The Scopes Monkey Trial

On this page:

America on Trial

Background to 1925

Creationism is not dead

Danger - Indoctrination

Day 8 - The New York Times report

Inherit the Wind - Class Project

Inherit the Wind - The Play Script

Inherit the Wind - The Film/TV Movie Scripts

Journalistic Monkeys

Piltdown Man website

Nebraska Man website

Science Friday - 75th Anniversary

Scopes Appeal - Full text

Scopes Trial - Darrow Questions Bryan (transcript)

Scopes Trial and Beyond

Scopes Trial - Complete Transcript

Scopes Trial - Information

Scopes Trial - Prof. Linder (UMKC)

Summer for the Gods - the Book

Summer for the Gods - Interview

The Truth About Inherit the Wind

The Yale-New Haven Project



20:   Other Scopes Trial Resources

So, now you've seen the evidence.  And just in case you do feel like digging even deeper, here is a list of alternative sources - mainly online - which seem to me to have something useful to say on the subjects discussed here.  For want of any better approach the items are list in alphabetical order by title.

Note:   No claim is made as to the objective accuracy of the contents of any of these sites/documents.

America on Trial, Alan M. Dershowitz
Not, as the title might seem to imply, a crticism of America but a fascinating collection of brief (4-8 pages on average) accounts of "the legal battles that transformed our nation," as it says in the subtitle.
The piece on the Scopes Trial is only 6 pages long (262-8), but it makes a number of interesting points about the trial.
It also includes some revealing insights into Clarence Darrow's time as a lawyer for the unions (208-17).
(The page numbers refer to the paperback edition.)

Warner Books, 2004. ISBN 0-446-69473-8

Background to 1925
This Factbites page provides a list of URLs for websites that cover a whole range of things going on in 1925 in areas such as science, literature, films, sport, etc., etc.  Great resource for anyone wanting to place the Scopes trial in its wider social context.

Creationism Is Not Dead (1994), Frederick Edwords
Although this article is somewhat out of date, it gives an interesting overview of the developing influence of anti-evolutionists in the American school system.

Danger: Indoctrination, Steven C. Meyer
An online article that originally appeared in The Wall street Journal, subtitled: A Scopes Trial for the '90s describes an unusual case of a "reverse monkey trial" at San Fransisco State University.'s.htm

Day 8 - The New York Times
The New York Times report on the conclusion of the Scopes Trial including closing comments by Bryan, Darrow and Malone

Scopes Appeal, Professor Douglas Linder
Full text of the decision handed down by the Supreme Court of Tennessee in January, 1927.

Inherit the Wind class project, Thomas Van Buren
This is an excellent, and in my opinion definitive set of resources for an educational project on the play Inherit the Wind, though they would be equally appropriate for almost any study relating to the Scopes trial.
The great strength of this approach is that it avoids the dictatorial "this is what you should believe" style of teaching advocated by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute (see above) and instead invites students to investigate a whole raft of background (mainly web-based) materials in order to form their own ideas and opinions about the 1920's, the US laws on the separation of state and church, on the play/film (including the real-life characters and their fictional counterparts) and on the trial itself.
In my estimation (and I write as an ex-teacher of both History and English Literature) this is a very positive example of "learning how to learn"-style teaching, which will hopefully become increasingly popular 21st century education.>

Inherit the Wind - full script
This site regularly receives enquiries from people looking for a free and/or online copy of the script of the play Inherit the Wind.  And the answer is - there is no such thing (or if there is, it's illegal).
According to my copy of the script the copyright was last revised as recently as 2000, which means that the only way to get a copy is to borrow it from a library, or someone who owns a copy, or buy it (Amazon usually have it in stock as well as several cut-price copies from third party sources).
The play script is published by Dramatists Play Service, Inc.  ISBN 0-8222-0570-X, and by
Ballantine Books,   ISBN 0345466276.
The two versions are not identical in content or layout, and whilst the Ballantine edition is probably easier to read, it seems to have a few omissions compared with the Dramatists Play Service version.  It should also be noted that the play has been through two or three revisions and a number of copyright renewals since 1951.  It is therefore unclear how closely the current editions resemble the original.

Inherit the Wind - film script (1960)
This is not the final version of the script and differs, to a certain, non-critical, extent when compared with the actual film.  That is to say, there are scene directions and snippets of dialogue that are in the script but not in the film, and maybe half a dozen places where short scenes have been added, or are in the script but in a different order.
Inherit the Wind - TV Movie (1988)
It isn't clear whether the script is the draft version or the final version as it appeared on TV.
The film and TV movie scripts are both available from:

Journalistic Monkeys
Part of a longer article reviewing the changing influence of Christian beliefs on the American Press.  This section deals specifically with the Scopes trial.

