Karl Pearson and G. Udny Yule developed the main interpretations of correlation used by statisticians for the past century or so. They also examined a number of situations in which the correlation inference was unsatisfactory. This paper considers the development of their ideas on both genuine and spurious correlations and makes some reference to related modern work.
"Correlations Genuine and Spurious in Pearson and Yule." Statist. Sci. 10 (4) 364 - 376, November, 1995. https://doi.org/10.1214/ss/1177009870