,
1923, corresponds to a mental level of 16 years, 0 months by
Stanford-Binet. This (if translatable into IQ) would result
in an IQ of 184.
 Measurements were made without clothing, by Dr. Herman Schwartz.
 The Burgess books had been read often before.
Child B is a girl, born November 25, 1912. She was discovered
in a private school in the course of a systematic survey made
by Dr. E. H. Malherbe, who was at the time a graduate student
at Teachers College, Columbia University. To Dr. Malherbe the
present writer is indebted for introduction to this child, and
also for data on first tests as well as for other information.
Child B is descended from colonial settlers in this country.
Her ancestors came chiefly from the British Isles, as set forth
in her family history. Her parents are not related by blood
so far as can be known.
The paternal grandfather was of English descent; the paternal
grandmother of Irish descent. No dependent or incompetent relatives
of the father are known. All are self-sustaining.
The maternal grandfather was of Irish-Spanish blood. The maternal
grandmother was of Irish descent. No incompetent or dependent
relatives are known.
Father. Child B's father was born in Vermont and was 42 years
old when B was born. He is a high school graduate and a graduate
of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He passed
the entrance examinations for the latter institution at the age
of 16 years and was at that time the youngest student ever admitted
to the Academy. He has held posts of extraordinary trust in the
pursuit of his profession, and is at the time of this writing an
officer of high rank in the United States Army.
Mother. Child B's mother is a graduate of a Catholic parochial
high school and of the College of Mount St. Vincent. She was
married at an early age and her career has been that of housewife
and mother, no profession having been followed previous to marriage.
Although she is the mother of seven children and mistress of a
large household, B's mother found time to attend courses in law
and economics at Columbia University while the family lived in
New York. She was 39 years old when B was born.
Noteworthy relatives. Relatives of note in the paternal branch
include B's great-grandfather, who was a physician, founder of the
Vermont Academy of Medicine in the early years of the nineteenth
century, and a professor of surgery there. There are also among
relatives an admiral of the United States Navy,  a physician
of wide reputation, a commander of the United States Navy, 
and a practical tin- and coppersmith who was an inventor. This
family branch as a whole finds its average level of achievement
in the professions.
The maternal branch includes a woman of extraordinary business
ability, a priest who was a scholar and organizer of marked
ability, and a mining engineer of unusual achievement. The
performance level of the family lies, on the average, in business
and the professions.
Immediate family. B is the sixth born of seven siblings. Of these
children, two—the brother born two years before B and the brother
born five years after B—have had mental tests. The older brother
was measured in the course of the mental survey made by Dr.
Malherbe. His IQ (S-B) at the age of 10 years 6 months was 167.
This is not a full measure of his brother, as he passed many tests
at the highest levels of performance provided by the scale.
A still older brother passed the entrance examinations for the
Columbia College, from which may be inferred intelligence above
the average. The younger brother's IQ (S-B) at the age of 6 years
10 months was 138.
The preschool history of B has been elicited from the parents.
She cut her first tooth at 7 months. She began to talk at 9 months
of age and to walk at 15 months. As soon as she was able to walk
out with her nurse or her mother, at about the age of 24 months,
B began to notice the letters on billboards and to spell out
words. By the time she was in the third year of life she could
read fluently in simple books. (The brother whose IQ is referred
to above as 167 did not read until he was about 4 years 6 months
B has always attended private schools. She began her school life
in kindergarten, at the age of 3 years, and attended the same
school until the age of nearly 9 years. At the age of 8 years
4 months she had reached only the fourth grade, whereas in the
battery of educational tests given as a part of the school survey
she passed at that age the seventh-grade standards for public
In appraising the great discrepancy between school progress and
ability in this case, it is necessary to bear in mind that children
in some private schools are highly selected as regards intellect.
The median IQ in this particular school was shown by the survey
to be much above 100; so that B was not so hopelessly misplaced
in the fourth grade there as would have been the case had she
attended public school. The fact of competition with selected
children reduces the discrepancy, although it is still very great.
At the age of 8 years 9 months, B entered a private school
in Washington, D. C. Here she was placed in the sixth grade,
"skipping" the fifth grade. Her school reports have always been
very excellent, "almost always E in every subject."
In the autumn of 1922 B entered the seventh grade, aged 9 years
9 months. She was the youngest pupil in a class of about 20
children, and held first rank. "She leads in every regular subject
except catechism, geography, and history." B "likes all subjects
except catechism, giving first place, at the age of 9 years,
to arithmetic. Her school marks for 1922-1923 are as follows,
the marks indicating as is usual: 100, perfect; 90, very good;
80, good; 70, fair; 60, deficient."
B'S MARKS, GRADE VII. AGE 9 YEARS 10 MONTHS.
SUBJECT 1922 1922 1923 1923
Oct. 31 Dec. 15 Jan. 31 Mar. 27
Catechism 95 90 80 94
Grammar 92 94 85 90
Composition 87 88 85
Spelling 93 95 100 98
Letter writing 85 85 80
American history 85 80 88 90
Geography 94 87 90 94
Arithmetic 90 90 100 90
Oral French 95 95 96 95
Penmanship D C 75
Reading 90 91 85
Choral singing 80 80 95
Drawing 90 90 90
Plain sewing 80 85 85
Rules of observance 90 100 97 94
Bible history 94 90 86 93
At the age of 11 years B entered high school and is doing good
work there, but without much stimulus of competition, as there
are but a few pupils in her grade.
Unlike several of the children who have an IQ of more than 180,
B has never been a school problem. She has always been a "good
mixer" with children of her school grade, and has taken part in
their activities. Being a very large, strong child, she has not
been so much "out of it" in motor skill as to be conspicuous
among older schoolmates. As evidences of unusual manual dexterity
the following may be mentioned: at the age of 5 years B knitted
on steel needles a pair of socks which were worn by her little
brother; at 6 years she made edible rice puddings; at 7 years
of age she made cookies.
TRAITS OF CHARACTER
No one among parents and teachers has mentioned any character
trait considered faulty. The virtues most frequently mentioned
and emphasized are modesty, reliability, self-direction, poise,
good humor, amiability, and "being a good sport."
JUDGMENT OF TEACHERS
It is remarkable that no adverse comments have been offered by any
of B's teachers. All teachers have rated B high in character and
intellect. The chief error in judgment lies in not ranking her as
high as she really stands. This error arises partly from the fact
that teachers in the private schools B attended deal with selected
children whom they may come to think of as representing the average
of child ability. The judgments of B's teachers may be quoted as
Remembered in our kindergarten chiefly for her vivid imagination.
From the head mistress of the school.
One of the most popular children in the school. From a teacher.
It is some time since I had B as a pupil, but I am glad to
tell you my impressions of the child as I remember her.
She was a very quiet, unassuming member of the class. She
had remarkable powers of concentration, always finished her
work well in advance of the others and then found work for
herself until the class was ready to go on with a new subject.
With the children in both work and play she made no effort
to lead them, and although they recognized the fact that her
work was superior to theirs, they showed no resentment toward
B because she never made them feel her superiority.
B showed a mental poise that I have rarely, if ever, found
in a child. It was not so much a matter of a sudden keen grasp
of a subject, which might or might not be permanent. She
seemed to have the power, which is usually met only in mature
minds, of weighing, reasoning, and then placing for permanent
use the matter with which she was dealing. 
Always B appealed to me as a normal child, with unusual mental
poise. She was not at all uncanny or tiresomely intelligent.
From a former classroom teacher.
Measurements of general intelligence of B have been made as follows:
DATE BIRTHDAY STANFORD ARMY ALPHA
AGE -BINET POINTS
OF B MA IQ B Norm
Mar. 3, 1921 8-3 15-8 189
Apr. 8, 1922 9-4 17-6 188 84 (Form 5) 0
Dec. 29, 1924 12-1 142 (Form 5)
B was measured at the age of 9 years 4 months and again at the
age of 12 years 1 month, in light indoor clothing, with the
Height and weight.
[PART 1 OF 2]
DATE WT. (LBS.) HEIGHT (IN.)
B Norm  B Norm 
April 8, 1922 106.0 61.5 56.0 52.0
December 29, 1924 123.0 82.8 61.6 57.7
[PART 2 OF 2]
HEIGHT (IN.) HT.-WT. COEFF. CRANIAL CIR. (IN.)
B Norm  B Norm B
56.0 52.0 1.88 1.18 22.4
61.6 57.7 1.99 1.44 22.5
B greatly surpasses Badlwin's norms (making the usual allowance
for heels and clothing).
Grip measurements. Measured with Smedley's dynamometer, B's
hand grip scores as follows:
DATE GRIP (KG.)
Right Hand Left Hand
April 8, 1922 13.0 11.0
December 29, 1924 20.0 18.0
Superior size is therefore accompanied by superior strength.
Diversions. At the age of 9 years B listed her favorite diversions
thus: "All sorts of outdoor games; then reading; then drawing;
then playing with dolls, sometimes."
Imaginary land. "When I was 8 years old my imaginary countries
were generally of grownupness, where I figured as chief actress
Career ideas. At the age of 9 years B was asked, "What will you
be when you grow up?" B responded promptly, "A doctor." Then
she added, "I will learn to sing, too. Perhaps I'll sing to the
patients. There are so many things to do. I'll try to combine
several things." Now, at the age of 12 [], she is ambitious
to become "a celebrated authoress, actress, artist, and musician."
Reading interests. When asked how many books she had read (April
8, 1922), B replied, "Oh, hundreds and hundreds. We have plenty
of books." It is characteristic of her that she reads over and
over again a book that especially pleases her. Thus she had read
nearly all of Louisa Alcott's books twice each, and had read Lady
Luck—at that date her favorite book—several times. She had
read a great many books written for boys, and remarked, in trying
to describe her preferences, "I like boys' books best. They
have more in them than girls' books."
Tendency to organize other children. B is the only one of the
children here reported who shows any success or interest in leading
or organizing fellow children. She organizes "clubs" and games.
When shown the Civil War code, in the course of mental tests, she
remarked, "I must remember that, for it will be fine for my
 Rear Admiral John W. Phillip. (Callahan, E. W. List of
Officers of the United States Navy and of the Marine Corps.
Hamersley & Co., New York; 1901.)
 Commander E. T. Woodward.
 At this time B's intelligence was about that of the average
adult, according to mental tests, though the teacher made this
comment without having that knowledge.
 Baldwin's norms for children 9 years 6 months old.
[Transcriber's note: The second row is clearly from a different,
and likely the corresponding, age norm].
 Without shoes.
Child C is a boy, born June 15, 1913. He was brought to the writer's
attention by the principal of Public School 157, Manhattan, who
wrote as follows, requesting an examination in the laboratory at
Teachers College, Columbia University:
I have in the 5A grade of this school a boy . . . who seems
to be somewhat of an infant prodigy. His verbal memory,
especially, is phenomenal, but he is underdeveloped on the
physical side, takes no interest in Manual Work, and does not
like to play with other children.
Child C is descended, in both lines, from German Jews. His parents
are not related by blood.
The paternal grandfather was a successful businessman. The paternal
grandmother was a competent housewife. A paternal uncle is a judge
in New York City. No incompetent relative in this branch is known;
on the other hand, there is no one of great eminence.
On the maternal side, one of C's mother's brothers is a physician,
a cousin is a writer, and another cousin is a judge. No incompetent
relatives are known in this branch.
Father. C's father is an accountant. He did not graduate from
elementary school but went to work at an early age. He was 40 years
old when C was born.
Mother. C's mother is a high school graduate. She was 35 years
old when C was born. She is a housewife, and had no paid occupation
before marriage. C is an only child, never having had any siblings.
The following information was gathered from C's mother. The child
cut his first tooth at the age of 9 months. He began to walk at the
age of 1 year 3 months, and to talk fluently at the age of 1 year
4 months. He learned to read almost as soon as he talked, and at
the age of 3 years could read simple matter.
When he was 4 years old, C went one day into a store with his
father. While the latter was making his purchases the child took a
book from the shelf and began to scan it. The shopkeeper noticed
the child looking attentively at the book and said, for a joke,
"Boy, if you will read me that book, I'll give it to you."
Instantly C began to read fluently and carried the book away
from the astonished merchant.
On another occasion, when he was about 5 years old, a woman noticed
C searching about the house and said to him, "Are you hungry?" His
reply was, "Yes, I'm hungry for a book."
Apparently C has never had an imaginary land. His favorite
recreation has always been reading.
C's school life began at the age of 6 years. He did not
attend kindergarten. His teachers recognized him as "out
of the ordinary"—but not in any appreciative way. They
thought him "queer" and "odd." In spite of perfect work,
he was advanced only a little more than the usual rate,
being placed in Grade 5B at the age of 9 years 5 months.
His obvious misplacement and unhappiness here caused the
principal of the school to seek advice regarding C's education.
After mental tests had revealed the mental level of a superior
adult, C was invited to enter the Special Opportunity Class then
just organized at Public School 165, Manhattan. Here he was
associated with twenty-five classmates of his own age whose IQ's
ranged from 150 to 175, the median of the group being about 164 IQ.
In this class C gradually became adjusted to the work in such a way
that at the end of the school year (1923), when asked whether he
would prefer to stay in the Special Opportunity Class or go on to
high school, he unhesitatingly chose to stay with the special
class. "It will be more interesting," he said. He therefore
finished elementary school at the age of 12 years, although at 10
he was judged by his teachers to be fully prepared in knowledge
to enter senior high school. There is no doubt that he could
have been made ready to enter college at the age of 12 years.
When asked at the age of 9 what he would be when he grew up,
the following conversation took place:
Q. What do you think is the most interesting vocation? What
would you like to be when you grow up?
A. Well, the answer to those two questions is not the same one.
Q. Then tell us first what you think is the most interesting
A. Science, especially astronomy.
Q. And what vocation would you like to follow when you grow
A. To be a medical doctor.
Q. But why not be what is most interesting?
A. Because a person cannot make much money being an astronomer.
I never heard of anyone at the Lick Observatory earning
fifty thousand dollars a year.
Q. But do medical doctors earn fifty thousand dollars a year?
A. It is possible for one to do it. Some of them do.
Q. Do you think being a medical doctor is the most lucrative
A. No. It would be more lucrative to get into Standard Oil.
Q. Then why not go into Standard Oil?
A. Because it isn't so interesting as being a medical doctor.
Q. Which is the more useful occupation—medical doctor or
A. Medical doctor. Because a man does not care much for a
blazing star a million miles away if his wife is sick. Anyone
cares more for a person two feet away than for a thing a
trillion miles away.
The ambition to become a medical doctor has persisted for three
years and gives an impression of permanency. 
Scores of anecdotes could be cited to illustrate the interests and
the fine intelligence of this boy. In walking through the halls of
the college with him, on one occasion when he had come for a mental
test, the present writer saw what seemed to be an exhibition of
Chinese costumes in a glass case, and called C's attention to it,
saying, "Look at this exhibition of Chinese work." C looked
closely at the exhibit for several moments without comment,
and then said, "Well, I believe it is Japanese work, isn't it?"
He then proceeded to point out certain minute differences which
are found between the work of Japanese and Chinese and which were
later verified by an authority on the subject.
When he went with his class to visit a new high school building
in the city, he was missed as the others began to move from one
corridor to another. After search, he was found in the chemical
laboratory copying in a notebook the names of all the chemicals
in the bottles as they appeared on the labels.
In the Opportunity Class C was appreciated by these children
of more than 150 IQ as he had never been by the unselected children
in the regular classes. They recognized his encyclopedic knowledge
and respected it. They eventually elected him to two posts of
responsibility among them. These were totally new experiences for C.
Another new experience for the boy was that of being equaled
by another child in an intellectual performance. Although C led the
special class in marks, as would be expected, he was nevertheless
occasionally equaled or surpassed in one or two subjects in the
month's record. He learned for the first time how to adjust himself
to successful competitors in his own particular field.
TRAITS OF CHARACTER
A few faulty character traits in C have been noted by teachers.
One teacher said, "He is somewhat of a prig." This impression
appears to have been based partly on his lack of desire to play
with children of his own age and partly on his use of "long
words." Soon after C entered the Special Opportunity Class for
gifted children, another boy equaled him in an assignment and
put out his hand to C, saying cordially, "Let's shake." C had
never had the experience of being equaled by a fellow pupil and
he turned away, refusing to shake hands. However, he has now
learned to react most cordially to those who equal him, though
he bitterly dislikes to be equaled or passed in mental work.
Never in any sense a leader or guide among the unselected children
of the school from which he came, C was soon elected to the
position of monitor by the children of median IQ 164. They were
heard to say: "C is just; C can make us behave." One child (IQ 164)
exclaimed in admiration, "C knows everything."
On the other hand, C arouses some feelings of jealousy and
antagonism as well as admiration because he does not hesitate
to contradict erroneous statements or to rectify imperfections
in what others say or do. He is not very tactful in human
The virtues most frequently ascribed to C by those who know him
well are reliability, honesty, bravery, and loyalty. He is a
stickler for the exact; no statement is right unless it is exactly
right. It is easy to see how this trait might antagonize average
children of C's age, and even teachers and others in authority.
Measurements of general intelligence of C have been made as follows:
DATE BIRTHDAY STANFORD-BINET ARMY ALPHA POINTS
AGE OF C MA IQ On October 30, 1922,
Sept. 26, 1922 9-3 17-7 190 he scored 146 points
April 18, 1923 9-10 18-6 188 (Form 9)
Measurements of C's physique have been made as follows:
DATE WT. HT. CRANIAL
(LBS.) (STAND., IN.) CIR. (IN.)
Sept. 26, 1923 60.5 53.9 . . .
Jan. 8, 1924 . . . . . . 20.7
C is one of the few of the bright children studied who does not
exceed Baldwin's norms in physique. However, at the age of 11 years
7 months he was 57 inches tall and weighed 69.9 pounds. His
appetite for food has never been very satisfactory, but in spite
of this his general health has been good.
The author's original write-up of Child C terminated at this point,
in 1923. But during the following 16 years she remained in constant
contact with C, interviewing him and testing him periodically, and
in many ways sponsoring his secondary, collegiate, and professional
education. Many pages of these records are in her files, accompanied
by collections of C's work, newspaper notices, correspondence,
photographs, and data from further interviews with the parents.
It seems best to summarize these records chronologically, and with
some brevity, since it would not be at all feasible to reproduce
the material in full.
October 15, 1923
C filled out an "Interest Blank" at P. S. 165, Manhattan, where he
was then in the eighth grade, at the age of 10 years 4 months. He
was at this time, or had been, class monitor and editor of the
class paper. "Likes and dislikes" were expressed, strongest
"preference" of subjects, and judgment of "what is easiest."
Liked very much were literature, reading, spelling, mathematics,
French, games and sports, and geography.
Most disliked were painting, water colors, etc.; penmanship;
"Easiest" and also "best liked" was English literature.
Preferred kind of reading was encyclopedias, biography, current
events, and history.
Things most like to do were studying, general reading, sedentary
games, playing alone.
Most disliked things to do were using tools or working with
apparatus and machinery, drawing, dancing, practicing
[[This dislike for manual activities remained with C. In later
years, although his drawings in science courses were admirable,
he made an unsatisfactory laboratory assistant when set to using
the typewriter or mimeograph, or to drawing graphs and charts
not for his own use.]]
FIG. 2. A SKETCH BY c.
[The sketch is a bit of a doodle, headed by the word "GOSSIP,"
followed by the first row, which begins with a pair of
shoes set toe-to-toe (the phrase, "OF SHOES" is set to the
right of them), and a large steam ship ("AND SHIPS", to the
left). The next row consists of a stick of wax (labeled "WAX",
with "AND SEALING WAX" above it). The last row beings with an
open head of cabbage ("AND CABBAGES" to the right), and has a
crown at the end ("AND KINGS", is set to the left of it).]
FIG. 3. A PAGE FROM ONE OF C'S NOTEBOOKS.
[This figure shows two biological diagrams of what appears to
be a cross-section of the mucus membrane of the esophagus. The
following regions of the first are labeled (in descending
order): tunica mucosa; tela submucosa; tunica muscularis; and
tunica adventitia. The following areas of these regions are
labeled (also in descending order): papilla of tunica propria;
epitheum, tunica propria; lamina muscularis mucosae; ducts
of deep oesophageal gland; blood vesses of submucuous layer;
portion of myenteric plexus, showing ganglion cells; smooth
muscle; striated muscle; and branch of vagus nerve. It conforms
with modern diagrams of the esophagus.]
[The second diagram appears to be a cross-section of the
intestinal wall, and is horizontally oriented. The left region
is labeled "gastric pit," and the right region, "Tubule of
gland." Areas of the left region are labeled "Lumen," "Mucus
(goblet) epithelial cells," and "Tunica propria." The right
region has labels of "parietal cells," "chief cells" and
also a separate cross-sectional picture labeled "tubule cut
transversely." It conforms with modern diagrams of this area
of the intestinal wall.]
At this time the Special Opportunity Class teacher (P. S. 165,
Manhattan) rated C, on a school information blank, for a long
array of "physical, mental, social, and moral traits," using
a 7-step rating scale (1 being the highest scale).
Ratings of 1 were given for—
Truthfulness Common sense
Desire to know General intelligence
Ratings of 2 or 3 were given for—
Prudence and forethought Conscientiousness
Self-confidence Permanency of moods
Will power and persever- Desire to excel
ance Cheerfulness and optimism
Freedom from vanity and Leadership
egotism Sensitiveness to approval or
Sympathy and tenderness disapproval
Ratings of below 3 (average or below) were given for—
Health Fondness for large groups
Physical energy Popularity with other children
Musical appreciation Generosity and unselfishness
Appreciation of beauty Mechanical ingenuity
Sense of humor
September 15, 1924
At this time the author (L. S. H.), who had known C for two
years, independently rated him on this same array of traits
by the same rating scale technique.
Ratings of 1 were given for—
Prudence and forethought Sympathy and tenderness
Will power and persever- Truthfulness
ance Desire to know
Appreciation of beauty Originality
Sense of humor Common sense
Desire to excel General intelligence
Ratings of 2 or 3 were given for—
Cheerfulness and optimism Sensitiveness to approval or
Permanency of moods disapproval
Leadership Freedom from vanity or ego-
Popularity with other chil- tism
dren Mechanical ingenuity
Ratings of below 3 (average or less) were given for—
Health Generosity and unselfishness
Physical energy Fondness for large groups
The only striking differences between the two sets of ratings
are in sense of humor and appreciation of beauty, in which C
was rated low by the teacher and high by the author. It appears
to the Editor, who also has a more or less intimate acquaintance
with C, that a composite of these ratings, made when the child
was 11 years old, gave an adequate portrayal of him as an adult
April 18, 1925
At the age of 11 years 10 months, C was again given the
Stanford-Binet examination by L. S. H. His score was 18 years
6 months, and he was recorded as being "no longer measured"
by this test.
January 16, 1926
At this time C was in a private high school, being then 12 years
7 months old.
On these data his score in Army Alpha (Form 5) was 195
He was given an early form of the IER Test for Superior Adults,
CAVD, and the score is given as 43.5 (perhaps this should be 435).
The comment of the scorer in the Institute of Educational Research
was: "This puts the boy well into the college graduate class. He
excels about 75 per cent of the Yale Law freshmen."
January 26, 1927
C was now age 13 years 7 months, and he was in the second year
of high school.
He was given the IER Scale CAVD for Superior Adults in two
installments, beginning January 30 and finishing February 13.
The score was 435 points, and the comment is, "As good as best
Yale Law School freshmen and as high as top 4 per cent to 5 per
cent of Teachers College candidates for M. A. degree."
Also in January, 1927, in the psychological laboratory of Barnard
College, C was given by the present Editor an array of tests
for which norms were available for Barnard freshmen, from the
work of F. E. Carothers (Psychological Examination of College
Students). The scores made are in the following tabulation
expressed in terms of the PE of the distribution of 100 Barnard
SCORES MADE BY C AT AGE of 13 YEARS 7 MONTHS IN TERMS OF PE OF
DISTRIBUTION OF 100 BARNARD FRESHMEN
Unless otherwise indicated, the score is "plus."
TEST C's SCORE
Word Building (AEIRLP) 3.22 PE
Completion (Trabue A) 3.09
Directions (Woodworth-Wells) 2.78
Word Recall (Mulhall) 2.72
Analogies (Woodworth-Wells) 1.66
Logical Recall (Proverbs) 0.49
Naming Opposites (Woodworth-Wells) 0.16
Substitution (Digit-Form) 0.07
Color Naming (Woodworth-Wells) -0.06
Cancellation (Digits) -0.15
Word Recognition (Mulhall) -0.27
Logical Recognition (Proverbs) -0.64
Number Checking -0.81
Verb-Object Associations -0.86
On those of the above subtests most nearly like the content
of present general intelligence examinations, C is clearly
above the standard for the freshmen group, being in fact at
the very top of the list, about 3 PE above average.
Most of the things on which C scored (slightly) below average
are simple and more or less mechanical. This result may perhaps
be confirmed by his score in Stenquist Assembling Test, Series
I, given on the same day. His T-score was 58, placing him only
a little above average (67th centile) among 13-year-old children.
It will be recalled that C was uniformly rated low in "mechanical
ability" and also
expressed a lack of interest in "working with machinery."
On this day C was also given the Rosanoff High Standard Frequency
Test (Word Association) based on Class A words only. The available
standards (Rosanoff) and also C's score
are given in the following:
Fifth grade, total value 15
First year high school 100
First year college 375
Master's degree 600
Starred men of science 800
C's score 823
August 23, 1931
At the age of 18 years 2 months, C was in his third year of college
(Columbia). On this date he was again given IER Intelligence
Scale CAVD, Levels M, N, O, P, Q, and his score was 446 points,
which is as high as any score recorded on this scale.
December 26, 1932
At the age of 19 years 6 months, in the fourth year of college,
C scored 210 points on Army Alpha, Form 8, a score equaled only
by the top 1 per cent of college seniors.
LATER SCHOOL HISTORY
Subsequent to the Special Opportunity Class, in 1923, in P. S. 165,
Manhattan, C completed his high school work, first in a private
school and later in a public high school (George Washington)
in New York City. During these years he received various academic
honors and prizes, or medals, for proficiency.
In the high school from which he was graduated in 1929, he was
vice-president of the French Club. He won a city-wide contest
in French composition, for which he received a medal. He was
elected to Arista, the high school honor society, and ranked
third in his class upon graduation, with an average grade of 94
(the two better were 96 and 94.5). In connection with his high
school work he was awarded a state scholarship of $150.
Upon graduating from high school, C applied for and competed for
a Pulitzer scholarship, and he was awarded a scholarship as the
highest-ranking boy among the competitors. This enabled him to
enter Columbia College, to which he was admitted in 1929.
He was graduated from Columbia, taking the premedical course,
in 1933, being elected to Phi Beta Kappa. During the previous year
he also won a current events contest conducted by a metropolitan
newspaper, with a prize of $150.
C was admitted to the New York University Medical College, from
which he was graduated with the degree of M.D. He is now (1940)
serving his internship in hospitals in New York City.
 C is now, 17 years after the recording of this comment, engaged
in the profession of medicine. EDITOR
Child D is a boy, born March 9, 1910.  He was first described
by Terman, who tested him in 1917. D, like E, was brought to the
attention of the writer by the principal of the Horace Mann
Kindergarten (Teachers College, Columbia University) as being
a child of remarkable endowment. He was at that time 7 years
4 months old and had a Mental Age of 13 years 7 months, with
an IQ of 184 (S-B).
D is descended from Russian Jews in the paternal branch and from
English Jews in the maternal branch.
Father. D's father immigrated to America at an early age. He
is a high school graduate and was a student of engineering but
abandoned these studies in the third year to do newspaper work,
and later entered the advertising business in a large city.
His leisure is spent in writing, and he has published a number
of books, including three novels and a philosophical drama dealing
with religion. His first book, a novel, was published when he
was 21 years old. He was 28 when D was born.
Mother. D's mother went to school for only a few weeks and has
been largely self-taught. Before marriage she was statistician
and registrar in a large philanthropic organization. She has
published stories, reviews, and poems, and a book on education.
She has always taken part personally in the education of D.
She was 26 years old when D was born. D is an only child.
Noteworthy relatives. Noteworthy relatives beyond the first
degree of kinship include the following: a chief rabbi of Moscow,
who was exiled for aiding the Nihilists; a distinguished lawyer;
a man who by his own efforts became a millionaire; a concert
pianist; a composer and virtuoso; a writer; and "a relative
decorated for science in Poland."
The maternal great-grandfather was a famous rabbi who compiled
and published a Jewish calendar covering a period of 414 years.
This calendar contains, in regular order, the exact period of every
new moon's appearance, the sabbaths, festivals with scriptural
portions for each, and the equinoxes of the solar year according
to the prescribed and authorized Jewish laws and corresponding
to dates in the common era. The tabulations have been carefully
compiled from various works of ancient rabbinical astronomers,
with annotations in Hebrew and English.
This rabbi was also the great-grandfother of the four first cousins
of D, whose intelligence quotients have been taken, and who
rated 156, 150, 130, and 122, respectively. A second cousin
in the maternal line yielded at the age of 6 years an IQ of 157.
D cut his first tooth at 4 months of age. He could say words at
8 months and talked in sentences at 11 months. In November, 1910
(8 months), he said "little boy" when his shadow appeared on the
wall. D could stand, holding to chairs, at 9 months of age, and
he walked alone at 11 to 12 months. At the age of 18 months,
while sitting on his mother's lap as she sat before a typewriter,
he learned to read by looking at the letters. The records kept
by the mother indicate that he "learned to read and count in 1911."
One such record reads, "October 11, counts all day long."
At 8 months of age D strung in succession 5 yellow and 5 red balls
and then began on blue, when the activity was interrupted. In
March, 1912, he was using words to express relationships, such
as "will" and "shall" (correctly), "but," "and," "my," "mine."
At 2 years 6 months his vocabulary (incomplete) was 1690 words.
D's earliest memory goes back to 2 years of age, when he saw a rat
and thought it was "a little brownie." An example of the quality
of the questions asked by D in the first 36 months of life is one
he asked in October, 1911 (19 months): "Has every door two knobs?"
"Why?" His mother reports: "He was always asking unexpected
This child was not placed in school at the usual age because
he did not fit into the school organization. At the time he should
have entered kindergarten D could read fluently and could perform
complicated arithmetical processes. His intellectual interests were
far beyond those of even the highly selected children of a private
kindergarten. Therefore, his parents kept him out of school and
obtained the companionship of other children for him by sending
him to a playground.
D was first seen by the present writer [[L. S. H.]] while he was
attending this playground, in the year 1916-1917. It is very
interesting to note how D made social contacts with the other
children while pursuing his own interests. For instance, he
published a playground newspaper called "The Weekly Post." 
He composted, edited, and typed this paper, issued at intervals,
and it had a regular playground circulation.
TRAITS OF CHARACTER
No faulty traits of character have been ascribed to D by parents
or teachers interviewed. He was rated for character by Terman's
method under Terman's direction, with a result of 1.93 from
parents' estimates and 1.90 from teachers' estimates (the median
score, for comparison with average children, being 3.00). D is thus
rated by parents and teachers alike as well above the average
in character. The desirable traits most often mentioned are refusal
to lie, loyalty to standards once adopted, readiness to admit
just criticisms, unselfishness, and amiability.
General intelligence tests of D show the following results:
DATE BIRTHDAY STANFORD- ARMY ALPHA THORNDIKE TEST
AGE BINET POINTS FOR FRESHMEN
OF D (POINTS)
MA IQ D Norm D Norm
Aug., 1917, 7-4 13-7 184
Jan. 29, 1921 10-11 Passed all 185 —
for Super. (Form 5)
June, 1922 12-3 Adult. 106 70-80
It is thus seen how greatly D suprasses the average child in mental
tests. In the five years which have elapsed since D's first test
there has been no tendencey to become mediocre. At the age of
7 years he showed an IQ of 184; at the age of 11 years he exceeded
by a wide margin on Army Alpha the median score for postgraduate
students in first-rate universities; at 12 years he far exceeded
the median score of college freshmen on Thorndike's test for that
group. The validity of these scores is consistently borne out by
the school history.
The following measurements, as of May, 1922, were made in the
gymnasium of the high school attended by D: 
WEIGHT (LBS.) HEIGHT (IN.) HT.-WT. COEFF.
D NORM D NORM D NORM
76.0 82.8 64.0 57.7 1.19 1.44
D's health has always been excellent and no physical defects
are known to his parents. He is rated as very stable nervously.
His slenderness has been rated as a defect by one examiner;
although he greatly exceeds the norm in height, he falls below
in weight. He is therefore very tall and slender in appearance,
which is characteristic of his father and uncles.
Diversions. At the age of 7 years D's favorite amusements were
skating, "Mechano," reading, playing ball, writing, tabulating,
solitaire, chess, and numerical calculation in all its forms.
As development has proceeded, he has continued most of these
recreations, turning more and more, however, to games of intellectual
skill. He likes other children and likes to be with them; he
has established relations with them by editing newspapers for them,
teaching them about nature, and the like. Play in the sense of mere
purposeless sensorimotor activity has not been enjoyed by him.
Imaginary land. From the age of about 4 years to about the age
of 7, D was greatly interested in an imaginary land which he called
"Borningtown." He spent many hours peopling Borningtown, laying out
roads, drawing maps of its terrain, composing and recording its
language (Bornish), and writing its history and literature. He
composed a lengthy dictionary—scores of pages—of the Bornish
language. The origin of the words "Borningtown" and "Bornish"
is not known. It seems possible that D's imaginary land may have
arisen out of the mystery of being born.
Gift for music. D has had piano lessons for several years, and
he has displayed remarkable ability to deal with the mathematical
aspects of music. A sample is shown of his musical composition,
illustrating his understanding of musical symbols and his ability
to interpret through this medium. He composed music before he had
any instruction in playing musical instruments. He read certain
booklets which came with Ampico and decided to compose. He can
compose music which he cannot himself play.
FIG 4. PART OF A COMPOSITION BY D AT AGE 8 YEARS 7 MONTHS.