Piltdown Man, Richard Harter
As you might imagine, there are numerous websites that deal with Piltdown Man, but this appears to be one of the most comprehensive, especially since it includes extensive links to related sites.

The role of "Nebraska Man" in the creation/evolution debate, John Wolf and James S. Mellett
Ignore the poor presentation, this is a carefully researched, well-written, detailed study of the 'Nebraska Man' affair.

Science Friday archives: Scopes Trial 75th Anniversary
A modest site with a brief review of the trial and a list of web links
An excellent 47 minute long copy of the broadcast of July 21st, 2000 which features a lengthy discussion with Professor Edward Larson - including his explanation of the link between Inherit the Wind and the McCarthyite "witch hunt of the 1940s and '50s.
Top notch resource, especially for groups of any kind that plan to study/discuss the trial, "Inherit the Wind" or any related topics

The Scopes Monkey Trial - Transcript of the Bryan-Darrow Confrontation
This page gives a detailed insight into the confrontation between Darrow and Bryan on Day 7 of the trial.  It gives a significantly different picture of the event than the many highly edited versions that are floating around.

The Scopes Trial and Beyond, Dr Mark V. Barrow, Jr
Not having read Larson's earlier book (Enforcing the Law 1925-1960) I can't tell whether this material is simply extracted from the Larson book, a paraphrase of the book, or simply inspired by the book.  Whichever it is, I'd suggest its well worth reading.  Notable for the almost prophetic final sentence.
One qualification - at the time when I last visited the site the 'Notes' section was still blank.  Very frustrating!

The Scopes Trial - Complete transcript
You can obtain a complete transcript of the Scopes trial, including the written submissions from the "experts", and the full text of Bryan's "closing argument" which the Defense blocked by calling for a guilty verdict.
There are two versions of this ebook - one a copy of the original published version (not so easy to read and presented in double columns) in Adobe format @ $6.95; and a much more PC-friendly (IMO) Word version for only $1 more.
Adobe version:
Word version:

The Scopes Trial: Frequently Rebutted Assertions, Wesley R. Elsberry
Not much to look at, but contains a plentiful collection of basic facts and figures.
Notable for the author's totally unsubstantiated assertion that the validity of the defence experts' testimony is still "TBD" (or possibly more accurately, if rather longer: IOAWWAWM ("I only agree with what agrees with me".))

The Scopes Trial Home Page, Professor Douglas Linder
The Scopes Trial is just one of the "Famous Trials" described on this site, produced by Professor Linder of the UMKC (University of Missouri-Kansas City) Law School.
Worth visiting for the documentary material.  However readers are warned that in my opinion the author is by no means free of bias in his reporting of events during the trial, and the contents appear to misrepresent certain facts, particularly/ where this has the effect of exaggerating Clarence Darrow's skill as a lawyer and belittling William Jennings Bryan.  (See Part 3:   A Cult of Misinformation for a detailed explanation of this warning.)

Summer for the Gods, Edward J. Larson
Numerous reviewers have designated this the best book on the subject, of the Scopes trial - ever. In my opinion they are absolutely right.  It is well written, thoroughly researched, extensively referenced (38 pages!) and a fascinating read.  Although Professor Larson also tampers with the trial transcript in order to conceal Darrow's plodding ineptitude during his questioning of Bryan (see Part 14 for a detailed explanation), the book as a whole is of a very high standard, and no one who has the slightest interest in the subject can afford to miss reading it.
Harvard University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-674-85429-2

Summer for the Gods, an interview with Edward J. Larson
A short interview of Larson by Ron Hogan. Provides a very brief overview and 'taster' of Larson's book.

The Truth About Inherit the Wind, Carol Iannone
In my opinion this article is a minor masterpiece.  Its primary purpose, as the title indicates, is to draw out the differences between the play and film versions of "Inherit the Wind" and the Scopes trial on which they are so superficially based.  In this way the author seeks to lay to rest the misapprehension that the play is an accurate representation of the real-life case, and in the process she also makes a number of interesting observations regarding the events of July, 1925.

Note:   In answer to regular enquiries for an URL for a download of the script of Inherit the Wind, as far as I know, no such download is available.  The play is still a very "live" product - the copyright was renewed as recently as 2000 - so if you want the script I guess you have to buy a copy from Amazon or wherever.

