Circular on the Degrees of Relationship

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A circular entitled "The Degrees of Relationship Among Nations" is issued to the diplomatic agents and Consuls of the United States in foreign countries requesting assistance for Lewis Henry Morgan's study of systems of consanguinity existing among the natives of other countries. His previous study of the system of relationship among the Iroquois led to his desire to do comparative studies of consanguinial systems. The circular includes a table of degrees of relationships. The results of this study will be published in volume 17 of Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, "Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family," 1871.


Morgan, Lewis Henry 1818-1881


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1859. Washington, D.C.: Thomas H. Ford, 1860, p. 37-38.
  • Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 2. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1862, Article X, p. 1-33.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1860. Washington, D.C.: George W. Bowman, 1861, p. 41.
  • Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, Vol. 17. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1871.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


January 20, 1860


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