Laughlin Defends Eugenics

The eugenics movement in American came under question in the 1930s. Much of the scientific community began to argue that eugenics was not a true science, but more of a social study. Harry Laughlin’s research was a target of this criticism. Around 1935, Laughlin wrote as the Director of the Eugenics Record Office in a draft article that eugenics needed “more definite yard-sticks and diagnostic standards.” This showed that even one of the leading American eugenicists recognized the lack of concrete scientific evidence to support their research as a legitimate scientific field, and wished to communicate this dilemma to other eugenicists of the time.

Image Source: Harry H. Laughlin, The Main Problems in Current Eugenical Research, 1935, Harry H. Laughlin Papers, C-2-3:7, Pickler Library, Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri.

Other Scientific Perspectives Documents:

Records Office Advisory Committee

Breaking Financial Ties

Dr. L. C. Dunn Letter

Outsider’s Critique