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Part 1 of 2

Andrew Carnegie
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/30/20

The Carnegie Institution continued to back eugenics long after its executives became convinced it was a worthless nonscience based on shabby data, and years after they concluded that Harry Hamilton Laughlin himself was a sham.

Laughlin and eugenics in general had become the butt of jokes and the object of reprehension as far back as 1912, when the world learned that its proponents planned to sterilize millions in America and millions more in other nations. Scientists from other disciplines ridiculed the movement as well. Despite the widespread derision, eugenics persevered as a science under siege, battling back for years, fortified by its influential patrons, the power of prejudice and the big money of Carnegie. But the Carnegie Institution's patience began to erode as early as 1922, when Laughlin became a public font of racist ideology during the Congressional immigration restriction hearings. [9]

Carnegie president John C. Merriam continued to be embarrassed by Laughlin's immigration rantings throughout the 1920s. But he tolerated them for the greater agenda of the eugenics movement. However, Laughlin struck a particular nerve in the spring of 1928, while Merriam and a U.S. government official were touring Mexican archaeology sites. During the tour, Mexican newspapers splashed a story that Merriam's Carnegie Institution was proposing that Congress severely limit immigration of Mexicans into the United States. It was Laughlin who prompted the story. [10]

Merriam immediately instructed Davenport to muzzle Laughlin. "He [Merriam] feels especially that you ought not go further," Davenport wrote Laughlin, "... helping the [House] committee on a definition of who may be acceptable as immigrants to the United States from Spanish America. The Spanish Americans are very sensitive on this matter .... It will not do for the Carnegie Institution of Washington, or its officers, to take sides in this political question."
Anticipating Laughlin's predictable argument, Davenport continued, "I know you regard it properly as more than a political question and as a eugenical question -- but it is in politics now, and that means that the institution has to preserve a neutrality." [11]

Yet Laughlin did nothing to restrict his vocal activities. By the end of 1928, Merriam convened an internal committee to review the value of the Eugenics Record Office. In early February of 1929, the committee inspected the Cold Spring Harbor facility and concluded that the accumulation of index cards, trait records and family trees amounted to little more than clutter. They "are of value only to the individual compiling them," the committee wrote, and even then "in most cases they decrease in importance in direct proportion to their age." Some of the files were almost two decades old, and all of them reflected nineteenth-century record-keeping habits now obsolete. The mass of records yielded much private information about individuals and their families, but little hard knowledge on heredity. [12]

Nonetheless, with Davenport and Laughlin lobbying to continue their work, the panel rejected any "radical move, such as relegating them [the files] to dead storage." Instead, Carnegie officials decided a closer affiliation with the Eugenics Research Association [The ERA was affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (fittingly through Section F: "The Zoological Sciences") and had two seats on the Council of the AAAS.] would help the ERO achieve some approximation of genuine science. Hence the Carnegie Institution would continue to operate the ERO under Carnegie's Department of Genetics. [13]

Genetics, however, was not the emphasis at Cold Spring Harbor. Laughlin and his ERO continued their race-based political agitation unabated. Moreover, once Hitler rose to power in 1933, Laughlin forged the ERO, the ERA and Eugenical News into a triumvirate of pro-Nazi agitation.
But things changed when Davenport retired in June of 1934. Laughlin lost his greatest internal sponsor, and with Davenport out of power, Carnegie officials in Washington quickly began to move against Laughlin. They pointedly questioned his race science and indeed the whole concept of eugenics in a world where the genuine science of genetics was now emerging.

Carnegie officials first focused on Eugenical News, which had become a compendium of American raceology and Nazi propaganda. Although Eugenical News was published out of the Carnegie facilities at the ERO, by a Carnegie scientist, and functioned as the official voice of Carnegie's eugenic operations, the Carnegie Institution did not legally own or control Eugenical News. It was Laughlin's enterprise. Carnegie wanted an immediate change and made this clear to Laughlin. [14]

Laughlin became very protective. He had always chosen what would and would not run in Eugenical News, and he even authored much of the text. In a September 11, 1934, letter to Davenport's replacement, Albert F. Blakeslee, Laughlin rebuffed attempts to corral Eugenical News, defensively insisting, "In this formative period of making eugenics into a science, the ideals of the Eugenics Record Office, of the Eugenics Research Association, of the International Congresses and Exhibits of Eugenics, and of the Eugenical News are identical. I feel that the position of the Eugenical News as a scientific journal is quite unique, in that eugenics is a new science, and that the trend and rate of its development, and its ultimate character, will be influenced substantially by the Eugenical News." [15]

Laughlin made clear to Carnegie officials that they simply could not control Eugenical News, because it was legally the property of the Eugenics Research Association -- and Laughlin was the secretary of the ERA. To drive home his point, a Laughlin memo defiantly included typed-in excerpts from committee reports and letters to the printer, plus sample issues going back to 1916 -- all demonstrating the ERA's legal authority over Eugenical News. "I feel that the Institution should go into the matter thoroughly," insisted Laughlin, "and make a clean-cut and definite ruling concerning the relationship of the Carnegie Institution (represented by the Eugenics Record Office) to the Eugenical News." [16]

By now, Carnegie felt it was again time to formally revisit the worth of Laughlin and eugenics. A new advisory committee was assembled, spearheaded by archaeologist A.V. [Alfred Vincent] Kidder. He began assembling information on Laughlin's activities
, and Laughlin was only too happy to cooperate, almost boastfully inundating Kidder with folder after folder of material. With Davenport in retirement, Laughlin undoubtedly felt he was heir to Cold Spring Harbor's throne. He sent Washington a passel of demands about revamping Cold Spring Harbor's administrative structure, renovations of its property and new budget requests for 1935. [17]

Kidder was not encouraging. He wrote back, "I think I ought to tell you that I feel quite certain that the administrative and financial changes which you advocate are extremely unlikely, in my opinion, to be carried into effect in 1935." Kidder was virtually besieged with Laughlin's written and printed submissions to support his requests for a sweeping expansion of the ERO. On November 1, 1934, Kidder acknowledged, "I am at present reviewing all the correspondence and notes in my possession relative to the whole Cold Spring Harbor situation and in the course of a few days I shall prepare a memorandum for Dr. Merriam." But within two days, Kidder conceded that he was overwhelmed. "I have read all the material you sent me with close attention," he wrote Laughlin. "I have also read all the Year Book reports of the Eugenics Record Office .... I am now trying to correlate all this information in what passes for my brain." [18]

On Sunday, June 16 and Monday, June 17, 1935, the advisory committee led by Kidder visited Cold Spring Harbor, touring both the ERO and the adjacent Carnegie Station for Experimental Evolution. Laughlin's residence, provided by the Carnegie Institution, was one of the buildings in the compound, and Mrs. Laughlin graciously prepared Sunday lunch and Monday dinner for the delegation. The men found her hospitality delightful, and Laughlin's presentations exhaustive. But after a thorough examination, the advisory committee concluded that the Eugenics Record Office was a worthless endeavor from top to bottom, yielding no real data, and that eugenics itself was not science but rather a social propaganda campaign with no discernible value to the science of either genetics or human heredity. [19]

