Harvard's anthropologists are about to release a new, scholarly survey dealing with the people of Ireland--and if they are as wise as they are scholarly, they had better mind their manners. Earnest A. Hooton, professor of Anthropology, who is given to saying brash things in prose and poetry at times, admits that he is approaching this one with plenty of soft answers in mind.
The surveyors have had workers all over the Isle of the Green--400 villages to be exact--and they've interviewed all sorts of persons--10,000--and made all sorts of observations on the characteristics of each one--400 on each.
For this effort they have come up with a lot of information that any good Irishman could have told them before they started, had they bothered to ask. They have come up with quite a bit of information that no Irishman ever knew before, and a great abundance of information that they better not tell any Irishman to his teeth.
They found out that the Irish are "poetical," with Shaw, Yeats, Synge, and others the Irish didn't need to be told.
And they found out that the Irish are "highly humorous" and, to be sure, that is a very mild way of putting it. Also they discovered that the Irish are "volatile"--which is a formal way of saying they can lick any man who says they are.
The surveying researchers came up for the most part with a great amount of facts and figures relating to the physiognomies and general anatomy of the inhabitants of Emerald Isle. Some of these, Hooton is quick to point out, are really quite astounding.
Hooton found that most of the Irish that have immigrated to this country come from the western part of the land there and from the lower and upper-most corners. These are the roundheaded, tallest, heaviest and most florid of the race. These are the Irishmen who are quite so often pictured in cartoons and stories as the "big, affable guys with a ready wit and a brawny arm."
"The survey has also found cause to shatter several of our most common beliefs about the Irish," Dr. Hooton explained.
"Many people continually look at red-headed girls with green eyes and automatically class them 'Irish colleens,'" said Dr. Hooton. "But the fact is that only five per cent of the people who in habit the Island are red-headed. These are practically all found in the so-called 'blond belt' just west of the river Shannon."
He said more "flery red-heads are found in Holland and Scotland" than in all of Ireland.
The anthropologists also revealed that of the 10,000 persons surveyed, just 43 had pure brown eyes. Most of the Irish have mixed colors or straight blue eyes, Hooton pointed out. "But," he said, "the ones with the straight dark eyes seem to live the longest. Blue-eyed people out number all others composing 46 per cent of the total population of the Island.
The survey points out that the most characteristic of the Irish race are Keltics. These are the people with narrow heads, long narrow faces--with a narrow nose, a lantern jaw and blue eyes. The Keltics compose 25 per cent of the population.
The East-Baltic type of Irishman, who are the round-headed people with-tow or red heads, fair skin, and blue eyes are the real minority group in Ireland. There was just 1.3 per cent of them among the 10,000 surveys.
Another common belief that went by the wayside according to the records Hooton compiled was the myth of the "big Irishman with the jet black hair and snapping dark eyes." In the 10,000 people polled, the survey makers found just 33 persons fitting into this category, and they were all small and slender, like Italians.
Hooton was excited about one find made in Ireland. "This is astounding," he said. "We found that the primitive looking Irishman, the man with the low big browline and the long arms, lives the longest. These are the men in the Keltic type class. They have deep blue eyes, long heads and the deepest chests."
He also said that people with freckles and moles, and the swarthy, disappear as they grow older. They are not among those with the long life spans.
"But," concluded Professor Hooton, "no matter which type they are--whether them stem from the Norsemen, Vikings, Danes or from the Stone Agers--they're Irishmen. And woe be to the man who goes there and calls them anything else."