[The composition is titled "Op. 1, Dog's Dance," in A Major,
with a "Tempo 75," "Moderato," in 8/8 time. The composition is
marked by 16th-note flourishes, eighth-note triplets, each stave
occasionally briefly changing from their original clef to
opposite clef (e.g., from treble to bass clef or vice versa) and
back again, a dedication ("Dedicaded [sic] to 'Brutus' my aunt's
dog,"), and the following directions to the pianist, mirroring
the dog's activity, appearing under the bass clef: "Asleep"
(1st measure), "Bell rings" (2nd measure), "Gets up" and "barks"
(3rd measure) "scampers" (4th measure), "scampers back" (6th
measure), "rests" (measures 7 & 8), "Hears footsteps" (9th
measure), "trots" (end of 10th measure), "Ball is thrown"
and "Scampers after it" (11th measure), "Ball stops" (13th
measure), "He foosle-woosles it" (14th measure), "Trots back"
and "Drops it" (15th measure), "Regrets it" and "Trots" (16th
measure), and "Drops it" (17th measure). There are very few
errors in notation for a hand-written composition of this
complexity; the errors that are made appear to be simple
oversights, such as using quarter-notes in a triplet instead of
eighth notes, using a half note when only a quarter beat remains
in the measure, and the like.]
Gifts for form and color in drawing. D's talent for color,
for drawing and design, has been marked from the time he could
wield a pencil. His drawings, paintings, and designs would fill
a book by themselves. A sample of his original work at the age
of 10 years is reproduced.
FIG. 5. DRAWN BY D AT AGE 9 YEARS 9 MONTHS.
[This is a drawing of a small bird. The beak is somewhat
elongated, the legs straight, and the eye quite large, appearing
similar to simplified / stylized animals on a crest.]
This conventionalized bird is a fragment from his decoration
for the chest in which he kept his "scientific work" at that
time. This oblong chest he painted Chinese red, with three figures
on the front. These were the conventionalized bird here shown, a
conventionalized nest with eggs, and a conventionalized butterfly—
all painted in striking combinations of yellow, blue, green,
D loves color, and one of his favorite playthings has been a
sample folder of silk buttonhole twists of three hundred shades.
Between the ages of 8 and 9 years he would go over and over these,
classifying the colors in various ways, scoring them for beauty,
and renaming them to satisfy his appreciation of them. Some of
these names will give an idea of his appreciation:
spotted pale dark darking green
darkling green regular green
shame blue paper white
spoiled pink apron blue
soft light pink beau yellow
meadow beauty pink visitor's green
cat black alien white
royalest red feeling blue
One of his favorite games (aged 8 to 9 years) was to assign
a numerical value to each of the 300 shades and then to list
them for "highest honors." "Royalest red" nearly always won
in these contests.
Origination of new concepts and new words. From earliest
childhood D has felt a need for concepts and for words to express
them that are not to be found in dictionaries. His occupation
in this field he calls "wordical work." Some examples are recorded
by his mother in the following note dated December, 1916.
Was having his dinner and being nearly finished said he
didn't care to eat any more, as he had a pain in his actum
pelopthis. He explained that his actum pelopthis, actum
quotatus, serbalopsis, and boobalicta are parts of the body
where you sometimes have queer feelings; they don't serve any
purpose. He said he also had a place called the boobalunksis, or
source of headaches; that the hair usually springs out from
around the herkadone; that the perpalensis is the place where
socks end, and the bogalegus is the place where legs and tummy
come together. He also named one other part, the cobaliscus or
smerbalooble, whose function is not explained. The definitions
are exactly as he gave them in each instance.
On February 23, 1917, his mother wrote:
He has not referred to these places since. I do not know where
he got the idea for such names, unless possibly from The Water
Babies. He would probably refer them to some Bornish source.
The invention and classification of the Bornish language already
referred to is another example of D's "wordical work." He has also
invented hundreds of words which have not been included as Bornish.
An example of his hand-writing, illustrative of words he has
invented, classified, and recorded for pleasure, is here shown.
FIG 6. ONE OF D'S VERBAL INVENTIONS.
[The word defined is written as "Ob(b)iquicki(e)us" (the
"e" is circled, perhaps suggesting a later revision to combine
the "o" and "e") The definition which follows is: "Obiquickeous
is a cube sensibilitant word. One of the most important words.
It is an adj. and a noun."]
Invention of games. D has invented many games. To illustrate
this aspect of his mental capacity, there are his designs for
three-handed and four-handed checkers.  D held that these would
be better games than two-handed checkers because they are more
complicated. A description of the games invented by D, together
with his mathematical calculations concerning the chances and
probabilities in each, would fill many pages.
Calculation and mathematical ingenuity. It is difficult to
say that D is more gifted in one mental function or group of
functions than in others, for his ability is so extraordinary
in all performances that without means of measurement one cannot
tell in which he deviates farthest from the average.
However, it is to be observed that the quantitative aspects of
experience have always played a very striking role in all his
performances. Even in dealing with color he turned to mathematics
and made his values quantitative. Throughout childhood he spent
hours playing with numerical relationships. These calculations
cover hundreds of pages. There is reproduced here a sample of such
work, chosen at random from scores of like material. There is no
doubt in the mind of the present writer [[L. S. H.]] that D could,
by practice with short-cut methods, easily become a lightning
calculator. By age of 12 years D had finished college entrance
requirements in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry,
all with high marks.
FIG. 7. Playing with numbers, Child D, age 7, to find what
number under 100 has the greatest number of factors, counts
up factors in each and awards "highest honors" to 96.
[This figure lists the numbers 86-100, and shows the numbers
factored. The winning numbers he included are 96 (6 [factors]),
48 (5), 24 (4), and 16 (4). It appears that he ranked the
"winning" numbers not according to the actual numbers of the
places (i.e., 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th places), but rather by the
order of the primes representing them, i.e., 2 is first place,
3 is second place, 5 third, and 7 fourth. Additionally, the
notes "H. C. F" and "L C. M." are to the left of the 96 and 16,
respectively, likely indicating "highest common factor" and
"lowest common multiple" of the factors of the "winning"
Tendency to classify and diagram. To classify the data of
experience has always been one of D's chief interests. One such
tabulation was of parts of speech in various stories and poems. 
Figure 8 is a sample taken from many pages of reclassification of
birds. The caption, "Proper Scientific Name," represents the
name considered by D to be better than those now recognized by
ornithologists. His classifications of words, numbers, colors,
musical notes, objects, and so forth would fill a large volume.
He often constructs diagrams to clarify or condense meaning.
FIG. 8. A SAMPLE OF D'S CLASSIFICATIONS
[PART 1 OF 2, Columns 1-3].
Classification of birds seen in summer 1918. Classified in Feb.,
1919. "Proper Scientific Name" is the improved name given by D—.
Found Name Genus or, Scientific
Here (Popular) [Species,] etc. N a m e
* Towhee Species Erythopthalmus
X Wh.-eyed towhee Sub-Species E. Alleni
X Green-tailed " Genus Oreospiza
X Blue Grosbeak Species Caerulea
* Indigo Bunting " Cyanea
X Painted " " Ciris
X Lark Bunting " Calamospiza
* Barn Swallow " Erythrogastra
* Tree " Genus Iridoprocne
* Red-eyed Vireo Species Olivacea
Wood Warblers Family Mniotiltidae
* Black & White
Warbler Species Varia
* Yellow Warbler Species Astiva
Marsh Wren Genus Cistothorus
* Red-br. Nuthatch Species Canadensis
FIG. 8. A SAMPLE OF D'S CLASSIFICATIONS
[PART 2 OF 2, Columns 1-4 ("Scientific name" repeated)].
Scientific Name Proper Scientific name Equal
Erythopthalmus Pipilo Eryth. **?
E. Alleni P. Leucophtalmus ***
Oreospiza Pipilo **?
Caerulea Cyanea ***
Cyanea Caerulea ***
Ciris Pictus **?
Calamospiza Melanocorys Melanospiza Leucoptera ***
Erythrogastra Leucurus ***
Iridoprocne Hirundo ***
Olivacea Erythropthalmus Yes
Mniotiltidae Dendroicidae **?
Varia Striata **?
Astiva Xantho or Auro Yes
Cistothorus Telmatotytes ?
Canadensis Borealis Yes
[no previous columns] Erythrogastra **?
Interest in science. By the age of 10 years D's chief interest
had come to center in science and it continued to center there. His
classifications of moths, birds, and the like and his observations
of their life cycles are "monumental." There are volumes of these
recorded observations as in Figure 9.
FIG 9. ONE OF D'S RECORDS OF OBSERVATIONS. LIFE CYCLES OF BIRDS.
[Here, the species of birds are listed in a column, with
months of the year listed and spread out horizontally, with the
first, 15th, and last days of the month underneath each month,
and sometimes the 10th and 20th also. The species include:
Holbcel's Grebe; Horned Grebe; Pied Billed Grebe; Loon; Loon
Black-Thr.; Loon Red-Thr.; Puffin; Black Guillenot; Murre;
Murre Brunnich's; Razor-billed Ank; Dovekie; Skua; Jaeger
Pomarine; Jaeger, Parasitic; Jaeger, Long-tailed; Gull, Ivory;
Gull, Kittawake; Gull, Glaucous; Gull, Iceland; Gull, Kumliens;
Gull, Gr. Bl.-Backed; Gull, Herring; Gull, Ring-Bileed; Gull,
Laughing; Gull, Bonaparte's; Gull, Little-Casual; Gull, Sabine;
Tern, Gull-Billed; Tern, Caspian; Tern, Royal; Tern, Cabot's;
Tern, Trudeau's; Tern, Forster's; Tern, Common; Tern, Arctic;
Tern, Roseate; Tern, Least; Tern, Sooty; Tern, Black. Each bird
has a line or lines to the right of its name, corresponding to
the times of year.]
Figures 10 and 11 illustrate his interest in physical science.
They have been taken from his notebooks and state problems which
occurred spontaneously to him and for which he tried experimentally
to find solutions. During a series of experiments "to determine the
path of a tack," it is reported that "the house was full of tacks"
which had been used in attempting solutions.
FIG. 10. COPY OF WORK DONE BY D "FOR FUN," MARCH 28, 1921,
AGED 11 YEARS 1 MONTH.
of the problem: "Determine the appearance of a finger, F, to two
eyes, E#R# and E#L#, focussed on a pole R at point P#S# along
lines E#R#R and E#L#R."
[Diagram of solution.]
Thru [sic] R pass plane PL // to the plane of the eyes. Draw a
line from E#L# (which is nearer to F than E#R#) to F, cutting
PL in O. Draw E#R#O; thru F pass a plane // to PL and crossing
E#R#O in A. Thru A pass F' // F.
F' and F are the positions of F to E#R# and E#L#.
So it can be shown that 2 other eyes would see F in positions F
.'. 4 eyes focused on R see F as F, F, F' and F''.
FIG. 11. THE PATH OF A TACK. WORK DONE BY D AT AGE 11 YEARS.
of the determination of the course of a freed tack, T, connected
with other tacks by rubber bands.
A. Fig. 1.
[Diagram including points T, T'; band B; and ray L.]
When connected to a tack T' by band B.
Draw T[,] T'[,] or L.
T freed will travel along L, answer.
B. Fig. 2.
[Diagram including points T, T', T''; bands B, B'; and ray L.]
When connected to 2 tacks T' and T'' by 2 bands B and B'.
Answer: Along L, the bisector of T' and TTT''.
C. Fig. 3.
[Diagram including points T, T', T''; band B; and ray L.]
The same as B, but only 1 band B.
Answer same as to B.
D. Fig. 4.
[Diagram including points T, T#1#, T', T''; and ray L.]
When connected to 3 tacks by any number of bands.
Draw T'T#1#, and treat as in B and C.
In the September following his ninth birthday D entered upon
formal instruction in the junior high school. In the autumn
following his tenth birthday he entered senior high school, from
which he was graduated at the age of 12 years, with a scholastic
record which won for him two scholarships.
He was admitted to a large Eastern college at the age of 12 years
6 months (1922-1923), and made a superior record throughout
the course. It was very interesting to see that D continued
to discover means of obtaining social contacts in spite of the
great difficulties due to his extreme youth and his intellectual
deviation. Thus it is not easy to plan how a 12-year-old boy might
successfully participate in college athletics when the median age
of college freshmen is over 18 years, but this problem was not
too difficult for D. He presented himself to compete for the post
of coxswain on the freshmen crew where, other things, being equal,
light weight is an advantage.
He was graduated from college, with Phi Beta Kappa honors, in 1926,
at the age of 16 years 2 months. At that time he was ambitious for
a career in science.
D undertook graduate work, with distinction, in the field of
chemistry. He became an industrial chemist with an important
position in the research phases of the motion-picture industry.
Word has been received of his death in September, 1938.
 This child was described in some detail in Chapter IX of
Gifted Children, 1926, and the earlier part of the present
account is taken from that chapter. In the later part additional
items are given, taken from the author's 1924 manuscript, and there
are a few editorial additions.
 A facsimile of a page from this paper is reproduced on page
244 of the author's book, Gifted Children (The Macmillan Company,
New York; 1926).
 A note shows that on March 16, 1926, at just 16 years of age, D's
height was 71.5 inches and his weight 115 pounds, stripped. EDITOR
 See Gifted Children, pages 246-247.
 Ibid., page 245.
Child E when first seen was a boy 8 years 4 months of age. He was
born June 17, 1908, and the first psychological measurements were
made November 4, 1916. The circumstances that led to acquaintance
with him were as follows:
A child of exceptional intelligence was desired for demonstration
before a class at Teachers College, Columbia University, engaged in
the study of the psychology and treatment of exceptional children.
 E was suggested because of his remarkable school record.
The consent of the parents was secured and the psychological
examination was made before a class of about thirty students.
This was not, of course, the ideal circumstance under which to
perform a mental test for scientific record. The presumption would
be that the audience would tend to reduce the child's performance,
so that whatever error there might be from this source would be in
the direction of making the child appear less exceptional than he
really was. Of course no one knew beforehand that such a phenomenal
record was about to be made; for had such an unusual result been
expected this child would have been kept for examination under more
favorable laboratory conditions.  For an account of this
testing, see under "Mental measurements," [this chapter.]
Little or nothing is known of E's paternal relatives. His father
was separated from them before age of recollection.
Of E's maternal ancestry fairly complete genealogical records
are available.  Five persons bearing the surname of the mother
settled in New England before 1650. These were probably all
related to each other. The individual who was E's direct ancestor
first appeared in New England in 1639 and settled at Cambridge,
Massachusetts. This family attained great distinction in the six
generations recorded in the New England genealogy. A son of the
first ancestor in America was a royal councilor and the greatest
merchant of his day in New England. A grandson was royal governor
of Massachusetts, and later of New Jersey; he was also a patron
of learning. A great-grandson was chief justice and lieutenant
governor of Nova Scotia. A great-great-grandson was a royal
councilor of Nova Scotia; some of his children settled again
in England, of whom a son was a distinguished naval officer,
attaining the rank of rear admiral in the British navy. These
genealogical records, and other records of New England families
which intermarried with this family, have not been brought up
The maternal surname appears first about 1176 in the records of
England, and was apparently Norman-French in origin. The remote
male ancestor  from whom the mother of E derives the middle
part of her maiden name was born in Providence, Rhode Island,
March 11, 1753, a descendant of early colonial settlers in America.
He was graduated from Rhode Island College (now Brown University)
in 1773 and later took a medical degree at the University of
Pennsylvania. In 1783 he was appointed Professor of Materia
Medica and Botany at Brown. In 1819 he was elected a delegate
from the Rhode Island Medical Society, of which he was vice
president, to the convention which formulated the National
Pharmacopoeia. He took an active part in the organization and
proceedings of the Rhode Island Society for the Encouragement of
Domestic Industry. In 1824, with his son, William, he published
The Farmer's Guide, "a comprehensive work on husbandry and
gardening." He participated in the Proceedings of the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences, and delivered many lectures on
botany. He died at the age of 81 years, leaving among descendants
a large proportion of persons in the learned professions.
Father. E's father, while still a college undergraduate, produced
a Latin play which was performed in a Boston theater. Since
graduation from college he has maintained a keen interest in
educational matters. He organized a special library of insurance
in Boston which is now used as a reference library all over the
world. He is at present [] engaged in business; has written
several books; is a university lecturer on insurance; has served
on many important city commissions. Unusual mental endowment is
clearly indicated by the fact that he rose entirely by his own
direction and effort to a post of honor in an intricate field
of knowledge. He was 45 years old when E was born.
Mother. E's mother was a qualified physician and a specialist in
bacteriology. For some years she held a position as bacteriologist
in one of the municipal departments of New York City. After
the birth of her son she devoted a great deal of attention to
his education and welfare, keeping records of his development,
supervising his health, and acting as his teacher. She often
accompanied him to school, sometimes registered for courses
along with him, or herself took courses calculated to make her
more useful in his training. She gave an exceptional amount of
attention to his formal educational program and cultivated with
him numerous extracurricular intellectual activities. During E's
college career the two were often seen together on the campus.
EARLY HISTORY 
E was his parents' fourth child, three girls having been born
before him, all having died. Birth was difficult. He was bottle
fed. His parents were both in middle life at the time of his
birth. He cut his first tooth at 8 months—a lateral incisor.
He walked at thirteen months.
Up to the age of 2 years E did not say a word. He then began to
talk, and before he was 3 years old was able to read such books as
Peter Rabbit. Conversation with him was carried on in German,
French, Italian, and English equally. When he did begin to talk he
could say in these four languages all the words he knew.
Health. E's health has been exceptionally good from infancy. He
has had no disorders or diseases except measles, and an occasional
attack of indigestion. He is exceptionally free from colds.
Physical measurements. The figures given below as averages
are for a boy of 8 years 4 months who is the same height as E.
The average height for a boy of this age is 49.7 inches. The
measurements here given for E were transcribed from the gymnasium
records of the school he was then attending.
CHILD E AVERAGE FOR
MEASUREMENTS OCTOBER AGE 8 YEARS 4 MONTHS
30, 1916 AT HEIGHT 54.3 INCHES
Weight 89.3 pounds 70.5 pounds
Height 54.3 inches 54.3 pounds
Girth of chest 31.8 inches 25.6 inches
Girth of chest,
expanded 32.4 inches 26.8 inches
Lung capacity 100 cubic inches 112.0 cubic inches
forearm 30.9 pounds 39.7 pounds
forearm 22.0 pounds 37.5 pounds
It will thus be seen that E is considerably larger than the average
boy of his age, though of less lung capacity and forearm strength.
Other characteristics. E has clear, well-molded features. He
does not like physical exercise of any kind but has had special
attention along this line, such as lessons in swimming, dancing,
and horseback riding. He sleeps eleven hours and goes to sleep
immediately upon going to bed.
E went to kindergarten from the age of 3 years to the age of 5
years. From 5 to 6 he was out of school on account of school
organization (he could not be accepted in the first grade). From
6 to 7 years he attended an open-air, ungraded school and did the
work of the second to the fourth grades. From 7 to 8 years he was
in the fourth grade in regular school classes, and at the time of
first observation by the writer, when he was 8 years old, he was
in the sixth grade.
He was thus three full years accelerated in school grading,
according to age-grade norms, but was still three years retarded
in school according to his Mental Age. (Terman makes special note
of the fact that superior children are almost invariably retarded
in school grading according to Mental Age.) His mother stated that
under private tutors E had at this time covered the work of
the seventh and nearly all the work of the eighth grade. His
school standing, on his last report preceding this initial account,
was as follows (the highest attainable rating is 1, the lowest, 4):
Courtesy 1 Composition 2 Penmanship 3
Promptness 1 Grammar or Industrial Arts 1 
System 1 Language 2 Fine Arts 4 
Spelling 2 Mathematics 3  Music 2
Reading or Geography 1 Physical Educa-
Literature 1 History 1 tion 4
In addition to his regular school work E, by the time he was
8 years old, had covered the following special work in language
and mathematics, either with a tutor or with his mother:
Mathematics: Algebra as far as equations; geometry.
Latin: Partial knowledge of the four declensions (he has been
taught by the direct, informal method, and reads easy Latin).
Greek: Worked out the alphabet for himself from an astronomical
chart, between the ages of 5 and 6 years.
French: Equal to about two years in the ordinary school.
German: Ordinary conversation.
Spanish: Attended class with his mother—reads and understands.
Italian: Reading knowledge and simple conversation.
Portugese: Asked his mother to take this course at the Columbia
Summer School because he could not be registered himself.
Hebrew: A beginning.
Anglo-Saxon: A beginning.
Astronomy: He has worked out all the constellations from
MacCready, and displays a very great interest in this subject.
One evening this winter he noticed a new planet near the
Twins. He said it was Saturn but his mother thought it was
Mars. E went home, worked the position out from the chart
and found it to be Saturn.
Miscellaneous: He has a great interest in nature, wherever found,
and is already able to use Apgar intelligently.
His writing is not equal to his other accomplishments. He is
very slow at it and for this reason dictates most of his "home
work" to a stenographer.
History is his chief and absorbing interest among school subjects.
At the time E was first tested, at Teachers College, Columbia
University, in November, 1916, the Stanford revision of the
Binet-Simon measuring scale was used for the determination of
the child's mental level.
General intelligence. The examiner [[L. S. H.]] began with the
"ball-in-the-field" test. E responded at once with the superior
solution, thus giving a preliminary cue to the quality of his mind,
and the examiner proceeded immediately with the other tests at
the 12-year level of intellect. E passed all the 12-year tests
with facility and ease, giving responses of excellent quality.
From the 12-year level the examiner then worked forward in all
the higher levels through Superior Adult. This is, of course,
a long examination, and in view of the actual age of the child
it was deemed best to give the tests at two separate sittings,
when it was seen that he would cover the whole upper range of
the scale. The examination was therefore accomplished in two
sittings of about fifty minutes each. The final record of E
shows that he measures on the scale as follows:
Levels 1 year
to 7 years YEARS MONTHS
Superior Adult 12
Total 15 7
Since his actual age is 8 years 4 months and his Mental Age is
15 years 7 months, his IQ is 187. On the curve of the distribution
of intellect he stands eleven times the probable error (11 PE)
removed from the norm, a position occupied by but one child in
more than a million. He stands as far removed from the average
in the direction of superiority as an idiot stands removed from
the average in the direction of inferiority.
An analysis of his performance shows that E had extraordinary
appreciation of the exact use of words and of the shades of
difference between words. He gave correct meanings for 64 words
out of the 100 in the vocabulary test. His vocabulary thus includes
11,520 words. The score of the Average Adult is 65 words. Thus he
just missed scoring on this Average Adult test. Samples of his
definitions are as follows:
scorch—is what happens to a thing when exposed to great heat.
quake—is a kind of movement, unintended.
ramble—is a walk taken for pleasure.
nerve—is a thing you feel by—for instance, cold.
majesty—is a word used to address a king—your majesty.
Mars—is a planet.
peculiarity—is something you do that nobody else does.
mosaic—is a picture made by many small pieces of marble.
bewail—is to be extremely sorrowful.
tolerate—is to allow others to do what you don't like yourself.
lotus—is a kind of flower.
harpy—is a kind of half-bird, half-woman, referred to in Virgil.
fen—is a kind of marsh.
laity—is not clergy.
ambergris—it comes from a whale.
straw—the stalk of a cereal plant.
lecture—someone giving a very long talk about something to an
E also has a prodigious ability for comprehending and formulating
abstract ideas, and for working with symbols. He gave the
differences between the abstract concepts under Average Adult
a—laziness and idleness. Laziness is that you don't want to
work; idleness is that you can't, for a while.
b—evolution and revolution. Evolution is making things from
the beginning; revolution is changing them.
c—poverty and misery. Poverty is when you don't have anything;
misery is how you feel when someone insults you.
d—character and reputation. Character is what he really is;
reputation is what they think he is.
E succeeded in reversing the clock hands three times without
any error in less than a minute for each trial. He was able to
reproduce the thought from the selection beginning "Many opinions
have been given about the value of life" as well as a Superior
Adult. He solved the three mental arithmetic problems under XIV, 5,
in less than a minute each, absolutely without error. These
performances serve to illustrate his precocious power over symbols
and over abstractions.
His attention, concentration, and capacity for sustained effort
are illustrated by the fact that he was able to repeat five digits
backwards twice out of three trials absolutely without error,
before a class of thirty adults. His memory span for digits
repeated forward is at least 8. (He was not tried with more than
During the examination he showed neither embarrassment nor any
tendency to "show off." He was alert, interested, and gave his
attention strictly to the business in hand. He always knew when
he had failed on a test, and gave up with great reluctance.
For example, he was unable to solve the problems under XVIII, 6,
in the time allotted; but he carried these data away in his head,
and held to them tenaciously till he had solved the problems.
In several instances after he had given his reply he recast
it in better form. In short, he exemplified in remarkable degree
all the characteristics which Binet finally chose as symptomatic
of intellectual power; i.e., (1) the ability to make and maintain
a given direction; (2) the capacity to make adaptations for
the purpose of obtaining a desired end; and (3) the power of
Special tests. Following the procedure described by Seashore,
and using the set of forks recommended by him, E was tested for
pitch discrimination, being given seven trials with the whole
series of forks. His record was as follows, ## meaning a correct
answer and — meaning a false one.
30 23 17 12 8 5 3 2 1 .5
1 ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ##
2 ## ## — ## ## ## ## ## — —
3 ## ## ## ## ## — ## — — ##
4 ## ## ## ## ## — ## — ## —
5 ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## — —
6 ## ## ## ## ## — ## ## ## —
7 ## ## ## ## ## — ## — ## ##
His threshold for pitch discrimination would thus seem to be not
greater than five vibrations, and would probably be found to be
as low as three if a more complete test were possible. This is
a very good record, according to Seashore's standards.
E gave free associations to the first 50 words of the Kent-Rosanoff
list of words, both stimulus and response words being oral. The
stimulus words and responses follow:
STIMULUS RESPONSE STIMULUS RESPONSE STIMULUS RESPONSE
table dinner smooth surface needle slim
dark night command army red color
music soft chair cushion sleep fast
sickness fatal sweet sugar anger sick
man tall whistle blew carpet bagger
deep ocean woman lady girl pretty
soft couch cold coal high mountain
eating dinner slow train working people
mountain snowcapped wish I sour lemon
house brick river Hudson earth big
black dog white color trouble great
mutton beef beautiful dress soldier brave
comfort your window glass cabbage green
hand dirty rough surface hard surface
short man citizen U. S. eagle swift
fruit orange foot bare stomach ache
butterfly moth spider black
At once after giving some of these responses E explained why he
had given them. Thus he explained that "carpet bagger" had to do
"with Civil War history." After giving "beef" in response to
"mutton" he smiled and said, "That's a joke, isn't it?" When asked
why he thought it a joke he replied that he thought very few people
would give that answer. After the test he was told that 97 people
in a thousand gave "beef" in response to "mutton," and he at
once said, "Ten per cent, that's not so very many."
It was impossible, for lack of time, to give E the complete
list of 100 words usually given in this test. Using the 50
as a basis for calculation, 78 per cent of the responses are
"common responses" in the Kent-Rosanoff sense of the word,
a number of common responses which children do not usually
show until after the age of 10 years. His "median of community"
(a measure not yet standardized for age levels) is 1.4 per cent.
E was given the Pintner form of the Knox Cube Test, and achieved
11 of the 12 lines arranged by Pintner. The average record for
the 16-year-old is only 8 lines, and this is the highest level
for which this test is yet standardized.
The usual "tapping" test was given, tapping continuously with
the right hand, with the stylus, for one minute. The record was
239 taps only, which is lower than the average 8-year-old record.
Given three minutes in which to make up words out of the letters
A-E-I-R-L-P, E made the following: a, rip, pie, lie, ale.
He was given thirty minutes in which to put together the pieces
in the Stenquist Construction Box II, and was not able to put any
of the pieces together. He began at one end of the box, examined
each set of materials in turn, tried to put them together in an
indiscriminate way, put them back, and went on to the next set
of materials. He remarked, "I don't seem to be able to put any
of them together. It seems that all I can do is found out what
each of the things is for." He recognized that various sets of
pieces were "a mousetrap," "a lock," "a bell," etc., but made a
zero score from the point of view of construction. At the end of
twenty minutes he gave up and turned away from the materials.
It is interesting to compare the child's record in construction
tests and his comments regarding these tests, with his school
record in industrial arts and fine arts. E receives the best
possible rating in industrial arts because he has keen insight
into processes and can explain how to construct a mechanism or
perform an operation clearly and minutely, though he is unable
to carry out his own instructions. For instance, he can tell
exactly how to make a boat, but he cannot make the boat himself.
There is thus an interesting distinction here between "constructive
ability" and "manual dexterity." Similarly, in fine arts E has many
ideas for decorative schemes, but he is unable to execute these
ideas with his hands.
SOCIAL HABITS, TASTES, ETC.
E does not care to play, and would never do so unless forced.
He is very impersonal and agreeable in his attitude toward other
children. His chief diversion is reading and his favorite book
at the age of 8 is Ivanhoe. He has no hobbies at this age. In
the spring of 1916, after careful and thoughtful preparation, he
was confirmed in the Episcopal church. His desire is to be a
clergyman and to become a missionary. When asked what he would
consider the most fun in life, he replied "To have statistics
of my imaginary country." This country is on Venus. It is inhabited
by people and has a navy like ours. E does not volunteer much
information about his interests. All these items had to be elicited
LATER MENTAL MEASUREMENTS
In the spring of 1920 E took the Thorndike Mental Tests for
Freshmen, for entrance to Columbia College. An official letter
from the Director of Admissions at Columbia College states that,
"In the Freshmen Tests he was number two, out of 483 entering
Columbia College." He was at this time 12 years 0 months old;
the median age of his competitors was about 18 years.
ON September 29, 1921, E was examined by means of the Army Alpha
(Forms 5 and 6, Examiner L. S. H.) for the purpose of recording
his mental development. On Alpha, Form 5, he made a score of
194 points, finishing several of the tests, without error, before
the time limit. On Form 6, which was taken subsequently, on
the same afternoon, his score was 201 points; and with these,
too, some of the tests were finished in about two thirds of
the time allowed, without error. As the method of scoring Alpha
does not provide for a time bonus, this cannot be taken into
account in the formal score.
In April, 1927, at the request of the writer [[L. S. H.]] E took
the tests of the IER Intelligence Scale CAVD, Levels M-Q. This
series of tests is described in a recent publication.  Briefly
it may be said here that this instrument was chosen for the purpose
in hand because it is the most thorough method available for
approximating in quantitative terms the intelligence of the best
among college graduates.
E's score on this test, at Levels M-Q, was 441 points. The score
of the average adult is not yet known, but the median score of
college graduates in professional schools of first-rate standards
is 415 points, with an upper quartile at 421 points. The best
scores yet made by college graduates hover about 440 points. 
Thus E rates plus 4 PE in relation to college graduates in
first-rate professional schools, ranking with the best minds
revealed in any group so far tested. These groups may each be
expected to include some of the best intellects existing. The
comparative groups are, of course, older than E. Some of them
are composed of persons over 30 years of age on the average,
while all are past 20 years. E was 18 years 9 months of age
on the date when he took the test, in comparison with these
groups. The number of years lived in an intellectual environment,
other things being equal, probably affects results to some extent
in favor of those who have lived longer.
A score of 441 points on the IER Scale corresponds to a score
of about 116 points on the more widely known Thorndike Tests
for College Freshmen. The top one per cent of college graduates
make a score of 108 or better on the latter test. E, therefore,
surely rates at least in the top one quarter of one per cent
of college graduates. [[E, it will be noted, was at this time
at the average age of college freshmen.]]
At the age of 8 years E rated plus 11 PE in general intelligence
(by Stanford-Binet) as compared with the generality of 8-year-olds.
It seems likely that in these later measurements he rated at about
the same status, in relation to the generality of 18-year-olds,
since his status is plus 4.3 PE in relation to highly selected
groups of college graduates.
E, at the age of 18, was probably mature—or nearly mature—
intellectually. However, in view of recent findings in regard
to the growth of intelligence among pupils in high schools, we
cannot be sure that at this age he has quite reached the maximum
of possible accretions of power from inner growth. 
LATER PHYSICAL MEASUREMENTS
On September 29, 1921, E's physical measurements were as follows:
Standing height 64.2 inches
Sitting height 31.7 inches
Weight (summer clothing) 166 pounds
At this time his health continued to be excellent; in fact, he
has never had a serious illness of any kind.
E was measured again in October, 1926. By this time he had probably
achieved his maximum stature. His age was then 18 years 4 months. He
was still in excellent health, the only illness in the intervening
five years being a "light case" of scarlet fever. At this time the
Standing height 6 feet 1 inch
Weight (stripped) 194.75 pounds
LATER SCHOLASTIC RECORDS
In the spring of 1917 E finished the sixth, seventh, eighth, and
ninth grade work at the Horace Mann School, New York City. He was
then just 9 years old. Thereafter he attended the Friends Seminary,
New York City, and was graduated from the high school there in the
spring of 1920, with an excellent record and excess credits, at
the age of 11 years 10 months.
By this time E had also passed the comprehensive examinations of
the College Entrance Board for Harvard College. The official
communication from Harvard authorities, making statement to this
effect, has been seen by the writer. E's maternal ancestors had
attended Harvard (one of them having graduated from there at the
age of 18 years, according to records), but E expressed a desire to
attend Columbia and received permission to take the mental tests
with the applicants of 1920. He was admitted to Columbia College
with the freshmen of 1920, with 14 points of advance credit toward
a B.A. degree.
There is at hand an official statement of E's academic status
on June 1, 1921, at the age of not quite 13 years. He had then
46 points of academic credit toward a B.A. degree in Columbia
College. During his freshman year he made 32 points, maintaining
consistently a grade of B, except in two subjects. In physical
education his rating was C, and in contemporary civilization
he made A the first semester. 
E attended the summer session of 1921 at Columbia, making five
credit points, all A grade, and in September, 1921, was a sophomore
with many points of credit in advance of minimum sophomore status.
In addition to having passed the comprehensive examinations for
college entrance, he had passed the examinations in trigonometry,
solid geometry, chemistry, and physics, and was at this time 13
years 3 months of age.
E was of course a conspicuous freshman because of his extreme
youth, and he was hazed by the sophomores for refusing to wear a
prescribed necktie. One of the New York newspapers commented on
his conduct under hazing as follows:
He has demonstrated that he is nevertheless a regular fellow.
He did it first by bringing about a conflict in which he himself
was the much buffeted prize of battle, and then by glorying in
his bruises instead of making them the basis of a grievance.
He is a good sport as well as a good scholar, and being both he
ought to go far.
E also participated in the class play, given in 1921, humorously
consenting to impersonate himself.
