HE HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS “FIRST DARWINIAN SOCIOLOGIST” OR “THE FIRST SOCIOBIOLOGIST”, AS WELL AS “AN AUTHORITY IN THE HISTORY OF MORALS AND OF MARRIAGE CUSTOMS”
EDVARD WESTERMARCK (1862-1939) SIGNED CARD, “With compliments, Edvard Westermarck, Burpham Guildford, England”, on a card 4.25 x 3.5, by the Finnish philosopher and sociologist who studied, among other subjects, exogamy (the social norm of marrying outside one’s social group) and incest taboo. His thesis, The History of Human Marriage, was published as a book in 1891, and would be published again in a substantially revised edition in 1921. He was professor of moral philosophy at Abo Academi University in Turku, Finland and at the same time professor of sociology at the University of London. He retired in 1932 and spent the rest of his life publishing his major works, Ethical Relativity (1932), Three Essays on Sex and Morals (1934), The Future of Marriage in Western Civilization (1936), and Christianity and Morals (1939). The phenomenon of reverse sexual imprinting is when two people live in close proximity during the first few years in the life of either one, and both become desensitized to sexual attraction, now known as the Westermarck effect. He was also a scholar of Morocco and offered a positivist view of how its folk religion was formed in his two-volume work Ritual and Belief in Morocco (1926). Westermarck critiqued Christian institutions and Christian ideas on the grounds that they lacked foundation. The card is in fine condition, with minor age toning, and the date, “7. YI. 1927”, in another hand on the lower left.