Almost a million ERO records assembled on individuals and families were "unsatisfactory for the scientific study of human genetics," the advisory committee explained, "because so large a percentage of the questions concern ... traits, such as 'self-respect,' 'holding a grudge,' 'loyalty,' [and] 'sense of humor,' which can seldom truly be known to anyone outside an individual's close associates; and which will hardly ever be honestly recorded, even were they measurable, by an associate or by the individual concerned." [20]

While much ERO attention was devoted to meaningless personality traits, key physical traits were being recorded so sloppily by "untrained persons" and "casually interested individuals" that the advisory committee concluded this data was also "relatively worthless for genetic study." The bottom line: a million index cards, some 35,000 files, and innumerable other records merely occupied "a great amount of the small space available ... and, worst of all, they do not appear to us really to permit satisfactory use of the data." [21]

The advisory committee recommended that all genealogical and eugenic tracking activities cease, and that the cards be placed in storage until whatever bits of legitimate heredity data they contained could be properly extracted and analyzed using an IBM punch card system. A million index cards had accumulated during some two decades, but because of the project's starting date in 1910 and Laughlin's unscientific methodology, the data had never been analyzed by IBM's data processing system. This fact only solidified the advisory committee's conclusion that the Eugenics Record Office was engaged in mere biological gossip backed up by reams of worthless documents. The advisory committee doubted that the demographic muddle would "ever be of value," and added its hope that "never again ... should records be allowed to bank up to such an extent that they cannot be kept currently analyzed."[22]

The advisory committee vigorously urged that "The Eugenics Record Office should engage in no new undertaking; and that all current activities should be discontinued save for Dr. Laughlin's work in preparation of his final report upon the Race Horse investigation." Moreover, the advisory committee emphasized, "The Eugenics Record Office should devote its entire energies to pure research divorced from all forms of propaganda and the urging or sponsoring of programs for social reform or race betterment such as sterilization, birth-control, inculcation of race or national consciousness, restriction of immigration, etc. Hence it might be well for the personnel of the Office to discontinue connection with the Eugenical News." Committee members concluded, "Eugenics is by generally accepted definition and understanding not a science." They insisted that any further involvement with Cold Spring Harbor be devoid of the word eugenics and instead gravitate to the word genetics.

Geneticist L. C. Dunn, a member of the advisory committee traveling in Europe at the time, added his opinion in a July 3, 1935, letter, openly copied to Laughlin. Dunn was part of a growing school of geneticists demanding a clean break between eugenics and genetics. "With genetics," advised Dunn, "its relations have always been close, although there have been distinct signs of cleavage in recent years, chiefly due to the feeling on the part of many geneticists that eugenical research was not always activated by purely disinterested scientific motives, but was influenced by social and political considerations tending to bring about too rapid application of incompletely proved theses. In the United States its [the eugenics movement's] relations with medicine have never been close, the applications having more often been made through sociology than through medicine, although the basic problems involved are biological and medical ones." [24]

Dunn wondered if it wasn't time to shut down Cold Spring Harbor altogether and move the operation to a university where such an operation could collaborate with other disciplines.
"There would seem to me to be no peculiar advantages in the Cold Spring Harbor location." As it stood, '''Eugenics' has come to mean an effort to foster a program of social improvement rather than an effort to discover facts." In that regard, Dunn made a clear comparison to Nazi excesses. "I have just observed in Germany," he wrote, "some of the consequences of reversing the order as between program and discovery. The incomplete knowledge of today, much of it based on a theory of the state, which has been influenced by the racial, class and religious prejudices of the group in power, has been embalmed in law, and the avenues to improvement in the techniques of improving the population have been completely closed." [25]

Dunn's July 3 letter continued with even more pointed comparisons to Nazi Germany. "The genealogical record offices have become powerful agencies of the [German] state," he wrote, "and medical judgments even when possible, appear to be subservient to political purposes. Apart from the injustices in individual cases, and the loss of personal liberty, the solution of the whole eugenic problem by fiat eliminates any rational solution by free competition of ideas and evidence. Scientific progress in general seems to have a very dark future. Although much of this is due to the dictatorship, it seems to illustrate the dangers which all programs run which are not continually responsive to new knowledge, and should certainly strengthen the resolve which we generally have in the U.S. to keep all agencies which contribute to such questions as free as possible from commitment to fixed programs." [26]

Carnegie's advisory committee could not have been more clear: eugenics was a dangerous sham, the ERO was a worthless and expensive undertaking devoid of scientific value, and Laughlin was purely political. But as Hitler rose and the situation of the Jews in Europe worsened, and the plight of refugees seeking entry into the United States became ever more desperate, the Carnegie Institution elected to ignore its own findings about Cold Spring Harbor and continue its economic and political support for Laughlin and his enterprises. Shortly after Merriam reviewed the advisory committee's conclusions, the Reich passed the Nuremberg Laws in September of 1935. Those of Jewish ancestry were stripped of their civil rights. Laughlin, Eugenical News and the Cold Spring Harbor eugenics establishment propagandized that the laws were merely sound science. Eugenical News even gave senior Nazi leaders a platform to justify their decrees. The Carnegie Institution still took no action against its Cold Spring Harbor enterprise.

In 1936, the brutal Nazi concentration camps multiplied. Systematic Jewish pauperization accelerated. Jews continued fleeing Germany in terror, seeking entry anywhere. But American consulates refused them visas. In the face of the humanitarian crisis, Laughlin continued to advise the State Department and Congress to enforce stiff eugenic immigration barriers against Jews and other desperate refugees. The Carnegie Institution still took no action against its Cold Spring Harbor enterprise. [27]

In 1937, Nazi street violence escalated and Germany increasingly vowed to extend its master race to all of Europe -- and to completely cleanse the continent of Jews. Laughlin, Eugenical News and the eugenics establishment continued to agitate in support of the Reich's goals and methods, and even distributed the anti-Semitic Nazi film, Erbkrank. The Carnegie Institution still took no action against its Cold Spring Harbor enterprise. [28]

One of hard propaganda Nazi films produced by the Office of Racial Policy in the National Socialist Racial and Political Office meant to warn the greater public about the dangers and costs posed by mentally ill and mentally retarded people.

"Erbkrank” [The Hereditary Defective] was directed by Herbert Gerdes. It was one of six propagandistic movies produced by the NSDAP, Reichsleitung, Rassenpolitisches Amt or the Office of Racial Policy, from 1935 to 1937 to demonize people in Nazi Germany diagnosed with mental illness and mental retardation.

The goal was to gain public support for the T4 Euthanasia Program then in the works. This film, as the others, was made with actual footage of patients in Nazi German psychiatric institutions.

Adolf Hitler reportedly liked the film so much that he encouraged the production of the full-length film "Opfer der Vergangenheit: Die Sünde wider Blut und Rasse” (English: Victims of the Past: The Sin against Blood and Race).
In 1937, Erbkrank was reportedly showing in nearly all Berlin film theaters.

