THE ANALYSIS OF FAME
(WRITTEN AS A REVIEW OF WHO'S WHO, 1935)
WHO really is who? Who, indeed? Who's Who should provide
the answer, at least so far as concerns society's collective Who
in Britain. The trouble is that the answer is so collective, so formid-
ably vast. The present edition runs to 3694 pages of entries, involving
something like 30,000 miniature biographies.
Obviously there are numerous methods for approaching our pro-
blem of who really is who, and why. As a scientist, I feel that the
quantitative method should first be given a chance. There are plenty
of interesting questions to which it could provide an answer. For
instance:—How many foreigners docs the editor admit within the
British precinct? In what proportion are the different professions and
occupations represented in this Annual Hall of Fame? Are these
proportions sensibly different for the British-born and the foreigners?
What relation, if any, does length of entry bear to degree of eminence?
What are the proportions of the sexes, both in bulk and detail?
I cannot claim to have penetrated very far along this road, but I
have made a beginning. I have taken a random sample of over two
hundred names, under a couple of letters of the alphabet, and present
a few facts resulting from its preliminary analysis.
The Army, to my surprise, comes an easy first, with 34 entries out
of 222. The mere iact of belonging to the Aristocracy ties for second
place with Religion—19 each. Literature also accounts for 19, but
only when it is enlarged by journalism and publishing. Then come
Foreign and Imperial administration, including the diplomatic and
consular services (17); Finance and Business (16); Science and
Engineering (15); representatives of academic learning in other
fields than science (14); Home politics and administration (13); the
Navy, surprisingly low, with 12; Medicine (10); the Fine Arts,
Music, and Architecture (8); Education (8); Miscellaneous (7);
Law (6); the Air Force and Aviation in general (3); and last the
Drama, including both acting and management, with only 2. (The
Miscellaneous, by the way, include a food expert, a girl-guide
organizer, and a traveller.)
The male sex-ratio is very high, In fact, there are only 6 women in
the sample, or less than 3 per cent,, and 4 of these are in literature,
Non-Britishers are much more generously treated than mere
females, there being 26 of them. Ten of these are from the United