Manual work had no more charm for him at this date than it had
when he was 8 years old. That he can work with his hands and
with materials when motivated is suggested by an incident connected
with the Liberty Bond drive. His teacher relates that E wanted
to pay for his own bond; so he made jelly, working at it until
very good jelly was made, and sold it for the purpose specified.
In recent years E has developed a keen interest in detective
Comments from E's teachers during the last five years up to this
date [] are indicative of their estimates:
The regular course of study has been so easy that he has, in
several subjects, notably English and history, accomplished a
great amount of voluntary work outside the course.
An excellent mixer with other students.
His weekly visits have been a pleasure and anticipation, and his
ability to understand without English the spoken Latin and the
authors as I have read them aloud to him has been extraordinary.
Has done very remarkable work in science, particularly in theory.
I predict for him a great scholastic record in college.
I consider it a privilege to have had something to do with
Possesses a power in Latin that few persons ten years his
senior can boast.
Has shown devotion to the best interests of the school.
SUMMARY UP TO 1921
In the five years which have elapsed since E was first tested
mentally he has shown no tendency to become mediocre. His gifts
have not grown less; he maintains his superior status in mental
tests. As for achievement, he has passed during this interval
from the sixth grade of the elementary school, half through
the second year of college. Average children, the country over,
born when this child was born, and measuring 100 IQ when he
measured 187 IQ, are now in the seventh grade of the elementary
E still wishes to be a clergyman and to go abroad as a missionary.
To this end he interests himself especially in history, the
languages, and anthropology.
It is an interesting theoretical question as to how far human
intelligence may vary from the norm in the direction of superiority.
The case of this child has been placed on record largely because
it seems probable that such cases represent very nearly the extreme
possible limit of variation in the human species as it now exists.
At 8 years of age his IQ stood at plus 11 PE (1 PE being, according
to Terman, equal to 8 IQ  ). The probabilities are usually
regarded as slight that cases beyond 5 PE will occur. Perhaps the
range in human intellect is much greater than probabilities would
lead us to guess.
Since the initial report of this child's qualities, readers have
occasionally asked with what meaning the word "prodigious" was
used in reference to him. It was used in the dictionary sense of
In these reports there is no intention to approve or to disapprove
the educational regimen pursued. Who knows what should be the
educational treatment of a child standing at 11 PE in intellect?
The sole intention is to record the identification and development
of a deviation so extreme that the chances are theoretically almost
nil that it would occur at all.
EVENTUAL SCHOLASTIC RECORDS
In June, 1923, E was graduated from Columbia College, with the
degree of B.A. He took general honors, Phi Beta Kappa honors, and
the English Seminary Prize, awarded by the Society for Promoting
Religion and Learning "for the best essay in sermon form on an
assigned topic." He was within eleven days of his fifteenth
birthday when he was graduated. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa
at the age of 14 years, probably the youngest person ever elected
to that organization.
E was graduated with excess credit (8 points) toward the M.A.
degree. This degree was awarded him in June, 1924, when he was
not quite 16 years of age, more than enough work for it having
been accomplished. He was matriculated for the Ph.D. degree
before he was 16 years old, and by the age of 18 years 9 months
had practically finished all the requirements for that degree
except completing the dissertation. The dissertation topic had
been then approved, in the field of history, and E was at work
on the material.
In October, 1926 (aged 18 years 4 months), E entered upon his
professional studies for the ministry in the theological seminary
of his choice. Since the age of 15 he had done special work at the
seminary. He had read prayers in one of the city churches as a lay
reader since the age of 16 and was at this time a candidate for
ordination as deacon, but this ordination could not take place
before the twenty-first birthday.
In the initial report of E it will be found that he had decided
before he was 5 years old to be clergyman. It now appeared that
his professional course toward that end would be completed in 1929.
FIG. 12. A MEMORANDUM FROM E.
Professional course will be finished in 1929.
The subject of the thesis on which I am now working, is
definitely approved and published (decided June, 1925); the
other requirements are practically finished.
__Apollonius, [Diocetes?] of Egypt__ (3rd century B.C. Egyptian
Worked on order of Pliny's letters (1924-25)
At present reading Greek papyri.
Making my [illegible] in Modern European History, worked
on Irish constitutional history (1924-1925)
RESEARCHES OF E
When E was 10 years old he made an original contribution in
connection with the Pentateuch, and was made a member of The
Oriental Society of Research in Jerusalem.
At 13 years of age E was first admitted to the Bodleian Library,
at Oxford, for purposes of research.
In 1923 E presented his M.A. essay—"Appolonius, Diocetes of
Egypt"—which pertains to Egyptian history of the third century
B.C. and is on file in the Library of Columbia University.
E has also done research (1924-1925) on the order of Pliny's
letters; on Irish constitutional history (1924-1925); and was
in 1926 and 1927 reading Greek papyri.
The subject of his dissertation to be submitted in partial
fulfillment of the requirements of the Ph.D. was reported as
"Feudal Estates in Byzantine Egypt." 
SUMMARY OF DEVELOPMENT
A summary of E's development over the period from 1916 to 1927,
given in the table [below], shows clearly that the superior
magnitudes, both of mental caliber and of physical size, so
markedly present at the age of 8 years, are maintained as growth
CHILD E NORMS FOR PRIVATE
Born June 17, 1908, as
shown by birth certificate
and hospital records.
November 4, 1916
Height 54.3 inches 49.5 inches
Weight 89.3 pounds 54.2 pounds
Intellect IQ 187 (S-B) IQ 100 (S-B)
Scholastic status 6th grade, 3d grade,
September 29, 1921
Height 64.2 inches 58.2 inches
Weight 166.0 pounds 89.5 pounds
Intellect 194 points, Army 47 points,
Alpha, Form 5 Alpha Army
Scholastic 4th semester, 8th grade,
status college elementary
October 26, 1926
Height 73 inches 67 inches
Weight 194.7 pounds 150 pounds
April 1, 1927
Intellect 441 points, IER Not yet known
Scholastic status B.A. 1923 Has left
M.A. 1924 school to
Ph.D. candidate go to work
first year in
Although no follow-up inquiry has been made since the year 1927,
a few items gleaned from clippings found in the author's files
are relevant. These are newspaper accounts, chiefly in connection
with E's being ordained as deacon, and later elevated to the
Protestant Episcopal priesthood. These articles recite that E—
Received his B.A. at the age of 15 years.
Received his M.A. degree the following year.
Was ordained deacon on December 21, 1929, at the age of 21.
Received his Ph.D. the following year at the age of 22.
Also received the degree Bachelor of Sacred Theology, in June, 1929.
Was elevated to the priesthood in the Protestant Episcopal Church
at the age of 24 (June 19, 1932) at a special ordination service
at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City.
As a graduate student too young for the priesthood, he had held a
fellowship in the General Theological Seminary, teaching Greek
There is also an announcement of his marriage in September, 1939.
See also Editor's Note on publications, foot[note 14].
 See Preface, [paragraphs 2-5.]
 EDITOR'S NOTE. This child was observed by Leta S. Hollingworth
over a period of nearly a quarter century. She published three
accounts of his development, and the present chapter is in the main
a composite of these three reports, to which are added such
supplementary items as are available. The articles referred to
are as follows:
Garrison, Burke, and Hollingworth. "The Psychology of a Prodigious
Child." Journal of Applied Psychology (June, 1917).
Hollingworth, Garrison, and Burke. "Subsequent History of E———
Five Years after the Initial Report." Journal of Applied
Psychology (June, 1922).
Hollingworth, Leta S. "Subsequent History of E——— Ten Years
after the Initial Report." Journal of Applied Psychology
 Bartlett, J. G. "The Belcher Families in New England." New
England History and General Register, Vol. 60, pages 125-136,
Belcher, Jonathan. "The Belcher Papers." Collection of the
Massachusetts Historical Society, Vols. 6 and 7.
Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, Vol. 1 (1887).
 Drowne, Henry R. "Family Record of Solomon Drowne." New York
Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. 5, No. 35, pages
171-172. New York; 1904.
Drowne, Henry T. Genealogy of the Family of Solomon Drowne,
M. D., of Providence, Rhode Island, with Notice of His Ancestors;
1646-1879. Providence Press Company, Providence, Rhode Island;
 Developmental history and history of personal health were
elicited from the mother, who, being a physician, is especially
competent to speak on these points. The family history and the
facts concerning his extra-school linguistic achievements were
also given by the mother.
 Private tutors grade E as 1 in mathematics.
 In industrial arts credit is given for knowing industrial
processes, as well as for ability to carry out the processes.
 In fine arts credit is given for manual dexterity only.
 Thorndike, E. L. The Measurement of Intelligence. Bureau of
Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York; 1927.
 I am indebted to Dr. Ella Woodyard and to Professor Ralph
B. Spence of Teachers College, Columbia University, for this
 Thorndike, E. L. "On the Improvement of Intelligence Scores
from Fourteen to Eighteen." Journal of Educational Psychology
 It is worth saying that in contemporary civilization the final
examination had been objectively standardized by Dr. B. D. Wood,
expert in educational measurement, and did not depend on the
estimate of instructors. "E's score on the objective examinations
of both terms was in the highest tenth of the highest percentile"
(B. D. W.). The instructor's estimate, as well as the result of the
objective examination, enters into the term grade and, indicated
above, in this course; so that the final grade in the second
semester is but B.
 See note [1, preface].
 EDITOR'S NOTE. This dissertation was published in 1931
by the Columbia University Press under the title Large Estates
of Byzantine Egypt.
Among later publications, of which there is record in the files,
"National Elements in the Career of St. Athanasius," Church
History, pages 3-11 (December, 1933).
"Dura—An Ancient City of the East," Natural History (The
Journal of the American Museum of Natural History), Vol. XXXIV,
No. 8, pages 685-701 (December, 1934).
Militant in Earth. Pages 255. Oxford University Press, New
York; 1940. A book which "shows how Christianity has presented a
spiritual and social front against opposing phases of civilization,
whatever they may have been during 2000 years."
 Norms for height, weight, and scholastic status are taken
from B. T. Baldwin, as established at Horace Mann School, Francis
Parker School, and the elementary and high schools of the
University of Chicago.
Child F was a boy whose ability was identified as the result of
a mental survey made with group tests in P.S. 14, Manhattan. 
His score in these tests was unbelievable, and he was summoned
for testing with the idea that he must have been coached. An
individual Stanford-Binet test, however, showed a phenomenal
record similar to all other tests given him, including an Army
Alpha. He was referred to a Special Opportunity Class at that
time being organized in P.S. 165, Manhattan.
Although detailed study of F's ancestry is available, a brief
summary of the facts appears to be all that is here needed, for
the ancestry throws little light on the boy's extraordinary
F's paternal grandfather was of Scottish parentage, born in Canada.
He was a reasonably successful worker in the printing trade,
appears to have been well balanced and socially adjusted, and
showed no exceptional traits. He had little education and no
special interests. He died of apoplexy at 51 years of age.
F's paternal grandmother, born in Albany, New York, had a public
school education (probably). She is still living [], clerking
in a store after her husband's death. She appears to have no
special interests outside her home life; is said to be quick and
nervous, easily excited, and prone to worry.
F's maternal grandfather was born in New York State, of German
parentage. He is still alive [], at the age of 70, and
is very active. His education was limited, but he is an excellent
reader and is well informed. He is fond of music, is an active
churchman and a choir leader. He is said to be quick-tempered,
impulsive, and affectionate. He mixes well with people, and has
some leadership qualities. He has always worked as a paper hanger
and painter, his business being on a small scale.
F's maternal grandmother was born in New York State; the nationality
of her parents is not recorded. She had a public school education.
Her interests are limited to home and Red Cross activities. She is
friendly and sociable, impulsive, affectionate in disposition,
and has a keen sense of humor.
F has several uncles and aunts, none of whom presents any qualities
of striking interest. All appear to be normally effective and
well adjusted, competent on a small-town scale, enjoying their
homes, and taking part in local activities and organizations.
F has one brother, younger than himself, born April 2, 1920. He
was given a Stanford-Binet examination, May 13, 1924, by Leta S.
Hollingworth, being then 4 years 1 month of age. His Mental Age
was 6-0, yielding an IQ of 147. This brother has strong musical
inclinations, was a choir boy, and subsequently took instruction
Father. The father of Child F was born in Albany, New York. He
had a high school education and business college training. He has
always done clerical and office work, especially bookkeeping. He
is fond of athletics, reads only newspapers and magazines, is
quick, alert, and active, has an even temperament, is seldom
worried. He has no interest in clubs or organized activities.
Seems to take an interest in his children. (In later years the
father lost the balance and evenness of temperament here reported
and became unemployed much of the time. He died in March, 1935,
at the age of 41, "apparently accidentally drowned.")
Mother. The mother of F went to high school for two years and
earned a teacher's certificate. She taught two years in rural
schools but disliked this work and had no patience with children.
She liked music, however, and studied piano and voice for a short
time, but now pays little attention to it. She has always regretted
going to high school, believing that if she had devoted that time
to music, she might have had some success in it. Her interests
are limited to home affairs. She says she has few friends and
does not mix well with people. She appears calm and does not
worry, is sensible in her dealings with her children, takes
no part in organized activities, but always sends the children
to Sunday School. She is a very good home manager, and runs
things effectively on small resources.
F was born in upper New York State, November 14, 1914. The period
of gestation was of normal length; at birth he weighed according
to the father 9 pounds, according to the mother 11.5 pounds. No
records of early infancy were kept, so that many such details are
given from memory, either by the father or by the mother. The
child was the mother's first-born. She reports that much of
the infant's weight at birth was due to his enormous head, which
necessitated instrument birth. Birth was difficult, the mother
was severely injured, and the child's head "was so distorted
from the instruments that it was weeks before it could be molded
into normal shape."
F was bottle fed from birth to one year. His first teeth appeared
at about 10 months. He talked (short sentences) at about 12 months,
learned to walk alone (several steps) at 14 months, learned to read
at between 4 and 5 years of age. His childhood illnesses were
measles, whooping cough, chicken pox, and scarlet fever, all
between 6 and 8 years of age. Cried little as a baby. His mother
says "he was a lovely baby to take care of." No sensory defects or
signs of physical weakness. Adenoids were present, to be removed
shortly after the initial interview in 1924 (age 10 years). He
EARLY SCHOOL HISTORY
F started school at the age of 5 years 10 months, in a two-room
rural school in upstate New York in the town where he was born.
He could already read well at that time; it was first noticed
that he could read when he was "around 5 years of age." Riding
in streetcars, he would take words apart and put them together
again. He had learned the letters before his third year.
At school he was received in the first grade. It was soon found
that he was memorizing his reader and the teacher gave him a more
advanced book. This school was a practically ungraded one; the
first four grades were together in one room, and grades five to
eight were in the other room. The teacher did not know what to do
with F; so he was allowed to go into the second room and listen,
in an orderly manner, to the fifth to eighth grades.
When he entered New York City schools at the age of 7 years 10
months, the rural teacher gave F a transfer for the fifth grade.
The mother presented the letter of transfer to the Manhattan
principal, who pooh-poohed the idea that the boy could belong in
the fifth grade at that age. He refused to accept the recommendation
from the ungraded school and placed F in the third or fourth grade.
After the first week the boy's teacher reported that he did not
belong in that grade. When the principal insisted that F could not
go into the fifth grade, the boy himself spoke up and said if they
would give him an examination they would see that he could do
it. The principal ordered him to keep still and not to talk so
much. He was, however, eventually placed in the fifth grade in
the year in which his eighth birthday occurred. At the end of that
year he was promoted to Grade 6A, then into 6B, and he was shortly
after received into the Special Opportunity Class at P.S. 165.
He had always been fond of school up to this time, although he
later developed a distaste for it and became a chronic truant.
He spent much of his time helping the teachers, carrying books,
and running errands, in order to keep occupied. When his mother
requested his transfer to the Special Opportunity Class, the
principal of the school he was attending, at first refused, saying
that he liked to have bright pupils in his classes too. After
futilely arguing for half an hour, the mother finally threatened
to move to another part of town, thus forcing a transfer, whereupon
the principal relented and gave the transfer. F said he liked the
new school because he was allowed there to say what he thought.
In his early school years he once won a prize, which was to
be a book. Several books, supposedly of interest to boys, were
offered him from which to choose. He looked them over and then
said if it made no difference to the teacher, he would rather
have a dictionary instead. This volume was given him, and it was
used constantly thereafter.
EARLY TEST SCORES
In March, 1924, at the age of 9 years 4 months, F was given a
mental test, using Army Alpha, by L. M. Potter. He was then in
Grade 6B, P.S. 14, Manhattan. His score was recorded as 124 points.
But there is also a copy of an Army Alpha Test, Form 7, given F in
the fall of 1924 upon his entrance to P.S. 165, on which the
score is 163 points.
On April 14, 1924, at the age of 9 years 5 months, F was given
a Stanford-Binet test by M. V. Cobb, in P.S. 165, Manhattan. His
Mental Age shown at that time was 15-2, and an IQ of 162 was
reported. Strength of grip measures were also recorded as of
May 15, 1924. These were made by Leta S. Hollingworth, three trials
for each hand. The records were (median of three), right, 10.5;
On April 22, 1925, at the age of 10 years 5 months, F was given
a Stanford-Binet examination by Leta S. Hollingworth as a
demonstration before a class of 60 adults. His Mental Age was
19-0, and the IQ is recorded as "over 182, unmeasured by the scale."
On May 8, 1926, at the age of 11 years 6 months, F was again tested
with the Stanford-Binet [[by L. S. H.]]. He passed at this time all
the Superior Adult tests and was thus unmeasured. He was at this
time in his first year of senior high school.
January 7, 1933, at the age of 18-2, while a college freshman,
his score on Army Alpha, Form 8, was 198 points.
Music tests. F showed no active musical interests but became very
fond of listening to good music, being particularly fond of string
quartets. As was the case in every field to which his interests
turned, he quickly acquired a fund of information about it which
he took pleasure in exhibiting.
F was given the Seashore Music Tests four times [[by L. S. H.]]
over a period of 11 years. Perhaps the record of these successive
examinations will have some intrinsic interest, and such a
tabulation is here provided.
SEASHORE TESTS OF MUSICAL TALENT SCORE
(Per Cent Correct)
MAY 7, DECEMBER JUNE JUNE
1924 23, 1924; 18, 1925; 14, 1935;
9 YEARS 10 YEARS, 10 YEARS 20 YEARS
6 MONTHS 1 MONTH 7 MONTHS 7 MONTHS
Pitch 79 82 78 81
Intensity 76 — 94 94
Time 71 62 — 70
Tonal memory 80 — 88 98
Consonance 64 — 74 76
Rhythm 72 — 88 86
Character rating. After six months' acquaintance, on
September 14, 1924, when F was about 10 years old, he was
rated by Leta S. Hollingworth for various estimated traits
on a 7-point rating scale as follows:
Extraordinarily good (Grade 1)
Prudence and foresight, will power and perseverance,
appreciation of beauty, sense of humor, sensitiveness to
approval or disapproval, desire to excel, freedom from vanity
and egotism, conscientiousness, desire to know, originality,
common sense, general intelligence.
Decidedly superior (Grade 2)
Self-confidence, musical appreciation, leadership, popularity
with other children, sympathy and tenderness, truthfulness.
Rather superior (Grade 3)
Cheerfulness and optimism, permanency of moods, generosity
and unselfishness, mechanical ingenuity.
Average (Grade 4)
Health, amount of physical energy.
Rather weak (Grade 5)
Fondness for large groups.
Although there is no formal record of the fact, it is known that
fifteen years later this rater would have made different judgments
on most of these traits not relating to strictly cognitive
characteristics. Other judges acquainted with F rather unanimously
disagreed with the high ratings here accorded such traits as
prudence and forethought, will power and perseverance, sensitiveness
to approval or disapproval, freedom from vanity or egotism,
common sense, leadership, popularity, sympathy and tenderness,
truthfulness, generosity and unselfishness, and these ratings
are as a matter of fact inconsistent with F's subsequent history.
On May 6, 1924, the home of F was visited by a social worker
trained in the use of the Whittier Scale for Home Rating. The
rating was reported as 21, with a possible score of 25. Neighborhood
was average, in a fair section of New York City. Details were as
Necessities. Father bookkeeper with steady, small salary,
adequate only for necessities. Food and clothing of good quality,
conditions neat and clean but plain. Heat, light, sleeping
facilities fair. Grade 4.
Neatness. Sanitary conditions good; rooms well kept and clean;
apartment rear, second floor, little view. Considering the
equipment, household run in an efficient manner. Grade 4.
Size. Four small rooms and bath for two adults and two children.
Conditions crowded. Grade 4.
Parental condition. Parents socially adaptable; there appears to
be harmony in home; parents have too few outside interests.
Mother practically always at home; father at home evenings.
Parental supervision. Parents keenly interested in development
of children. Their own education is limited, which is a handicap
in directing and educating the children. Little need of discipline
in home, though mother is lax about carrying out
threats. Parental example good. Grade 4.
Play interests. F preferred playmates of his own age and sex.
He would spend hours at a time "using marbles for soldiers and
working out military formations." Being with older children in
school, he was somewhat backward in joining in their outdoor games.
Reading interests. From 6 to 10 years of age F read a great
variety of books, "particularly geography and history" and
"averaging probably 20 hours weekly." He was especially interested
in dictionaries and encyclopedias; would always look up new words
in detail. Most of his leisure time was preferably spent in reading.
LATER EDUCATIONAL CAREER
As already recorded, F was transferred in 1924, at the age of
10 years, to the Special Opportunity Class in P.S. 165, Manhattan,
then being organized for experimental purposes connected with
the education of children of rare intelligence. He graduated
from this class into senior high school. He and another boy
(Child C, Chapter 6) led this highly selected group of children
in achievement tests. As he was at this time, Leta S. Hollingworth
wrote of him:
I have never met with a more interesting child than he was, and
the same creativeness and inexorable logic which characterized
him then have always continued.
He entered, after a brief experience in a progressive private
school, a public high school in New York City, in 1925. His high
school career was a checkered one, typical in some respects of his
later educational history. For one thing, he was a constant truant,
and he refused to do the required work in physical education.
He had always been averse to physical activity and loathed manual
work to the end of his career. He said that the gymnasium work
always left him feeling "worse," gave him colds, and was of no use
to him. Perhaps his subsequent medical history throws some light
on the reasons for these observations.
His truant hours were spent partly in the public library, where
he read continuously in technical volumes in a great variety
of fields and accumulated an amazing fund of general information
and esoteric lore. Law, theology, history, science, and literature
were some of his favorite fields.
When not in the library, he would usually be at a chess club
to which he had been granted access and where he had learned
the game. He rapidly developed into an expert chess and bridge
player, and in Eastern chess tournaments is said to have achieved
the ranking of seventh in the national list. He always managed
to appear at high school to take the necessary examinations,
and passed all his subjects with good standing and even with
phenomenal records. But his inexplicable truancy and his refusal to
do the required work in physical education baffled the educational
authorities. They finally refused to graduate him with his class—
although his record was among the best—until he had redeemed
himself by doing the gymnasium work in a fifth year. In 1930
he did this, and also carried some additional courses and thus
was allowed to finish high school, requiring longer than the
conventional period for this because of his refusal to accommodate
his own interests and ideas to the regular routine.
In spite of irregular attendance, F took some part in high school
activities. His main activities, of the extracurricular sort, were
chess club, chess team, poetry club, debating society, mathematics
club, board of publications, program committee. He was executive
member of the debating society and of the law society, vice
president of the poster club, and two or three times section
president. His record, of course, shows no athletic history and
no physical activities engaged in.
For the four years following 1930 F continued to frequent the
public library, the chess club, and the bridge games. At one
time a patron friend made it financially possible for him to enter
college at the College of the City of New York. He quit before
the end of the first term, again because he hated the required
gymnasium work and said he always got a cold and felt bad after
such exercise. Although he was again and again urged by people
who knew his ability not to waste it at chess and bridge, he
showed no apparent interest in going on with college. He replied
that he could always make a living some way or other. Uncongenial
home circumstances and the general unemployment situation prevailing
at the time perhaps heightened this indisposition and lack of
ambition. While other boys who had been in the same grade school
and high school classes with him were finding part-time employment
and working their way through college, F was contented with his
chess games, with an occasional bit of money won at cards, and
with his hours in the public library.
In 1934 he was asked to take the CAVD tests by the Institute
of Educational Research at Teachers College, Columbia University,
to help determine the highest scores to be expected on this scale.
He and another boy, both selected because of their known phenomenal
range of information and intellectual alertness, "went through the
ceiling" on this scale, thus again confirming the earlier records
of his mental level so far as intelligence was concerned. On
the same occasion he was given the Coöperative General Culture
Test, by Dr. Lorge. In this his score exceeded that of superior
In September, 1934, F was again persuaded, through financial
assistance practically forced upon him, and after much urging
and long discussion, to try college. He enrolled in Columbia
College, once more a freshman. He carried a heavy program, tried
to do certain outside jobs as assistant provided for him, and
probably overworked. He had declined one patron's offer to give
him a stipulated sum of money for the year if he would abstain
from chess for that period. In fact, only vigorous prodding led
him to go to college at all at this time, even with the way opened
The outcome appeared to be another fiasco. In January, as the
examination period drew near, he became ill, developed pneumonia,
and for the second time withdrew from college before completing
a term of work. In this instance his illness appeared to justify
In the autumn of 1935, having been nursed back to reasonable
health through patrons interested in his case, he was urged by them
to make a fresh start and to try the University of Chicago plan,
under which students could progress as rapidly as they were able
to satisfy the requirements through comprehensive examinations. He
entered the University of Chicago that fall, for the third time a
college freshman, agreeing to do this without any great enthusiasm
of his own but as part of what was called an "educational
Of his record on entrance the following comment was made by
the chief examiner:
The examiners have called my attention to a freak case in
our records for the incoming students. . . . His performance
seems almost unbelievable. On the freshman classification
tests his performance was as follows: first in the vocabulary
test; first in the reading test; second in the Intelligence
Test of the American Council; third in the English placement
test; third in the physical science placement test . . . in
the freshman class of about 750 students.
In addition, he also took four Comprehensives with the following
grades: Biological Science, A; Humanities, B; Social Sciences,
A; Physical Sciences, D.
The year at Chicago was not without episode. F was held up by two
gunmen, engineered the capture of one of these, and was advised
to disappear for a time during the excitement. Impetuously,
and without resources except the provisions made by his sponsor
for his own subsistence, he married a young Jewish girl. But the
"Chicago Plan" kept its word, and by the end of the year F had
passed all the Comprehensives required to give him his B.A.
degree. In doing this he acquired a good deal of newspaper and
popular magazine notoriety, and his photograph, and that of his
young wife, were often reproduced in the public prints.
Although he fancied he would like to be a lawyer, F finally
decided to go in for graduate work. Some uncertainties prevailed
in connection with his acceptance by some of the graduate schools
because, although he had been three times a college freshman
(a point never brought out in the newspaper accounts of his
educational progress), he had completed but one year of college
Eventually he was awarded a graduate fellowship in Teachers
College, Columbia University, for study toward the Ph.D. degree
in education, and he completed a year of work there, accomplishing,
in addition to the class work, a minor experimental study, a report
of which was subsequently published. For the following year he was
appointed Assistant in Psychology at Barnard College. At the last
moment, just before the beginning of the new term, he decided
to shift to law, which was one of his boyish ambitions. He was
enabled to return to Chicago for this purpose.
Chess, bridge, and racing continued to intrude themselves into
his activities, although he was pledged to abstain from them.
His marital affairs did not run smoothly; contrary to his promises
he incurred additional indebtedness; but he continued to carry on
his law studies with passable records. Then he suddenly became
seriously ill and was discovered to have an inoperable abdominal
cancer. Again his educational career was interrupted and he
returned to New York for care and treatment. Before another
year was over, in December, 1938, he died of this affliction,
at the age of 24 years.
In spite of a brilliant mental endowment, early discovery, much
educational encouragement, and material assistance, a Bachelor's
degree and a few chess prizes and bridge victories represent F's
final achievement. The chief causes of this relative failure to
make the most of his potentialities appeared externally in the
form of character traits. His parents said of him that it was
never necessary to stimulate his desire to learn; they also
reported him to be "willful and head-strong." These unpropitious
traits were as a matter of fact apparent in his early school days.
They became magnified as he was given freer opportunity for
self-expression and activity. We know so little about the
identification and genesis of character traits that the case makes
little or no contribution to our understanding in this direction.
It is not known how early the physical disability that finally
terminated the picture had been operating; it may even have been
at the bottom of what appeared socially as a personality defect.
 This chapter was written by H. L. H.
Child G is a boy, born in Brooklyn, New York, May 26, 1923. Records
of his test scores that are available date from 1930, at which
time he was 6 years 6 months old. A record of his development
has been kept by his parents, who take an unusual interest in
educational problems. They have freely and intelligently coöperated
in the frequent objective examination of G, and have consulted
with teachers concerning problems of adjustment and educational
G is of Hebrew parentage, and all four of his grandparents attended
Hebrew school. His paternal grandfather was a tailor, his maternal
grandfather an installment dealer. G's father is a lawyer; in an
Army Alpha test he made a score of 178 points. His mother, before
her marriage, was a typist and stenographer. There are among the
relatives a doctor, a lawyer, a rabbi, a college professor.
A cousin stood highest in a city-wide achievement test given
to public school pupils in New York City. His only brother, younger
than he and the only sibling, has an IQ of 150-155 (see [below, [G'S
In January, 1934, Edna W. McElwee published a preliminary account
of G's school achievement up to that time.  A few months later
G's father published an account of the boy's reading interests. 
Data recorded in these two reports have been made use of in the
present chapter. 
G learned to read before going to school, but at this time his
parents did not realize that he was exceptional. After a term in
kindergarten he was promoted to Grade 1A, after a few weeks to 1B,
and then to 2A. At the end of the term he was placed in 3A. Then
he was doubly promoted each term for a time, entering the 6A grade
at the age of 8 years 6 months. The principal reported:
He absorbed information easily and quickly and, regardless
of the grade in which he was placed or the length of time he
had been in the grade, his work and his ratings were always
much beyond those of his classmates.
During these early years G preferred being alone with his books
to playing with other children. His parents intelligently sought
advice on the correction of this and encouraged him, successfully,
to play with other children, first with those younger than he,
and then with children of his own age. He made a ready adaptation,
and in time had a group of boys with whom he played and who were
sometimes invited by his father to accompany them on Saturday
afternoon excursions. He developed an interest in all sorts
of ball games and became a good swimmer.
G read widely, and his parents from the beginning exercised
some supervision over the character of the books provided for him,
and they read to him at bedtime, about an hour daily. There were
included in his reading not only a large selection of children's
books and stories but also books of history, mythology, biography,
poetry, science and art.
The Saturday excursions to places of interest were a regular
institution, and these interests were readily tied to G's reading.
Among the places thus visited were the zoo, botanical gardens,
aquarium, navy yard, fleet, airport, museums, art galleries, Hall
of Fame, numerous factories and industrial plants, fire department,
public utilities, observatories. Plays and concerts were attended,
and good taste in music was encouraged. Educational use was made of
radio programs. G learned to play the violin and joined the school
orchestra. At his own request he was given private instruction
in Hebrew and made good progress.
At an early age—7 or 8 years—G became interested in chemistry,
and was provided with a chemical outfit for his own use. With
this he busied himself a great deal, and he kept his classmates
provided with ink of his own manufacture. He has collected both
stamps and coins and also Popular Science magazines.
There is in the files a large collection of his remarks in
childhood, recorded by his parents. They show early thoughtfulness,
curiosity, and judicious discrimination.
Of G's later educational experience Miss McElwee wrote as follows:
"At eight and a half years of age he was transferred to P.S. 208,
Brooklyn, where he entered the 6A group of the Individual Progress
class, which had been organized for superior children. The method
of instruction had been modified and the course of study enriched
to meet the needs of the pupils. . . . Tests of educational
achievement given in October, 1931, soon after he entered the
class, showed that his grade placement was 7.4 and his achievement
quotient 86. Similar tests given in May, 1932, indicated that his
grade placement was then 10.3 and his achievement quotient 97.
In those seven months he had completed three years of work. . . .
By January, 1933, he had gained another year and a half, and was
maintaining his achievement quotient. In other words, at 9 years
of age he was doing as well as a junior in high school."
His father wrote to the school at this time:
We are happy to tell you that G is full of his school work
and is very contented with the present curriculum. Inasmuch
as he has always complained until this term of lack of work
at school and always considered his school work a necessary
evil, we feel very grateful to you for his increased interest
EARLY MENTAL TESTS
The first recorded measurement of G's mental ability is found
in a report from the Educational Clinic of the College of the City
of New York, where he had been taken by his father for a private
examination. The report is made by Elise S. Mustor, Assistant
Director, as of January, 1930. G was then 6 years 7 months old.
His Mental Age was found to be 10-9, and his IQ is reported as 163.
This report also gives numerous other details which may be
summarized in the following tabulation.
REPORT OF G, JANUARY, 1930
Chronological Age 6-7
Mental Age 10-9
Intelligence Quotient 163
Height (with shoes) 48.5 inches
(About 3 inches above the
median for his age)
Height 59 pounds
(About 5 pounds above the
median for his height)
Reading comprehension Median of 5th Grade
Arithmetic reasoning Median of 4B Grade
Arithmetic fundamentals Median of 3A Grade
Perception of form and physi- Ranges from 7th- to
cal relationships 12th-year level
Auditory rote memory 10-year level
Vocabulary 10-year level
Physical condition: Well nourished. Tonsils and adenoids
removed. Breathing unobstructed. Teeth good. No defects
of heart, lungs, acuity of vision or hearing.
At the clinic his social responses were good. He was well poised
and unassuming; showed very fine effort and application.
LATER TEST RECORDS
1931. G was given a Stanford-Binet examination by Leta S.
Hollingworth in May, 1931, within a few days of his eighth
birthday. He achieved an IQ of 192. The following comment is
included in the record:
The increase over the IQ obtained at the age of 6 is not
unusual for a very young, very bright child, although it would
be very unusual for an average child. I shall be glad to test
G again when he is about 12 years old, and when he is 16 years
old. Also his little brother.