-- Erbkrank (1936), by Tiergartenstrasse 4 Association

In 1938, as hundreds of thousands of new refugees appeared, an emergency intergovernmental conference was convened at Evian, France. It was fruitless. Germany then decreed that all Jewish property was to be registered, a prelude to comprehensive liquidation and seizure. In November, Kristallnacht shocked the world. Nazi agitation was now spreading into every country in Europe. Austria had been absorbed into the Reich. Hitler threatened to devour other neighboring countries as well. Laughlin, Eugenical News and the eugenics establishment still applauded the Hitler campaign. By the end of 1938, however, the Carnegie Institution realized it could not delay action much longer. [29]

On January 4, 1939, newly installed Carnegie president Vannevar Bush put Laughlin on notice that while his salary for the year was assured, Bush was not sure how much funding the ERO would receive -- if any. At the same time, Jews from across Europe continued to flee the Continent, many begging to enter America because no other nation would take them. In March of 1939, the Senate Immigration Committee asked Bush if Laughlin could appear for another round of testimony to support restrictive "remedial legislation." Bush permitted Laughlin to appear, and only asked him to limit his unsupportable scientific assertions. But Laughlin was not prohibited from again promoting eugenic and racial barriers as the best basis for immigration policy. Indeed, the Carnegie president reminded him, "One has to express opinions when he appears in this sort of inquiry, and I believe that yours will be found to be a conservative and well-founded estimate of the situation facing the Committee." Bush added that he had personally reviewed Laughlin's prior testimony and felt it was "certainly well handled and valuable." [30]

After testifying, Laughlin received a postcard at the Carnegie Institution in Washington from an irate citizen in Los Angeles. "As an American descendant of Americans for over 300 years, I'd like to learn what prompted you to supply [the Senate Immigration Committee] ... with so much material straight from Hitler's original edition of Mein Kampf." [31]

At about this time, Laughlin was also permitted to testify before the Special Committee on Immigration and Naturalization of the New York State Chamber of Commerce. In May of 1939, Laughlin's report, Immigration and Conquest, was published under the imprimatur of the New York State Chamber of Commerce and "Harry H. Laughlin, Carnegie Institution of Washington." The 267-page document, filled with raceological tenets, claimed that America would soon suffer "conquest by settlement and reproduction" through an infestation of defective immigrants. As a prime illustration, Laughlin offered "The Parallel Case of the House Rat," in which he traced rodent infestation from Europe to the rats' ability "to travel in sailing ships." [32]

Laughlin then explained, in a section entitled "The Jew as an Immigrant Into the United States," that Jews were being afforded too large a quota altogether because they were being improperly considered by their nationality instead of as a distinct racial type. By Laughlin's calculations, no more than six thousand Jews per year ought to be able to enter the United States under the existing national quota system -- the system he helped organize a half-decade earlier -- but many more were coming in because they were classified as German or Russian or Polish instead of Jewish. He asked that Jews in the United States "assimilate" properly and prove their "loyalty to the American institutions" was "greater than their loyalty to Jews scattered through other nations." Immigration and Conquest's precepts were in many ways identical to Nazi principles. Laughlin and the ERO proudly sent a copy to Reich Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick, as well as to other leading Nazis, including Verschuer, Lenz, Ploetz and even Rudin at a special address care of a university in occupied Czechoslovakia. [33]

In late 1938, the Carnegie Institution finally disengaged from Eugenical News. The publication became a quarterly completely under the aegis of the American Eugenics Society, published out of AES offices in Manhattan, with a new editorial committee that did not include Laughlin or any other Carnegie scientist. The first issue of the reorganized publication was circulated in March of 1939. Shortly thereafter, the Carnegie Institution formalized Laughlin's retirement, effective at the end of the year. On September 1, 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland, igniting World War II. Highly publicized atrocities against Polish Jews began at once, shocking the world.[/b] Efforts by Laughlin in the final months of 1939 to find a new sponsor for the ERO were unsuccessful. On December 31, 1939, Laughlin officially retired. The Eugenics Record Office was permanently closed the same day. [34]

-- War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race, by Edwin Black

Andrew Carnegie
Carnegie in 1913
Born: November 25, 1835, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
Died: August 11, 1919 (aged 83), Lenox, Massachusetts, U.S.
Resting place: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Sleepy Hollow, New York, U.S.
Occupation: Industrialist, Philanthropist
Known for: Founding and leading the Carnegie Steel Company; Founding the Carnegie Library, Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Mellon University, Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, and the Carnegie Hero Fund
Net worth: US$372 billion in 2014 dollars[1]
Political party: Republican[2]
Spouse(s): Louise Whitfield (m. 1887)
Children: Margaret Carnegie Miller
Parent(s): William Carnegie; Margaret Morrison Carnegie
Relatives: Thomas M. Carnegie (Brother) George Lauder (1st Cousin) George Lauder, Sr. (Uncle)

Carnegie as he appears in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Andrew Carnegie /kɑːrˈneɪɡi/ kar-NAY-gee[note 1] (November 25, 1835 – August 11, 1919) was a Scottish-American industrialist, and philanthropist. Carnegie led the expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century and became one of the richest Americans in history.[4] He became a leading philanthropist in the United States and in the British Empire. During the last 18 years of his life, he gave away $350 million (conservatively $65 billion in 2019 dollars, based on percentage of GDP) to charities, foundations, and universities – almost 90 percent of his fortune.[5] His 1889 article proclaiming "The Gospel of Wealth" called on the rich to use their wealth to improve society, and stimulated a wave of philanthropy.

Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, and immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1848 at age 12. Carnegie started work as a telegrapher, and by the 1860s had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, bridges, and oil derricks. He accumulated further wealth as a bond salesman, raising money for American enterprise in Europe. He built Pittsburgh's Carnegie Steel Company, which he sold to J. P. Morgan in 1901 for $303,450,000.[6] It became the U.S. Steel Corporation. After selling Carnegie Steel, he surpassed John D. Rockefeller as the richest American for the next several years.

Carnegie devoted the remainder of his life to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education, and scientific research. With the fortune he made from business, he built Carnegie Hall in New York, NY, and the Peace Palace and founded the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, Carnegie Hero Fund, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, among others.


Birthplace of Andrew Carnegie in Dunfermline, Scotland

Andrew Carnegie was born to Margaret Morrison Carnegie and William Carnegie in Dunfermline, Scotland, in a typical weaver's cottage with only one main room, consisting of half the ground floor, which was shared with the neighboring weaver's family.[7] The main room served as a living room, dining room and bedroom.[7] He was named after his paternal grandfather.[7] In 1836, the family moved to a larger house in Edgar Street (opposite Reid's Park), following the demand for more heavy damask, from which his father benefited.[7] He was educated at the Free School in Dunfermline, which had been a gift to the town by the philanthropist Adam Rolland of Gask.[8]

Carnegie's maternal uncle, George Lauder, Sr., a Scottish political leader, deeply influenced him as a boy by introducing him to the writings of Robert Burns and historical Scottish heroes such as Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, and Rob Roy. Lauder's son, also named George Lauder, grew up with Carnegie and would become his business partner. When Carnegie was thirteen, his father had fallen on very hard times as a handloom weaver; making matters worse, the country was in starvation. His mother helped support the family by assisting her brother (a cobbler), and by selling potted meats at her "sweetie shop", leaving her as the primary breadwinner.[9] Struggling to make ends meet, the Carnegies then decided to borrow money from George Lauder, Sr.[10] and move to Allegheny, Pennsylvania, in the United States in 1848 for the prospect of a better life.[11] Carnegie's migration to America would be his second journey outside Dunfermline – the first being an outing to Edinburgh to see Queen Victoria.[12]

