Alexander Graham Bell letter to Charles Davenport about Eugenics Record Office (3)

In this letter, the American inventor of the telephone argues that the new Eugenics Record Office should devote efforts to studying the inheritance of desirable traits (eugenics) rather than focusing exlcuisvely on undesirable traits (cacogenics).

434. American Breeders Association - Eugenics Section David Starr Jordan, Chairman C.B. Davenport, Secretary Eugenics Record Office H.H. Laughlin, Superintendent Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, N.Y. 4. conception of the aims and purposes of the persons engaged in eugenical work. In regard to the investigations already proposed, the appropriations made for their support should of course be sufficient to enable the work to be done and done well. I doubt whether the appropriation of $2000.00 for the preliminary study of the sources of the better and poorer strains of immigrants is sufficient to produce results of importance, more especially as it is proposed to carry on these investigations abroad. $2000.00 would not be too large a sum for the salary alone of a competent investigator; and surely much more would be required to cover his traveling expenses and cost of clerical help. If the Eugenics Record Office is to be established upon a permanent basis I think it would be well to consider carefully the advisability of having a more suitable name. A permanent institution to carry out the great aims proposed is certainly something more than an "office." If successful in pursuing its work it would become ultimately an institution of national importance, dealing with vast problems in a broad and comprehensive way, and should be dignified by a better title. I have no suggestions to make at the present time as to a more suitable name; but I am decidedly of the opinion that "The Eugenics Record Office" is an inadequate title for an institution of the scope proposed. Yours sincerely, (signed)Alexander Graham Bell.

  • ID: 10429
  • Source: DNALC.EA