1933. On April 5, 1933, at the age of 9 years 10 months, G
was again tested by Leta S. Hollingworth, perhaps as a class
demonstration. He was then in Grade 7B and his IQ is recorded
as 176 plus. The following comment is made:
Children of G's present age can no longer be reliably measured
in terms of IQ by any existing test if they have previously
scored above 185 IQ. . . . The IQ of 176 plus merely informs us
that the test has begun to "run down" in his case. . . . Next
time we test him we shall have to use a test scoring in
points only, which will place him on the centile scale for
adults. . . . His physical measurements correspond closely to
the norms for boys of about 11 years.
1934. There is in the files a Stanford-Binet record of G taken
by Leta s. Hollingworth, March 19, 1934. His age was then 10 years
10 months and he was in Grade 8B in P.S. 208, Brooklyn. He passed
without error all the tests in the scale (Average Adult and
Miscellaneous records. In the McElwee report already cited the
following scores are recorded, on a variety of scales, covering
a two-year period (1931-1933).
DATE TEST AGE SCORE
May 5, 1931 Stanford-Binet 8-0 192
Oct. 7, 1931 Porteus Maze 8-5 12 years
Healy Picture Completion 13 years
Porteus Form and Assemblying 8 years
Thorndike-McCall Reading: Form B 6B Grade
Stanford Achievement Test: Form A,
Arithmetic Computation 8A Grade
Trabue Language Completion, Alpha 15-10 years
May 18, 1932 Elementary Reading, Los Angeles,
Form 3 9-0 12A Grade
Arithmetic Fundamentals, Los
Angeles, Form 4 9A Grade
Woody-McCall Spelling, List 5 9B Grade
Trabue Language Completion, Beta 16-4 years
Jan. 6, 1933 New Stanford Achievement Test
Form V 9-8 18 years
Apr. 12, 1933 Powers General Science Test: Form A
(25 per cent of first-year high
school pupils exceed this score 9-11 62 points
at end of one year instruction
in general science.)
Apr. 26, 1933 Kent-Rosanoff Association Test 9-11 9 Individual
Woody-Cady Questionnaire indicates
look at him, make remarks about him,
find too much fault with him, etc.
The New Stanford Achievement Test score of 18 years of Educational
Age, achieved at the Chronological Age of 9 years 8 months, broken
down into detailed sections, was as follows:
Paragraph Meaning 17-8
Word Meaning 18-8
Language Usage 17-2
History and Civics 19-2
Physiology and Hygiene 18-5
Arithmetic Reasoning 19-2
Aritmentic Computation 17-8
Average 17 years 11 months
The examiner remarks: "Using the IQ of 192, his Mental Age would
now be 18 years 5 months. This would give him an Achievement
Quotient of 97.3 per cent."
TRAITS OF CHARACTER
At the age of 10 years G was described by his school supervisor and
parents as prudent and self-reliant, with will power, desire for
knowledge, wish to excel, and originality. He was conscientious,
truthful, cheerful, sympathetic, and had a sense of humor. He was
modest about himself and his achievements, did not like bragging,
and reproved his younger brother for such conduct. At this time
he wore glasses for an error of refraction, had "a slight speech
impediment and a nervous mannerism." He always wanted to do
things as well as possible. He set out to improve his poor
penmanship by learning manuscript writing. He was full of questions
about scientific aspects of the things and processes he saw about
him. He had a reliable and alert memory, even for incidental
The physical measurements referred to in the 1933 mental test
["LATER TEST RECORDS, 1933"] are as follows:
Standing height (in
stocking feet) 53.8 inches 53.6
Sitting height 27.7 inches
Weight (ordinary indoor
clothing except coat) 78 pounds 66.9
Right grip 14, 11, 10 kg.
Left grip 9, 9, 9 kg.
On August 2, 1937, there is a record of height and weight at
the age of 14 years 2 months, as follows:
Height (stocking feet) 63.7 inches 61.0
Sitting height 33 inches
Weight (no coat or shoes) 121.5 pounds 94.9
HIGH SCHOOL RECORD
By February, 1937, G was finishing his sixth term in Erasmus
Hall High School, Brooklyn. In the first five terms his work had
averaged 90-95. Regents' marks to that date were:
French, two years 95
Plane Geometry 100
Intermediate Algebra 98
European History 91
In June of 1935 he had won first prize in "an algebra contest
for the entire grade of his school." During the first four terms
he had ranked fifth in scholarship and in the fifth term he tied
for second place. A letter from his father records that:
In June, 1934, he scored 174 on the Terman Group Intelligence
test which was given to 27,573 boys and girls, graduates of
the elementary schools, public and parochial, who applied for
admission to the high schools in New York City, this score
being the highest reached, and was referred to, though of course
not by name, in John L. Tildsley's "The Mounting Waste of the
American Secondary School," at page 3 thereof.
A letter from G dated July 5, 1938, records his graduation from
high school at the age of 15 years. He there says:
At present my interest lies along abstract lines; mathematics,
chemistry, and physics are my favorite subjects. The occupation
I would like most to enter when my schooling shall be finished
would be mathematics. However, I see no chance for a job in
this field for research work as there is in, say, chemistry.
Hence I feel uncertain as to whether I shall make mathematics
my life work or whether I should specialize in one field or
another of chemistry, my second love.
There is a copy of the principal's statement "In Re Qualifications
of G, Candidate for Scholarship," at the close of his high school
career. It is worth quoting here as a record of the judged
characteristics of this 15-year-old boy whose thoughtful letter,
just quoted from, shows his serious concern over the theoretical
and practical possibilities of the various fields of his interest.
PRINCIPAL'S STATEMENT IN RE QUALIFICATIONS OF G,
CANDIDATE FOR SCHOLARSHIP
Native ability. Intelligence Quotient 174 on Terman Test given
at Erasmus Hall, the highest ever reached here; ranks fourth
in a grade of 712 in scholarship.
Personality. Pleasant and helpful; well liked and respected by
students and faculty; always agreeable, willing, eager to
Loyalty. Loyalty is unquestioned; fine home background
contributes to high ideals; his good example has inspired
loyalty in others.
Coöperation. Has given much time to clubs, to tutoring
students, and to giving clerical assistance in offices.
Integrity. Commended highly by teachers for uprightness.
Leadership. An active leader in many school activities; has
strong initiative and unusual resourcefulness.
Thoroughness. Class and extracurricular work characterized by
unusual care and thoroughness; carried through many long-term
assignments with a minimum of supervision.
Originality. Outstanding characteristic; while working in
his grade adviser's office he devised a new and superior
arrangement for finding the official classes of any one of
800 students in the grade.
Partial list of activities and honors. Program Committee, five
terms; Office Service, seven terms; Little Symphony, two
terms; Orchestra, five terms; Arista, four terms; Junior
Arista, three terms; String Ensemble, two terms; "Dutchman"
Staff; "XYZ" Mathematics Tutoring Club, three terms; prize,
Geometry Contest; prize, Safety Essay contest; medal,
Comments by teachers. "Very efficient and reliable." "Very
good assistant." "Fine work on Arista Membership Committee."
"Fine boy, earnest, and willing worker." "Brilliant mind."
In June, 1938, upon graduation from high school, G was awarded
a scholarship in Harvard University, which he entered in the
ensuing academic year.
G'S BROTHER'S RECORD
A brother younger than G and his only sibling was tested at the
age of 5 years 6 months at the Educational Clinic, College of the
City of New York. His IQ (S-B) was 151. Other scores were:
Goodenough Drawing 6.0 years
Porteus Maze 5-6
Pintner-Patterson Performance 6-6
Stenquist Mechanical Assembly 6-0
Gates Primary Reading Scale 1B Grade
Stanford Achievement: Arithmetic 1B Grade
This child was also measured by Leta S. Hollingworth in February,
1933, when he was at age 6-10, and the Stanford-Binet IQ was 152.
Other measures made at that time were:
Standing height 50.75 inches
Sitting height 27.75 inches
Weight 78.25 pounds
A letter from the father dated June 24, 1938, reports that G's
brother "graduated from public school this week (age 11 years
6 months). He was awarded one of two history medals given in a
class of 134. In the Terman Group Test given to about 1000
applicants he scored 153, which is the fourth in the group.
The first one in the group was 156."
 McElwee, Edna Willis. "Seymour, a Boy with 192 IQ." Journal of
Juvenile Research, Vol. XVIII (January, 1934), pages 28-35.
 "The Reading of a Gifted Child." By his Father. Journal of
Juvenile Research, Vol. XVIII, No. 2 (April 1934), pages 107-111.
 This chapter was written by H. L. H.
Child H, at the time this account is written,  is a girl
of 17 years, but the data on record terminate with her tenth
year. She was born March 25, 1924, in New York City. Her parents
have kept a diary of her development, and an aunt with special
educational interests has made various observations and records
of her and has also familiarized herself with the parents' records.
Her grandparents on both sides were Austrian Hebrews. The maternal
grandfather was a rabbi and did some writing. The maternal
grandmother is said to have shown some unusual mental alertness,
a surprising and almost untutored aptness in numerical calculation.
At 65 years of age she learned to play bridge very well, and
in her old age continued to show lively interests.
Parents. H's father is a newspaper reporter. He attended college
for three years. He was 29 when H was born. Her mother is a high
school graduate and before marriage was a stenographer. She was 28
when H was born.
H is reported as a healthy child, of average stability. She is a
first-born child. She began to walk at 14 months and to talk at 16
months, according to the parents. She cut her first tooth at
9.5 months. H did not learn to read until after she was 4 years
old. At this age she was fond of play and her playmates were
children ranging in age from 3 to 9 years. Her favorite recreations
were sedentary—drawing, painting, mosaic blocks, and the like.
At 2 years of age she was given a box of wooden beads for stringing.
"She very quickly learned the art of holding the string in the
right hand and the bead in the left, and became very much absorbed
in her work. Suddenly she looked up and said, 'Beads, onions.'"
The record continues: "Alternatives seem a preferred mode of
expression at present, so that she wants 'soup, not peas';
her hands are 'clean, not dirty.'"
At 2 years 10 months, upon seeing a picture of a little girl
mailing a letter, she told herself the following story:
Once upon a time there was a little girl and she wanted to
mail a letter. She went out and looked for a letter box and
found one near the drug store. She mailed the letter and it
came to Wawarsing and Sheve received it." (Sheve was an aunt
living at Wawarsing.)
Storytelling and writing plays and verses became a favorite
pastime in later childhood.
At this time H had imaginary companions. "For several days Mr.
Parkey (an invented character) was her very close friend. She
played with him, conversed with him, loved him, killed him,
and brought him to life again." She also invented new names
for her dolls—Flossie became "Woozie" and Alice became "Katch."
At 2 years 11 months she asked the meaning of the words "excitement,"
"guarantee," and "neatness." She constantly asked about the meaning
of words. She sang songs to herself, such as "Go into the next
room, where there's no steam heat." At this age she asked how
babies are made. "Where do they come from? How do they come out?
Why? Will a baby grow in my belly when I'm a big lady?"
At 3 years she wanted to know if people "wear out" like brushes
and combs. She purchased for an imaginary house "an extrola,"
"a gate-legged table," "a gate-legged bookcase," and "gate-legged
At 3 years 0 months, waiting for her cereal to cool, a lump
of butter put into it is slowly melting. H remarks, her eyes
on the butter, "Now it's a baby—baby died—no more baby."
And noting the snow, she said, "My muffler is as white as the
snow." She looks again at snow and muffler. "No, it's a different
There is on record a vocabulary compiled by the mother when H was
3 years old (May 23, 1927). It was based on a count of "all the
words used by H regardless of whether she could tell exactly
what they mean. Tenses of verbs are given but no plurals of nouns."
The list includes about 1400 words, approximately classifiable
Nouns 745 Pronouns 17
Verbs 401 Prepositions 15
Adjectives 161 Conjunctions 5
Adverbs 63 Interjections 9
March 24, 1927. Age 3 years. Stanford-Binet examination given
by Dr. Ella Woodyard, with the following results: Mental Age,
5-6; IQ, 183.
March 8, 1930. Age 5 years 11 months. Stanford-Binet examination
given by Leta S. Hollingworth, with the following results: Mental
Age, 8-9; IQ, 148. At this time H was in Grade 1A.
April 21, 1933. Age 9 years 1 month. Stanford-Binet examination
given by Alice M. Holmes, with the following results: Mental Age,
17-2; IQ, 189.
At this age she was in Grades 5A and 6B, P.S. 206, Manhattan,
and is described as "a quiet and unassuming person, but most
responsive. She would like to be with children her own mental
age, for then she would get a mental stimulus and a social life
that seems to be denied her now."
In this same month (April, 1933) the New Stanford Achievement
Test: Advanced Battery: Form V, given by Alice M. Holmes, showed
scores as follows:
Paragraph Meaning 109 Geography 105
Word Meaning 103 Physiology and Hygiene 90
Dictation 87 Arithmetic Reasoning 94
Language Usage 91 Arithmetic Computation 110
Literature 91 Average score 97.8
History and Civics 98
September 11, 1934. Age 10 years 6 months. H was given Army
Alpha, Form 8, by Leta S. Hollingworth. Her score was 135 points,
which is median for college sophomores. H was then in Grade 7B. It
is noted that "This result is just what would have been predicted
from tests made by us when H was 3 years old."
November 9-17, 1934. Age 10 years 7 months. During this week
H was given a number of tests by Leta S. Hollingworth, with the
Stanford-Binet: Mental Age: 18-6; IQ, over 174, "unmeasured
by the test."
Intelligence Scale CAVD
Levels I-M Score 394
Levels M-Q Score 392
Coöperative General Science Test for College Students: Score,
17; Percentile, 11.
March 8, 1930
Standing height 47 inches 45.2
Sitting height 24 inches
Weight 48.25 pounds 41.7
April 21, 1933
Standing height 54.5 inches 51.1
Weight 66.5 pounds 57.5
There is a collection of many records showing H's reactions and
opinions from infancy up to the age of 9 or 10. These contain apt
comments, sage remarks, and discriminating judgments. They reveal
a lively intellectual curiosity and a socialized attitude.
H's parents have preserved copies of poems and short plays that
H has written. A collection of the "best ones," selections written
between 5.5 and 8.5 years of age, covers seventeen typewritten
pages. Among them are the following.
If I had Aladdin's lamp, you see,
I'd give one wish to you and me.
And then we'd wish for every toy,
That every child should have some joy.
Age 5 years 6 months
On the clover fields he roams,
In the mountains,
At the homes,
Makes the trees and flowers grow,
And manufactures pure, white snow.
Age 8 years 6 months
There was an old soldier
He was all dressed in brown
This soldier had an honor—
He was known all over town.
This old soldier had a misfortune,
That was known too.
His beard it covered his medal,
And people couldn't see through.
Age 8 years 6 months
There are in the collection brief stories, continued tales,
short verses, longer poems, dialogues, and plays divided into
scenes, with appropriate stage instructions.
From after the tenth year there is an undated poem, submitted
to the examiner September 19, 1939, by the aunt of H. This poem,
entitled "The Gospel of Intolerance," won a prize in a poetry
contest. Of it the aunt writes:
It was fished out from the wastebasket by my sister. To the
question why she had thrown away the "Gospel of Intolerance,"
H answered that she did not think it was worth keeping, that
she had no particular idea in mind when writing it, and that
she was just practicing on the typewriter and thought of the
phrase "They said no," and then the rest just came by itself.
Incidentally, H has never read the Bible.
"The Gospel of Intolerance" occupies a full single-spaced
typewritten page. It begins as follows:
The Gospel of Intolerance
They said no
And who shall but hear the whisper of command shall without
question don his uniform and go out upon the field of
death in obedience
And who shall lie asleep in the sun must be roused
And who shall sit in lavender chairs eating of the earth shall
drop his spoon
And who shall lie with the woman shall turn from his passion
And all this shall be done without words as the answer to the
whisper of that which is calling and that which is in
And he who shall stuff his ears with cotton must needs be
 By H. L. H.
This child, a girl, was born in Palo Alto, California, June 17,
1929. She is the daughter of one of the male children studied
by Terman and reported in Genetic Studies [of] Genius. She was
first observed when, in September, 1937, she entered a special
class for "rapid learners" established by Leta S. Hollingworth
at Speyer School, P.S. 500, Manhattan.  This experimental
group was made up of fifty children chosen from the public schools
of the city on the basis of intelligence, and their range in IQ was
from 130 to 200. Of these fifty selected children, Child I was one
of three whose IQ's exceeded 180.
Child I's paternal grandfather was still living in 1939, aged 69.
He had a Normal School education (South Dakota) and was teacher,
farmer, and small-town merchant. His education was superior to that
usually achieved by farm boys. His special interests were church,
travel, and repair work on his own properties. He is described by
his son as stubborn, thrifty, and industrious, with uncompromising
attitudes toward worldliness.
I's paternal grandmother died when I's father was 9 years old.
She had been a teacher of music and kindergarten, and a housewife.
She was educated in a Normal School and a Conservatory of Music.
She was an active leader in her community, established her own
kindergarten, and was socially and musically active in local
ways. Her home was in South Dakota and her father was first Land
Commissioner of Dakota Territory. He had led a group of homesteaders
into that region about 1860. He was politically and educationally
active—Commissioner of Immigration, Commissioner of Education,
in the Territory.
No mentally defective or otherwise generally incompetent relatives
on the father's side are known. The great-grandmother of I, on her
father's side, is said to have been a relative of Phillips Brooks.
I's maternal grandfather was born in Texas of ancestry half
French-Huguenot and the rest German-English. He was a high school
graduate. He was in later life a merchant and real estate operator
and active in community affairs.
I's maternal grandmother was born in Oklahoma, her ancestry being
French-Huguenot, Welsh, and Irish. In education she lacked a half
year of completing the work for her B.A. in the University of
New Mexico. After her marriage she devoted herself to her home
and family. She was talented in dramatics and was active in local
church, club, and lodge affairs.
Father. I's father was born March 21, 1909, in South Dakota.
He is mainly of English descent. He has the degree of B.A. and
also of M.A. from Stanford University, and he was a candidate
for the degree of Ph.D. in Public Law in an Eastern university
at the time of this inquiry. He was for eight years a college
instructor, and later was connected with a government department
at Washington, D. C. He has been active in his profession, has
written in the field of government, and is a member of various
academic societies. He was one of the 1000 children described by
Terman in Genetic Studies [of] Genius. He has been self-supporting
since the age of 19.
Mother. I's mother was graduated from high school in New Mexico
and attended the University of Kansas for one year. She then
transferred to the University of New Mexico, receiving her B.A.
degree in 1930. Two years before (1928), when she was 20 years
old, she married I's father, and continued her college course.
After graduation she managed her home and also took some graduate
courses. In high school she was class poet and in the Honor
Society four years. In her college years she was active in sorority
life and on publications. Her major interests were debating,
dramatics, and student government. At the University of Kansas
she was on the Dean's Honor Roll (1925-1926). At New Mexico she
held various scholastic offices and was awarded several honors.
In more recent years I's mother has taken an active part in
the League of Women Voters and in the Faculty Wives' Club in
the college where her husband has been teaching.
The following data have been supplied by Child I's parents, who
kept a baby-book record of her development:
Length of pregnancy, 8.5 months. Weight at birth, 8 pounds.
Breast fed to 2.5 months, then bottle fed to 18 months.
First teeth appeared at 5 months and first permanent teeth at
5 years. Walked alone (several steps) at 10.5 months.
Talked in short sentences at from 18 months to 2 years.
Childhood illnesses—measles, whooping cough, mumps, chicken
EARLY EDUCATIONAL HISTORY
At the age of about 2 years Child I had been observed in the
Institute of Child Development (Teachers College, Columbia
University) and reported as being hyperactive and of high intelligence.
At the age of 3 or 4 years she was used as a demonstration case
before a class in psychology in the University and the Mental Age
of 7 was assigned to her at that time.
Shortly after, she attended a kindergarten in the neighborhood of
her home where "they gave her extra work—French and dancing." She
liked this school. At the age of 5 years she entered kindergarten
at P.S. 193, Manhattan, for half-day sessions only, although
she wished to go all day.
At the age of 6 years she was entered in the first grade at P.S.
186, Manhattan, and in the second term was "skipped" to Grade 2A.
"She spent her spare time aimlessly drawing, and was allowed
to bring library books to school. Some of the time she sat with
folded hands when her work was finished, and she resented this."
January 14, 1937, was the date of I's first examination, at the age
of 7 years 7 months, and her Stanford-Binet IQ was 184.
In September, 1937, at the age of 8 years 3 months, she was given
Intelligence Examination CAVD, Levels H-M. Her score was 361
points. The comment recorded by the examiner (Leta S. Hollingworth)
is: "Median seventh-grade child is close to this mark." Child I had
at this time just come from a school in which she had been placed
in the third grade.
Records are available of several achievement tests Child I took
at different dates. Representative results are to be found in two
Stanford Achievement tests given in December, 1937, and in June,
1938. In the first of these she averaged an age rating of 12-3
and a grade of 6.3; in the second, her age rating was 13-5 and
her grade 7.6. In six months she had advanced a year and two
months in Educational Age and had made a similar advance in
grade status. The following table gives the detailed results
of these two examinations.
AGE AGE GRADE GRADE
SUBJECT DECEMBER, JUNE DECEMBER, JUNE,
1937 1938 1937 1938
Paragraph Meaning 13-7 15-8 7.8 9.7
Word Meaning 12-11 15-4 7.2 9.3
Dictation 9-11 11-7 4.1 5.7
Language 14-4 15-4 8.4 9.3
Literature 11-11 15-6 6.1 9.5
History and Civics 13-1 13-7 7.4 7.8
Geography 12-4 14-8 6.6 8.7
Physiology and Hygiene 12-11 13-5 7.2 7.6
Arithmetic Reasoning 11-8 11-3 5.8 5.4
Arithmetic Computation 10-5 11-0 4.4 5.1
Average score 12-2 13-5 6.5 7.8
Child I left this experimental school a year after admission,
when her father was appointed to a position in another state,
to which the family moved. In the new school she was placed
in the fifth grade, on the ground that she might make better
social adjustments there, although her achievements were clearly
already better than those of average sixth-grade pupils. It is
unfortunate that no follow-up of this child has been possible.
Her record and the variety of her abilities were striking. She
was one of the most outstanding and best-liked pupils in the group
at Speyer School. In addition to her remarkable intelligence she
possessed desirable supporting traits which led the teachers to
predict that she might "go farther" than any other child in the
selected group of fifty "rapid learners."
The fairly complete account of I's background and early development
has been here provided in the hope that it may be made of use by
investigators at some later time.
PHYSICAL MEASUREMENTS AND HEALTH
Measurements, as of January 16, 1939, age 9 years 6 months,
were as follows:
CHILD I NORM
Height 58.5 inches 52
Weight 96 pounds 61.5
Chest circumference 29 inches
Head circumference 21.1 inches
Eye color brown
Hair color dark brown
Tonsils and adenoids caused trouble in 1933 and were removed
in 1934. No visual defects noted. Occasional headaches "usually
from reading or remaining long periods indoors." Hearing excellent.
Nutrition excellent. No symptoms of general weakness.
Parents report I to be "at least very excitable," and that she
shows "impulsive actions and extreme eagerness."
No sleep difficulties; no muscular twitching; no special fears.
Sleeps nine hours, fairly soundly.
Her superior ability was first noticed by people from the
University, at 15 months, because of comprehension beyond that
expected at such an age."
She is interested in music and wrote the school song at Speyer.
She has been very much interested in nature study and science
since her second or third year, and "in her relationship to the
world and the cosmos." Has asked questions frequently concerning
origins and creation.
She has shown no special interests in mechanics, drawing, or
painting, but from her second year she has had active interests
in recitation and in the dramatization of nursery rhymes, etc.
She has played with imaginary companions. She began making up
rhymes at an early age. "She reasons logically and has a strong
sense of justice."
A neatly bound volume of typed pages, prepared by I as a Christmas
present, 1937, for Leta S. Hollingworth, is entitled "First Poems."
There are in the collection a dozen short verses or longer poems,
each dated by I's age at the time of composition. The ages range
from 4.5 to 8 years. A few samples follow.
The stars are shining bright tonight
I wonder why they shine so bright
I guess to make it light at night.
Age 5 years
THE CAVE MAN
The cave man was a hunter,
A hunter brave and bold.
He wore the skins of those he killed
To keep him from the cold.
And many ages later, when he had passed away,
Men found in caves the sharpened stones
That he used every day.
Age 7 years 5 months
Red and yellow tulips blooming on the lawn,
Blooming in the woodland, trampled by the fawn,
Little yellow dandelions hiding in the meadows,
Given to the cow to eat every time she bellows.
Pretty red roses upon a bush
Like a little lady bursting with a blush.
White and purple lilacs on a bush of olive green
As a birthday present were given to the queen.
Age 7 years 5 months
A wandering stranger am I
I believe in nothing but the great powers of the gods,
The whole world have I searched for their wisdom.
But such wisdom found have I not.
Though I have searched the world over
Not a trace of such can be found.
I have searched on the hilltops, in the valleys—
I wonder if such things there are in this wide world of wonder.
The rocks have I broken
To find this great wisdom
But the wonderous marvels are not to be found.
Age 8 years
 This chapter was written by H. L. H.
Early in 1937 the principal of P.S. 107, The Bronx, New York City,
referred one of her pupils to the Bureau of Educational Guidance
of Teachers College, Columbia University.  This child was J,
a girl then about 7 years 6 months old, born May 18, 1929. She
was at this time in Grade 5A, and the principal and teachers
had concluded that she was so superior in mental level that the
ordinary school program could offer her no challenge.
Examinations by the psychologists of the Bureau showed clearly
enough the correctness of this judgment. At the age of 7 years
10 months, March 22, 1937, her Mental Age by Stanford-Binet was
15-5. Since she met with success on the Superior Adult level,
no actual upper limit of her ability was established. She was
reported, therefore, as having an IQ of 197 or better, and was
recommended for admission to the experimental class for quick
learners in Speyer School, P.S. 500, Manhattan, which she entered.
In connection with these tests at the Bureau of Child Guidance a
most instructive and detailed report was made by the psychologist
(Edna Mann). Most of the items of the following description
of J at this age are drawn from this report, which fills three
single-spaced typewritten pages.
Both parents graduated from college. The father is an instructor
in English in a large Eastern university. In the interests of
educational research he took, on April 20, 1939, IER Intelligence
Scale CAVD, Levels M-Q. His score was 445 points, which the
examiner, Leta S. Hollingworth, reports "is included in the top
1 per cent of college graduates and indicates an IQ of not less
than 180 in childhood."
The mother of J is a graduate of a large Midwestern university
and a former schoolteacher. She also took the CAVD test at the
same time that her husband did, making a score of 436 points.
This, the examiner reported, "is included in the top 5 per cent
of college graduates and indicates an IQ of not less than 170
J has one sister, four years younger than herself, born May 1,
1933. This sister was given a Stanford-Binet test under distracting
conditions following a trolley-car accident. Of the outcome, the
examiner (Dr. M. C. Pritchard) notes: "This was not a good test
and perhaps should not even be included. . . . Several times she
asked to leave the room to see how her mother was. She was
obviously distracted throughout." Nevertheless, the Mental Age
found was 9-2 at Chronological Age 7-0 (IQ 131). In "the routine
test given to pupils in 1A grades of the public schools" this
sister is reported to have had a score of 143 (presumably IQ, by
some group test).
At the age of 7 years 10 months J is described as poised, competent,
self-controlled, and with social and intellectual maturity
strikingly advanced. She had clear speech, excellent diction,
fertile and pointedly expressed ideas. She was a rather thin
child, with clear complexion and very bright blue eyes, and was
neatly dressed. Teeth were described as "slightly protruding."
In the test she was interested and coöperative. Her conversation
revealed a rich cultural background. She disliked the necessity
in school of repeated drills in things she already knew, and she
did not need or wish repeated instructions for the tests, even
when standard practice called for them.
She was well-read, and discussed with discrimination plays, books,
and radio programs. At 3 years of age she had been reading books.
At 5 she learned to write her name so that she could take out a
library card. At 7 years 10 months she had read six Shakespearean
plays. She read all kinds of books, and used dictionaries and
encyclopedias independently. She was at that time composing,
with a playmate, a "Jingles Book."
At this age she liked to play with children two or three years
older than herself. She played vigorously and for several hours a
day at many outdoor sports; she did not need to do school homework.
Her manner was natural, free from conceit and from exhibitionism
of her abilities. She had good habits of work and enjoyed the
challenge of the mental tests. Her vocabulary, language responses,
and abstract thinking were clearly on an adult level. She is
credited by the examiner with remarkable degrees of mental control,
concentration, constructive visual imagery, and manipulation
of mathematical and verbal concepts, rote memory, and inductive
On a standardized test of reading ability she exhibited a Reading
Age of 14 years 5 months at this time (7 years 10 months). Her
writing was reported as excellent.
Her earlier educational progress reflects her extraordinary
ability. In her first six months at school she completed four terms
of work. She was one term in Grade 3A, and then in one term passed
through 3B, 4A, and 4B.
J's parents had from the beginning given intelligent attention
to her adjustments in school and to her friendships. She had been
wisely guided, motivated to make friends rather than to be in
constant leadership, and she was well liked and accepted by
At this early age the psychological examiner was able confidently
to predict: "In view of her exceptional intelligence, her apparently
good health, her apparently excellent social adjustment, she can be
expected to attain distinction and to win leadership in higher
educational and professional fields."
LATER MENTAL TESTS
J was given a second Stanford-Binet test by Dr. M. C. Pritchard
within three days of her tenth birthday, on May 15, 1939, using the
1937 Revision, Form L. A Mental Age of 20 years was achieved which,
if her limit had been reached, would have meant an IQ of 200—very
like the 197 plus attaned at the earlier Chronological Age.
On February 17, 1938, at the age of 9 years 9 months, J had also
taken IER Intelligence Scale CAVD, Levels I to M, making a score
of 384 points.
Several records are available on the New Stanford Achievement
Tests given, a different form each time, to the pupils in the
experimental class at Speyer School at intervals of six months.
Annual tests at the close of each school year, for a period of
three years, may be used here to show J's ability and progress
in these respects. Such scores are as follows:
FUNCTION FORM W FORM Y FORM X FORM W
June 16, June 1, May 31, May 18,
1937 1938 1939 1940
Paragraph Meaning 17-0 18-5 Unmeasured Unmeasured
Word Meaning 15-9 16-10 17-2 17-8
Dictation 16-6 17-8 18-2 Unmeasured
Language Usage 16-5 19-2 18-11 Unmeasured
Literature 16-0 16-2 18-8 Unmeasured
History and Civics 12-6 12-10 15-11 17-4
Geography 11-11 16-2 17-4 18-5
Physiology and Hygiene 12-6 14-6 16-10 18-5
Arithmetic Reasoning 13-1 16-6 17-4 17-6
Arithmetic Computation 11-10 14-6 17-6 17-6
Average score 14-4 16-3 17-8 18-5
Grade status 8.4 Unmeasured Unmeasured Unmeasured
The first of these achievement tests was given shortly after
J entered the experimental class, from the fifth grade in a
public school, at the age of about 7 years 6 months. At that
time her school achievement scores show her to have been between
eighth- and ninth-grade status, with an Educational Age just
about twice her Chronological Age. So far as Educational Age
is concerned, although the experimental program was half concerned
with enrichment activities rather than with the conventional
fundamentals, J advanced one year and eleven months during the
first school year there, one year and five months during the
second year, and nine months during the last year. By this time
progress was practically impossible because after the first
year most of her scores were unmeasured in grade status, being
above the standards for tenth grade.
As a matter of mere achievement scores, J was ready for high school
work at the age of being received from the fifth grade into the
experimental classes at Speyer School.
There are in the files several poems written by J while she was
in Speyer School, before May, 1939; that is, before her tenth
birthday. The following may be given as a representative sample
of these compositions.
A MARCH SNOWFALL
It's March, yet snow is falling fast,
And one may hear the wintry blast.
A budding tree, a sign of spring,
Will to me great gladness bring.
When crocuses have put their heads,
Above the softened garden beds,
And when in all the fields around
Lively little lambkins bound,
And green creeps up across the lawn
I'll be glad the snow has gone.
 This chapter was written by H. L. H.
Child K is a boy, born December 19, 1922. He first came to the
attention of this series of researches in 1929 when his grandmother
sought advice concerning his education from Leta S. Hollingworth. 
K's paternal grandparents are English and Scotch-Irish. The
grandfather is said to write poetry and the grandmother to
compose music for the verses.
K's maternal grandparents are of Jewish origin, both born in
America. The grandfather was a teacher, the grandmother was "in
business." This grandmother was the seventh of twelve children.
The youngest of these is said to be "a brilliant woman of executive
ability." The eldest, at the age of 79, "reads all the papers,
compares notes, etc." One of the brothers in this group was a
physician, another a lawyer. A cousin of K teaches in Massachusetts
Institute of Technology and was called during the First World
War for special work in mathematics. This man's sister is an
arch[a]eologist married to an archaeologist. Three of K's
grandmother's sisters are teachers; another is an artist.
No mentally deficient or totally incompetent persons are known
among the ancestors.
K has two siblings, brothers younger than himself. Both are
reported to be "bright."
Father. K's father is an electrician, a graduate of high school
and of Cooper Union. He was born in Antigua and was 32 or 34 years
old when K was born. One of his sisters is a high school teacher
in Brooklyn; another is a nurse; another, a stenographer.
Mother. K's mother is recorded as of American-Jewish origin. She
was 30 or 31 years old when K was born. She is a graduate of high
school and of Hunter College (A.B.), New York City, and holds
a license to teach music in the New York City schools. At the date
of records she was actively in service, teaching general subjects.
She had taken three maternity leaves of absence.
K's parents rate him as a child with excellent health, sturdy
but nervous. He may have had measles, but there were no other
childhood illnesses except occasional colds. When tiny, he would
wake up with "great imaginings." At a little older age he would
cry "with high tension"; "he no longer does this."
According to parents, K cut his first tooth at 6 months. He began
to walk at about 20 months and to talk at about 2 years. He learned
to read at about 3 years. "While still a baby in his carriage he
could read 'ice' and he would read the billboards. Before 3 he
would sit down with a book and read."
At 5 years of age K wanted to discriminate in meaning between
"bluff," "joke," and "fake." He is "untiring in his attention to
books. He will sit with an American history, an English history,
and Godey's History of American Beginnings in Europe (which goes
into Greece and Rome) and the dictionary around him, and will
work at these for hours."
At the age here reported K had no playmates. His younger brothers
played by themselves. K did not like to play. His favorite
recreations were reading and transferring pictures, and consulting
almanacs and dictionaries.