In September 1848, Carnegie arrived with his family at their new prosperous home. Allegheny was rapidly populating in the 1840s, growing from around 10,000 to 21,262 residents.[13] The city was very industrial and produced many products including wool and cotton cloth. The "Made in Allegheny" label used on these and other diversified products was becoming more and more popular.[14] For his father, the promising circumstances still did not provide him any good fortune. Dealers were not interested in selling his product, and he himself struggled to sell it on his own.[15] Eventually, the father and son both received job offers at the same Scottish-owned cotton mill, Anchor Cotton Mills. Carnegie's first job in 1848 was as a bobbin boy, changing spools of thread in a cotton mill 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in a Pittsburgh cotton factory. His starting wage was $1.20 per week ($35 by 2019 inflation).[16]

His father quit his position at the cotton mill soon after, returning to his loom and removing him as breadwinner once again.[13] But Carnegie attracted the attention of John Hay, a Scottish manufacturer of bobbins, who offered him a job for $2.00 per week ($59 by 2019 inflation).[17] In his autobiography, Carnegie speaks of his past hardships he had to endure with this new job.

Soon after this Mr. John Hay, a fellow Scotch manufacturer of bobbins in Allegheny City, needed a boy, and asked whether I would not go into his service. I went, and received two dollars per week; but at first the work was even more irksome than the factory. I had to run a small steam-engine and to fire the boiler in the cellar of the bobbin factory. It was too much for me. I found myself night after night, sitting up in bed trying the steam gauges, fearing at one time that the steam was too low and that the workers above would complain that they had not power enough, and at another time that the steam was too high and that the boiler might burst.[18]


Carnegie age 16, with brother Thomas

In 1849,[19] Carnegie became a telegraph messenger boy in the Pittsburgh Office of the Ohio Telegraph Company, at $2.50 per week ($77 by 2019 inflation)[20] following the recommendation of his uncle. He was a hard worker and would memorize all of the locations of Pittsburgh's businesses and the faces of important men. He made many connections this way. He also paid close attention to his work, and quickly learned to distinguish the differing sounds the incoming telegraph signals produced. He developed the ability to translate signals by ear, without using the paper slip,[21] and within a year was promoted to operator. Carnegie's education and passion for reading was given a boost by Colonel James Anderson, who opened his personal library of 400 volumes to working boys each Saturday night.[22] Carnegie was a consistent borrower and a "self-made man" in both his economic development and his intellectual and cultural development. He was so grateful to Colonel Anderson for the use of his library that he "resolved, if ever wealth came to me, [to see to it] that other poor boys might receive opportunities similar to those for which we were indebted to the noble man".[23] His capacity, his willingness for hard work, his perseverance and his alertness soon brought him opportunities.

Starting in 1853, when Carnegie was around 18 years old, Thomas A. Scott of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company employed him as a secretary/telegraph operator at a salary of $4.00 per week ($123 by 2019 inflation). Carnegie accepted the job with the railroad as he saw more prospects for career growth and experience there than with the telegraph company.[9] At age 24, Scott asked Carnegie if he could handle being superintendent of the Western Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad.[24] On December 1, 1859, Carnegie officially became superintendent of the Western Division. Carnegie then hired his sixteen-year-old brother, Tom, to be his personal secretary and telegraph operator. Not only did Carnegie hire his brother, but he also hired his cousin, Maria Hogan, who became the first female telegraph operator in the country.[25] As superintendent Carnegie made a salary of fifteen hundred dollars a year ($43,000 by 2019 inflation).[24] His employment by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company would be vital to his later success. The railroads were the first big businesses in America, and the Pennsylvania was one of the largest of them all. Carnegie learned much about management and cost control during these years, and from Scott in particular.[9]

Scott also helped him with his first investments. Many of these were part of the corruption indulged in by Scott and the Pennsylvania's president, John Edgar Thomson, which consisted of inside trading in companies that the railroad did business with, or payoffs made by contracting parties "as part of a quid pro quo".[26] In 1855, Scott made it possible for Carnegie to invest $500 in the Adams Express, which contracted with the Pennsylvania to carry its messengers. The money was secured by his mother's placing of a $600 mortgage on the family's $700 home, but the opportunity was available only because of Carnegie's close relationship with Scott.[26][27] A few years later, he received a few shares in Theodore Tuttle Woodruff's sleeping car company, as a reward for holding shares that Woodruff had given to Scott and Thomson, as a payoff. Reinvesting his returns in such inside investments in railroad-related industries: (iron, bridges, and rails), Carnegie slowly accumulated capital, the basis for his later success. Throughout his later career, he made use of his close connections to Thomson and Scott, as he established businesses that supplied rails and bridges to the railroad, offering the two men a stake in his enterprises.

1860–1865: The Civil War

Before the Civil War, Carnegie arranged a merger between Woodruff's company and that of George Pullman, the inventor of a sleeping car for first class travel, which facilitated business travel at distances over 500 miles (800 km). The investment proved a success and a source of profit for Woodruff and Carnegie. The young Carnegie continued to work for the Pennsylvania's Tom Scott, and introduced several improvements in the service.[28]

In spring 1861, Carnegie was appointed by Scott, who was now Assistant Secretary of War in charge of military transportation, as Superintendent of the Military Railways and the Union Government's telegraph lines in the East. Carnegie helped open the rail lines into Washington D.C. that the rebels had cut; he rode the locomotive pulling the first brigade of Union troops to reach Washington D.C. Following the defeat of Union forces at Bull Run, he personally supervised the transportation of the defeated forces. Under his organization, the telegraph service rendered efficient service to the Union cause and significantly assisted in the eventual victory. Carnegie later joked that he was "the first casualty of the war" when he gained a scar on his cheek from freeing a trapped telegraph wire.

Defeat of the Confederacy required vast supplies of munitions, as well as railroads (and telegraph lines) to deliver the goods. The war demonstrated how integral the industries were to American success.

Keystone Bridge Company

In 1864, Carnegie was one of the early investors in the Columbia Oil Company in Venango County, Pennsylvania.[29] In one year, the farm yielded over $1,000,000 in cash dividends, and petroleum from oil wells on the property sold profitably. The demand for iron products, such as armor for gunboats, cannons, and shells, as well as a hundred other industrial products, made Pittsburgh a center of wartime production. Carnegie worked with others in establishing a steel rolling mill, and steel production and control of industry became the source of his fortune. Carnegie had some investments in the iron industry before the war.

