History and Development of Eugenics

  • Birth of Eugenics

    Birth of Eugenics
    In 1883, Francis Galton coined the term eugenics (meaning "well-born"). The exact date of the coinage is not known.
  • First Eugenic Sterilization

    First Eugenic Sterilization
    Harry Sharp performed the first eugenic-based sterilization at the Jeffersonville Reformatory in Indiana.
  • Eugenics Taken Seriously

    Eugenics Taken Seriously
    Charles Davenport founded the Eugenics Record Office using funds donated by Mrs. E.H. Harriman. The exact date of the founding of the Eugenics Record Office is not known.
  • The War on "Feeblemindedness" Begins in Earnest

    The War on "Feeblemindedness" Begins in Earnest
    Henry Goddard published his most influential work The Kallikak Family: A Study in the Heredity of Feeble-Mindedness and spurred the fight against the rising tide of "feebleminded" persons to new heights. The exact date of the publication is not known.
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    The Fitter Families

    The Fitter Families contests held at state fairs throughout the 1920's constructed extensive pedigrees of competing families and the families with the most desirable hereditary traits were awarded the winners. The exact dates of the start and end of the competitions are not known.
  • First Eugenic-Based Law Passed

    First Eugenic-Based Law Passed
    The Immigration Restriction Act, restricting the immigration of southern and eastern Europeans, was enacted as a result of a "dysgenic" presentation to Congress by Harry Laughlin, secretary of the Eugenics Record Office.
  • Buck vs. Bell Outcome

    Buck vs. Bell Outcome
    The now-famous Supreme Court case Buck vs. Bell concluded with the sterilization of Carrie Buck. The exact date of her sterilization is not known.
  • Founding of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Genetics, and Eugenics in Berlin

    Founding of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Genetics, and Eugenics in Berlin
    The Rockfeller Foundation provided funding for the founding of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Genetics, and Eugenics in Berlin. The exact date of the founding is not known.
  • Memo to Mussolini

    Memo to Mussolini
    In 1929 the International Eugenics Congress drafted a memo to Mussolini encouraging him to pursue eugenics with "full speed." The exact date of the drafting of the memo is not known.
  • Hitler Comes to Power

    Hitler Comes to Power
    When Adolf Hitler came to power, he implemented a nation-wide program of sterilization of the "feeble-minded" and mentally retarded. The exact date of the enactment of the program is not known.
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    The Nazi Sterilization Program

    A mere year after the birth of the program, over 50,000 were sterilized. The exact date of the start of the program and the date of this statistic is not known.
  • American Negative Eugenics Discredited

    A panel concluded that the work of the Eugenics Record Office had no scientific merit. The exact date of the panel's conclusion is not known.
  • Harry Laughlin Awarded Honorary Degree

    Harry Laughlin Awarded Honorary Degree
    Harry Laughlin was recognized in Germany for his work on "race hygiene" with an honorary degree from the University of Heidelberg. The exact date of the awarding is not known.
  • Eugenics Record Office Closes

    Eugenics Record Office Closes
    The Eugenics Record Office is shut down due to the lack of scientific merit for eugenics. The exact date of the closure is not known.
  • The Sterilization Program Nearly Stopped

    The Sterilization Program Nearly Stopped
    In the same year that Hitler attacked Poland, Nazi sterilization ground almost to a halt as a result of most people under the shadow of the program were already sterilized. The exact date of the slowing of the program is not known.
  • First Unofficial Gas Chamber Constructed

    First Unofficial Gas Chamber Constructed
    This shower room was fitted with carbon monoxide vents to kill patients with incurable mental disorders. The exact day of the completion of the euthanasia center is not known.
  • Euthanasia of Psychiatric Patients Ceases

    Euthanasia of Psychiatric Patients Ceases
    Due to outspoken Clemens August Graf von Galen, the Nazis stopped their euthanasia program. The exact day of the cancellation is not known.
  • First Official Gas Chamber Constructed

    First Official Gas Chamber Constructed
    The first official gas chamber was built in the newly conquered Poland, in which hydrogen cyanide replaced the standard carbon monoxide. The exact day of the construction is not known.
  • A Successor to Nazi Eugenics

    A Successor to Nazi Eugenics
    Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer becomes Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics. The exact day of his appointment is not known.
  • Otmar Becomes a Fugitive

    Otmar Becomes a Fugitive
    Otmar von Verschuer fled berlin and sent his files off to various locations. Two truckloads of records on his inhumane twin studies were never recovered. The exact day of his fleeing is not known.
  • Josef Mengele Evades Capture

    Josef Mengele Evades Capture
    Josef Mengele, who was the top medical researcher in the twin studies under Otmar, fled to South America. The exact day of his fleeing is not known.
  • Mengele's Suspected Remains Recovered

    Mengele's Suspected Remains Recovered
    The West German police followed evidence to a grave in Embu. The remains were exhumed and Mengele's son Rolf claimed the bones were his father's. The exact date of the exhumation is not known.
  • DNA Test Confirms Evidence

    DNA Test Confirms Evidence
    The supposed remains of Josef Mengele were confirmed by DNA testing; he had evaded capture for 34 years. The exact date of the confirmation is not known.