Consideration of the problems of illegitimacy is always important for civilization, but not in many a generation has discussion of the whole subject been so timely as at present. Even before the great war new interest in these problems was being manifested, awakened largely, we may be glad to note, as part of the forward development of common-sense social consciousness. Now the nations will most unwontedly have to face, in a very literal sense, the living issues of unlegitimatized sexual union. In some countries foreseeable exigencies may even cause such production of offspring to be encouraged. In order better to meet the ordinary situation and also this unusual problem due to military conditions, we particularly need the real facts about illegitimacy as it has existed with us and elsewhere, and to know for comparison the various laws and customs concerning treatment of "illegitimate parents" and their children.
One of the best women I know, best in ideals and in family life with her children, has for years been thinking earnestly and well about illegitimacy. She finds that, first of all, the ramifications of the problem must be brought into the full daylight of thoughtful consideration. Who are these unmarried mothers; what are they mentally, socially, physically; what becomes of them; what are the traits of their offspring, and how do they flourish, and whither do they tend? To fulfill a large part of these requirements for more facts we now have by Mr. Kammerer this study of collected field data.