After the war, Carnegie left the railroads to devote his energies to the ironworks trade. Carnegie worked to develop several ironworks, eventually forming the Keystone Bridge Works and the Union Ironworks, in Pittsburgh. Although he had left the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, he remained connected to its management, namely Thomas A. Scott and J. Edgar Thomson. He used his connection to the two men to acquire contracts for his Keystone Bridge Company and the rails produced by his ironworks. He also gave stock to Scott and Thomson in his businesses, and the Pennsylvania was his best customer. When he built his first steel plant, he made a point of naming it after Thomson. As well as having good business sense, Carnegie possessed charm and literary knowledge. He was invited to many important social functions, which Carnegie exploited to his advantage.[30]

Carnegie, c. 1878

Carnegie believed in using his fortune for others and doing more than making money. He wrote:

I propose to take an income no greater than $50,000 per annum! Beyond this I need ever earn, make no effort to increase my fortune, but spend the surplus each year for benevolent purposes! Let us cast aside business forever, except for others. Let us settle in Oxford and I shall get a thorough education, making the acquaintance of literary men. I figure that this will take three years' active work. I shall pay especial attention to speaking in public. We can settle in London and I can purchase a controlling interest in some newspaper or live review and give the general management of it attention, taking part in public matters, especially those connected with education and improvement of the poorer classes. Man must have no idol and the amassing of wealth is one of the worst species of idolatry! No idol is more debasing than the worship of money! Whatever I engage in I must push inordinately; therefore should I be careful to choose that life which will be the most elevating in its character. To continue much longer overwhelmed by business cares and with most of my thoughts wholly upon the way to make more money in the shortest time, must degrade me beyond hope of permanent recovery. I will resign business at thirty-five, but during these ensuing two years I wish to spend the afternoons in receiving instruction and in reading systematically!


1885–1900: Steel empire

Bessemer converter

Carnegie did not want to marry during his mother's lifetime, instead choosing to take care of her in her illness towards the end of her life.[31] After she died in 1886, the 51-year-old Carnegie married Louise Whitfield,[31] who was 21 years his junior.[32] In 1897,[33] the couple had their only child, a daughter, whom they named after Carnegie's mother, Margaret.[34]

Carnegie made his fortune in the steel industry, controlling the most extensive integrated iron and steel operations ever owned by an individual in the United States. One of his two great innovations was in the cheap and efficient mass production of steel by adopting and adapting the Bessemer process, which allowed the high carbon content of pig iron to be burnt away in a controlled and rapid way during steel production. Steel prices dropped as a result, and Bessemer steel was rapidly adopted for rails; however, it was not suitable for buildings and bridges.[35]

The second was in his vertical integration of all suppliers of raw materials. In the late 1880s, Carnegie Steel was the largest manufacturer of pig iron, steel rails, and coke in the world, with a capacity to produce approximately 2,000 tons of pig metal per day. In 1883, Carnegie bought the rival Homestead Steel Works, which included an extensive plant served by tributary coal and iron fields, a 425-mile (684 km) long railway, and a line of lake steamships.[28] Carnegie combined his assets and those of his associates in 1892 with the launching of the Carnegie Steel Company.[36]

By 1889, the U.S. output of steel exceeded that of the UK, and Carnegie owned a large part of it. Carnegie's empire grew to include the J. Edgar Thomson Steel Works in Braddock, (named for John Edgar Thomson, Carnegie's former boss and president of the Pennsylvania Railroad), Pittsburgh Bessemer Steel Works, the Lucy Furnaces, the Union Iron Mills, the Union Mill (Wilson, Walker & County), the Keystone Bridge Works, the Hartman Steel Works, the Frick Coke Company, and the Scotia ore mines. Carnegie, through Keystone, supplied the steel for and owned shares in the landmark Eads Bridge project across the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missouri (completed 1874). This project was an important proof-of-concept for steel technology, which marked the opening of a new steel market.

1901: U.S. Steel

Carnegie caricatured by Spy for Vanity Fair, 1903

In 1901, Carnegie was 66 years of age and considering retirement. He reformed his enterprises into conventional joint stock corporations as preparation for this. John Pierpont Morgan was a banker and America's most important financial deal maker. He had observed how efficiently Carnegie produced profits. He envisioned an integrated steel industry that would cut costs, lower prices to consumers, produce in greater quantities and raise wages to workers. To this end, he needed to buy out Carnegie and several other major producers and integrate them into one company, thereby eliminating duplication and waste. He concluded negotiations on March 2, 1901, and formed the United States Steel Corporation. It was the first corporation in the world with a market capitalization over $1 billion.

The buyout, secretly negotiated by Charles M. Schwab (no relation to Charles R. Schwab), was the largest such industrial takeover in United States history to date. The holdings were incorporated in the United States Steel Corporation, a trust organized by Morgan, and Carnegie retired from business.[28] His steel enterprises were bought out for $303,450,000.[6]

Carnegie's share of this amounted to $225.64 million (in 2019, $6.93 billion), which was paid to Carnegie in the form of 5%, 50-year gold bonds. The letter agreeing to sell his share was signed on February 26, 1901. On March 2, the circular formally filing the organization and capitalization (at $1.4 billion – 4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) at the time) of the United States Steel Corporation actually completed the contract. The bonds were to be delivered within two weeks to the Hudson Trust Company of Hoboken, New Jersey, in trust to Robert A. Franks, Carnegie's business secretary. There, a special vault was built to house the physical bulk of nearly $230 million worth of bonds.[37]

Scholar and activist


Carnegie continued his business career; some of his literary intentions were fulfilled. He befriended the English poet Matthew Arnold, the English philosopher Herbert Spencer, and the American humorist Mark Twain, as well as being in correspondence and acquaintance with most of the U.S. Presidents,[38] statesmen, and notable writers.[39]

Carnegie constructed commodious swimming-baths for the people of his hometown in Dunfermline in 1879. In the following year, Carnegie gave £8,000 for the establishment of a Dunfermline Carnegie Library in Scotland. In 1884, he gave $50,000 to Bellevue Hospital Medical College (now part of New York University Medical Center) to found a histological laboratory, now called the Carnegie Laboratory.

In 1881, Carnegie took his family, including his 70-year-old mother, on a trip to the United Kingdom. They toured Scotland by coach, and enjoyed several receptions en route. The highlight was a return to Dunfermline, where Carnegie's mother laid the foundation stone of a Carnegie library which he funded. Carnegie's criticism of British society did not mean dislike; on the contrary, one of Carnegie's ambitions was to act as a catalyst for a close association between English-speaking peoples. To this end, in the early 1880s in partnership with Samuel Storey, he purchased numerous newspapers in England, all of which were to advocate the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of "the British Republic". Carnegie's charm, aided by his wealth, afforded him many British friends, including Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone.

In 1886, Carnegie's younger brother Thomas died at age 43. While owning steel works, Carnegie had purchased at low cost the most valuable of the iron ore fields around Lake Superior. The same year Carnegie became a figure of controversy. Following his tour of the UK, he wrote about his experiences in a book entitled An American Four-in-hand in Britain.

Carnegie, right, with James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce in 1886

Although actively involved in running his many businesses, Carnegie had become a regular contributor to numerous magazines, most notably The Nineteenth Century, under the editorship of James Knowles, and the influential North American Review, led by editor Lloyd Bryce.

In 1886, Carnegie wrote his most radical work to date, entitled Triumphant Democracy. Liberal in its use of statistics to make its arguments, the book argued his view that the American republican system of government was superior to the British monarchical system. It gave a highly favorable and idealized view of American progress and criticized the British royal family. The cover depicted an upended royal crown and a broken scepter. The book created considerable controversy in the UK. The book made many Americans appreciate their country's economic progress and sold over 40,000 copies, mostly in the US.