He has a passion for accuracy. He has as yet made no collections,
and has no pets. He has no imaginary companions and no imaginary
On April 10, 1929, K was brought to Teachers College, Columbia
University, for mental testing. The Stanford-Binet and other
methods were employed. He was then 6 years 4 months old and had
not yet entered school. On the Stanford-Binet his Mental Age at
that date was 9-1, giving an IQ of 143. But the examiner added
a note to the record to the effect that: "It is predicted that
this child will test much higher later, when examined under
standard conditions, alone with the examiner." The conditions
under which this test was taken are not recorded, but it was
probably a class demonstration.
On March 26, 1931, at the age of 8 years 3 months, K was again
given a Standard-Binet test by the same examiner. He was then
in Grade 5A, although only two years before he had not yet entered
school. This time his Mental Age was 14-8, giving him an IQ of
close to 180. The earlier prediction of an increase in IQ at a
later age was fulfilled, under standardized conditions.
Although K was in Grade 5A at this time, it is noted that "Writing
is only about third-grade ability." In this manual coördination
K's score was nearer to his Chronological Age than was his mental
level. He was also given Trabue Language Completion Scale A on
this date, with a score of Grade 6.5, a full year ahead of his
actual, though advanced, school placement.
Of such cases the examiner commented as follows:
The little boy scored a Mental Age of 14 years 8 months.
Only one or two eight-year-olds in a hundred thousand reach
such a score. These children are so far beyond the average
that schools are not equipped to handle them adequately.
Experts in education do not know what the best procedure is in
regard to their placement in school, but we hope to find out as
time goes on. . . . I asked you to bring the little boy again
for purely professional reasons—to learn how he is developing,
how he conducts himself, and what his interests are. We
want to find out how to educate these children. . . . Tell
him I am sure he is going to have a good future if he learns to
get self-control. (I mention this last because you spoke of his
having emotional upsets.)
At the age of 6 years 4 months, K's standing height was 48.2
inches and his weight was 50.5 pounds. (Norms 46.0 inches, and
At the age of 8 years 3 months, K's standing height was 53 inches;
sitting height, 28.2 inches; weight, 62 pounds. In the two-year
interval K had gained 5 inches in height and 12 pounds in weight.
(Age norms 49.8 inches, and 54.6 pounds.)
LATER EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS
There is little record in the files of the subsequent career
of this boy and no follow-up has been made possible. A letter
from his mother, dated December 30, 1933, reports that K "is now
just eleven (birthday this month) and will graduate from public
school next month."
This would mean completion of the eighth grade at the age of
There is also a letter from his mother dated December 10, 1937,
at which time K was [nearly] 15 years old. In the following month
he was to be graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School, New
York City. Plans were being made and advice sought concerning
college. K had "gone through high school an honor student. . . .
His high school record is outstanding. Regents marks, etc.,
 This chapter was written by H. L. H.
This exceptionally gifted boy, born May 5, 1927, was a member
from the beginning of the experimental group for "rapid learners"
established February, 1936, in Speyer School by Leta S. Hollingworth.
 In achievement as measured by standard tests from time to
time he led that group of highly selected children, his IQ being
200. At the request of his parents he had been recommended for
admission to the project by the principal of the public school
he was then attending in Brooklyn (P.S. 35).
Child L's ancestry is Austrian-Hebrew. Of his paternal relatives,
an uncle and a cousin are rabbis, and at the time this record
was made a cousin was professor of mathematics in the University
L's maternal grandfather was an Austrian merchant and also a
learned man, who is said to have written several books. The
maternal grandmother of L was active in local circles to which she
belonged. At her death she left money for L's college education. A
maternal uncle is an architect. L's mother's cousin is a physician.
No mentally defective or totally incompetent persons among L's
ancestors are known.
Father. Child L's father is a high school graduate. He was 33
years of age when L was born. His trade is that of jeweler, but
being unable to find work in this line he has taken employment
in a factory making airplane precision instruments.
Mother. L's mother is a high school graduate. She was 29 years
of age when L, her only child, was born. She was a dressmaker
before her marriage.
L is rated by his parents as having "good health" and as being
"well-balanced." He cut his first tooth at 9 months, began to talk
at 9 months, according to his parents, and to walk at 15 months. He
learned to read at 4 years. His playmates are several years older
than he (10-12 years). L likes to play. His favorite recreations
are reading, chess, and checkers.
In January, 1935, at the age of 8 years 5 months, he was in
Grade 5A1. His school ratings had been A for every term and
he had accomplished four years' work in two years. The Otis
Self-Administering Tests had been used in the school and L had
been credited with an IQ of 153—much lower than that subsequently
found to characterize him. It was at this time that he was
recommended for the group of "rapid learners" at Speyer School.
On September 28, 1936, at age 9 years 5 months, a Stanford-Binet
test given L by Donald MacMurray, a graduate student, showed him
to have a Mental Age of between 17-10 and 18-4, and an IQ of from
189 to 195.
On January 18, 1939, a Revised Stanford-Binet (1937 form) given L
by another graduate student showed him to have a Mental Age
of 19-6, his Chronological Age then being 10-8. The IQ thus
determined was 183.
More dependable is a similar measure made May 5, 1937, by an expert
in the Guidance Laboratory at Teachers College (Rosalind Blum). At
Chronological Age 10-0, with the Revised Stanford-Binet (1937
Form 1) L's score was Mental Age 19-11, IQ 199. Certain details
in the report of this test are worth reproduction here.
GUIDANCE LABORATORY REPORT OF L
Date of birth: May 6, 1927 CA 10-0
Date of test: May 5, 1937 MA 19-11
Test: Revised Binet, Form L IQ 199
L earned a basal age at Superior Adult I Level. At Superior
Adult II Level he successfully completed all the items except
interpretation of one of the proverbs. At Superior Adult III
Level one more test was passed—Orientation.
L was friendly and coöperative throughout the test. Although
he had never seen the examiner before, he made an excellent
adjustment to the testing situation. Throughout the test he
indicated a genuine desire to be as accurate as possible. All
his responses were given in great detail and he always told much
more than was necessary in order to earn credit.
Psychometrically L ranks in the top tenth of one per cent of
the population. His intellectual development is very superior.
His level of comprehension, vocabulary, memory, and verbal
ability are outstanding. He displayed excellent insight into
his work and spontaneously criticized his own performance.
When difficult items were presented, he frankly admitted that
he could not respond accurately. He was persistent in his
efforts and devoted excellent attention at all times. He has a
good understanding of the limits of his ability. . . .
It is impossible to recommend appropriate school placement for
this boy, since such ability as he possesses appears in about
one out of every million individuals. . . . His emotional,
educational, and social adjustments will always be difficult
because of his advanced intellectual development. . . .
L has acquired a wealth of information. We can be sure of one
thing—no matter where this boy attends school, no matter what
the teaching devices are, he will always learn new facts and
instruct himself. Such intellectual curiosity as this boy
possesses will always be satisfied because of his own drive to
acquire both information and skills.
A further picture of L's ability at an early age is given by his
scores in two CAVD Intelligence Scale records, made under the
supervision of Leta S. Hollingworth. The first of these was made by
L in November-December, 1936, at the age of 9 years 6 months. His
score (Levels M-Q) was 392 points, which is noted as "equivalent to
a good score for tenth-grade pupils who plan and are encouraged to
go to a first-rate college."
The second CAVD score (Levels M-Q) was made in the spring of 1939,
at the age of 11 years 10 months. His score was 416 points—a score
which is median for Teachers College M.A. candidates and also for
Yale Law school freshmen. Such a score is at the 3d decile of
scores made by Ph.D. candidates at Teachers College, Columbia
University. It was made by L while he was still in the elementary
ACHIEVEMENT AT SPEYER SCHOOL
A few records of scores on the New Stanford Achievement Test
will show the remarkable academic work of this boy from the age
of 9 years 6 months to 12 years 6 months.
SUBJECT December 4, December 6, December 12, December 4,
1936 1937 1938 1939
Age Grade Age Grade Age Grade Age Grade
Paragraph Meaning 17-8 11.7 18-5 UM UM UM UM UM
Word Meaning 15-8 9.7 17-11 UM 17-8 UM 18-8 UM
Dictation 15-6 9.5 17-6 UM 17-8 UM 18-2 UM
Language Usage 15-9 9.8 16-10 UM 18-8 UM 19-2 UM
Literature 13-9 7.9 16-2 UM 16-6 UM 16-8 UM
History and Civics 14-4 8.4 15-0 9.0 16-5 UM UM UM
Geography 17-6 11.6 19-2 UM 17-8 UM UM UM
Physiology and Hygiene 15-4 9.3 19-2 UM UM UM UM UM
Arithmetic Reasoning 14-1 8.2 19-2 UM 17-8 UM UM UM
Arithmetic Computation 14-10 8.9 17-4 UM 17-11 UM UM UM
Average 15-6 9.5 17-6 UM 18-2 UM UM UM
At the time of the first of these achievement examinations, age
9 years 6 months, L's achievement already exceeded the status of
high school freshmen. After this his work could not be measured
(UM) by grade standards. Progress was still possible, however, in
the subject in which his initial scores were relatively lower. All
but one of these were brought up to an "unmeasurable" point during
the second year. For such a child the time spent on drill in the
fundamentals would be sheer waste—and yet he is too young to go
to high school with children half again as old as he. In Speyer
School he entered actively into the enrichment program and was
intellectually easily the leader of the group.
The following chart shows, through scores in Modern School
Achievement Tests as of February 13, 1936, L's comparative status
with respect to normal expectations for his age and also with
respect to the average status of the class of gifted children
which he had just joined in the experimental school at Speyer.
FIG. 13. COMPARATIVE EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT.
[[The Y axis is labeled "Grade," while the X axis shows subjects.
Line 1 is L's scores, Line 2 is the Class Median, and Line 3
shows the Average Scores at "L's" Age. L's scores are always
higher than the Class Median, which are always higher than
the average scores. The scores for these 3 are as follows
(respectively): Comprehension, 9+, 6.5, 3.2; Reading Speed,
6, 5.5, 3.2; Spelling, 6.8, 5.6, 3.2; Language Usage, 9+, 5.8,
3.2; Arithmetic Computation, 6.5, 4, 3.2; Arithmetic Reasoning,
7.5, 4.5, 3.2; Health Knowledge, 8, 5.2, 3.2; Elementary
Science, 9+, 4.7, 3.2; History, Civics, 7, 3.7, 3.2; Geography,
8.6, 3.5, 3.2.]]
Young L's erudition was astonishing. His passion for scholarly
accuracy and thoroughness set a high standard for accomplishment.
He was relatively large, robust, and impressive, and was fondly
dubbed "Professor." His attitudes and abilities were appreciated
by both pupils and teachers. He was often allowed to lecture
(for as long as an hour) on some special topic, such as the
history of timepieces, ancient theories of engine construction,
mathematics, and history. He constructed out of odds and ends
(typewriter ribbon spools, for example) a homemade clock of the
pendular type to illustrate some of the principles of chronometry,
and this clock was set up before the class during the enrichment
unit on "Time and Time Keeping," to demonstrate some of the
principles of chronometry. His notebooks were marvels of masterly
Being discontented with what he considered the inadequate treatment
of land travel in a class unit on "Transportation," he agreed that
time was too limited to do justice to everything. But he insisted
that "at least they should have covered ancient theory." As an
extra and voluntary project "he brought in elaborate drawings
and accounts of the ancient theories of engines, locomotives, etc."
Subsequent to a visit to the school by an assistant superintendent
associated with its work, L addressed to this dignitary the
following communication. He was at that time 10 years of age.
November 30, 1939
Dr. ——— ———
500 Park Avenue
New York, N. Y.
Dear Dr. ———:
Several of my classmates have informed me that you questioned them
as to the relationship of Archimides to our unit on "Music, Art,
and Literature." We are not confining ourselves to Music, Art, and
Literature, but are also studying the background that helped to
produce this culture. We feel that the only way that we can
acquire a full view of this is to study contemporary contributors
to the advance of civilization. I, being greatly interested in
mathematics, volunteered to deliver a report on Archimides who
was famous for his mathematical research.
But this is not the only way Archimides is related to our unit
on "Music, Art, and Literature." In the act of writing any great
piece of music a knowledge of mathematics is essential. Also
in any good work of art it enters into the form of perspective
without which a drawing is apt to be void and lifeless. Therefore
Archimides has been included in our unit.
I hope that you will soon visit our classroom again for all the
children enjoy the talks you often give them.
HIGH SCHOOL RECORD TO DATE OF WRITING
L entered Bronx Science High School in February, 1940. This
high school selects its students on the basis of a competitive
examination. No classification on the basis of ability is made
after entrance to the school.
L's final grades for the first term, closing June, 1940, are:
English, 95; Social Studies, 99; Mathematics, 100; Science, 99;
The judgment of his supervisors and teachers is shown by the
following quotations from comments about him, as of June, 1940. 
He is an excellent student. My only criticism of the boy is
that he is too mature. He should be more of a nuisance. As
I see it, our problem of adjustment here for L is to make him
more of a real boy. Dr. M, Administrative Assistant.
He is a wonderful boy, and that covers everything. Mr. C.,
L is the best boy I have had in all of my teaching experience,
and I have taught in the New York City schools since 1913. He
is the only boy I ever gave 100 as a final mark.
He knows rules of trigonometry that he never has had in school.
Mr. W, Mathematics.
I first became acquainted with L when he walked into my office
last term and introduced himself. He said he was trying to make
up his mind between Science High School and Townsend Harris. He
had decided the most sensible way was for him to visit both
schools and then make his decision.
He is a most unusual youngster. We found he surpassed any
child in the class. I am going to discuss with his next term's
teacher what modifications can be made of the required work.
It won't be a matter of skipping anything. L needs to cover
all the subject matter taught. He can profit from experience
in manipulative situations in the laboratory. We may be able
to arrange additional laboratory periods which will give him
an opportunity to work out his own problems. His classmates
look upon L as something of a genius. Mr. Z., Head of Science
L feels that the school he chose is a good one and is well suited
to his purposes, because the teachers are very good, the school
teaches the subjects he wants to learn, and he is not hampered
by the excessive size of the school. By way of improvement he
suggests "More mathematics equipment and class formed according
to students' ratings, smartest ten, say, in first class, etc."
In addition to his work in this school, and to his earlier school
work, L has gone to Hebrew school about nine hours a week for
four years, and has just been graduated therefrom with first
honors. He reports many hobbies and outside interests—such as
making model airplanes, doing science experiments at home, reading,
using the microscope, collecting early American Money and stamps.
He does not do much outdoor playing—"Not because I do not want
to play outdoors but because I lack the time and the companions.
My favorite sport is swimming because it is both enjoyable and
good exercise. . . . I very seldom take part in any organized
athletic games except baseball for two reasons: first, I don't
like to be disciplined and, second, I do not like games where a
person's brawn is more important than a person's wit."
L and a friend have started a supply service in the high school,
buying at wholesale and selling to students at retail prices. For
this privilege, 20 per cent of the profits they turn into the
General Organization carfare fund for needy students.
L's chief criterion in choosing his outside activities is their
educational value. "By making model airplanes I can find out
more about scientific principles of flying. . . . Any experiments
in science I make may help me to advance my scientific knowledge.
. . . I am doing some experimenting in soilless gardening as a
scientific hobby. . . . I believe that stamps should have real
interest behind them and not money value alone. . . . I do not
play any musical instruments although I was drafted into the high
school glee club by the music teacher. I would rather work on
amateur radio if I had the money. I like music but I can't make
it." L wants to take stenography and typing in night school. "It
will come in handy in high school and when I get to college I may
be able to get a job with some professor."
LATER TESTS AND INVENTORIES
In connection with the inquiry into L's adjustments upon entering
high school, Dr. Pritchard has also given him several further
tests and inventories, the results of which are as follows.
On CAVD (Levels (M-Q) his score is now 427 points, which is in
the 7th decile of the Ph.D. Matriculants at Teachers College.
On the Strong Vocational Interest Blank L's A (high) interests
coincided with those of physicians, mathematics, chemists,
psychologists, and teachers of mathematics and physical science.
His C (low) interests were on "most occupations dealing with large
groups of people: personnel manager, social science high school
teacher, purchasing agent, accountant, sales manager, real estate
salesman, life insurance salesman, office worker, Y.M.C.A.
secretary." His first choice for an occupation is mathematics
teacher on the college level. He dislikes any occupation where
there is "little opportunity to discover new facts."
On the Bernreuter "Personality Inventory" the following
characteristics were indicated: Emotional adjustment better
than average, tends to be alone, rarely asks for sympathy or
encouragement, tends to ignore advice of others, seldom worries,
rarely substitutes daydreaming for action, tends to dominate in
face-to-face situations, to be wholesomely self-confident, well
adjusted to environment, solitary, independent, and non-social.
The following records were made on the Sones-Harry High School
Language and Literature, 83
The 99th-percentile score for students completing the
first-term high school English is 75. A score of 83 falls
at the 88th percentile on norms based on 943 graduates from
a large cosmopolitan city high school.
The score at the 99th percentile for first-term mathematics
students is given as 36. A score of 64 exceeds the scores of
98 per cent of the 943 high school graduates cited above,
and 99 per cent of 1156 college entrants.
Natural Science, 61
The 99th-percentile score for students who have had one term
of high school science is 42. A score of 61 exceeds the
scores of 96 per cent of the high school graduates.
Social Studies, 64
The 99th-percentile score for students completing one term's
work in social science is 65. A score of 64 exceeds 90 per
cent of the scores of the high school graduates.
Total Score, 272 points
A total score of 272 points exceeds the score of 95 per cent
of the group of high school graduates from a cosmopolitan
city high school.
On his own initiative, L is investigating the possibilities of
scholarships with college work in mind. He says: "I spend between
two or three hours a night on homework. I don't need to do this,
but I am aiming for a scholarship and taking it very seriously."
 This chapter was written by H. L. H.
 This section is an abbreviation of an account courteously
provided by Dr. Miriam C. Pritchard, who made a follow-up study
of L's first-term adjustments in high school.
SUMMARIES OF HEREDITY AND EARLY BEHAVIOR
It is of course obvious that no very general conclusions can be
drawn from data relating to a dozen instances of exceptional mental
endowment such as those reported in this monograph. Such data may,
however, be added to information in process of accumulation from
similar studies, the whole providing a respectable basis for
judgment. The facts concerning the group of individuals presented
in this book are, therefore, summarized in the form of the
following brief review. 
FAMILY HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
The racial and national ancestry of the twelve children whose
records have been presented in preceding pages may be chiefly a
condition arising from the population in which they were found.
Comparison with results from other population areas may serve
to check certain implications suggested herein. All these cases
were found and studied in New York City and about half of them in
the public schools.
Among the ancestors whose origins are mentioned, in the endeavor
to go behind the simple statement of "American parents," the
nationalities are given as Jewish, 13; British, 9; German, 2;
French, 2. In most cases the ancestors are individually compound—
as Austrian-Jew, German-American, etc.
The activities of the more remote ancestors cover a wide range,
from farming and small-town storekeeping to the learned professions,
large business, and political activity. On the whole, the remote
ancestors appear to have been fairly successful people, with the
majority of them in the professions. No cases of mental deficiency
or total incompetence are recorded among them.
A few of these children were from families in economic distress.
These cases were largely instances in which the father was dead
or incapacitated and the mother was struggling to carry on with
slender resources. But on the whole, as in earlier cases cited
from the literature of gifted children, the socio-economic status
The father's occupations are in 10 of the 12 cases in the
professions. They may be classified as:
Engineer 1 Lawyer 1
Army officer 1 College teacher 2
Accountant 2 Electrician 1
Journalist 2 Jeweler 1
The occupations of the mothers, either before or after marriage,
when stated, were:
Advertising 1 Teacher 2
Housewife 3 Secretary 2
Statistician 1 Dressmaker 1
Scientist (M.D.) 1
All but 2 of the fathers are known to be high school graduates;
5 went beyond this point in business or trade school; 4 are
As for the mothers, all but 2 are high school graduates, and 5 hold
Ages of parent at time of birth of child, when given, are as
Below 25 2 1
From 25-30 3 4
30-35 2 2
35-40[+] 3 1
Median age of fathers, 31; of mothers, 28.5.
Of the 11 cases where the facts are known, 5 are only children;
4 have one sibling; 1 has 2 siblings and 1 has more than this.
In 5 cases where the child in question is not an only child, he
or she is the eldest sibling. That is, in 10 of the 12 cases the
child is a first-born, so far as the records show.
In a few cases the IQ of the sibling (or siblings) is known. Such
IQ's are invariably above 130, in most cases much higher but in
no case so high as the 180 that would have been required to admit
them to the group here considered. Otherwise, of course, they
would have been included in the study.
Of the 12 cases here described, 4 are girls. It has already
been noted that among the 19 cases cited from the literature
of gifted children there were 12 girls and 7 boys. The total
of 31 cases which this study now makes available comprises 16
girls and 15 boys—as equitable a division of the honors as an
odd number makes possible.
PHYSICAL AND BEHAVIORAL DEVELOPMENT
No single item indicative of early developmental pace in physique
and movement is given for all the 12 cases. For most of them
records are given on walking, talking, reading, first tooth,
height, and weight. Grip is recorded in 5 cases, weight at birth
in 3 only. These data are summarized in the following table. Since
height, weight, and grip were taken at varying ages on the different
children, all that is indicated in these columns is "above normal"
(##) or "below normal" (—).
AGE OF AGE OF AGE OF FIRST
CHILD WALKING TALKING READING TOOTH HEIGHT WEIGHT GRIP
(MONTHS) (MONTHS) (YEARS) (MONTHS)
A 11 3 ## ## ##
B 15 9 3 7 ## ## ##
C 15 16 3 9 — —
D 12 11 1.5 4 ## —
E 13 24 8 ## Normal —
F 14 12 4.5 10
G ## ## —
H 14 16 4 9.5 ## —
I 10.5 21 3 5 ## ##
K 20 24 3 6 ## ##
L 15 9 4 9 ## ##
Median age of walking, for the cases recorded, is 14 months—a
wholly normal age for children in general. Median age of talking
is 14 months—considerably earlier than the norm usually recognized.
The range, too, is wide—from 9 to 24 months. First teeth normally
begin to appear in the sixth to seventh month, and the median here
is close to that. Median age of reading here reported—3 years—is
earlier even than that found in the 19 cases cited from previous
literature (3.5 to 4 years). All but one of the 10 cases for which
stature is reported exceed the norms in this respect. Six are
heavier than the age norm, 1 just at it, and 3 are lighter in
weight. The records of grip tests show nothing unusual. In 3 cases
where weight at birth was recorded, this was from 7 to 10 pounds.
Health is generally reported good.
Talking and reading are the two developmental indices that
most clearly differentiate these records from the norms. These
activities, both involving the use and understanding of symbols,
are the earliest clear expressions of mental liveliness. After they
have appeared, the gifted child's characteristics appear in those
traits called understanding, judgment, learning, discrimination,
and in the interest in and capacity for such linguistic and abstract
activities as are provided by schoolwork. It is, therefore, in the
earlier scholastic activities and in social relations that these
children most notably declare their quality under our prevailing
system of child management.
SCHOLASTIC ACHIEVEMENT AND CREATIVE ACTIVITY
The following brief summaries of the achievement and adjustment
of these twelve children may serve to suggest a few general
principles that are applicable to other cases as well. 
SCHOLASTIC ACHIEVEMENT AND EDUCATIONAL ADJUSTMENT
Child A. This boy showed signs of precocity before his second
year, reciting, classifying, and playing with words and letters;
and before the age of 3 years showing interest in rhymes and
stories. From first school entrance suitable placement was a
recognized problem, and by the time A was 6 years old he was
brought to a college clinic for educational guidance.
Throughout elementary school A was a trying problem, lacking
interest in the routine program. He was behind his mental level
in handwork and was not motivated to do his best work; he fitted
poorly into social activities. Character traits were highly
approved, except perhaps for independence and obstinacy. He
resorted to imaginary lands, reading, and science and mathematics
as forms of play.
The case was not followed far enough to show his final educational
achievement, although it is known that he went through high school
and entered college.
Child B. This girl was occupied with words by the time of her
second year. Her ability was not early recognized by the schools
she attended, although she passed seventh-grade standards while
still in the fourth grade and her marks were always high. As she
had marked social interests and aptitudes, this educational
misplacement caused no serious trouble. When eventually "skipped,"
her size and poise kept her from being conspicuous, although the
youngest in the class. She was apparently a natural leader, and in
addition to the usual preoccupation with reading she had as an
outlet the groups and clubs she organized.
Since she was followed only to high school, her final educational
adjustment is not known.
Child C. This boy learned to read "almost as soon as he talked,"
and read fluently before beginning school. He was at once recognized
as "odd," but in spite of perfect work he was not advanced and his
ability was unappreciated by his teachers. At 9 years 6 months,
with a mental age of 18, he was still in the fifth grade. He was
very unhappy until the principal sought educational advice on his
case and he was admitted to a segregated experimental class for
rapid learners, where he quickly became adjusted and was an
Personal traits made social adjustment faulty, but he persisted in
his educational career against heavy economic handicaps, finished
high school and college with honors, and completed the medical
training that admitted him to the profession that had been his
ambition since childhood.
Child D. This boy was reading before he was 2 years of age, and
was also interested in numbers and relationships. He made social
contacts even before entering school by publishing a playground
newspaper. As an exception to the prevailing rule, this boy's
ability was early appreciated by his parents and it was recognized
by his teachers as early as kindergarten.
His educationally interested parents supervised his instruction
and sought expert advice. Various side talents in which he was
versatile were also cultivated. Mathematical and scientific
interests appeared early and were encouraged. Progress through
school was facilitated and he entered college at 12 years 6 months
of age, graduating with honors at just over 16.
In the following twelve years he became a proficient and well-trained
industrial chemist, holding an important position in this field at
the time of his death at the age of 28.
Child E. This child's ability also was recognized by teachers
and parents at an early age, and this appreciation led to diligent
supervision of his subsequent education. When he began to talk
he was equally conversant with four languages. He was always
accelerated in school and his superior size made this procedure
feasible, at least in childhood. His whole bent was toward scholarly
pursuits, and much of his study was privately conducted.
E entered college at 12 years and his precocity was widely
exploited on the campus and in the press. His devotion to his
work and his good sense and humor preserved him from social
difficulties. He even impersonated himself in a class play.
His subsequent intellectual progress was phenomenal and he speedily
became a scholarly contributor and an influential and active leader
in the field of his boyhood choice.
Child F. This boy was an educational problem even in his first
years in an ungraded school. Afterward teachers refused to place
him in grades high enough to keep him occupied. A benign form
of truancy that led him to the public library and to chess
tournaments was his way out of his predicament. But in the
process he developed an aversion to educational processes and
to authorities of all kinds.
He was appreciated neither by his parents nor by his teachers
until he was discovered in a survey that sought for just such
minds for an experimental project in the education of the gifted.
Traits other than intellectual made his subsequent educational
history take the form of spurts, with intervening debacles. He
died before the outcome of this group of circumstances could
Child G. This is a third case of early recognition by teachers
and of guidance by parents, which led in childhood to an educational
clinic for advice. Early interests in reading were fostered and
directed, and more extrovert and social activities were devised
by his parents.
G was rapidly promoted, and after entering an individual progress
class he was a contented scholar. In spite of the facilitation of
his progress through the grades he was not through high school
until 15, and there is every evidence of satisfactory personal
and social adjustment. The case record ends with his admission
to college, on a scholarship, with definite and clearly defined
aims and interests.
Child H. This girl's interest in words, stories, and relationships
was noticed before her third year, and early recognition of her
gifts appears to have come through an aunt who had special
educational insight. Although H resorted to imaginary companions,
she was socially minded enough to enjoy playmates.
Since the record terminates with her tenth year, there are no
data on her later educational career. But her story thus far
appears placid and marked by good adjustment and intelligent
Child I. This case had the advantage of a parent who also had
been studied by educational experts interested in the gifted. Also
her parents were themselves teachers. As early as 2 years she had
been identified as exceptional and her subsequent career appears
to have been guided throughout with wisdom.
I's discontent with aimless activity in the first two school grades
was solved by placing her in the special experimental class
for rapid learners. Her excellent progress and adaptation here
constitute a clear demonstration of the advantages of early
identification and intelligent educational placement.
Child J. This child's ability was recognized by her teachers
from the beginning. She was accorded very rapid advancement, which
was probably the only solution available under the circumstances.
The parents, themselves educators, also contributed intelligent
care and guidance in her development.
This favorable conjunction led to her prompt admission to an
experimental group for children of her quality as soon as the
regular teachers realized their inability to provide further
stimulation for her. The definite service provided in this case
by the Bureau of Educational Guidance is also an instructive part
of the picture.
Child K. This boy's history is meagerly recorded. His picture
is the usual one of early reading and native interest in learning.
By his seventh year he had been appreciated by relatives who
sought expert advice and guidance in his education. Such advice
was then sought from time to time by his parents, and the brief
record shows no untoward developments in his subsequent education
up to the end of high school.
Child L. Achievement was so conspicuous in this case that
as soon as L entered school he was given rapid promotion. His
recommendation to the special class for rapid learners was due
to the joint action of his parents and the school principal.
Once in this group, L's educational problems vanished. Expert
guidance also attended his entrance to high school. As a result of
these circumstances his further career appears to be propitiously
The observations that seem most obviously to emerge from these
brief summaries of educational history are as follows:
1. Such children as are here presented constitute difficult
educational problems from their entrance in school. The problems
are not only those of the teachers and educational authorities, but
they are chiefly, perhaps, the problems of the children themselves.
2. Depending on the solution of these problems, such children may
either be well articulated to the work of school and society and
thus their remarkable talents be socially capitalized, or they may,
on the other hand, develop distaste for such activities, negativism
toward social projects, and personal obstinacy and recalcitrance,
perhaps accompanied by bitterness.
3. The advantages of early recognition, appreciation and, if
possible, measurement are apparent in the study of this small group
of exceptionally intelligent children. Although all were identified
fairly early in their lives, there are very different degrees
of adaptation to school and society, ranging from opposition
and truancy, through indifference, to rapt and enthusiastic
preoccupation. To a considerable extent these variations appear
to have depended on the earliness of identification of the child's
intellectual quality. The valuable services of surveys, guidance
clinics, and school psychologists are clearly manifested in this
group of cases.
4. The cases that have achieved most contented and socially useful
adaptation are those in which parents, teachers, and principals
have made prompt use of special gift identification, have sought
educational guidance, have personally fostered and supervised the
child's development and the solution of his adjustment problems, or
have taken advantage of such experimental classes for exceptional
children as the schools have offered at the time.
5. Among the cases herein reported the clearest ones of easy
and useful adjustment occurred when the exceptional child became
a member of an experimental group comprised of others of his
approximate kind. In the dozen cases cited, four different projects
of this kind in the New York City schools have been referred to.
Is it true that children such as those herein described differ from
those of less intelligence merely in having a readier and more
tenacious memory? Are their distinctive achievements only the
phenomenal reproduction of things they have learned—the recitation
of answers they have been taught? Or do they also exhibit signs
of originality and creativeness? Of their superior capacity
for learning there is of course ample evidence. Is it this
feature of their endowment that accounts for their high scores in
conventionally standardized measures such as tests and examinations?
Ordinary records and histories are perhaps not well suited to
disclose originality in childhood unless it is obtrusive. The child
who devises a new way of tying his shoes, of arranging his books,
of managing his pets, of sharpening his skates, may very easily
get no clinical credit for these inventions. No one, indeed, except
the child himself may ever know of them, and it may never occur to
him that they are "creative." A boy who writes a poem, draws a
steamboat, or devises a new game of checkers may immediately get
credit for originality, while one who invents a technique of his
own for shaving the back of his own neck may remain unheralded as
Our concept of "creativeness" has become standardized so as to
suggest chiefly contributions to the conventional arts. It may
nevertheless be instructive to review these case histories, looking
in each for signs of activity that might in one way or another
be construed as creative.
Child A. At 12 months he was classifying his blocks according
to letter shapes. Before 16 months of age A tired of saying the
letters of the alphabet forward and "guessed he would say them
backward." He "made rhymes" of his own by the third year. He
developed arithmetical principles unsuspected by either parents
or teachers. He had an elaborate "imaginary land." He did not
play well with other children because he always wanted to introduce
new methods of playing the games. He devised elaborate schemes
of his own for classifying events and objects. There is very
little of the conventional interest in drawing, painting, poetry,
mechanics, or music in this account, but it is clear enough that
in his own way A had originality.
Child B. This child's early acquisition of the art of reading
appears to have been untutored, and her passion for organizing
clubs showed at least a certain type of initiative. But the record
gives little evidence of other creative activity. Her chief
distinction so far as noted was in the fields of excellent
schoolwork and social adaptability.
Child C. This boy's earliest recognition was on the basis
of what the teachers called his "phenomenal memory." But from
early years his chief passion was for science, and his main
interest therein was the possibility of discovering new things.
There is, however, little evidence of ingenuity in the record,
and C was chiefly distinguished by the mass and facility of his
knowledge, learned chiefly from others.
Child D. The very curiosity of this boy might be said to have a
creative or original character. "He was always asking unexpected
questions." His playground newspaper was an original project in
spite of its conventional character. So also was his passion for
tabulation and calculation. His imaginary land was a complicated
creation, as was the elaborate dictionary of its unique language.
Musical composition was one of his pastimes, and he had active
native talent for drawing and design. The invention of new words
and new games was creative, and he had original classifications
for many varieties of natural objects. His interest in science,
which became uppermost, led to original experiments such as those
on "the path of a tack." His final adoption of scientific work as
a career is in keeping with this, and the position held at the end
of his brief life was one concerned with chemical research in a
relatively new industry. In a very real sense this boy's creative
interests are fundamental in the picture of his development.
Child E. Originality appears among E's characteristics even
in his definitions of words in the vocabulary tests. His life
was, however, so harnessed to the organized pursuit of degrees
that conventional fields of learning came to preoccupy him and
there was little originality in his choice of an occupation,
to which he appears to have been guided by solicitous elders.
Such originality as he has had appeared abstractly and verbally.
Thus his "constructive ability" was good but his "manual dexterity"
poor. He had an imaginary country. After his escape from the
hierarchy of organized education he became an active and productive
scholar in his field, although it may be that theology is not
a field in which creativeness is encouraged.