The Constitution, Censorship, and the Schools: Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes, Peter Neal Herndon
Prepared for the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, this is a well-meaning attempt to deliver a useful online teaching aid, sadly marred by its clear bias in favour of the attitudes of Darrow and the ACLU.  For example, under "Excerpts from George W. Hunter, A Civic Biology ... Man's Place in Nature" the article recounts the comments on the scientific classification of man - but omits the overtly racist claim that the white Caucasian race is superior to all others.
Even more telling is Mr Herndon's account of what happened when Darrow called Bryan as an expert witness.  According to Herndon, Bryan only took the stand because "he seemed afraid not to" and that "[h]e looked to the Judge to save him, but Raulston seemed to welcome the opportunity ...".  These claims directly contradict all the evidence that Bryan couldn't wait to get on the stand, even though the chief prosecutor, Tom Stewart, vigorously opposed the move.
Not only is the Herndon version an unmitigated distortion of what actually happened, it seems to owe its existencce to the fact that Mr. Herndon preferred to recycle someone else's words rather than going to the source - the trial transcript.  As to Herndon's own source I believe that he is simply paraphrasing this passage in Professor Ray Ginger's highly biased, semi-fictional account of the Tennessee Monkey Trial, Six Days or Forever where, at the conclusion of Chapter 8, Ginger conjures up this lurid scene:

"The defense desires to call Mr. Bryan as a witness -" ... Bryan was startled.  His palm-leaf fan beat the air with a quicker tempo.  He had no desire to take the witness stand, but he was afraid not to. ...
Judge Raulston could have saved him.  But he did not.  If the judge had not actually connived at the event, he certainly welcomed it. (Italics added)

To be blunt, Ginger shamed himnself and his profession with such a blatant piece of fantasising.
He could not have witnessed any part of the trial (he wasn't born until October 16, 1924, less than a year before the trial started), and had no way of interviewing Bryan (who died just a few days after the trial ended).  Moreover Raulston, though he did not die until 1956, just two years before the original version of the book was published, is definitely not listed as one of the people Ginger discussed the case with (page 248 of OUP paperback edition),  So how does Ginger arrive at these conclusions, assuming there were no bona fide mind readers amongst his interviewees?
If we consider the level of anti-Bryan/anti-Christian prejudice evidenced throughout Six Days or Forever?, see the quote from Andre Gide which comes at the very start of the book, for example, it is easy enough to understand how Ginger, himself a victim of the McCarthy witch hunt, was able to devise a thoroughly negative interpretation of the event.
(As a further demonstration of Ginger's bias, consider this comment from his book, and compare it with the
photograph of Bryan and Darrow in Part 4 - How it All Began on this website:

"A porcine-eyed Bryan leaped to his feet..."
Seven Days or Forever, OUP, 1978. page 172

Is there, in fact, anything the least bit "pig-like" about Bryan's features?)

For the record, this is what actually took place at the trial, quoted directly and unabridged from the transcript, so that you may "judge" for yourself how accurate the Ginger/Herndon account is:

Mr. Hays - The defense desires to call Mr. Bryan as a witness, and, of course, the only question here is whether Mr. Scopes taught what these children said he taught, we recognize what Mr. Bryan says as a witness would not be very valuable.  We think there are other questions involved, and we should want to take Mr. Bryan's testimony for the purposes of our record, even if Your Honor thinks it is not admissible in general, so we wish to call him now.
The Court -
(Judge Raulston)
Do you think you have a right to his testimony or evidence like you did these others?
B. G. McKenzie - I don't think it is necessary to call him, calling a lawyer who represents a client.
The Court - If you ask him about any confidential matter, I will protect him, of course.
Mr. Darrow - I do not intend to do that.
The Court - On scientific matters, Col. Bryan can speak for himself.
Mr. Bryan - If Your Honor please, I insist that Mr. Darrow can be put on the stand, and Mr. Malone and Mr. Hays.
The Court - Call anybody you desire. Ask them any questions you wish.
Mr. Bryan - Then, we will call all three of them.
Mr. Darrow - Not at once?
Mr. Bryan - Where do you want me to sit?
The Court - Mr. Bryan, you are not objecting to going on the stand?
Mr. Bryan - Not at all.
The Court - Do you want Mr. Bryan sworn?
Mr. Darrow - No.
Mr. Bryan - I can make affirmation; I can say "So help me God, I will tell the truth."
Mr. Darrow - No, I take it you will tell the truth, Mr. Bryan.
Bryan Goes on Witness Stand

Is this really an example of Bryan in trouble whilst Judge Raulston looks on, refusing to help?  Or is the Herndon/Ginger version simply an example of how misinformation seeps into what I imagine are supposedly unbiased educational materials? /ynhti/pubs/A5/herndon.html

See "Inherit the Wind class project" link above for far superior approach to presenting the Scopes Trial in an educational context.