In 1889, Carnegie published "Wealth" in the June issue of the North American Review.[40] After reading it, Gladstone requested its publication in England, where it appeared as "The Gospel of Wealth" in the Pall Mall Gazette. Carnegie argued that the life of a wealthy industrialist should comprise two parts. The first part was the gathering and the accumulation of wealth. The second part was for the subsequent distribution of this wealth to benevolent causes. Philanthropy was key to making life worthwhile.

Carnegie was a well-regarded writer. He published three books on travel.[41]


While Carnegie did not comment on British imperialism, he strongly opposed the idea of American colonies. He opposed the annexation of the Philippines almost to the point of supporting William Jennings Bryan against McKinley in 1900. In 1898, Carnegie tried to arrange for independence for the Philippines. As the end of the Spanish–American War neared, the United States bought the Philippines from Spain for $20 million. To counter what he perceived as imperialism on the part of the United States, Carnegie personally offered $20 million to the Philippines so that the Filipino people could buy their independence from the United States.[42] However, nothing came of the offer. In 1898 Carnegie joined the American Anti-Imperialist League, in opposition to the U.S. annexation of the Philippines. Its membership included former presidents of the United States Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison and literary figures like Mark Twain.[43][44]

1901–1919: Philanthropist

Main articles: Carnegie library, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, Carnegie Hero Fund, Carnegie Mellon University, and Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh
See also: Carnegie Hall, Tuskegee Institute, and Hooker telescope

Andrew Carnegie's philanthropy. Puck magazine cartoon by Louis Dalrymple, 1903

Carnegie spent his last years as a philanthropist. From 1901 forward, public attention was turned from the shrewd business acumen which had enabled Carnegie to accumulate such a fortune, to the public-spirited way in which he devoted himself to utilizing it on philanthropic projects. He had written about his views on social subjects and the responsibilities of great wealth in Triumphant Democracy (1886) and Gospel of Wealth (1889). Carnegie bought Skibo Castle in Scotland, and made his home partly there and partly in his New York mansion located at 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue.[28] The building was completed in late 1902, and he lived there until his death in 1919. His wife Louise continued to live there until her death in 1946.

The building is now used as the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution. The surrounding neighborhood on Manhattan's Upper East Side has come to be called Carnegie Hill. The mansion was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1966.[45][46][47][48]

Carnegie devoted the rest of his life to providing capital for purposes of public interest and social and educational advancement. He saved letters of appreciation from those he helped in a desk drawer labeled "Gratitude and Sweet Words."[49]

Carnegie Hall, NY

He was a powerful supporter of the movement for spelling reform, as a means of promoting the spread of the English language.[28] His organization, the Simplified Spelling Board,[50] created the Handbook of Simplified Spelling, which was written wholly in reformed spelling.[51][52]

3,000 public libraries

Among his many philanthropic efforts, the establishment of public libraries throughout the United States, Britain, Canada and other English-speaking countries was especially prominent. In this special driving interest of his, Carnegie was inspired by meetings with philanthropist Enoch Pratt (1808–1896). The Enoch Pratt Free Library (1886) of Baltimore, Maryland, impressed Carnegie deeply; he said, "Pratt was my guide and inspiration."

Carnegie turned over management of the library project by 1908 to his staff, led by James Bertram (1874–1934).[53] The first Carnegie library opened in 1883 in Dunfermline. His method was to provide funds to build and equip the library, but only on condition that the local authority matched that by providing the land and a budget for operation and maintenance.[54]

To secure local interest, in 1885, he gave $500,000 to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for a public library, and in 1886, he gave $250,000 to Allegheny City, Pennsylvania for a music hall and library; and $250,000 to Edinburgh for a free library. In total, Carnegie funded some 3,000 libraries, located in 47 US states, and also in Canada, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the West Indies, and Fiji. He also donated £50,000 to help set up the University of Birmingham in 1899.[55]

As Van Slyck (1991) showed, during the last years of the 19th century, there was increasing adoption of the idea that free libraries should be available to the American public. But the design of such libraries was the subject of prolonged and heated debate. On one hand, the library profession called for designs that supported efficiency in administration and operation; on the other, wealthy philanthropists favored buildings that reinforced the paternalistic metaphor and enhanced civic pride. Between 1886 and 1917, Carnegie reformed both library philanthropy and library design, encouraging a closer correspondence between the two.[56]
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Investing in education

Carnegie Mellon University

In 1900, Carnegie gave $2 million to start the Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT) at Pittsburgh and the same amount in 1902 to found the Carnegie Institution at Washington, D.C. He later contributed more to these and other schools.[54] CIT is now known as Carnegie Mellon University after it merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research. Carnegie also served on the Boards of Cornell University and Stevens Institute of Technology.[57]

In 1911, Carnegie became a sympathetic benefactor to George Ellery Hale, who was trying to build the 100-inch (2.5 m) Hooker Telescope at Mount Wilson, and donated an additional ten million dollars to the Carnegie Institution with the following suggestion to expedite the construction of the telescope: "I hope the work at Mount Wilson will be vigorously pushed, because I am so anxious to hear the expected results from it. I should like to be satisfied before I depart, that we are going to repay to the old land some part of the debt we owe them by revealing more clearly than ever to them the new heavens." The telescope saw first light on November 2, 1917, with Carnegie still alive.[58]

Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline

In 1901, in Scotland, he gave $10 million to establish the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. It was created by a deed which he signed on June 7, 1901, and it was incorporated by Royal Charter on August 21, 1902. The establishing gift of $10 million was then an unprecedented sum: at the time, total government assistance to all four Scottish universities was about £50,000 a year. The aim of the Trust was to improve and extend the opportunities for scientific research in the Scottish universities and to enable the deserving and qualified youth of Scotland to attend a university.[59] He was subsequently elected Lord Rector of University of St. Andrews in December 1901,[60] and formally installed as such in October 1902,[61] serving until 1907. He also donated large sums of money to Dunfermline, the place of his birth. In addition to a library, Carnegie also bought the private estate which became Pittencrieff Park and opened it to all members of the public, establishing the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust[62] to benefit the people of Dunfermline. A statue of him stands there today.[63]

He gave a further $10 million in 1913 to endow the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, a grant-making foundation.[64][65] He transferred to the trust the charge of all his existing and future benefactions, other than university benefactions in the United Kingdom. He gave the trustees a wide discretion, and they inaugurated a policy of financing rural library schemes rather than erecting library buildings, and of assisting the musical education of the people rather than granting organs to churches.[66]

Carnegie with African-American leader Booker T. Washington (front row, center) in 1906 while visiting Tuskegee Institute

In 1901, Carnegie also established large pension funds for his former employees at Homestead and, in 1905, for American college professors.[28] The latter fund evolved into TIAA-CREF. One critical requirement was that church-related schools had to sever their religious connections to get his money.

His interest in music led him to fund construction of 7,000 church organs. He built and owned Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Carnegie was a large benefactor of the Tuskegee Institute for African-American education under Booker T. Washington. He helped Washington create the National Negro Business League.