Child F. There is little evidence in the career of F of anything
that could be called creative. He was in many ways ingenious, and
he was socially nonconforming. He was a storehouse of information
but not sagacious in the use of his knowledge. His ingenuity was
not along original lines but in such conventionalized fields
as chess, bridge, and dialectic. His capacity for intellectual
work was phenomenal, but for the most part such activities were
in prescribed fields, and a temporary interest in science was
deflected to law—like theology, a field in which creativeness
is not always an asset.
Child G. This boy's education was so scrupulously supervised
and so sedulously recorded that he had little time for original
projects. His questions and remarks evince a lively curiosity,
and his abiding interests in chemistry and mathematics, with a
research turn, perhaps point to creative trends that are poorly
reflected in more elementary years. There is little evidence of
unusual proficiency in any of the creative arts.
Child H. The chief interests of H as a child were in "drawing,
painting, and mosaic blocks." She developed imaginary companions.
She showed at an early age pronounced interests and aptitudes
in stories and in versification. She was a composer of creditable
childhood songs, poetry, and plays. She was followed only to her
eleventh year and up to this point seems to have shown definite
signs of constructive imagination.
Child I. This girl was versatile in many creative ways. She
developed imaginary companions, wrote music and songs, produced
dramatizations, wrote effective verses and longer poems. So far
as the brief record shows, her creative interests remained close
to the conventionalized arts, except for the native curiosity
characteristic of most very bright children.
Child J. The data on J are so scant that little assurance as
to her originality can be felt. At 7 she was in many ways an
independent thinker. She composed "jingles" at the same time that
she was reading Shakespearean plays, and the examiner commented
on her "constructive imagery." She wrote acceptable poems before
her tenth birthday. But for the most part she had been so occupied
by rapid educational promotion that this is the most conspicuous
feature in her description.
Child K. This boy has without doubt an enthusiasm for scholarly
inquiry. He made no spontaneous collections, had no pets, no
imaginary companions or lands. In a sense these traits which are
lacking in K's personality are usually counted as originalities
in children of such high intelligence. But data are not at hand
to enable a judgment to be made of the presence or absence of
creativeness in this child.
Child L. This is the case of a boy who showed such independent
zeal for acquiring information that this curiosity had itself a
creative tone. He is inventive and constructive even in mechanical
ways—an exception in this particular group of cases. His teachers
find him possessed of knowledge in mathematics which he must have
derived from his own reflection. He also has marked initiative in
using his knowledge, is full of constructive suggestions, makes
many scientific experiments of his own, has many hobbies, and wants
to do things to "advance scientific knowledge." Although he shows
know unusual proficiency in the conventional arts, there can be
no doubt that in affairs intellectual and scientific his mind
is not only creative but also fertile.
If a general statement be attempted on the basis of such data as
the descriptions and these summaries afford, it might be to the
effect that one third of these highly intelligent children
(A, D, H, L) show notable signs of creativeness. Another third
(C, E, I, J) show such indications to a moderate degree. In the
remaining third (B, F, G, K) there is at least no indication of
marked constructive originality provided by these descriptions.
Certainly these creative dispositions are more conspicuous in these
cases than in the general population of children. How these very
rare intelligences compare in this respect with those ranging from,
say, 130 to 175 IQ we cannot know. Creativeness even at best is
infrequent enough. In experiences of daily life of course such
creativeness might be more often found in children in the middle
range of high intelligences because there are so many more of these
in the population.
On the other hand, it may be that creativeness in marked degree
appears in these higher ranges only. Under any circumstances it is
not an all-or-none phenomenon, and the problem of the correlation
of originality with intelligence scores perhaps deserves more
careful study than it has received. It seems suggested at least by
these few cases that very high intelligence may in some instances
become directed along wholly conventional channels, showing
itself in the amount of work or the rate of progress, with little
or no manifestation of creative originality. If this is the
case, it should be important to discover what extent this is a
reflection of the regimentation of the occupation of such children
by organized educational projects and close parental supervision,
and to what extent it is a characteristic that is native in the
individual. If it should be true that creativeness is closely
dependent on such a high range of intelligence as that shown
by this group of twelve children, a social order that esteems
creativeness should give serious thought to the conditions of
its cultivation and its development.
In this connection it is of some significance that so far as
these cases are concerned, the best adjustments appear to have
been made in educational arrangements that required the devotion
of only one part of the child's time to established curricula,
thus leaving time and providing encouragement for individual
initiative and enrichment.
 This chapter was written by H. L. H.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES AND IMPLICATIONS
ADULT STATUS AND PERSONALITY RATINGS
Observation of such cases as those described in the foregoing
chapters suggests that children of exceptionally high intelligence
do not regress toward mediocrity as they mature but maintain
their initial distinguished status. Studies by other workers
(Kuhlmann, Baldwin and Stechner, Terman) confirm such a conclusion.
A further study of this point was reported by Hollingworth and
Lorge in 1936, in which the following questions were investigated:
1. To what extent is status in IER Intelligence Scale CAVD at
maturity predictable from childhood scores in Stanford-Binet?
2. How do those who tested above 180 IQ in childhood differ
at maturity from those at lower levels in measures of general
culture and of scientific information?
3. Is there discernable any consistent specialization in mental
abilities from childhood to maturity?
4. At what degree of intelligence in terms of IQ (Stanford-Binet)
is the word "genius" justifiable, if at all?
5. At what point on the scale of IQ (Stanford-Binet) obtained
in childhood will individuals later prove "unmeasurable" by
available tests of adult intelligence?
In 1934-1935 a group of eighteen persons whose high IQ's had
been measured tweleve or thirteen years earlier (at ages 7 to
9 years) were measured in these respects and to these were added
three others whose childhood IQ's were known to have been over 170.
The tests used, to be reported here, were: CAVD Intelligence Scale,
Levels N-Q; the Coöperative General Culture Test (Form 1933 or
1934); and the Coöperative General Science Test (Form 1933).
There were also available data on most of the individuals from
Army Alpha tests taken at ages 16 to 19. Of the 21 cases thus
studied, nine had a childhood IQ over 170; eight over 150 [to 170];
the remaining four ranged down to 133.
ADULT STATUS OF HIGHLY INTELLIGENT CHILDREN 
The detailed data have been reported elsewhere and only the general
results need to be recited here.
"For these gifted individuals (albeit there are so few studied)
superior status on the Stanford-Binet at or near ages 7 to 9 years
of age is highly predictive of status on Army Alpha at or near 16
to 19 years of age, and of status on CAVD at or near maturity. . . .
"It is clear that CAVD is more closely associated with General
Culture than with General Science. . . . There obviously is
a specificity of success for Science as compared with general
Culture. . . .
"The results for the CAVD as interpreted through norms obtained
on selected populations show that highly intelligent children
(of IQ 140 or above) fall within the upper quartile of the college
graduate population of the United States, when they are at or
Such results are confirmed also by a study reported two years
earlier, in which over 100 children had been re-measured with
Army Alpha 10 to 12 years after their initial Stanford-Binet
measurements at ages 7 to 9 years.  All these children had
IQ's over 130, and half of them were over 150, ranging up to
190. From this study the following conclusions had been drawn:
"Of 116 children testing in the top centile of the distribution
of school children by Stanford-Binet, 82 per cent were found
when near maturity, ten years later, to rate in the top centile
of the military draft by Army Alpha. The remainder rated in high
centiles. No individual of either sex regressed to or nearly
to the average. . . . Girls regressed from the top centile somewhat
more frequently than boys, this regression being in part but not
fully accounted for by the known sex difference between medians
on Army Alpha.
"This result affords a validation, by means of elapsed time,
of the predictive power of available mental tests on the one
hand; and on the other, a proof of the constancy of the intellectual
development of gifted children in terms of centile status."
CRITIQUE OF THE CONCEPT OF "GENIUS" AS APPLIED IN TERMS OF IQ
The term "genius" has been used by Terman—and following him
by many others—to denote children testing at or above 140 IQ
(S-B). In the light of the developmental data herein presented, it
would appear that the term "genius" is thus misapplied, unless we
wish to define as "geniuses" persons who represent approximately the
best fourth of all students being graduated from American colleges.
Of individuals here followed to early maturity, those who test
at about 140 IQ (S-B) are found to define approximately the 75th
percentile of college graduates, taking the country over. They
are far from "genius," if by that term is to be meant the degree
of mental ability that is capable of outstanding original
intellectual achievement. It is only when we have an IQ (S-B) of at
least 160 in a child, that we may begin to expect mildly noteworthy
accomplishments, such as winning "honors" in a first-class college.
Very rarely are "honors" won in first-class colleges by those who
test below this status in childhood. The small sample of college
graduates here presented is truly representative of the much larger
sample in our files (not tested by our end tests) in this respect.
Of primary interest to the present investigators is the subsequent
history of those who in childhood have achieved the extremely
infrequent rating of 180 IQ or higher. At maturity will these
persons still stand out from their contemporaries in mental tests
and in achievement?
This question is answered affirmatively by our data. The five
children here included,  who achieved IQ's (S-B) on first
test in childhood of more than 180, are they who "find the tops"
on CAVD at maturity. Every one of these top-rank persons is
noteworthy among contemporaries. Before the age of 22 in all cases,
one had prosecuted research in history, one in mathematics, one in
chess, and two had become established in learned professions. One
stood high in the national ranking for chess. A long list of medals
and prizes had been won by them. All but one of those graduated
from college had been elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
These unusual achievements show how children testing above 180 IQ
rise above the generality of the college populations in adolescence
and in early maturity. None of those who tested in childhood around
140, 150, or 160 IQ (S-B) approaches these others at maturity in
honors and prizes won, or in test scores.
This is, perhaps, the most significant fact to be derived from
our data: that the children who test at and above 180 IQ constitute
the "top" among college graduates. They are the students of whom one
may confidently predict that they will win honors and prizes for
Furthermore, it is shown that at approximately 190 IQ (S-B)
individuals "go through the ceiling" of available tests for adult
intelligence by the time they are 21 years old. We cannot at
present distribute these persons at maturity.
Perhaps this is the point at which the term "genius" begins to
apply—i.e., at or near IQ 180 (S-B)—if we adhere to the dictionary
definition of the word, "Exalted intellectual power, marked by an
extraordinary faculty for original creation, expression, or
achievement" which is beyond the reach of available modes of
measurement in its maturity.
APPLICATION OF BERNREUTER INVENTORY OF PERSONALITY TO HIGHLY
INTELLIGENT ADOLESCENTS 
The data of the present study were obtained early in 1933, the
subjects being 36 boys and 19 girls, of the average age of 18 years
6 months. The IQ's (S-B) of all had been taken in early childhood.
The group ranged from 135-190 IQ (S-B) with a median at about
153 IQ (S-B). All but four of these young persons were Jewish,
a factor which must be considered as of possible consequence,
but which cannot be evaluated properly from any data at present
in scientific literature.
The inventories were taken and scored by the investigators in
person. All subjects had been personally known since childhood
to the senior investigator.
The method of scoring follows Bernreuter, three categories only
being found of sufficient independence to warrant recording.
SHOWS GROUP RESULTS FOR HIGHLY INTELLIGENT BOYS AND GIRLS, GIVING EVIDENCE THAT SUCH GROUPS ARE MUCH LESS
NEUROTIC, MUCH MORE SELF-SUFFICIENT, AND MUCH LESS SUBMISSIVE IN ATTITUDE THAN COLLEGE STUDENTS OR
ADULTS IN GENERAL ARE, ACCORDING TO THE CATEGORIES AND NORMS SET UP BY BERNREUTER
B1-N NEUROTIC TENDENCY B1-S SELF-SUFFICIENCY B1-D DOMINANCE-SUBMISSION
Statistical Highly College Adult Highly College Adult Highly College Adult
categories intelligent norm norm intelligent norm norm intelligent norm norm
boys group group boys group group boys group group
Number 36 427 86 36 427 99 36 427 100
Mean -104.9 -52.9 -69.3 54.5 24.9 38.8 87.4 46.3 52.7
σ 56.7 85.2 76.3 42.3 54.0 52.4 44.6 67.4 61.8
σ Mean 9.4 4.1 8.2 7.0 2.6 5.3 7.4 3.3 6.2
σσ 6.7 2.9 5.8 5.0 1.8 3.7 5.2 2.3 4.4
σ diff. ms. 10.2 12.5 7.5 8.8 8.1 9.6
σ diff. 5.1 2.8 3.9 2.1 5.1 3.6
Median -112.0 -70.0 -75.0 54.5 25.0 35.0 98.1 45.0 55.0
Girls Girls Girls
Number 19 317 123 19 317 126 19 317 130
Mean -45.0 -39.6 -34.2 52.0 6.9 16.8 46.5 33.1 19.2
σ 65.7 78.9 80.6 51.7 55.7 55.6 55.5 63.5 65.5
σ Mean 15.1 4.4 7.3 11.9 3.1 5.0 12.7 3.6 5.7
σσ 10.7 3.1 5.1 8.4 2.2 3.5 9.0 2.5 4.1
σ diff. ms. 15.7 16.8 12.3 12.9 13.2 13.9
σ diff. .04 .64 3.7 2.7 1.0 1.96
Median -42.6 -40.0 -30.0 52.0 5.0 0.0 40.7 33.0 15.0
The summary of results shows that the highly intelligent are less
neurotic, more self-sufficient, and less submissive, as a group,
than are the populations with which they are comparable. This
divergence from the norms is found both for boys and for girls
of the highly intelligent group, but it is much more pronounced
To one who has been familiar with the characteristics and the
careers of these persons for fifteen years, the correspondence
between what is found on the inventory and what is found in the
actual lives is interestingly close. Boy 13, for instance (extremely
high score for self-sufficiency and dominance), took ship on his
own initiative as soon as he was twenty-one years old and sailed
around the world as an ordinary seaman, returning to his post
in the financial district of New York City when the journey was
completed. Boy 35 is a well-known player in metropolitan and
sectional chess tournaments, and was able to meet seasoned players
when he was fifteen to seventeen years old (high scores for
self-sufficiency and dominance). Boy 29 entered college at 14
years of age, "held his own" with the older students, earned
money throughout his course, graduated at eighteen years of age
with Phi Beta Kappa, and won a prize for research, in competition,
in his junior year at medical school. Girl H won and held an
appointment in public service, against heavy odds of sex, age,
and general economic depression.
The indication from these data is that adolescents who as children
tested from 135-190 IQ (S-B) are much less neurotic, much more
self-sufficient and much less submissive than college students
in general, or than adults of the mental caliber represented in
the Bernreuter norms. It is to be noted in this comparison with
the generality of college students that from data so far collected,
the median intelligence of the group here presented reaches about
Q#3# for college students, taking them the country over.
 For a more detailed account see Lorge and Hollingworth's
"The Adult Status of Highly Intelligent Children," in Journal
of Genetic Psychology (1936), Vol. 49, pages 215-226.
 Hollingworth and Kaunitz. "The Centile Status of Gifted
Children at Maturity." Journal of Genetic Psychology (September,
1934), pages 106-120.
 Study made by Leta S. Hollingworth in previous years.
 For detailed results see the paper by this title, by Hollingworth
and Rust, Journal of Psychology (1937), Vol. 4, pages 287-293.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONALITY IN HIGHLY INTELLIGENT CHILDREN 
The children included in the term "highly intelligent children"
cover a very wide range in intellectual variation—from an IQ of
130 (S-B) to the topmost limit of human diversity. This topmost
limit seems to define itself at approximately 200 IQ. The most
extreme deviates reported in the literature as fully measured
fall at or near this point. A considerable number falling above
180 IQ have been reported, many of them not fully measured by
Stanford-Binet because of the limitations of the test. It is
therefore clear that children in the upper 1 per cent are not all
alike. On the contrary, the child at the top of this group exceeds
the child who barely reaches the group by much more than the
latter exceeds the average child. The most able child in the
upper 1 per cent surpasses the least able in this group by as
much as the average child surpasses a moron (in terms of IQ).
The really difficult problems of adjustment to life and to people
come to those who test above 170 IQ. As there are so very few of
these children, parents and teachers are seldom called upon to
consider their needs. Thus when one does appear, he or she is the
more likely to be misunderstood.
Obviously, it is not possible to discuss every aspect of personality
in the limited number of pages of this book. We shall confine
ourselves, therefore, to a few of the more important phases of
development which are unique in the case of gifted children;
particularly to such complexities as arise from the combination
of immaturity and deviation, these continuing for approximately
twenty-one years. This is the period when development is taking
place as distinguished from the period of maturity.
It should be stated emphatically at the outset that children
of very superior intelligence are not, as a group, socially
annoying. The problems of personality adjustment are those
of the child, not those of society as ordinarily understood.
If the gifted child should annoy society, society would pay
more attention to him. Society builds splendid institutions
and provides expert care and guidance for vicious and feeble-minded
children. That society does not pay such attention to the gifted
is in itself evidence of social acceptability. The researches
of Terman,  of Hartshorne and May,  and of Haggerty, 
among others, have shown that highly intelligent children are
more stable emotionally than are children in general, are much
more resistant to childish temptations, and exhibit far less of
undesirable behavior than is exhibited by the dull. Teachers do,
however, report them for "restlessness" and "lack of interest"
somewhat more often than they report children of 100 IQ for
these behaviorisms. The researches of Burt  and of Healy and
Bronner  show few children testing above 130 IQ among delinquents,
in proportion to their frequency in the population as a whole.
With these facts as to generally superior adjustment before
us, let us inquire whether there are, nevertheless, special
perplexities in the life of a gifted child, and at what point in
the range of intellect these perplexities begin. Is it possible
that a child who varies as far above his contemporaries as an
imbecile or an idiot varies below them, will find only advantages
and no special difficulties of development created for him by the
fact of his wide deviation from the norm?
Observation and measurement of gifted children as they have grown
from early childhood to maturity have made it possible to formulate
definitely some of the special problems of development which arise
from being an extreme and infrequently occurring deviate. The more
intelligent the child, the more likely he or she is to become
involved in these puzzling difficulties. Let us consider some of
THE PART PLAYED BY PHYSIQUE
The "looks" of a person has much to do with his social adjustment.
If highly intelligent children really resembled the cartoonist's
idea of them, there would be little chance of excellent development.
Fortunately, the researches of the past twenty years have proved
that the popular notions about the poor physiques of the gifted and
the weird ugliness of their physiognomies are not only erroneous
but the exact opposite of the truth. These are superstitions,
founded perhaps on the unconscious longing for "a just nature"
which will distribute gifts somewhat equally instead of bestowing
everything upon a few persons.
It has been amply proved, by measurements, that highly intelligent
children are tall, heavy, strong, healthy, and fine looking as a
group, exceeding the generality of children in all these respects.
This does not mean that every individual among the gifted is
physically superior, but it does mean that a gifted child is
more likely to have a fine body than is a child taken from the
As for beauty of face, in two separate series of photographs
in which the faces of highly intelligent adolescents were compared
with the faces of adolescents of ordinary mentality, the faces
of the former were found to be more beautiful. This was the
impression made upon "naïve" judges who knew nothing concerning
the comparative intelligence of those judged. It may be that
one reason why teachers often do not identify gifted children
accurately, is that they are looking for pupils who correspond to
the cartoonist's picture, and thus are led away from consideration
of the beautiful and the well grown!
As gifted children approach and reach maturity, they reap the
benefits of superior vitality, size, and beauty. However, many
of them suffer, while growing up, from feelings of inferiority
connected with size and strength, for typically they are somewhat
accelerated in school status and they naturally choose children
older than themselves as chums. Thus in physical competitions
they are at a disadvantage. Observation shows that they tend
to develop sedentary forms of play, or forms of physical enjoyment
that do not depend upon being included in a group; such as
swimming, skating, horseback riding, and walking.
PROBLEM OF LEADERSHIP
Also, in all matters pertaining to leadership, the competition
with older classmates and friends exerts an influence, particularly
during adolescence. The very young boy (or girl) in high school
is not so likely to be elected to a post of leadership because
of his comparative size, his voice, and the juvenility of his
clothes. Thus a feeling may be engendered in him that he cannot
gain the confidence of contemporaries; and this, in turn, may
impair his self-confidence.
If long continued, this state of affairs may lead to emotional
straining after social recognition. In social gatherings, size and
physical maturity are important as absolute quantities and
qualities, and not in relation to age. Thus a child should not
be placed too far out of his age-group. A very gifted boy, reaching
at twenty years a stature of five feet nine inches, remarked, "It
is very odd to be as large as the people you're with!" Being
always the smallest member of a social group may develop attitudes
which are hard to revise when eventually the boy or girl achieves
adult stature and is "as large as the people you're with."
This difficulty in assuming a normal place among more mature
schoolmates arises especially in adolescence, when association
with members of the opposite sex makes its introduction. Being
in high school or in college with much older classmates, the boy
of thirteen to sixteen finds himself at a disadvantage with the
girls whom he meets. The girls brought to parties by the older
boys are "too old" for him, and he feels unable to claim their
attention. Many of these young boys show sufficient insight and
sufficient management of their disadvantage to take care of it.
They know that the trouble lies in being "too young," and that
later they will achieve standing with the girls. In a few cases,
however, this difficulty may lead to an unfortunate avoidance of
girls, even in more mature years. In the case of girls, adjustment
to the society of older boys in high school and college seems
to present no special difficulties, since girls develop earlier
than boys do, and are taken seriously by boys who are older
The "inferiority complexes" of gifted persons have been little
studied, but it is certain that many such persons do feel socially
inferior and shy. Some of this may be due to the physical
comparisons just suggested, arising from prolonged association
with older persons.
PROBLEMS OF ADJUSTMENT TO OCCUPATION
Where the gifted child drifts in the school unrecognized, working
chronically far below his capacity (even though young for his
grade), he receives daily practice in habits of idleness and
daydreaming. His abilities never receive the stimulus of genuine
challenge, and the situation tends to form in him the expectation
of an effortless existence. Children with IQ's up to 150 get along
in the ordinary course of school life quite well, achieving
excellent marks without serious effort. But children above this
mental status become almost intolerably bored with school work
if kept in lockstep with unselected pupils of their own age.
Children who rise above 170 IQ are liable to regard school with
indifference or with positive dislike, for they find nothing in the
work to absorb their interest. This condition of affairs, coupled
with the supervision of unseeing and unsympathetic teachers, has
sometimes led even to truancy on the part of gifted children.
On the other hand, if a very gifted child is placed in the
regular grades as far ahead of his age as his learning capacity
warrants, the evils of social dislocation may result, as previously
described. Experimental education is at present trying to solve
the problem of how to secure right habits of work for the highly
intelligent child, and some progress has been made in recent years.
Another problem of development with reference to occupation
grows out of the versatility of these children. So far from
being one-sided in ability and interest, they are typically
capable of so many different kinds of success that they may
have difficulty in confining themselves to a reasonable number
of enterprises. Some of them are lost to usefulness through
spreading their available time and energy over such a wide array
of projects that nothing can be finished or done perfectly. After
all, time and space are as limited for the gifted as for others,
and the life-span is probably not much longer for them than for
others. A choice must be made among the numerous possibilities,
since modern life calls for specialization.
The dangers in development with respect to work habits are,
therefore, that the child may not develop any habits of sustained
effort, and that he may fail of success as a worker through being
interested in too many things ever to accomplish very much at
any one of them. His problem as he goes into adolescence is
to make a definite choice, and to form the habit of effort.
LEARNING TO "SUFFER FOOLS GLADLY"
A lesson which many gifted persons never learn as long as they
live is that human beings in general are inherently very different
from themselves in thought, in action, in general intention, and
in interests. Many a reformer has died at the hands of a mob which
he was trying to improve in the belief that other human beings
can and should enjoy what he enjoys. This is one of the most
painful and difficult lessons that each gifted child must learn,
if personal development is to proceed successfully. It is more
necessary that this be learned than that any school subject be
mastered. Failure to learn how to tolerate in a reasonable fashion
the foolishness of others leads to bitterness, disillusionment,
This point may be illustrated by the behavior of a seven-year-old
boy with an IQ of 178. He was not sent to school until the age
of seven because of his advanced interest in reading. At seven,
however, the compulsory attendance law took effect and the
child was placed in the third grade at school. After about four
weeks of attendance, he came home from school weeping bitterly.
"Oh Grandmother, Grand-mother," he cried, "they don't know what's
good! They just won't read!"
The fact came to light that he had taken book after book to
school—all his favorites from his grandfather's library—and
had tried to show the other third-grade pupils what treasures
these were, but the boys and girls only resisted his efforts,
made fun of him, threw the treasures on the floor, and finally
pulled his hair.
Such struggles as these, if they continue without directing
the child's insight, may lead to complete alienation from his
contemporaries in childhood, and to misanthropy in adolescence
and adulthood. Particularly deplorable are the struggles of these
children against dull or otherwise unworthy adults in authority.
The very gifted child or adolescent, perceiving the illogical
conduct of those in charge of his affairs, may turn rebellious
against all authority and fall into a condition of negative
suggestibility—a most unfortunate trend of personality, since
the person is then unable to take a coöperative attitude toward
A person who is highly suggestible in a negative direction is as
much in bondage to others around him as is the person who is
positively suggestible. The social value of the person is seriously
impaired in either case. The gifted are not likely to fall victims
to positive suggestion but many of them develop negativism to
a conspicuous degree.
The highly intelligent child will be intellectually capable
of self-determination, and his greatest value to society can be
realized only if he is truly self-possessed and detached from
the influences of both positive and negative suggestion. The
more intelligent the child, the truer this statement is. It is
especially unfortunate, therefore, that so many gifted children
have in authority over them persons of no special fitness for
the task, who cannot gain or keep the respect of these good
thinkers. Such unworthy guardians arouse, by the process of
"redintegration," contempt for authority wherever it is found,
and the inability to yield gracefully to command.
Thus some gifted persons, mishandled in youth, become contentious,
aggressive, and stubborn to an extent which renders them difficult
and disagreeable in all human relationships involving subordination.
Since subordination must precede posts of command in the ordinary
course of life, this is an unfortunate trend of personality.
Cynicism and negativism are likely to interfere seriously with
a life career. Happily, gifted children are typically endowed
with a keen sense of humor, and are apparently able to mature
beyond cynicism eventually in a majority of cases.
THE TENDENCY TO BECOME ISOLATED
Yoder  noticed, in studying the boyhood of great men, that
although play interests were keen among them, the play was often
of a solitary kind. The same is true of children who "test high."
The majority of children testing above 160 IQ play little with
other children unless special conditions are provided, such as
those found in a special class. The difficulties are too great,
in the ordinary course of events, in finding playmates who are
appropriate in size and congenial in mentality. This fact was
noted some years ago by the present writer. Terman  in 1930
made a special study of the play of those in his group of children
who tested above 170 IQ and found them generally more solitary in
work and play than children clustering around 140 IQ.
These superior children are not unfriendly or ungregarious by
nature. Typically they strive to play with others but their efforts
are defeated by the difficulties of the case. These difficulties are
illustrated in the efforts of the seven-year-old boy already
mentioned. Other children do not share their interests, their
vocabulary, or their desire to organize activities. They try to
reform their contemporaries but finally give up the struggle
and play alone, since older children regard them as "babies"
and adults seldom play during the hours when children are awake.
As a result, forms of solitary play develop, and these, becoming
fixed as habits, may explain the fact that many highly intellectual
adults are shy, ungregarious, and unmindful of human relationships,
or are even misanthropic and uncomfortable in ordinary social
This difficulty of the gifted child in forming friendships is
largely a result of the infrequency of persons who are like-minded.
The more intelligent a person is, regardless of age, the less often
can he find a truly congenial companion. The average child finds
playmates in abundance who can think and act on a level congenial
to him because there are so many average children.
Adding to the conditions which make for isolation is the fact that
gifted children are often "only" children, or they have brothers
and sisters who differ widely from them in age. Thus playmates
in the home are less numerous for them than for children generally.
The imaginary playmate as a solution of the problem of loneliness
is fairly frequent. We know but little at present of the psychology
of this invention of the unreal to fill real needs. Reasoning
from the general principles of mental hygiene, one would say
that the pattern of companionship represented in the imaginary
playmate is less valuable for personal development than a pattern
founded on reality, and that effort should be made to fill the
real need with genuine persons, if possible.
Also, the deep interest in reading which typifies the gifted
child may further his isolation. Irwin believes that reading should
be deferred in the education of the highly intelligent. "I believe
it is especially important that intellectual children get a grasp
on reality through real experiences in making and doing things
before they are ever introduced to the wonders that lie within
books." From this point of view, the development of the physical,
social, and emotional aspects of personality would have first
attention in the education of a gifted child, the intellectual
being fostered last of all because it comes of itself and is too
likely to run away with the other three and lead to isolation.
This tendency to become isolated is one of the most important
factors to be considered in guiding the development of personality
in highly intelligent children, but it does not become a serious
problem except at the very extreme degrees of intelligence.
The majority of children between 130 and 150 IQ find fairly easy
adjustment, because neighborhoods and schools are selective,
so that like-minded children tend to be located in the same
schools and districts. Furthermore, the gifted child, being
large and strong for his age, is acceptable to playmates a year
or two older. Great difficulty arises only when a young child
is above 160 IQ. At the extremely high levels of 180 and 190 IQ,
the problem of friendships is difficult indeed, and the younger
the person, the more difficult it is. The trouble decreases with
age because as persons become adult, they naturally seek and find
on their own initiative groups who are like-minded, such as
THE CONCEPT OF "OPTIMUM INTELLIGENCE"
All things considered, the psychologist who has observed the
development of gifted children over a long period of time from
early childhood to maturity, evolves the idea that there is a
certain restricted portion of the total range of intelligence
which is most favorable to the development of successful and
well-rounded personality in the world as it now exists. This
limited range appears to be somewhere between 125 and 155 IQ.
Children and adolescents in this area are enough more intelligent
than the average to win the confidence of large numbers of their
fellows, which brings about leadership, and to manage their own
lives with superior efficiency. Moreover, there are enough of them
to afford mutual esteem and understanding. But those of 170 IQ
and beyond are too intelligent to be understood by the general
run of persons with whom they make contact. They are too infrequent
to find many congenial companions. They have to contend with
loneliness and with personal isolation from their contemporaries
throughout the period of immaturity. To what extent these patterns
become permanently fixed, we cannot yet tell.
There is thus an "optimum" intelligence, from the viewpoint of
personal happiness and adjustment to society, which is well below
the maximum. The exploration of this concept should yield truths
of value for education, and for social science as well. The few
children who test at the very top of the juvenile population have
a unique value for society. On them depends in large measure the
advancement of learning. If they fail of personal happiness and
human contact, their work for society as a whole may be impaired or
As far as observations go at present, intellectually gifted
children between 130 and 150 IQ seem to find the world well suited
to their development. As a group, they enjoy the advantages of
superior size, strength, health, and beauty; they are emotionally
well balanced and controlled; they are of good character;
and they tend to win the confidence of their contemporaries,
which gives them leadership. This is the "optimum" range of
intelligence, if personal happiness is being considered. If a
parent would want his child to enjoy "every advantage," he could
not do better than wish the child to be endowed with an IQ not
lower than 130 or higher than 150.
Above this limit, however—surely above 160 IQ—the deviation
is so great that it leads to special problems of development
which are correlated with personal isolation. As one boy with
an IQ of 190 has said: "It isn't good to be in college so awfully
young (twelve years of age). It produces a feeling of alienation."
How to provide against alienation from contemporaries of both
sexes, and how to prevent the negativism that results from
continuous living under inefficient or unreasonable authority,
are two of the important problems for education in its attempt
to insure good adjustment of personality for children of extremely
 For the original discussion of this topic see the paper by this
title, by Leta S. Hollingworth, in the Fifteenth Yearbook of the
Department of Elementary School Principals, National Education
Association (July, 1936), pages 272-281.
 Terman, Lewis M. Genetic Studies of Genius: Vol. I. Stanford
University Press, Stanford University, California; 1925.
 Hartshorne, H., and May, M. A. Studies in Deceit. The
Macmillan Company, New York; 1927.
 Haggerty, Melvin E. Evaluation of Higher Institutions.
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois; 1937.
 Burt, C. The Young Delinquent. D. Appleton-Century Company,
Inc., New York; 1924.
 Healy, W., and Bronner, A. F. Criminals and Delinquents:
Their Making and Unmaking. The Macmillan Company, New York; 1928.
 Yoder, G. F. "A Study of the Boyhood of Great Men." Pedagogical
 Op. cit.
THE CHILD OF VERY SUPERIOR INTELLIGENCE AS A SPECIAL PROBLEM IN
SOCIAL ADJUSTMENT 
This discussion is limited to the problems that arise from the
combination of immaturity and superiority. Thus the problems
considered pertain chiefly to the period in the life of the
gifted child before he is twenty years of age; for the problems
of the person of superior intellect tend to be less numerous
as he grows older and can use his intelligence independently
in gaining control of his own life.
It should be stated emphatically at the outset that children
of very superior intelligence are not, as a group, socially
annoying. The problems presented are those of the child, not
those of society, as ordinarily understood. That this is so is
sufficiently proved by the scant attention that organized society
has bestowed upon the study of gifted children. Society studies
that which is socially annoying. The school attends to those who
give it trouble. Thus feeble-minded children ("minus deviates,"
as they are called in modern laboratories) have long been studied.
Millions of dollars have been spent in considering them, and a
voluminous literature has grown up through prolonged investigation
of their maladjustments. Gifted children, on the other hand, have
been studied hardly at all. Such investigations as we have are the
result of intellectual interest on the part of a few educators
and psychologists, who in the course of mental surveys became
interested in those children who test always at the top.
THE QUALITY OF GIFTED CHILDREN
Such data as we now possess, from the scientific study of the
gifted as organisms, show us that children of very superior
intelligence are typically superior in other qualities also.
They are superior in emotional stability and control. The old
idea that the very bright "child prodigy" is likely to be nervous
has been widespread, and popular fallacy inclines to mention
"bright and high-strung" in the same breath. In fact, we not
infrequently hear people claiming to be "high-strung" as a kind
of compliment to themselves, implying that they are therefore
also bright. Psychological researches of recent years have shown
these ideas to be merely superstitions, founded on nothing more
substantial than the human craving for a just nature that will
somehow penalize the lucky and equalize biological wealth.
The researches of Terman , particularly, and of Hartshorne
and May , have shown that highly intelligent children are more
stable emotionally than are unselected "controls" age for age,
and are superior to "controls" in their resistance to temptation.
