Eugenics

Events

Francis Galton publishes "Hereditary Genius"

1869

His paper ties heredity to social prominence and genius, and actually invents the word eugenics.

Richard L. Dugdale published "The Jukes"

1877

Dugdale describes "a type of family," not just an individual, as problematic based off of visits to local jails.

Josephine Shaw Lowell begins promoting "negative eugenics"

1879

In 1879, Lowell, building off Dugdale, established the Custodial Asylum for Feeble-Minded Women, a facility designed to keep select women from reproducing.

Fernald School

1888 - Approx. 1970

The Fernald State School in Massachussetts operates and serves as a dump for those termed "feeble-minded." Rife with physical and sexual abuse, the school not only performed non-consensual radiation experiments with MIT, but also made sure at least 30% of the children there were of normal intelligence because they were needed to "run this place."

Oscar McCulloch presents at the National Conference of Charities

1888

His presentation, showing "250 biologically-connected pauper households" (diagram of descent), gets him elected president of the Conference.

Henry H. Goddard runs the Vineland Training School for Feeble-Minded Girls and Boys

1906 - 1918

Through his observations of children at his school, Goddard bridges the ideas of degenerate families and immigrant intelligence testing.

Francis Galton makes his "beauty tour" of England

1908

Galton, the father of eugenics, mapped England by anecdotal, personally collected, observations on the beauty of women living in the area. (London was highest, Aberdeen the lowest)

Charles Davenport establishes the Eugenics Record Office

1910

A former professor at both Harvard and the University of Chicago, Charles Davenport became an influential figure in American eugenics.

Teddy Roosevelt endorses "positive eugenics"

1913

In a shocking letter to Charles Davenport, Roosevelt says he finds "extraordinary" that some Americans refuse to believe in eugenics. He goes on to say that leaving behind "good blood" is the "prime duty" of Americans.

Buck v. Bell

1927

The US Supreme Court, in and 8-1 decision, upholds a Virginia law legalizing forced sterilization.

The Holocaust

1933 - 1945

Hitler and Nazi Germany, drawing upon American eugenics, institute the systematic killing of Jews, homosexuals, Romanis, and the mentally disabled.

Nazi eugenic propaganda is distributed in the US

1937

Th film, called "The Hereditarily Diseased" was distributed to schools and charitable organizations along the East coast.

World War I begins

1939

CRISPR first discovered

1987

Troy Duster publishes "Backdoor to Eugenics"

1990

Duster compares the advent of new technologies to methods used to popularize eugenics in the mid- to late-1800s.

CRISPR commercialized

2011

The first startup to use CIRSPR, Caribou Biosciences, is founded.

Scientists in China report that they have used CRISPR to modify nonviable human embryos

April, 2015

This announcement flamed the already growing ethical debate surrounding CRISPR and other new biotechnologies.

UN Bioethics Committee publishes biotechnology review

October, 2015