April 1905

In 1904, he founded the Carnegie Hero Fund for the United States and Canada (a few years later also established in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and Germany) for the recognition of deeds of heroism. Carnegie contributed $1,500,000 in 1903 for the erection of the Peace Palace at The Hague; and he donated $150,000 for a Pan-American Palace in Washington as a home for the International Bureau of American Republics.[28]

Carnegie was honored for his philanthropy and support of the arts by initiation as an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity on October 14, 1917, at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. The fraternity's mission reflects Carnegie's values by developing young men to share their talents to create harmony in the world.

By the standards of 19th century tycoons, Carnegie was not a particularly ruthless man but a humanitarian with enough acquisitiveness to go in the ruthless pursuit of money.[67] "Maybe with the giving away of his money," commented biographer Joseph Wall, "he would justify what he had done to get that money."[68]

To some, Carnegie represents the idea of the American dream. He was an immigrant from Scotland who came to America and became successful. He is not only known for his successes but his enormous amounts of philanthropist works, not only to charities but also to promote democracy and independence to colonized countries.[69]


Carnegie's grave at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York

Carnegie's footstone

Carnegie died[70] on August 11, 1919, in Lenox, Massachusetts, at his Shadow Brook estate, of bronchial pneumonia.[71] He had already given away $350,695,653 (approximately $76.9 billion, adjusted to 2015 share of GDP figures)[72] of his wealth. After his death, his last $30,000,000 was given to foundations, charities, and to pensioners.[73] He was buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York. The grave site is located on the Arcadia Hebron plot of land at the corner of Summit Avenue and Dingle Road. Carnegie is buried only a few yards away from union organizer Samuel Gompers, another important figure of industry in the Gilded Age.[74]


1889: Johnstown Flood

Main article: Johnstown Flood

Carnegie was one of more than 50 members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, which has been blamed for the Johnstown Flood that killed 2,209 people in 1889.[75]

At the suggestion of his friend Benjamin Ruff, Carnegie's partner Henry Clay Frick had formed the exclusive South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club high above Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The sixty-odd club members were the leading business tycoons of Western Pennsylvania and included among their number Frick's best friend, Andrew Mellon, his attorneys Philander Knox and James Hay Reed, as well as Frick's business partner, Carnegie. High above the city, near the small town of South Fork, the South Fork Dam was originally built between 1838 and 1853 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as part of a canal system to be used as a reservoir for a canal basin in Johnstown. With the coming-of-age of railroads superseding canal barge transport, the lake was abandoned by the Commonwealth, sold to the Pennsylvania Railroad, and sold again to private interests and eventually came to be owned by the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club in 1881. Prior to the flood, speculators had purchased the abandoned reservoir, made less than well-engineered repairs to the old dam, raised the lake level, built cottages and a clubhouse, and created the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club. Less than 20 miles (32 km) downstream from the dam sat the city of Johnstown.

The dam was 72 feet (22 m) high and 931 feet (284 m) long. Between 1881 when the club was opened, and 1889, the dam frequently sprang leaks and was patched, mostly with mud and straw. Additionally, a previous owner removed and sold for scrap the 3 cast iron discharge pipes that previously allowed a controlled release of water. There had been some speculation as to the dam's integrity, and concerns had been raised by the head of the Cambria Iron Works downstream in Johnstown. Such repair work, a reduction in height, and unusually high snowmelt and heavy spring rains combined to cause the dam to give way on May 31, 1889, resulting in twenty million tons of water sweeping down the valley as the Johnstown Flood.[76] When word of the dam's failure was telegraphed to Pittsburgh, Frick and other members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club gathered to form the Pittsburgh Relief Committee for assistance to the flood victims as well as determining never to speak publicly about the club or the flood. This strategy was a success, and Knox and Reed were able to fend off all lawsuits that would have placed blame upon the club's members.

Although Cambria Iron and Steel's facilities were heavily damaged by the flood, they returned to full production within a year. After the flood, Carnegie built Johnstown a new library to replace the one built by Cambria's chief legal counsel Cyrus Elder, which was destroyed in the flood. The Carnegie-donated library is now owned by the Johnstown Area Heritage Association, and houses the Flood Museum.

1892: Homestead Strike

The Homestead Strike

The Homestead Strike was a bloody labor confrontation lasting 143 days in 1892, one of the most serious in U.S. history. The conflict was centered on Carnegie Steel's main plant in Homestead, Pennsylvania, and grew out of a labor dispute between the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers (AA) and the Carnegie Steel Company.

Carnegie left on a trip to Scotland before the unrest peaked.[77] In doing so, Carnegie left mediation of the dispute in the hands of his associate and partner Henry Clay Frick. Frick was well known in industrial circles for maintaining staunch anti-union sentiment. With the collective bargaining agreement between the union and company expiring at the end of June, Frick and the leaders of the local AA union entered into negotiations in February. With the steel industry doing well and prices higher, the AA asked for a wage increase; the AA represented about 800 of the 3,800 workers at the plant. Frick immediately countered with an average 22% wage decrease that would affect nearly half the union's membership and remove a number of positions from the bargaining unit.[78]

Frick's letter to Carnegie describing the plans and munitions that will be on the barges when the Pinkertons arrive to confront the strikers in Homestead

The union and company failed to come to an agreement, and management locked the union out. Workers considered the stoppage a "lockout" by management and not a "strike" by workers. As such, the workers would have been well within their rights to protest, and subsequent government action would have been a set of criminal procedures designed to crush what was seen as a pivotal demonstration of the growing labor rights movement, strongly opposed by management. Frick brought in thousands of strikebreakers to work the steel mills and Pinkerton agents to safeguard them.

On July 6, the arrival of a force of 300 Pinkerton agents from New York City and Chicago resulted in a fight in which 10 men — seven strikers and three Pinkertons — were killed and hundreds were injured. Pennsylvania Governor Robert Pattison ordered two brigades of state militia to the strike site. Then allegedly in response to the fight between the striking workers and the Pinkertons, anarchist Alexander Berkman shot at Frick in an attempted assassination, wounding him. While not directly connected to the strike, Berkman was tied in for the assassination attempt. According to Berkman, "... with the elimination of Frick, responsibility for Homestead conditions would rest with Carnegie."[79] Afterwards, the company successfully resumed operations with non-union immigrant employees in place of the Homestead plant workers, and Carnegie returned to the United States.[77] However, Carnegie's reputation was permanently damaged by the Homestead events.



Carnegie gave "formal allegiance" to the Republican Party, though he was said to be "a violent opponent of some of the most sacred doctrines" of the party.[80]

Andrew Carnegie Dictum

In his final days, Carnegie suffered from pneumonia. Before his death on August 11, 1919, Carnegie had donated $350,695,654 for various causes. The "Andrew Carnegie Dictum" was:

• To spend the first third of one's life getting all the education one can.
• To spend the next third making all the money one can.
• To spend the last third giving it all away for worthwhile causes.

Carnegie was involved in philanthropic causes, but he kept himself away from religious circles. He wanted to be identified by the world as a "positivist". He was highly influenced in public life by John Bright.