The Scopes "Monkey" Trial Site Map

A brief description of the Scopes Trial - the original proceedings, the effective fictionalising of the event in F.L. Allen's book Only Yesterday, and the confusion surrounding the play Inherit the Wind.  Also a short biography of the author.

Part 1: Summary
A "potted history" of the events leading up to the Scopes Trial, the trial itself, and what happened afterwards.  Explains why it was called the "Monkey" trial.

Part 2: Inherit the Wind
Looks at the real story behind the writing of the play Inherit the Wind, and some of the key differences between the play and the actual trial.  Explains where the title came from, and what it signifies.

Part 3: A Cult of Misinformation
The Scopes Trial has been the subject of a mountain of misinformation from the time of the trial through to the present day.  The members of this "cult" include not just journalists and authors but also lawyers, university professors, the Encyclopaedia Britannica and even the Library of Congress.  This section shows why the real life events are so widely misunderstood today.

Part 4: How it Began
Discusses the Butler Act (the basis for the charge against John Scopes), the action of the ACLU, the "Drugstore Conspiracy" which led to the trial being staged in Dayton, and how the two sets of lawyers were selected - or in some cases selected themselves.  This section includes the names of all of the lawyers on both sides.

Part 5: The Experts - and Others
Details of the expert witnesses due to give evidence for the defense - and two potential witnesses, one of who did make an appearance (Piltdown Man), and one who didn't (Nebraska Man).

Part 6: The Expert Evidence
Arthur Hays claimed that the expert witnesses would deal only in "facts."  This section discusses specific items of "expert testimony" in the light of that claim and subsequent discoveries.

Part 7: Hunter's Civic Biology
Details of the true nature of the contents of Hunter's textbook A Civic Biology.

Part 8: The Trial - Part 1     In preparation
A timeline of the main events of the trial on a day-by-day basis.

Part 9:  The Trial - Part 2
A detailed evaluation of the confrontation between Darrow and Bryan on the afternoon of day 7, with numerous quotes from the trial transcript and elsewhere.

Part 10:  The Appeal
Many people know that the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the original result of the trial, but why?  Was John Scopes found "not guilty"?  What reasons did the Supreme Court give for their decision?< /p> And what the heck is a nolle prosequi anyway?

Part 11:  Was Scopes Guilty?
Another remarkable feature of the Scopes Trial was the number of lies involved - the biggest of which centers on the likelihood that the defense lawyers deliberately concealed the fact that Scopes was genuinely "not guilty."

Part 12: 80 Years of Evolution and Species
(Under Construction.  Additional material will be added.  Existing material may be subject to further editing.)
In Part 6 we looked at the kind of "evidence" offered by the expert witnesses.  In this section we look specifically at the meaning of terms such as "evolution" and "species" in 1925 and 2006.

Part 13: Education After the Scopes Trial
This section describes what happened to the teaching of evolutionary theory in American schools after the trial; and what Americans believe about the teaching of evolutionism and creationism today.

Part 14:  Clarence Darrow - Attorney for the Damned?
Whilst the ACLU triggered the Scopes Trial, and the "drugstore conspirators" brought it to Dayton, the guiding force behind the events during the trial itself was Clarence Darrow.  This section looks at what motivated Darrow to essentially hi-jack the ACLU campaign and use it for his own ends.

Part 15: The Significance of the Scopes Trial
This section considers some of the many clashes in American society in the 1920s and considers whether they were genuine clashes, and if they were, what influence the Scopes Trial had an on any of them.
It also reveals what will be, for many people, surprising new information about the role of the University of Chicago in American culture at that time, discovered by Professor of the History of Science, Edward Davis.

Part 16: The Play, the Movie and the Trial
(Under Construction.  Additional material will be added.  Existing material may be subject to further editing.)
A detailed examination of the differences between the play and first (1960) film version of Inherit the Wind, and the real life Scopes Trial.

Part 20: Links and Resources
A list of websites and books related to the Scopes Trial, including the trial transcript and the script of Inherit the Wind.