Engineering a new aristocracy of "human thoroughbreds" might sound like something from a science fiction novel, but at the beginning of the 20th century, many Americans sought to do just that through the new pseudoscience of Eugenics. Eugenics, a process that sought to "purify" the human race through scientifically calculated breeding, became immensely popular in the United States and resulted in a smattering of scientific societies and contests to determine the family with the purest genes. Read more about it!
The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.
Jump to: Sample Articles
- 1880s. Heredity is identified "scientifically" as a cause for many physical and mental problems.
- 1904. Galton lays out the process for integrating eugenics into the public mind.
- 1904-1950s. The formal Eugenics Movement begins. Eugenics societies, state fair competitions, match-making services, and eventual forced sterilizations develop out of the movement. The formal movement comes to an end after World War II. This database covers the eugenics movement until 1922.
Suggested Search Strategies:
- [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as
phrases using Search
Pages in Chronicling America.] Eugenics, Feeble-minded, Francis Galton, Eugenics Record Office, Galton Society.
- It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results.
Sample Articles from Chronicling America:
- "Your Temper,"
Abbeville Press and Banner (Abbeville, SC), 11/9/1887, page 1, image 1, column 5.
- "Improving the Race,"
Essex County Herald (Guildhall, VT), 8/5/1904, page 1, image 1, column 2.
- "The Curse of Heredity,"
Western Kansas World (WaKeeney, KS), 10/28/1911, page 3, image 3, column 1.
- "Eugenists Would Improve Human Stock by Blotting Out Blood Taints,"
New York Tribune (New York, NY), 2/18/1912, page 2, image 16, column 1.
- "Freedom of Intercourse Among Defectives is the Despair of Eugenists,"
New York Tribune (New York, NY), 4/21/1912, image 51, column 1.
- "Program of State Fair is Greatest Ever Given,"
Daily Capital Journal (Salem, OR), 9/18/1913, page 6, image 6, column 1.
- "First Eugenic Baby Born in England,"
The Day Book, Chicago, IL (,
10/29/1913, page 4, image 4, column 1.
- "A Husband- Wanted at Once- A Wife,"
Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, NE), 11/2/1913, page 6, image 24, column 1.
- "Eugenics First in the Ghetto,"
The Ogden Standard (Ogden City, UT), 1/17/1914, page 12, image 13, column 1.
- ""Love is Only Basis for Marriage and Unions by Tape Measure Mean Degeneracy, Says Rex Beach","
The Sun (New York, NY), 3/1/1914, page 3, image 31, column 1.
- "The Tremendously Complicated Problem of Practical Eugenics,"
Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, VA) 3/28/1915, image 55, column 1.
- "Eugenics Debated at Race Meeting,"
The Lancaster News (Lancaster, SC), 8/10/1915, page 8, image 8, column 1.
- "New Aristocracy will be Human Thoroughbreds,"
The Daily Telegram (Clarksburg, WV), 3/29/1916, image 36, column 1.
- "Kansas' Latest Challenge: Fitter Families,"
Dearborn Independent (Dearborn, MI), 12/18/1920, page 11, image 11, column 1.
- ""Eugenics Society Head Says: If You Must Choose Between Children and an Automobile, Get Along without the Car","
The Evening World (New York, NY), 9/26/1921, page 17, image 17, column 1.