By Kathrin Levitan (auth.)
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Extra info for A Cultural History of the British Census: Envisioning the Multitude in the Nineteenth Century
The early census was a product of an age that was essentially local and family- oriented. The newly complex and diversified economy could not be described until the statistical movement had triggered the greatly expanded census of the mid- century period. The Rise of the Statistical Movement As early as the 1820s, suggestions were heard for a dramatic extension of the census. ”41 Henderson called for a faster method, better- constructed schedules, a more accurate description of occupations, and more information in general.
After Registrar- General Lister died in 1842, partway through the process of abstracting the census returns, Major George Graham was appointed to the post. Graham was the brother of Sir James Graham, the Home Secretary in Robert Peel’s government at the time. Although the economist Nassau Senior had recommended Edwin Chadwick as second Registrar- General, government patronage over the office retained its hold. Graham served as RegistrarGeneral until 1879, and thus presided over the censuses of 1851, 1861, and 1871.
These requests indicate the recognition among members of the public that the census was the only technology available that could provide information on a national scale. ”137 So, while at times Graham’s own language concerning the census was as lofty as that of any zealous social reformer, as the census approached his practical side predominated: “To me . . ”138 His concern was that if the schedule had so many questions as to require a second piece of paper, then the millions of extra pages to be printed and circulated would greatly add to the cost of the enterprise.
A Cultural History of the British Census: Envisioning the Multitude in the Nineteenth Century by Kathrin Levitan (auth.)