The researches of Burt , and of Healy and Bronner , show
among delinquents few children of the high degree of intelligence
with which this paper deals.
The studies cited do not, of course, exhaust the recent scientific
literature, but they do fairly exemplify the results of concrete,
impersonal investigation, as distinguished from the results of
popular "wishful thinking." The child who tests above 130 IQ 
is typically (though of course not invariably) large and strong
for his age, healthier than the average, contributes far less than
his quota to juvenile misbehavior as socially defined, and is
emotionally stable in superior degree.
Starting with these facts as to generally superior adjustment,
let us inquire whether there are, therefore, no special perplexities
in the life of a gifted child. Is it possible that a child may vary
as far in a "plus" direction from the average performance of his
contemporaries as an imbecile varies in a "minus" direction, and
find no special problems created for him by this wide difference
in mental power between himself and the average child of his age?
The psychologist who is professionally acquainted with children
who test above 130 IQ will be able to formulate clearly certain
special problems of adjustment, observed in the case study of
these children, which arise primarily from the very fact that
they are gifted. Let us attempt to state some of these problems.
The more intelligent the child, the more likely he is to become
involved in these puzzling situations.
THE PROBLEM OF WORK
Where the gifted child drifts in the school unrecognized, held to
the lock step which is determined by the capacities of the average,
he has little to do. He receives daily practice in habits of
idleness and daydreaming. His abilities are never genuinely
challenged, and the situation is contrived to build in him
expectations of an effortless existence. Children up to about
140 IQ tolerate the ordinary school routine quite well, being
usually a little young for grade through an extra promotion or
two, and achieving excellent marks without serious effort. But
above this status, children become increasingly bored with school
work, if kept in or nearly in the lock step. Children at or
above 180 IQ, for instance, are likely to regard school with
indifference, or with positive distaste, for they find nothing
interesting to do there.
On the other hand, if the child be greatly accelerated in grade
status, so that he is able to function intellectually with real
interest, he will be misplaced in other important respects.
A child of eight years graded with twelve-year-olds is out of
his depth socially and physically, though able to do intellectual
work as well as they can. These problems come out clearly when
we consider that the seats and desks planned for twelve-year-olds
will not fit him; that he will always be the last one chosen
in athletic contests; that no one will know how to treat him
at class parties; that the teacher will be prone to complain
of his manual work, such as handwriting; and that he will be
emotionally immature in comparison with older classmates. When
he jumps up and down, clapping his hands and shouting, "Goody!
goody!" at an announcement from the teacher, the older children
will laugh at him, and later may hang paper tails and other
tokens of ignominy upon him; whereas his childish glee would
have constituted no violation of taste among eight-year-olds.
A thousand concrete instances might be described to show what
these problems of adjustment are. Experimental education is
trying to solve them. At present, the special class is being
tried in populous centers, wherein a whole group of the young
gifted can be brought together (as has long been done for the
dull and slow).
In less populous communities, a moderate degree of acceleration,
combined with enrichment of the curriculum for the individual,
is being tried. We do not yet know how the problem of adjustment
to school work can best be solved. Indeed, we have just learned
how to define this problem.
THE PROBLEM OF ADJUSTMENT TO CLASSMATES
Typically, where there is no scientific recognition of the
presence of the gifted, these children, by the time they are
eight or nine years old, are more or less accelerated in
scholastic status and appear as the youngest in the class.
Such a child is thus youngest in the fourth or fifth grade,
in a heterogeneous group in which the oldest are retardates,
thirteen or fourteen years old. Now, in the case of boys
especially, it may happen that these dull adolescents lie in
wait to bully and tease the young gifted boy, whose "book-learning"
they detest and whose immaturity suggests the term "baby." The
present writer knows of instances in which these young children
have valiantly suffered at the hands of dull, bullying classmates,
protecting themselves as best they might by agility and wit,
since, of course, they could not possibly compete in size and
strength. The gross indignities and tortures thus suffered are
directly a penalty of being gifted; for little boys of like age,
in the grade proper to their age, do not come into classroom
contact with these over-age bullies to anything like the same
extent, and hence do not become targets for the latter.
One young gifted boy thus bullied said, "I rigged up a sling
and was going to hit him [[the bully]] with a marble, but got
afraid I might shoot his eye out." This simple statement tells
It would seem that the school should somehow take effective
cognizance of this problem of the bully, which is created for
the gifted child directly as a result of the contacts forced
upon both of them by the school. Segregation of pupils on the
basis of mentality would go far to obviate such problems, but
except in cities, homogeneous grouping is difficult. At present,
compulsory education, with heterogeneous classes, forced upon
gifted children situations that would be analogous to those
arising if teachers and superintendents were compelled to consort
daily, unprotected, with giant thugs and gangsters. Gifted adults
are free to segregate themselves from thugs and gangsters, and
also to make explicit provision for police protection, but the
American school forces the dull bully upon the gifted child, in
daily contacts, out of which lasting problems of mental hygiene
THE PROBLEM OF PLAY
Reports by gifted children themselves show that they are, as a
group, much interested in play, and that they have more "play
knowledge" than has the average child. When their reports are
compared item by item with reports similarly rendered by unselected
children, it appears that the gifted know more games of intellectual
skill, such as bridge and chess; that they care less, age for age,
for play which involves predominantly simple sensori-motor activity
which is aimless; and that gifted girls are far less interested
in traditional girls' play, as with dolls and tea sets, than
unselected girls are. The gifted enjoy more complicated and more
highly competitive games than the generality do, age for age.
Outdoor sports hold a high place with the gifted, being almost
as popular among them as is reading.
But although they love play, and have much play knowledge, the
play of the highly intelligent works out in practice as a somewhat
difficult compromise among their various powers. They follow their
intellectual interests as far as they can, but these are checked
in many ways by age, by degree of physical immaturity, and by
tradition. An eight-year-old of 160 IQ may, for example, be deeply
interested in tennis, but he is likely to be more or less kept
from playing because his physical development is not yet equal
to the demands of the game. He may love to play bridge, but
others of his age who are available as playmates do not, of
course, know how to play bridge, and he is not allowed to sit
up at night when his elders play.
By trial-and error experience, the highly intelligent child
has to work out an adjustment if he can, but there is likely
to be noticeable difficulty if he tests above 170 IQ. In the
ordinary course of events, it is hard for such a child to find
playmates who are congenial both in size and in mental interests.
Thus many of those who test very high are finally thrown back
upon themselves, and tend strongly to work out forms of solitary,
intellectual play.  The same situation is discovered in studies
of the childhood of eminent persons. Yoder , in his study of
the juvenile history of fifty very eminent persons, concluded that
their play "was often of a solitary kind." Reading, calculation,
designing, compiling collections, constructing an "imaginary land,"
evoking imaginary playmates—these forms of play stand out
prominently among the recreational interests of such children.
Since physical activity is hard to carry out interestingly alone,
their play tends to become habitually sedentary. Nevertheless, they
develop a high degree swimming, skating, and other forms of athletic
enjoyment which do not depend upon being included in a group.
Of six young children testing above 180 IQ, known to the present
writer, only one  had no conspicuous difficulty in play,
during early childhood.  The other five were all so divergent
from the usual in play interests that parents and teachers noticed
them. They were unpopular with children of their own age because
they always wanted to organize the play into a complicated
pattern, with some remote and definite climax as the goal. As the
mother of one six-year-old said, "He can never be satisfied just to
toss a ball around, or to run about pulling and shouting." Children
of six years are ordinarily incapable of becoming interested in
long-sustained, complicated games which lead to remote goals, but
are, on the contrary, characteristically satisfied only by the
kind of random activity which bored this child of 187 IQ. The
playmates of ordinary intelligence naturally resented persistent
efforts to reform them and to organize them for the attainment
of remote goals. Furthermore, they did not have in their vocabulary
words that the gifted child knew well, used habitually, and took
for granted. Literally, they could not understand each other.
The result was that the child of 187 IQ did not "get along"
with those of his own age and size. But when he sought to join
the play of children of his own mental age (above twelve years),
the six-year-old was rejected by them also, as being "a baby" and
"too little to play with us." The child, thus thrown back upon
himself, developed elaborate mathematical calculation, collecting,
reading, and games with imaginary playmates, as his chief forms
These young children of extremely high intellectual acumen fail
to be interested in "child's play" for the same reasons that in
adulthood they will fail to patronize custard-pie movies or
chute-the-chutes at amusement parks. It is futile, and probably
wholly unsound psychologically, to strive to interest the child
above 170 IQ in ring-around-the-rosy or blind-man's-buff. Many
well-meaning persons speak of such efforts as "socializing the
child," but it is probably not in this way that the very gifted
can be socialized. The problem of how the play interests of these
children can be realized is one that will depend largely on
individual circumstances for solution. Often it can be solved
only by the development of solitary play.
What, if any, effect the habitual evocation of imaginary playmates,
and the elaboration of the imaginary land, may exert on character
formation and habits of adjustment in adulthood is at present
unknown. Psychologists should study the hygienic aspects of
these methods of finding satisfaction outside of the real world.
Since gifted children are, as has been stated, on the whole a
stable and rational group, perhaps no effects, or good effects
only, result from this play of the imagination.
SPECIAL PROBLEMS OF THE GIFTED GIRL
It has been mentioned that gifted girls are less interested in
traditional girls' play than are unselected girls. They show a
preference for boys' books and boys' play, and a greater community
of interests with boys than the generality of girls display. This
merely means that girls of a high degree of intelligence are,
as a group, more competitive, aggressive, and active than girls
are supposed to be.
An illustrative case is that of a seven-year-old girl of IQ
170, whose mother wished to learn from psychology how to break
her child of being a "tomboy" and how to rear her to "be a lady."
The mother complained that the girl had never cared for dolls,
that she would not take an interest in her clothes, and that
she wanted to do nothing after school but read or play "rough,
outdoor games." "How," inquired the mother, "could I break her
of the habit of climbing lampposts?" This child was active and
competitive. When asked why she did not play with dolls, she
replied, "They aren't real. The doll that is supposed to be
a baby doll is twice as big as the one that is made like a mother
Aside from their dissatisfaction with the play habits ordinarily
associated with their sex, gifted girls have various other problems
to face which arise directly from the facts that they are able and
that they are girls. When they reach the stage of life-planning,
as they do very early, they are confused in their self-seeking
by the uncertainty in contemporary customs as to what a girl may
become. This difficulty is growing less and less, to be sure, but
it is still something to be reckoned with, especially in certain
localities. The intelligent girl begins very early to perceive
that she is, so to speak, of the wrong sex. From a thousand tiny
cues, she learns that she is not expected to entertain the same
ambitions as her brother. Her problem is to adjust her ambitions
to a sense of sex inferiority without, on the one hand, losing
self-respect and self-determination, and, on the other, without
becoming morbidly aggressive. This is never an easy adjustment
to achieve, and even superior intelligence does not always suffice
to accomplish it. The special problem of gifted girls is that they
have strong preferences for activities that are hard to follow
on account of their sex, which is inescapable.
PROBLEMS OF CONFORMITY
Judgments of teachers and parents indicate that highly intelligent
children are, on the whole, more easily disciplined than children
generally are. Nonetheless, certain problems of discipline do
arise, which grow out of their intelligence. First, in the case
of the schoolroom situation almost the only respect in which
discipline is especially troublesome with these children is
in the matter of orderly discussion when they are together in
special classes. It is hard for them to maintain silence when
ideas press for utterance. The tendency is for many to speak
at once, each striving to outspeak the others. An atmosphere
of confusion is thus created unless discipline can be imposed.
To hold his tongue, to listen quietly and respectfully to others,
to speak according to some order of procedure, and to restrain
disappointment at failure to be heard at all—these habits seem
especially difficult for gifted children to form. Only gradually
do these children learn self-government in this respect.
Also it has been noticed during the experimental education of
the highly intelligent that they sometimes tend to slight routine
drudgery in favor of more stimulating and more original projects.
The sheer drudgery involved in learning their multiplication table,
for example, is likely to be waived in order to follow some
absorbing story or experiment, unless conformity be urged from
At home, a special problem of discipline may arise occasionally
due to the circumstance of that child, while still very immature
in years, has come to exceed one parent or both in intelligence.
For the best discipline routine the parent must be more intelligent
than the child or the child's respect for the opinions of
the former will inevitably be lost. With the most gifted children
this may quite early become a problem, since such children, by
the age of ten years or before, are more intelligent than the
average adult is. Very readily such a child perceives that in
comparison with himself his parent is slow-witted and lacking
in general information. Yet in self-control and in experience
of life, the child is still very immature. Thus quite unfortunate
developments may ensue in the parent-child relationship. The child
may become the director of the parent's activities, reversing the
socially acceptable condition of affairs. Fortunately, in the
vast majority of cases at least one of the parents is a person
of superior intelligence. We seldom find a very intelligent
child in a home where both parents are average or below average
in mental power.
Because he learns everything very quickly, the highly intelligent
child is especially quick to discover what forms of conduct
on his part bring him satisfactions. If the tantrum is rewarded
by the parent with cookies, company, attention, or other childish
delights, then the bright child may display even "bigger and
better" tantrums than will those who are slower to learn. If
illness brings coddling, release from undesired responsibility,
and other pleasures, then the quick learner will readily perceive
the value of "headaches" and other aches as means to ends. On the
other hand, the very intelligent learn readily to refrain from
undesirable behavior that is followed quickly and inevitably
by punishment. Two or three experiences usually suffice for
these excellent learners. Neglect and ostracism are good forms
of punishment for them. Darwin tells us that he was cured of
telling sensational fibs, as a child, simply by the chilling
silence with which they were always received by his parents.
One more problem may be noted here. There is with intelligent
children a stronger tendency to argue about what is required
of them than is found with the average child. This tendency
to argue as to the why and wherefore of a requirement is met
both at home and at school, and calls for thought in proper
handling on the part of parents and teachers. To find a golden
mean between arbitrary abolition of all argument, on the one
hand, and weak fostering of an intolerable habit of endless
argumentation, on the other, is not always easy, but it is always
worth while as a measure for retaining the respect of the child.
THE PROBLEMS OF ORIGIN AND OF DESTINY
Early interest in origins and in destinies is one of the conspicuous
symptoms of intellectual acumen. "Where did the moon come from?"
"Who made the world?" "What is the very end of autumn leaves?"
"Where did I come from?" "What will become of me when I die?" "Why
did I come into the world?"
Although these questions rise vaguely and intermittently in
the minds of children in general, they do not begin to require
logically coherent answers until about the mental age of twelve
or thirteen years. Then they begin to press for more or less
systematic accounts. From these circumstances of mental development,
the erroneous idea has long been promulgated, even by psychologists,
that puberty in some mysterious manner leads to the rise of
religious needs and convictions. Since among the generality
a "mental age" of thirteen years is, roughly, coincident with
the age of pubescence, the two developments have been assumed
to be casually related.
When we observe young gifted children, we discover that religious
ideas and needs originate in them whenever they develop to a
mental level past "twelve years mental age." Thus they show
these needs when they are but eight or nine years old, or earlier.
The higher the IQ the earlier does the pressing need for an
explanation of the universe occur, the sooner does the demand for
a concept of the origin and destiny of the self appear.
In the cases of children who test above 180 IQ observed by the
present writer, definite demand for a systematic philosophy
of life and death developed when they were but six or seven
years old. Similar phenomena appear in the childhood histories
of eminent persons where data of childhood are available. Goethe,
for example, at the age of nine constructed an altar and devised
a religion of his own, in which God could be worshiped without
the help of priests.
Much could be said of the special problems of the young gifted
child in this period of immaturity when his intellectual needs
are those of an adolescent while his emotional control and physical
powers are still but those of a child. It would be of great
interest to study the reactions of older persons to the insistent
questions and searchings of these young children. "You are too
young to understand." "You can't know all that till you grow
older." "You unnatural child!" These are responses that have
been heard incidentally, falling from the lips of undiscerning
parents. A girl of eight years, of IQ 150, recently was heard
to express a determination to join the "Agnostic Church," because
she had asked, "What is it called when you can't make up your mind
whether there is a God or not?" and had been told that this would
Part and parcel of these questionings concerning origin and
destiny are those concerning birth and reproduction. At a "tender"
age these children ask for an account of sex and reproduction and
suffer much at the hands of parents and guardians who are shocked
at what thus emanates from the mouths of babes. Lifelong problems
of mental hygiene may be thus engendered by parents who cannot
understand why a child should be "so unnatural" as to weep over
questions of birth and death at six or seven years of age.
In the same way problems of right and wrong become troublesome
for these young children in a way that does not happen except
for the very able. For instance, a six-year-old boy of IQ 187
wept bitterly after reading "how the North taxed the South after
the Civil War." The problem of evil in the abstract thus comes
to trouble these children almost in their cradles, at an age
when they are ill-suited to grapple with it from the point of
view of emotional maturity. Special problems of mental hygiene
are perhaps inherent in this situation which do not arise with
the generality of children.
The list of problems that we have suggested here does not
by any means exhaust the subject under discussion. However,
the present writer believes that these are some of the
more important problems of childhood that originate directly
from the circumstance of being very highly intelligent among
official guardians who are ignorant or careless of the fact.
These problems of adjustment do not arise unless a child is
gifted intellectually. They are conspicuous to the psychologist
who studies children with "test knowledge" of them.
It is especially to be noted that many of these problems are
functions of immaturity. To have the intelligence of an adult
and the emotions of a child combined in a childish body is to
encounter certain difficulties. It follows that (after babyhood)
the younger the child, the greater the difficulties, and that
adjustment becomes easier with every additional year of age. The
years between four and nine are probably the most likely to be
beset with the problems mentioned.
The physical differences between a child of six whose IQ is 150
and children of nine years (whose mental age corresponds to his)
are unabridgeable, and so are the differences of taste, due to
differences in emotional maturity. The child of six graded with
nine-year-olds is out of his element physically and socially,
but the same thing is not true of a sixteen-year-old among
nineteen-year-olds. The difference between six and nine is very
great. The difference between sixteen and nineteen is small in
terms of biological development.
Moreover, as the bright go forward in school, they find work
increasingly adapted to their powers by the automatic developments
of the established curriculum. Senior high schools are, we have
discovered, adapted only to adolescents of superior intelligence.
Classmates become automatically more congenial through being more
highly selected. The dull bully, with his crude horseplay, has
left school, and in any case the gifted, being older, can defend
By the time a gifted person is physically mature, many of the
problems herein outlined automatically disappear as problems.
What after-effects there may be of the poor solution of these
childish problems we do not know. Apparently these superior
organisms tolerate well the strains put upon them by reason
of their deviation from the average. However, that an organism
stands strain well is no reason for putting or leaving strain
unnecessarily upon it.
As the gifted individual grows to maturity, he or she can achieve
control of his or her own life, and can dispense to a relatively
great extent with inadvertent cruelties and mistaken efforts of
uninformed official guardians. It is during childhood that the
gifted boy or girl is at the mercy of guardians whose duty it is
to know his nature and his needs much more fully than they now do.
 Reprinted from Mental Hygiene: Vol. XI, No. 1, pages 3-16
(January, 1931). Read by Leta. S. Hollingworth at the First
International Congress of Mental Hygiene, Washington, D. C.,
May 8, 1930.
 Terman, Lewis M. Genetic Studies of Genius: Vol. I. Stanford
University Press, Stanford University, California; 1925.
 Hartshorne, H., and May, M. A. Studies in Deceit. The
Macmillan Company, New York; 1927.
 Burt, C. The Young Delinquent. D. Appleton-Century Company,
Inc., New York; 1924.
 Healy, W., and Bronner, A. F. Criminals and Delinquents: Their
Making and Unmaking. The Macmillan Company, New York; 1928.
 The intelligence quotient is the ratio between the [chronological
age] status achieved on tests by an individual and that achieved
by the generality [of the same chronological age].
 Hollingworth, Leta S. Gifted Children: Their Nature and
Nurture. The Macmillan Company, New York; 1926.
 Yoder, G. F. "A Study of the Boyhood of Great Men." Pedagogical
 This child attended a private school where a number of the pupils
tested above 140 IQ.
 This was written in 1931.
CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLING OF VERY BRIGHT CHILDREN
In this chapter are presented selected relevant paragraphs
from two of the later papers by the author: "An Enrichment
Curriculum for Rapid Learners"  and "What We Know about
the Early Selection and Training of Leaders." 
This is neither the time nor the place for discussion of the
techniques of mental measurement, but rather for the discussion
of results. What, first, do we know about the selection of children
who stand in the upper ranges of intelligence? Facts of much
importance have been established since 1905.
In the first place, we have proved that children who rate in
the top one per cent of the juvenile population in respect to
"judgment," as Binet called it, also possess much more often
than others those additional qualities which thinkers have most
frequently named as desirable in leaders. There is a strong
probability that a child who rates as only one in a hundred
for intelligence will also be endowed in superior degree with
"integrity, independence, originality, creative imagination,
vitality, forcefulness, warmth, poise, and stability."
These characteristics are identical with those set forth by
Harvard College as the additional traits desired in boys,
already proved by tests to be highly intelligent, who are to
receive National Scholarships. I believe no one would wish
to delete from the list any trait thus stipulated. I would,
however, add to it audacity, capacity for nonconformity, love
of beauty, and cold courage, as traits to cherish in leaders,
although these are often uncongenial to teachers in the elementary
school, and possibly to other educators.
We find all these qualities in superior measure among highly
intelligent children, according to the ratings of those who
know them. If one would call for a mathematical statement of the
likelihood of finding these traits in combination with high
intelligence, we could give it. I may say that the correlation
coefficients hover around .50. This means that in selecting
any child testing far up in the top one per cent—say at 160 IQ
or above (100 IQ being par)—there is far more than an even
chance of having thus automatically selected a tall, healthy,
fine-looking, honest, and courageous child, with a great love
of adventure and of beauty in his makeup. With a correlation
so far from unity as .50, however, we cannot be at all certain
of such a happy combination. We shall find a minority of cases
where fine judgment is combined with an unstable temper, a crippled
body, an ugly face, a ruthless disregard for others, malign
chicanery, cowardice. (I would say there cannot be a very high
intelligence without the love of beauty.)
Educational psychology works constantly to find ways of knowing
how to identify these additional elements. It will be a long time
before we advance to a point where we can measure these as well
as we can now measure intelligence. Some of these additional
qualifications are undoubtedly as essential to leadership as
intelligence is. A rascal, a coward, a liar, a tyrant, a panderer,
a fanatic, an invalid, is not a desirable leader, no matter whether
his IQ is 200. We must learn to select from among the highly
intelligent those who have the greatest number of additional
qualifications. We must learn what these additional qualifications
are. One knows them when one sees them in action. For example,
an eleven-year-old boy of IQ close to 180 decided to run for
the office of class president in the senior high school to which
he had been accelerated. His classmates were around sixteen
years of age. During the electioneering a proponent of a rival
candidate arose to speak against the eleven-year-old, and he
said, among other things, "Fellows, we don't want a president
in knee pants!"
In the midst of the applause following this remark, the eleven-year-old
arose, and waving his hand casually in the direction of the
full-length portrait of George Washington on the wall, he said,
"Fellows, try to remember that when George got to be the Father
of our country he was wearing knee pants." The eleven-year-old
was elected by a large majority. He gave evidence not only of
an IQ of 180, but also of the additional qualities of political
leadership in highest degree: audacity, presence of mind, good
humor, grace, and, above all, the genuine desire to be a popular
leader. He knew how to bridge, by a debonair gesture, the great
gap between him and those to be led.
This boy had qualities of political leadership. This limiting
adjective opens the large subject of the different kinds of
leaders. Leaders of whom, and for what ends? Observation of
children suggests that there is a direct ratio between the
intelligence of the leader and that of the led. To be a leader
of his contemporaries, a child must be more intelligent, but
not too much more intelligent, than those who are to be led.
There are rare exceptions to this principle, as in the case we
have cited. But, generally speaking, a leadership pattern will
not form—or it will break up—when a discrepancy of more than
about 30 points of IQ comes to exist between the leader and the led.
This concept of an optimum which is not a maximum difference
between the leader and the led has very important implications
for selection and training. We cannot do more than to point to it
here, in passing. Among school children—as among the peoples
of all times—the great intellectual leaders are unrecognized,
isolated, and even ridiculed by all but a few in the ordinary
course of mass education. They can develop leadership of their
sort only when placed in special classes.
Observation and investigation prove that in the matter of their
intellectual work these children are customarily wasting much
time in the elementary schools. We know from measurements made
over a three-year period that a child of 140 IQ can master all
the mental work provided in the elementary school, as established,
in half the time allowed him. Therefore, one-half the time which
he spends at school could be utilized in doing something more
than the curriculum calls for. A child of 170 IQ can do all the
studies that are at present required of him, with top "marks,"
in about one-fourth the time he is compelled to spend at school.
What, then, are these pupils doing in the ordinary school setup
while the teacher teaches the other children who need the lessons?
No exhaustive discussion of time-wasting can be undertaken here,
except to say briefly that these exceptional pupils are running
errands, idling, engaging in "busy work," or devising childish
tasks of their own, such as learning to read backward—since
they can already read forward very fluently. Many are the devices
invented by busy teachers to "take up" the extra time of these
rapid learners, but few of these devices have the appropriate
character that can be built only on psychological insight into
the nature and the needs of gifted children.
Before education can discharge this most important task of all
with economy and justice, it must become a science. The science
which is fundamental to education is psychology. Psychology had
to develop the methods of mental measurement before there could
be accurate or humane dealing in a system of compulsory education.
We must take "the measure of a man" before we can know how to
educate him; and it remained for mental measurement to reveal
the astonishing power of learning that is latent in an elementary
school-child of IQ 170 or 180. How shall such pupils be taught?
How shall we educate these rapid learners, these subtle thinkers,
these children of potential genius in the elementary school?
CONSIDERATIONS IN PLANNING THE CURRICULUM 
At the outset we must realize and admit that no absolute criteria
exist by which to select from all aspects of human experience
those which are most valuable for a group of gifted children. There
is no body of "revealed" wisdom about this matter. Nevertheless, we
are not altogether at sea. Common sense, accompanied by scientific
facts of psychology, comes to our assistance, and we may note first
such negative considerations as occur to us under this guidance.
It is useless to undertake extensive work in classical languages
or in mathematics as "general discipline" for the minds of these
rapid learners. The education given should be such as will function
specifically and uniquely in their lives. It should afford them
a rich background of ideas, in terms of which they may perceive
the significant features of their own times.
Another definitely negative consideration applies to the avoidance
of all "subjects" which they will have occasion to encounter in
high school and college in later years. These young children can
learn algebra or Latin grammar or chemistry easily enough, but
what is the use of having them do so? The opportunity and the
prescribed necessity for this will come later.
Turning to positive considerations, we know that these pupils—they
and no others—will possess as adults those mental powers on which
the learned professions depend for conservation and advancement.
Also, we know that they will be the literary interpreters of the
world of their generation. And they will be the ones who can
think deeply and clearly about abstractions like the state, the
government, and economics. We know this because we have seen a
group like this "grow up" over a period of fifteen years, and
we know what "became" of every one of them. Below an IQ of 130 no
very large amount of effective thinking about complex abstractions
can be done at any age. That, we are learning, is about the median
mental caliber of college students in first-class colleges, taking
it our country over. In many highly selected, first-class colleges,
the boy or girl of IQ 140 finds himself or herself merely a good
average student, steadily receiving "C's." In such colleges one
must be a very good thinker in order to survive the course, but
no one would consider median students in our first-rate colleges
to be geniuses. The suggestion advanced about twenty years ago
that 140 IQ represents "genius or near-genius" was premature. And
when we remember that 120 IQ and 115 IQ are well below these
median students in mental power, it becomes clear that at and
below those levels conservation and advancement of the abstractions
underlying the learned professions will be very inadequately
handled. Really adequate conservation of the precious stores
of knowledge laid up in medicine, law, theology, education, and
the sciences depends on those not below 130 IQ.
As for originations, whereby one generation progresses beyond
another in control of the physical environment and of preventable
evils, we are learning that only a few in the topmost ranges
can produce them in the realm of abstractions. Only a few in the
top one per cent can contribute to actual progress. As Franklin
K. Lane has said, "Progress means the discovery of the capable.
They are our natural masters. They lead because they have the
right. And everything done to keep them from rising is a blow
to what we call our civilization." To develop each according
to his ability: this is democracy at its ideal best.
The education of the best thinkers should be an education for
initiative and originality. Effective originality depends, first
of all, upon sound and exhaustive knowledge of what the course
of preceding events has been. To take their unique places in
civilized society, it would seem, therefore, that the intellectually
gifted need especially to know what the evolution of culture has
been. And since at eight or nine years of age they are not as yet
ready for specialization, what they need to know is the evolution
of culture as it has affected common things. At present, this
is not taught to children or to adolescents, except in fragmentary
and casual ways. Persons typically graduate from elementary school,
high school, and college, and take postgraduate degrees without
learning much, if anything, about the evolution of lighting, of
refrigeration, of shipping, of clothing, of etiquette, of trains,
of libraries, and of a thousand things which have been contributed
to the common life by persons in past times and which distinguish
the life of civilized man from the existence of the savage. These
things are vaguely taken for granted even by the intelligent,
educated person. No systematic knowledge of how they came into
being enriches his understanding. Nor is he aware of the biographies
of those who have made his comfort and his safety possible. No
more does he understand how dangerous and destructive forces came
to be in the world. Of these vast fields the college graduate
is typically ignorant, as has frequently been proved.
The activities which make up the life of a civilized man may be
variously organized and classified for purposes of study in the
elementary school. A number of the progressive schools have
undertaken projects in these fields. The pupils in such schools
usually test at a median of about 118 IQ, and the work they have
done, while it is helpful and suggestive, is not what is needed
for pupils of the caliber with which we are here dealing.
Topical classifications which have suggested themselves as areas
for study might be stated as follows: food; shelter; clothing;
transportation; sanitation and health; trade; time-keeping;
illumination; tools and implements; communication; law; government;
education; warfare; punishment; labor; recreation. Every one of
these areas of human culture affords the opportunity and necessity
for studying the evolution of common things, satisfying the
intellectual curiosity, and challenging the power of learning of
the children here considered.
ENRICHMENT UNITS AT SPEYER SCHOOL
Between the ages of seven and thirteen years, the minds of these
children are occupied primarily with exploration of the world
in which they have recently arrived. They are full of questions
of fact, not yet being distracted by the emotional and dynamic
interests that come with adolescence and adulthood. This is the
golden age of the intellect. Why? How? When? Who? Where? What? are
constantly on their tongues, as any parent of a child in our
classes will testify.
Now, in accordance with the philosophy and psychology which we have
tried all too briefly to indicate, a series of "enrichment units"
is being worked out at Speyer School day by day in our classrooms.
These are being published in the form of teachers' handbooks, in a
series designated "The Evolution of Common Things," the first
numbers of which have been published. It will take five years
to complete the series, at the end of which time we shall know
from experience how much knowledge along the lines indicated
can be organized and learned by children above 130 IQ in the years
of the elementary school.
The handbooks, as they appear in published form, will represent
the actual work of the pupils themselves, guided by the teacher.
The teachers did not discover and assemble the materials of
instruction, and "give them out." The children did this work.
In the end, the teacher organized the total work into an orderly
sequence, and verbalized it in final form for presentation. But
no teacher would have the time or energy to carry on the work of
the school and also collect and compile the materials contained
in one of these units.
When an area of knowledge has been circumscribed by the children as
one chosen for study by class discussion, the teacher participating
in the thinking but not leading it, the pupils (there are twenty-five
in each class) divide themselves into "committees." These various
groups of three to five children each bring special knowledge
to the class periods, and all share in the sum total of facts
and ideas thus assembled. Libraries are thoroughly utilized
in this process. Ninety-five per cent of the pupils who were
admitted to our classes in February, 1936 (they were then between
the ages of seven and nine), had and were using "library cards"
from the New York Public Library. They are taken by their teachers
to the nearest branch of the Public Library on days arranged for,
and they "look up" their own materials, following the topics listed.
Librarians were at first skeptical as to the wisdom of admitting
these very young children to the card indices and other facilities
of the library. But librarians are an open-minded group, and they
were persuaded to let the children try. No difficulty at all has
been experienced. Stedman showed long ago that elementary school
children of IQ above 140 can use a library and consult reference
books as well as students in the normal school do.
In addition to work in the Public Library, the classes have
the right to use books from the Teachers College Library; and
to the librarians of Teachers College much credit is due for
their effective coöperation. Also, the library facilities of
the public schools are thoroughly utilized. Current periodical
literature, coming to the homes of the pupils, makes a constant
contribution. It is surprising how few of the books found most
useful were written by professed educators.
Of the trips undertaken, the visual aids supplied, and other
methods of instruction there is not space to tell here. These
are described fully in the units as they appear.
"The Evolution of Common Things" is the chief enrichment project
growing in our classes. However, much in addition to this work
is incorporated in our curriculum. These additions may be described
First may be mentioned the study of Biography, because it is very
closely allied to "The Evolution of Common Things." This is planned
to continue for five years, though not being done in every term
continuously. It is inevitable that it should become apparent
to our pupils that all "common things" of the kind being studied
have had their origins in the minds of people. Who these people
were is answered by the study of biography. The question "Who?"
is constantly in the air. During the year 1936-1937, about one
hundred persons were "biografied"  by our pupils, most of
them persons who have given us very important "common things."
The idea that biography is a study well suited to young gifted
children was given trial experimentally fifteen years ago at Public
School 165, Manhattan, and its suitability was there proved. At the
Speyer School we are able to build upon the previous experiment and
to extend and improve the work, mainly because of the astonishing
improvement in the writing of biography which has taken place
in the recent past.
The French language and literature will be taught for the full
five years. This is done for three reasons: (1) the pupils with
whom we are dealing will, more than others, have occasion to meet
foreign peoples, and to represent their country abroad in the realm
of ideas; (2) it is thought that the earlier a language is studied,
the more thoroughly it can be mastered, especially as regards
pronunciation; (3) the teaching of a modern language enriches,
without anticipating, the opportunities of the high school and
college, since the pupils will have occasion to take various
languages later, and may ultimately emerge with three, instead
of the usual two, at their command. French rather than German,
Spanish, or Italian was chosen because teachers of the French
language were available on our staff, and we gladly adopted it.
Another of the important enrichment projects is the formulation
of a curriculum in the Science of Nutrition. This, also, is a
five-year plan, in the course of which a curriculum in nutrition
will be set up in terms of the vocabulary, the concepts, and the
capacity of thinking which are proper to these children.
