The word eugenics immediately makes one think of the racial hygiene programs of the Nazis and the experiments performed by Joseph Mengele on those held in the concentration camps, but far fewer are aware that there was a large and powerful eugenics movement in the U.S. during the first half of the 20th century.
For example, by 1941, no less than 33 states endorsed policies for sterilizing “defective”members of society, such as criminals, the “feeble-minded“, epileptics, the mentally ill and, of course, blacks (and non-whites in general).
Much of the eugenics research in the U.S. was carried out at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Eugenics Record Office in New York. As well as carrying out research, this office, which was directed by Charles Davenport between 1910-1940, also disseminated “scientific” information about, and promoted, “the improvement of the human race by better breeding”.
Via The Nonist, I found this image archive of the American Eugenics Movement, which has been collected by the Dolan DNA Learning Center at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory with a grant from the National Institutes of Health. As well as thousands of images, the archive holds letters, articles and scientific reports related to eugenics.
It is fitting that the archive is hosted by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, because, as well as being a centre for eugenics research, it was also involved in the mapping of the human genome, which some argue could lead us into a new era of eugenics.