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American eugenics movement archives

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Boing Boing.net
Monday 27th July, 2009

Carrie McLaren is a guest blogger at Boing Boing and coauthor of Ad Nauseam: A Survivor’s Guide to American Consumer Culture. She lives in Brooklyn, the former home of her now defunct Stay Free! magazine.

Should you ever care to delve into America’s history with eugenics, the Image Archive on the American Eugenics Movement is a handy thing indeed. It’s hard to believe eugenics was as popular here as it in fact was without seeing the visual evidence. The images here include Fitter Family contests, where white Americans competed at state fairs–much like cattle–to determine who had the best breeding. (Make sure to check out this traveling exhibit.) Also, lots of documents and flyers linking criminality to immigrants and heredity. (Oh, the irony of using the swastika to indicate the racial inferiority of Germans!) The interface is pretty clunky but it’s worth pecking around.

For background on the early 20th century American eugenics movement, you could do worse than my interview with historian Daniel Kelves.

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This article was posted: Monday, July 27, 2009 at 10:05 am





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