Special work in general science has been carried on since the
opening of the classes. For a time the "question-box" method
was tried. A "question-box" dealing with science in any and all
its aspects was opened once a week, and the children's questions
found in it were discussed by a special teacher.
Through the courtesy of the Music and Arts High School, special
teachers of these subjects have been assigned, and many projects
have been carried through. The pupils have made murals founded
on their studies of common things. They have learned French songs,
and have become familiar with many things in music.
Another teacher of the staff of the Speyer School is developing
dramatics for our classes. It is evident that a large opportunity
for the development of the creative abilities of our pupils
Handicrafts are taught at least once each week. The handwork of
the rapid learners is very superior, contrary to the current
superstition that highly intelligent children are "poor with
their hands." During the year 1936-1937, the pupils made airplanes
from blueprints, which involved very delicate operations with
glue and small pieces of wood. They were then seven to nine years old.
One afternoon each week, the Games Club meets, and there the
children learn games of intellectual skill. Chess and checkers are
the favorites. It is believed that education for leisure time is a
special responsibility of those who teach highly intelligent
children. The most intelligent tend to become "isolates," through
not finding in the ordinary course of life recreations congenial
both to themselves and to contemporaries. A game like chess or
checkers can be shared with pleasure, irrespective of age, by any
two people who have a sufficient "mental nearness." Hence they help
a very gifted child to "find company" and "enjoy himself" in all
age groups—a very important factor in the social development
of such a child. The interest in these games is kept within bounds
by the restriction to one hour a week and to those pupils who are
up to date in their school work. Possibly more time should be
allowed for the Games Club as pupils grow older.
Having followed our description of the enriched curriculum to this
point, readers who have no direct experience in the education of
children of the caliber being considered may begin to be anxious
for the welfare of "reading, writing, and arithmetic." Let them
be reassured. Mornings are devoted to the established curriculum
of the elementary school, the pupils working by "contracts."
Achievement tests are given at regular intervals to determine
conventional grade status in the various "subjects." In June,
1937, our pupils showed the "educational age" of pupils at the
middle of the seventh grade of the elementary schools as measured
by Stanford Achievement Tests. They were then nine years six months
old, on the median. The "regular" grade status for them would have
been the middle of the fourth grade. The most intelligent tenth
of the pupils were already "through the ceiling" of Stanford
Achievement and of other standard achievement tests in June, 1937.
At this point, it should be mentioned that our pupils do not have
and never have had homework assigned to them.
The intellectual interest and capacity of young children who
test from 160 to 200 IQ is incredible to those who have had no
experience with the teaching of such children. We have in our
classes about a dozen of such extreme deviates. They are truly
original thinkers and doers of their generation. A book could
be made of the incidents constantly occurring which denote the
qualities of their minds. It is these children who suffer most
from ennui in the ordinary situation.
For instance, recently in the discussion of the biography of
Madame Curie, the question was raised by a pupil as to what
"radium really is." One suggested that "radium is a stone."
Another said that "radium is a metal." The person in charge
of the class then said, "What is the difference between a stone
and a metal?" A pupil of an extremely high degree of intelligence
rose and said, "The main difference is that a metal is malleable
and ductile, and a stone is not." He then enlarged very precisely
upon "what these properties are." At the moment of this discussion,
this boy was nine years six months old. The others listened
attentively, and understood the elucidation.
Such incidents, occurring daily, give some idea of the level of
minds being dealt with in our classes. The boy who thought and
said what is set forth above was placed in the sixth grade when
his principal recommended him to our classes. He had then been
"skipped" to a point well out of his age group, and yet he had
nothing whatever to learn from the work of the sixth grade.
The pupils in the classes for rapid learners will go to senior high
school when they are thirteen years old. In the meantime, they will
be learning and thinking in the company of their contemporaries
as regards age and social interests. They will have proper
intellectual training, and will at no time idle their time away,
be practiced in habits of laziness, or become the victims of
boredom. They will emerge into high school with a background of
knowledge richer and fuller by far than that of pupils of equal
mentality, for whom no enrichment program has been provided.
Much more might be said of the program of intellectual training,
but I must pass on to consider what may be even more important—
their training in attitudes, emotions, and drives; in other words,
their emotional education. How shall we avoid the conditions
which, under the prevailing system of mass education, tend to
produce emotional habits destructive of leadership?
Of all the speical problems of general conduct which the most
intelligent children face, I will mention five, which beset
them in early years and may lead to habits subversive of fine
leadership: (1) to find enough hard and interesting work at
school; (2) to suffer fools gladly; (3) to keep from becoming
negativistic toward authority; (4) to keep from becoming hermits;
(5) to avoid the formation of habits of extreme chicanery.
In the ordinary elementary school situation children of 140 IQ
waste half of their time. Those above 170 IQ waste practically
all of their time. With little to do, how can these children
develop power of sustained effort, respect for the task, or habits
of steady work? I could entertain you for some time telling you
the various sorts of bizarre and wasteful activities that were
taking up the time of the most intelligent elementary school
children in this nation yesterday in their classrooms, but we
must pass on to other things.
A lesson which many highly intelligent persons never learn as long
as they live is that human beings in general are incorrigibly very
different from themselves in thought, action, and desire. Many a
reformer has died at the hands of a mob which he was trying
to improve. The highly intelligent child must learn to suffer
fools gladly—not sneeringly, not angrily, not despairingly,
not weepingly—but gladly, if personal development is to proceed
successfully in the world as it is. Failure to learn how to
tolerate in a reasonable fashion the foolishness of others less
gifted leads to bitterness, disillusionment, and misanthropy,
which are the ruin of potential leaders.
Every day at school the opportunity presents itself to learn this
lesson. Especially hard for these intelligent children to bear
is the foolishness of accepted authority. For instance, our pupils
found it stated in their encyclopedia that Mr. Orville Wright is
dead. As is likely to be the case, a child in the group immediately
identified error. "Mr. Orville Wright is as much alive as I am,"
declared this child. This was subsequently verified by the class as
a whole. They wrote to Mr. Wright, fiercely protesting against the
foolishness of the encyclopedia. They wanted to throw the false
authority out at once.
The teacher discussed the incident on the basis of "glad suffering."
I can't take time to describe the conversation that pivoted on
this incident, but I can say that it was valuable as emotional
education. The pupils still have the offending encyclopedia.
As a form of failure to suffer fools gladly, negativism may
develop. The foolish teacher who hates to be corrected by a child
is unsuited to these children. Too many children of IQ 170 are
being taught by teachers of IQ 120. Into this important matter of
the selection of the teacher we cannot enter, except to illustrate
the difficulty from recent conversation with a ten-year-old boy
of IQ 165. This boy was referred to us as a school problem:
"Not interested in the school work. Very impudent. A liar."
The following is a fragment of conversation with this boy:
What seems to be your main problem in school?
Several of them.
Well, I will name the teachers. Oh, boy! It is bad enough when
the pupils make mistakes, but when the teachers make
mistakes, oh, boy!
Mention a few mistakes the teachers made.
For instance I was sitting in 5A and the teacher was teaching
5B. She was telling those children that the Germans discovered
printing, that Gutenberg was the first discoverer of it, mind
you. After a few minutes I couldn't stand it. I am not supposed
to recite in that class, you see, but I got up. I said, "No; the
Chinese invented, not discovered, printing, before the time
of Gutenberg—while the Germans were still barbarians."
Then the teacher said, "Sit down. You are entirely too fresh."
Later on she gave me a raking-over before the whole class. Oh,
boy! What teaching!
It seemed to me that one should begin at once in this case the
lesson about suffering fools gladly. So I said, "Ned, that teacher
is foolish, but one of the very first things to learn in the
world is to suffer fools gladly." The child was so filled
with resentment that he heard only the word "suffer."
"Yes, that's it. That's what I say! Make 'em suffer. Roll a rock
I quote this to suggest how negativistic rebels may seize on
the wrong idea. Before we finished the conversation Ned was
straightened out on the subject of who was to do the suffering.
He agreed to do it himself.
I will cite another conversation, this time with a nine-year-old,
of IQ 183.
What seems to be the main trouble with you at school?
The teacher can't pronounce.
Can't pronounce what?
Oh, lots of things. The teacher said "Magdalen College"—at
Oxford, you know. I said, "In England they call it Môdlin
College." The teacher wrote a note home to say I am rude and
disorderly. She does not like me.
Just one more conversation, this time with an eight-year-old,
of IQ 178, Sent as a school problem:
What is your main trouble at school?
My really main trouble is not at school.
Where is it, then?
It is the librarian.
How is that?
Well, for instance, I go to the library to look for my books
on mechanics. I am making a new way for engines to go into
reverse gear. The librarian says, "Here, where are you going?
You belong in the juvenile department." So I have to go where
the children are all supposed to go. But I don't stay there
long, because they don't have any real books there. Say, do you
think you could get me a card to the other department?
This subject is inexhaustible, but we must go on to speak of
the psychological isolation of these children when they drift
unrecognized. The majority of children above 160 IQ play little
with other children because the difficulties of social contact
are almost insurmountable. Unless special facilities can be
provided, these children tend to become isolates, a condition
not conducive to leadership, except perhaps of a few rare sorts,
later in life. Such children are ordinarily friendly and gregarious
by nature, but their efforts at forming friendship tend to be
defeated by the scarcity of like-minded contemporaries. The
imaginary playmate as a solution of the problem of loneliness
is fairly frequent, but far inferior to the real playmate, could
one be found. Shaw makes Saint Joan say, "I was always alone."
This danger of becoming an isolate and a hermit is one that should
be carefully studied in the interests of leadership. To combat it
we must somehow supply the highly intelligent in their early years
with companions, especially of their own age, who can understand
what they say, and can answer. This difficulty of communication
is illustrated by Voltaire's abortive attempt as an adult to get
into contact with the peasants around him. In The Ignorant
Philosopher, Voltaire says, "I discovered such a wide difference
between thought and nourishment, without which I should not think
that I believed that there was a substance in me that reasoned and
another substance that digested. Nevertheless, by constantly
endeavoring that we are two, I materially felt that I was only
one: and this contradiction gave me infinite pain. I have asked
some of my own likenesses, who cultivate the earth, our common
mother, if they felt that they were two? If they had discovered
by their philosophy that they possessed within them an immortal
substance . . . acting upon their nerves without touching them,
sent expressly into them six weeks after their conception? They
thought that I was jesting and pursued the cultivation of their
land without making me a reply."
Even so, the ten-year-old, of IQ 175, wishes to discuss with his
"own likenesses" the events of medieval history, but he finds that
they make him "no reply." And if he persists, they become annoyed,
hurling at him the dreadful epithet, "Perfesser." If he still
persists, they pull his hair, tear his shirt from his back, and
hit him with a beer bottle. (I am speaking of real life.)
Turning now to habits of chicanery, it would be a question for long
and close debate, as to whether a highly gifted leader can ever
live and do his work among the mass of men without developing a
technique of benign chicanery. Many of the great political leaders
have been past masters of benign chicanery, often exploiting
the people for the good of the social order. Perhaps the arts
of benign chicanery are absolutely necessary to a child of highest
intelligence, compelled to find his spiritual way through mass
education. Certain it is that these children learn all sorts of
devious ways to self-preservation. For instance, two of our
pupils of Public School 500 came to us followed by notes from
teachers, saying they were hard-of-hearing. Both of them have
very keen ears, but they had learned not to hear the insupportable
drill on things they had known for years, and in self-defense they
listened so little that their teachers thought them deaf. At Public
School 500 their hearing is good—almost too good!
Guidance in regard to this matter of chicanery is absolutely
necessary. Here we have one of the most delicate of all aspects of
training of a leader. By teaching these children that they should at
all times act with complete candor and straightforwardness, in all
sorts of company, shall we be educating them for self-destruction?
We could spend hours in discussing this. We cannot do much more
here than mention it.
MATTERS OF GENERAL POLICY
I am unwilling to close these remarks without touching upon some
matters of general policy, which go beyond selection and training.
What of those children, gifted for leadership, who through accidents
of fate are without means for the development of their gifts? At
our school we are compelled to witness daily the sight of children
of fine quality, who do not have enough to eat or wear, to say
nothing of having about them beauty or comfort. It is thought by
those who have given no precise attention to the matter that
"bright children will take care of themselves." This is the
routine answer given by foundations established to promote human
welfare, when requests are made for grants to study and meet the
need of such children. The concern of American philanthropy in
the present state of public knowledge is for the chronic dependent,
forever incapable of development. This criticism may be justly
extended to include not only the leaders of philanthropy today, but
political, educational, and other kinds of leaders, who would give
all to the burdens of society and nothing to the burden-bearers.
To such tendencies of those in power today some halt should be
called. For a people to deny its natural aristocracy is a social
error in the broader sense.
Now the truth is that children of great ability are virtually
as helpless as any others under authorities blind to their
exceptionality. It would be an impossibly strong and shrewd
child who could today conduct his own education under the
compulsory school laws; make money to live on and accumulate
funds for his own higher education under the child-labor laws—all
in the first eighteen years of his life. Yet this seems to be what
elderly society has vaguely in mind, when reiterating that "the
bright will take care of themselves."
It is common to refer in this connection to the fact that Mr. John
D. Rockefeller had earned and saved a large sum of money by the
time he was sixteen years old. However, in this day and age Mr.
Rockefeller would have been arrested on the double charge of
truancy and violation of the child-labor law, and would have
had no savings whatsoever at sixteen years of age. It is shocking
to think of Mr. Rockefeller standing at ten years of age before
the Juvenile Court, but such would be his situation were he a
ten-year-old child today instead of having been such nearly
a hundred years ago. In our day a ten-year-old acquires no merit
by staying out of school and engaging in the egg business. He
acquires, instead, a court summons.
What is needed for the support and development of those children
whom we see before us daily, and who represent scores of others
in the same economic condition, is what we may call a revolving
foundation. By this is meant a fund from which the gifted young
could draw at any age the means for their development, with the
moral (not legal) obligation to repay according to ability to do
so, after twenty years, without interest. By this plan the superior
could invest in themselves; very little money would actually be
spent, because it would come back again, and the nation would
always benefit in ways not now fully foreseeable. The establishment
of a revolving fund for the development of tested children would be
another "new thing under the sun." It would be a great experiment
in social science, now rendered possible for the first time by
inventions and discoveries in the field of child psychology.
 Teachers College Record, Vol. 39, No. 4 (1938), pages 296-306.
 Teachers College Record, Vol. 40 (1939). Also reprinted in
Public Addresses of Leta S. Hollingworth, Science Press Printing
Company, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; 1940.
 The curriculum here described is that organized by Leta S.
Hollingworth and her collaborators in Speyer School, P.S. 500,
Manhattan, for two experimental classes of "rapid learners."
For an early account of this project see "The Founding of Public
School 500," Teachers College Record, Vol. 38, No. 2 (November,
1936). Also "What is Going On at Speyer School?" Chapter 21 of
Public Addresses of Leta S. Hollingworth, Science Press Printing
Company, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; 1940.
 A word coined by the pupils.
PROBLEMS OF RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS
IN THE CASE OF HIGHLY INTELLIGENT PUPILS
An address before the National Committee on Coördination
of Secondary Education at a symposium on "The Education of
Pupils of High Intelligence," Cleveland, February 27, 1939 
I shall not dwell here upon the present knowledge of gifted
children as organisms. Our findings in follow-up studies on
tested children in New York City confirm in all particulars
Professor Terman's researches on the Pacific coast. Since these
several studies have been carried on in complete independence, one
in the East, the other in the West, for nearly twenty years, we may
certainly feel justified in the conclusion that we are arriving
at truth about the mental and physical traits and development of
highly intelligent persons, coming as we do to the same results.
My remarks here will deal, rather, with certain problems of the
education of the highly intelligent. I may say at the outset
that my direct contacts with the education of gifted pupils have
all been on the level of the elementary school. I consider that
the problems are most urgent on this level, because it is in the
primary and elementary school that the very intelligent child
most especially needs a supplement to the standard curriculum.
The program of progress through the elementary grades is based
on what pupils at, or only very slightly above, the average can
master at given ages, so that the extremely intelligent child
has little or nothing to do there. His interest is not engaged,
and his power is not challenged. The situation of such children
has been well exemplified in a recent biography  which sets
forth the sense of futility from which many of them suffer at
school in the early years.
When the child reaches senior high school, however, the case is
somewhat different. The college preparatory course of the secondary
school was originated with and for pupils of college caliber.
It is therefore based on what very intelligent adolescents, and
they only, can learn. Hence it offers to the pupil at and above
130 IQ (S-B) tasks of sufficient interest and difficulty to
engage his powers of learning.
Laying aside, for purposes of the moment, argument as to whether
the content of the college preparatory course is what it should
be from all angles, we maintain that it is sufficiently abstract,
complex, and difficult to operate as an intellectual stimulus
for quite highly intelligent adolescents. I shall return to this
point later, raising it here merely to explain why it has seemed
to me especially important to work in the elementary school.
One cannot work for long in the elementary school, however, without
becoming involved in research which has to do with the secondary
school. There are many problems of coördination that require for
their adequate study the joint efforts of both elementary and
secondary school. We are currently trying to find answers to these
problems at Public School 500, Manhattan, for we shall begin
sending pupils from there to the senior high schools in June, 1939.
THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
For some years, beginning about 1918, experimentation has been
sporadically undertaken in New York City on the initiative of
individual principals to find out what should be done in the
elementary school for highly intelligent children. It was not,
however, until January, 1936, that the Board of Education itself
took official action in cognizance of the presence of these pupils
in the school system. On January 28, 1936, Public School 500,
Manhattan (Speyer School,  was founded by formal action of the
Board of Education and Teachers College, jointly, for the study
of intellectual deviates, other than the feeble-minded, in the
Two classes for rapid learners were included in the setup of this
school, to accommodate twenty-five pupils each. These classes have
now (1939) been in progress for three years. Their chief purpose
has been to find experimentally and to establish a curriculum that
would provide a genuine education for children of mental calibers
above 130 IQ (S-B); an education that would extend their minds and
interest them in the interests of society during the years of the
Pupils were selected for this experiment on the basis of three
criteria: (1) they must test at or above 130 IQ (S-B); (2) they
must be at least 7 years 0 months old, and at most 9 years 6 months
old; (3) they must be representative as a group of the various
ethnic stocks composing the population of New York City. This
constitutes what we consider a perfectly democratic selection.
Nothing "counts" toward selection except the tested quality
of the pupil himself.
The organization is that of an 8B elementary school, designed
to run for five years as an experiment. Promotion to the ninth
grade of the senior high schools at the age of 13 years was
planned for our pupils. The school also includes seven classes
for slow learners (IQ 75-90), the pupils of which mingle freely
with those of the rapid learner classes except for purposes
of classroom instruction.
The teachers were selected from a long list of applicants for the
posts among licensed elementary-school teachers of New York City.
Criteria for selection rested on personality, degree of education,
and desire to undertake experimental work.
Enrichment of the curriculum has been going forward for three
years. Pupils at and above 130 [IQ] (S-B) need, on the average,
about one half of their time in the elementary school for mastering
the standard curriculum set up for "all the children." "Mastering"
here means not "passing" with a mark of 65 per cent, but genuine
mastery with marks of 90 per cent and above.
In the half day thus left to spare, an enrichment curriculum
has been pursued, which has elsewhere been described in some
detail.  The chief features of this enrichment curriculum
are a series of units, one each term in each class, on "The
Evolution of Common Things" and the French language and literature.
TRANSITION FROM ELEMENTARY TO SECONDARY SCHOOL
The time comes when pupils thus selected and educated are to
pass to the ninth grade of the senior high school. At this point
questions arise which call urgently for discussion as a joint
responsibility of both elementary and secondary schools. Some of
these questions are as follows:
1. Why is 13 years to be chosen as the optimum age for the
2. Why is junior high school omitted from the picture?
3. What ceremony, if any, should mark the transition to senior
4. What items of cumulative record should accompany the pupil
as he or she enters high school?
5. What differences are there in the demands of high school,
as compared with the elementary school, which would affect the
minimum IQ at which enrichment is needed in the high school?
Is enrichment needed in the high school at 130 IQ (S-B)?
6. The point at which enrichment begins to be needed having been
determined experimentally, how should the secondary school organize
to provide a genuine education for pupils at and above that level?
7. Assuming an enrichment program for pupils above 150 IQ (S-B)
desirable or imperatively necessary in high schools, what matters
shall be agreed upon to enter into the curriculum?
8. Shall we guide all of our highly intelligent elementary-school
pupils into the college preparatory courses? Or shall some of them
be so guided that they will end high school without the "credits"
9. What can and should public schools do for those few pupils
who test at or above 170 IQ (S-B), for whom no experimental
work so far done is of much real effect, either in elementary
or secondary school?
CONSIDERATION OF THE QUESTIONS ARISING
Not all the foregoing questions proposed can be fully discussed
here. Whatever is said, however, is an outgrowth of our own
professional observations, extending over the past seventeen
years. In particular these observations result from the current
obligation at Public School 500, Manhattan (Speyer School), to
promote to senior high school our first group of children now
reaching the thirteenth birthday.
It is obvious that we have to determine upon an age for promotion
to the senior high school. This must take into consideration "the
whole child." We cannot isolate the intellect for this purpose.
"Body, mind, and soul" must pass as a unit to secondary school.
The brightest of our pupils were fully ready for the scholastic
work of the ninth grade when they were 8 years old; several others,
when they were 10 years old. Ability to "pass examinations" set for
8B pupils cannot, therefore, reasonably become our criterion for
promoting these children, unless we wish to assume responsibility
for placing prepubescent, 8-, 9- and 10-year-old children in a
scholastic milieu that is determined by the physical size and
social maturity of adolescents.
After much discussion, we fixed upon 13 years as the age for
transition to senior high school. We came to this largely as
a result of our pooled professional experience, but not wholly
on that basis. We gave considerable weight to the follow-up study
of pupils identified in 1922, and kept together for three years
in special classes at Public School 165, Manhattan.  There
were 56 of these children whom we promoted to the ninth grade
at an average age of 11 years; and the high-school careers of all
of them were followed through sixteen different high schools. 
In the course of this follow-up, the question was repeatedly
asked, "What would be the best age to enter the ninth grade?"
Sixty per cent of these pupils gave 13 years as the "best age"
to enter high school, and twenty-six per cent gave 14 years or
older. Only one child gave an age younger than 12 years as optimum
for entering high school. This group, as a whole, would have
preferred to enter the ninth grade at an age older than that at
which they entered, and gave cogent reasons for the preference
during their high-school careers.
These ideas persisted through the college careers, especially
among the boys, many of whom felt they were misplaced in college
at 15 years of age. Entering high school near the thirteenth
birthday, a child saves time, and yet is not made subject to the
tensions which may result from trying to meet social and physical
requirements for which he is too immature.
Junior high school is omitted from the picture as ours was a
five-year plan. Such a plan of curriculum enrichment as ours fits
best into the 8B setup, for such a program cannot be supervised
if the pupils are scattered and the situation made subject to the
transition from 6B to junior high school. In the metropolitan
situation it is not feasible to take the pupils for special
classes until they are at least 7 years old. The infrequency
of their occurrence makes it necessary to assemble them from
several districts, and they are not mature enough to come from
a distance when they are 6 years of age. Parents cannot assume the
burden of accompanying them twice a day. Our pupils were 8 years
old, on the median, when they entered our rapid learner classes.
We have found it feasible to organize classes for 8-year-olds, give
them a five-year program of special studies, and have them fully
ready for senior high school at 13 years of age. This plan has
worked out well, whereas, if we had had to consider a transition
to the junior high school in the midst of our work, difficulties
would have arisen, and it is not clear how our program could have
been carried out at all. However, a field for experimentation
lies here for those who would be predisposed to favor the
junior-high-school plan of school organization.
We decided that no ceremony of graduation should mark the promotion
to senior high school. Our pupils will make the transition not
in a body, but a few at a time at the end of each term. Some
informal social event may take place, but no ceremony of graduation
The question, "What items of cumulative record should accompany
each child from the elementary school?" is one requiring much
study. Here we are working quite experimentally. The public schools
of Altoona, Elkins Park, and Fort Wayne, Pennsylvania, are reported
to have formulated a cumulative record card for rapid learners,
which we hope later to consult. The records of mental tests,
the record of scholastic-achievement tests, and a statement of
teachers' ratings on a variety of character traits should no doubt
be included with the health record and attendance record in the
Ideally, the secondary school should receive these pupils already
tested mentally, with cumulative records; but, since in the
existing state of affairs this is not possible, because such
tests have not been generally made, the high schools are wondering
what methods to use in selecting the highly intelligent as they
arrive, in the ordinary course of events, for admission.
We must agree that we have, in fact, no method at present generally
available of distributing the top percentile of the adolescent
population. The Army Alpha, which strictly speaking pertains to
adults, is no doubt the most nearly appropriate instrument we have
for distributing the top one per cent of adolescents. No other
group test has sufficient "top" for this purpose, and no individual
test has a "ceiling" high enough to prevent the best from "going
through." Two forms of Army Alpha combined will give as good an
approximation as is at present available to a correct distribution
of adolescents at and above 130 IQ (S-B).
There exist tests of scholastic aptitude which pertain to
adolescents of college caliber, but these are not generally
available, being limited to the organizations which make specific
use of them.
From observations of the progress of highly intelligent children
tested at an early age, I offer the hypothesis that pupils of 130
to 150 IQ (S-B) have quite enough to do in the truly efficient
pursuit of the college preparatory curriculum of the senior high
schools, and do not need any enrichment of this curriculum as far
as challenge to ability is concerned. What these pupils need is
merely freedom from the presence of great masses of classmates
who are mentally unadapted to the college preparatory course, and
the opportunity to work unhampered, in segregated groups, such as
are now being formed in many secondary schools under the concept
of the honor school.
Pupils above 150 IQ (S-B) are, however, probably in definite
need of an enrichment of even the college preparatory course
as it exists currently in senior high schools. If experimental
observation should prove this hypothesis to be true, how should
the secondary school set about it to provide for the genuine
education of such pupils? Should the huge high schools of a great
city, like New York, organize an enrichment curriculum within
the honor schools for these extreme deviates? Should honor schools
have faculties proper to them only? Assuming an enrichment program
for pupils above 150 IQ (S-B) to be found desirable or necessary in
secondary school, what matters shall find place in such a curriculum?
The answers to these questions cannot be stated from the swivel
chair or the arm chair. Years of realistic hard and intelligent
work will have to be done, by way of experiment with various
groups of adolescents. As regards the question pertaining to
enrichment of curriculum, I dare offer the suggestion that there
are "common things" the evolution of which would be more properly
worked out at the adolescent level than at the level of childhood
by highly intelligent pupils. Thus at Public School 500, Manhattan
(Speyer School), we often find ourselves wishing that we might
have our pupils at adolescence in order to take up with them the
evolution of law and order, of trade and money, of warfare, of
punishment, and many other things concerning which no systematic
instruction is ever given outside of professional schools.
One may suggest that in the elementary school the enrichment
curriculum might proceed by covering the evolution of "common
things" which are concrete, as we have been doing, leaving for the
secondary school those "common things" which are relatively
abstract and involve especially concepts of social-economic
It is to be considered, also, that each of these pupils, at and
above 150 IQ (S-B), would have the capacity to master a manual
trade, in addition to mastering a profession, if time were allowed
during adolescence. At 13 years of age, the hand then being
developed, such pupils might be trained for skilled trades,
in their spare time, as an enrichment of curriculum. In a changing
world it is perhaps a good thing for those who are capable of
both profession and skilled manual craft to have both at
their service as adults, and to be capable of serving society
and themselves in more than one specialized vocation, as was and
is actually the case with many able Americans, reared and educated
under pioneering conditions of the nineteenth century and earlier.
To this point we have been speaking of enrichments accompanying
and supplementing the college preparatory course for pupils testing
above 150 IQ (S-B). But shall we guide all our highly intelligent
pupils into college preparatory courses? Or shall some of them be
positively guided so that they will end high school without the
"credits" for college? Shall all whose circumstances tend to force
them into vocational high schools be allowed to drift in that
direction? Here is a question of fundamental importance for
society, which at this moment we hardly know enough to raise,
much less answer. Only one in every hundred tests at or above
130 IQ (S-B). What does society most need from this little
handful of persons? These can perform socially desired functions
which none of the other ninety and nine can possibly perform.
They can be educated in ways which are forever out of the reach
of all who test below them. What should we, as educators, the
publicly appointed guardians of their intellectual lives, do
with these children for their own and society's best interests?
There is no more serious question than this in all education. How
shall a democracy educate the most educable? At present these
children are to a great extent lost in the vast enterprises of
mass education, and are left to handle their special problems
as they may, by themselves, while the energies of teachers are
bent upon the main business of dealing with the ninety-nine per
cent who test below 130 IQ (S-B). Common sense would tell us that
a child who tests as far above the average as a feeble-minded
child tests below cannot escape having special problems under
conditions of mass education. We cannot go into this matter
in detail here. These problems have been set forth in another
place.  It is for us to consider them carefully, for educators
are the sole group appointed by society to guard the interests
of children. We are their official guardians, adding our guidance
to that of their natural guardians, parents, who are often helpless
either to recognize these children's abilities or to develop them.
WHAT ABOUT GENIUS?
We come finally to what may be the most important point of all—the
point to where we inquire into the responsibility of the public
schools for children who are as far above those of 130 IQ (S-B) as
the latter are above 100 IQ (S-B). I refer to those very rarely
occurring pupils who test at or above 170 IQ (S-B). These children
are important for civilization in inverse ratio to their infrequency
of occurrence. They are the ones who can not only conserve
thought in its abstract reaches, but who can originate new
thoughts, new inventions, new patterns, and who can solve problems.
When, about twenty years ago, Terman  began to attempt
classifications of high deviates, on the basis of IQ, he called
140 IQ (S-B) "genius or near genius." The intervening years have
proved that this idea must be revised. Seniors in many of our
first-rate colleges test at a median of 140 IQ (S-B) or even
higher, and about a quarter of all college graduates test
at or above this level.
That point in the distribution of IQ where mental products
suggestive of genius, as defined by lexicographers, begin to
appear, seems to be as far above 140 IQ as 140 IQ is above average.
Somewhere between 170 and 180 IQ (S-B) we begin to see merging
in early adulthood that "highly unusual power of invention or
origination," that "original creative power, frequently working
through the imagination," which is ordinarily called "genius." 
This element in our juvenile population, so significant and so
rarely found, passes unrecognized at present through the public
schools. We have not even commenced to evolve an education suitable
for a child who at 9 or 10 years of age is able to think on
a college level. The idea that such children exist at all is even
laughed at to scorn by teachers and principals who have a quarter
of a century of "experience" behind them. These children have
no way of making themselves known. The mental tests make them
known. They become known only to those educators who "believe
in" mental tests.
The most interesting problem in education is to discover how
these children, testing above 170 IQ (S-B) can and should be
educated; to devise ways and means whereby these far deviates
may get the full use of their abilities in school and society,
especially when they have no money. The concept of democracy
on which the United States was founded is one of equality of
opportunity. The intention of our educational policy is that every
child should have a chance to develop as his natural abilities may
entitle him to do, all artificial distinctions being eliminated.
Now at last psychological science has provided an effective
instrument for achieving this democracy in education, namely
the mental test, by means of which a child may be recognized
for his own ability, regardless of age, sex, race, creed, or
How shall we as educators utilize this instrument of genuine
democracy? How shall we proceed under conditions in which the
founding fathers are now mistaken by many citizens to have
proclaimed and promised biological equality!
Perhaps we should take another leaf from the book of the French
Republic, where the delusion of biological equality has always
been successfully avoided; where the State continually reviews
its attempt to secure equality of opportunity by explicit efforts
to find and foster the natural élite, and to know where the gifted
are located in the French population. 
We may also consider the Belgian policies, with regard to subsidy
of the gifted,  "Ce principe fondamental: Que chaque enfant,
quelle que soit la situation de fortune des parents, soit mis en
état d'acquérir par l'instruction tout le développement intellectuel
et professionnel dont il est capable."
All the questions here raised call for definite answers at the
present time. Such questions could not be effectively raised
prior to the twentieth century, because psychologists had not
previously advanced to a point of supplying a scientific method of
determining intelligence in childhood. It is the most significant
contribution of psychology to education, in this century—and
perhaps in all centuries—that we are now enabled to know the
mental caliber of a human being in his early years.
More and more it becomes clear that human welfare on the whole
is much more a matter of the activities of deviates than it is
a matter of what the middle mass of persons does. Those educators
who make a joke of the genius and regard the dullard as a mere
figment of the imagination of psychologists, or who solve the
educational problems which these children present by the simple
device of "not believing in" them, fiddle while Rome burns. It
is the deviate who takes the initiative and plays the primary part
in social determination. How shall we, then, educate him in
 Reprinted from The Journal of Educational Sociology (October,
1939), pages 90-102.
 Bridgman, Amy S. My Valuable Time: The Story of Paul Bridgman
Boyd. (109 pages.) Stephen Daye Press, Brattleboro, Vermont; 1938.
 Hollingworth, Leta S. "The Founding of Public School 500:
Speyer School," Teachers College Record, Vol. 37 (November,
1936), pages 119-128.
 Hollingworth, Leta S. "An Enrichment Curriculum for Rapid
Learners at Public School 500: Speyer School," Teachers College
Record, Vol. 39 (January, 1938), Pages 296-306. See also Chapter
21 of this book.
 Lamson, E. E. "A Study of Young Gifted Children in Senior
High School." Contributions to Education No. 424 (117 pages).
Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University,
New York; 1930.
 Lamson, E. E. "High School Achievement of Fifty-Six Gifted
Children." Journal of Genetic Psychology, Vol. 47 (1935),
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as a Special Problem in Social Adjustment." Proceedings of the
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pages). Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston; 1916. Also, Terman,
Lewis M. Genetic Studies of Genius, Vol. I (663 pages). Stanford
University Press, Stanford University, California; 1925.
 Webster's New International Dictionary, 1935.
 Butler, Nicholas Murray. "Is Thomas Jefferson the Forgotten
Man?" Address delivered at the Parrish Art Museum, Southampton,
September 1, 1935. Published at 405 West 117th Street, New York.
 Bouglé, C. Enquêtes sur le Baccalauréat. (120 pages.)
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 Bauwens, Léon. Fonds des mieux doués. (Cinquième édition,
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