ID# 249:
"Eugenics seeks to improve the natural, physical, mental and tempermental qualities of the human family," Eugenics Record Office
Circa 1927
Pages: (1|2|3|4)
American Philosophical Society, ERO, MSC77,SerX,Box2: Harry H. Laughlin
View this image in our new website.
&quote;Eugenics seeks to improve the natural, physical, mental and tempermental qualities of the human family,&quote; Eugenics Record Office

biological results of matings among his own kin, and should look forward to securing a scientifis analysis of the hereditary potentialites of himself and all his descendants which may result from matings with persons with specific hereditary qualities. When this desire becomes general, the science of eugenics will become firmly established and will be able to contribute to the practical conservation of the better family traits of the American people. On the pages of this folder are described outlines, schedules, and methods for securing and analyzing family history records of practical eugenical value. The principle business of eugenics is: 1. To find out what matings are fittest for society as organized. This presupposes, among other things, an understanding of the social, economic and biological factors that govern mate selection and fecundity, and also a knowledge of the method of inheritance of human traits. To these tasks scientific investigators have set themselves earnestly. 2. To disseminate a knowledge of the facts of inheritance as they are ascertained. 3. To secure such social ideals as will facilitate the mating of the fittest -i.e., a large opportunity for acquaintanceship among young persons, and a fuller knowledge, on the part of all, of the hereditary traits carried by each. 4. To educate organized society, especially as represented by the several state governments, to a point, where it will act with an eye to racial progress, encouraging the reproduction of the "best blood," and discouraging or preventing the reproduction of its worst strains. Eugenical improvement means the diversification, purification, and conservation of highly effective and talented human families. 5. To encourage every intelligent and patriotic family to establish an Eugenical Family Archive for preserving genealogical and biographical materials, and for working out as accurately and as completely as possible a record of the family distribution of natural physical, mental, and temperamental traits. The establishment of the custom would aid greatly the practical applications of eugenics. In a few words, then, if a race is to make progress along the lines of natural abilities, those in control must see to it that there shall be fit matings and many children among those most richly endowed by nature, and that hereditary defectives and degenerates shall not be permitted to reproduce at all. The accomplishment of these ends will require much effort and interest on the part of individual citizens. The State can be expected to take means to bring about these ends only when due pressure is brought to bear by aroused citizens. Thus law, science, social effort, individual enlightenment, and personal resolve - each has its part to play in working out the eugenical ideal, that is, in improving the inborn character and talents of succeeding generations. Eugenics, like other practical pedigree studies, is primarily a biological science. When a child is conceived, "the gates of heredity are closed;" after that, so far as control is concerned, the child's development, education, and betterment are a matter of environment. Thus it is easily seen that if the race is to be improved in its natural qualities, family records, giving a thorough account of the natural physical, mental and temperamental traits of members of many families, must be provided for the use of science in discovering the laws of heredity, and for the particular family itself in predicting profitable lines of education for its young, in guarding against inborn weakness, and in determining whether a contemplated marriage may be biologically fortunate. Record of Family Traits. Every person interested in conserving the best racial qualities of his family should apply to this office for two copies of the schedule, "Record of Family Traits." The record is sent in duplicate to all persons who ask for it, provided they are further seriously interested in studying the origin, segregation, transmission, and recombination of the inborn traits within their family pedigrees, and will agree, in each case, after filling out these schedules and retaining one copy for his own family archives, to return the second to be added to the permanent files of the Eugenics Record Office.

Copyright 1999-2004: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; American Philosophical Society; Truman State University; Rockefeller Archive Center/Rockefeller University; University of Albany, State University of New York; National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument; University College, London; International Center of Photography; Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin-Dahlem; and Special Collections, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
The images and text in this Archive are solely for educational and scholarly uses. The materials may be used in digital or print form in reports, research, and other projects that are not offered for sale. Materials in this archive may not be used in digital or print form by organizations or commercial concerns, except with express permission.