On wealth

Carnegie at Skibo Castle, 1914

Window dedicated to Carnegie in the National Cathedral

As early as 1868, at age 33, he drafted a memo to himself. He wrote: "... The amassing of wealth is one of the worse species of idolatry. No idol more debasing than the worship of money."[81] In order to avoid degrading himself, he wrote in the same memo he would retire at age 35 to pursue the practice of philanthropic giving for "... the man who dies thus rich dies disgraced." However, he did not begin his philanthropic work in all earnest until 1881, with the gift of a library to his hometown of Dunfermline, Scotland.[82]

Carnegie wrote "The Gospel of Wealth",[83] an article in which he stated his belief that the rich should use their wealth to help enrich society. In that article, Carnegie also expressed sympathy for the ideas of progressive taxation and an estate tax.[84][85]

The following is taken from one of Carnegie's memos to himself:

Man does not live by bread alone. I have known millionaires starving for lack of the nutriment which alone can sustain all that is human in man, and I know workmen, and many so-called poor men, who revel in luxuries beyond the power of those millionaires to reach. It is the mind that makes the body rich. There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and nothing else. Money can only be the useful drudge of things immeasurably higher than itself. Exalted beyond this, as it sometimes is, it remains Caliban still and still plays the beast. My aspirations take a higher flight. Mine be it to have contributed to the enlightenment and the joys of the mind, to the things of the spirit, to all that tends to bring into the lives of the toilers of Pittsburgh sweetness and light. I hold this the noblest possible use of wealth.[86]

Intellectual influences

Carnegie claimed to be a champion of evolutionary thought – particularly the work of Herbert Spencer, even declaring Spencer his teacher.[87] Although Carnegie claims to be a disciple of Spencer many of his actions went against the ideas espoused by Spencer.

Spencerian evolution was for individual rights and against government interference. Furthermore, Spencerian evolution held that those unfit to sustain themselves must be allowed to perish. Spencer believed that just as there were many varieties of beetles, respectively modified to existence in a particular place in nature, so too had human society "spontaneously fallen into division of labour".[88] Individuals who survived to this, the latest and highest stage of evolutionary progress would be "those in whom the power of self-preservation is the greatest—are the select of their generation."[89] Moreover, Spencer perceived governmental authority as borrowed from the people to perform the transitory aims of establishing social cohesion, insurance of rights, and security.[90][91] Spencerian 'survival of the fittest' firmly credits any provisions made to assist the weak, unskilled, poor and distressed to be an imprudent disservice to evolution.[92] Spencer insisted people should resist for the benefit of collective humanity, as severe fate singles out the weak, debauched, and disabled.[92]

Andrew Carnegie's political and economic focus during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was the defense of laissez-faire economics. Carnegie emphatically resisted government intrusion in commerce, as well as government-sponsored charities. Carnegie believed the concentration of capital was essential for societal progress and should be encouraged.[93] Carnegie was an ardent supporter of commercial "survival of the fittest" and sought to attain immunity from business challenges by dominating all phases of the steel manufacturing procedure.[94] Carnegie's determination to lower costs included cutting labor expenses as well.[95] In a notably Spencerian manner, Carnegie argued that unions impeded the natural reduction of prices by pushing up costs, which blocked evolutionary progress.[96] Carnegie felt that unions represented the narrow interest of the few while his actions benefited the entire community.[94]

On the surface, Andrew Carnegie appears to be a strict laissez-faire capitalist and follower of Herbert Spencer, often referring to himself as a disciple of Spencer.[97] Conversely, Carnegie, a titan of industry, seems to embody all of the qualities of Spencerian survival of the fittest. The two men enjoyed a mutual respect for one another and maintained correspondence until Spencer's death in 1903.[97] There are however, some major discrepancies between Spencer's capitalist evolutionary conceptions and Andrew Carnegie's capitalist practices.

Spencer wrote that in production the advantages of the superior individual are comparatively minor, and thus acceptable, yet the benefit that dominance provides those who control a large segment of production might be hazardous to competition. Spencer feared that an absence of "sympathetic self-restraint" of those with too much power could lead to the ruin of their competitors.[98] He did not think free market competition necessitated competitive warfare. Furthermore, Spencer argued that individuals with superior resources who deliberately used investment schemes to put competitors out of business were committing acts of "commercial murder".[98] Carnegie built his wealth in the steel industry by maintaining an extensively integrated operating system. Carnegie also bought out some regional competitors, and merged with others, usually maintaining the majority shares in the companies. Over the course of twenty years, Carnegie's steel properties grew to include the Edgar Thomson Steel Works, the Lucy Furnace Works, the Union Iron Mills, the Homestead Works, the Keystone Bridge Works, the Hartman Steel Works, the Frick Coke Company, and the Scotia ore mines among many other industry related assets.[99] Furthermore, Carnegie's success was due to his convenient relationship with the railroad industries, which not only relied on steel for track, but were also making money from steel transport. The steel and railroad barons worked closely to negotiate prices instead of free market competition determinations.[100]

Besides Carnegie's market manipulation, United States trade tariffs were also working in favor of the steel industry. Carnegie spent energy and resources lobbying congress for a continuation of favorable tariffs from which he earned millions of dollars a year.[101] Carnegie tried to keep this information concealed, but legal documents released in 1900, during proceedings with the ex-chairman of Carnegie Steel, Henry Clay Frick, revealed how favorable the tariffs had been.[102] Herbert Spencer absolutely was against government interference in business in the form of regulatory limitation, taxes, and tariffs as well. Spencer saw tariffs as a form of taxation that levied against the majority in service to "the benefit of a small minority of manufacturers and artisans".[103]

Despite Carnegie's personal dedication to Herbert Spencer as a friend, his adherence to Spencer's political and economic ideas is more contentious. In particular, it appears Carnegie either misunderstood or intentionally misrepresented some of Spencer's principal arguments. Spencer remarked upon his first visit to Carnegie's steel mills in Pittsburgh, which Carnegie saw as the manifestation of Spencer's philosophy, "Six months' residence here would justify suicide."[104]

The conditions of human society create for this an imperious demand; the concentration of capital is a necessity for meeting the demands of our day, and as such should not be looked at askance, but be encouraged. There is nothing detrimental to human society in it, but much that is, or is bound soon to become, beneficial. It is an evolution from the heterogeneous to the homogeneous, and is clearly another step in the upward path of development.

— Carnegie, Andrew 1901 The Gospel of Wealth and Other Timely Essays[93]

On the subject of charity Andrew Carnegie's actions diverged in the most significant and complex manner from Herbert Spencer's philosophies. In his 1854 essay "Manners and Fashion", Spencer referred to public education as "Old schemes". He went on to declare that public schools and colleges fill the heads of students with inept, useless knowledge and exclude useful knowledge. Spencer stated that he trusted no organization of any kind, "political, religious, literary, philanthropic", and believed that as they expanded in influence so too did their regulations expand. In addition, Spencer thought that as all institutions grow they become evermore corrupted by the influence of power and money. The institution eventually loses its "original spirit, and sinks into a lifeless mechanism".[105] Spencer insisted that all forms of philanthropy that uplift the poor and downtrodden were reckless and incompetent. Spencer thought any attempt to prevent "the really salutary sufferings" of the less fortunate "bequeath to posterity a continually increasing curse".[106] Carnegie, a self-proclaimed devotee of Spencer, testified to Congress on February 5, 1915: "My business is to do as much good in the world as I can; I have retired from all other business."[107]

Carnegie held that societal progress relied on individuals who maintained moral obligations to themselves and to society.[108] Furthermore, he believed that charity supplied the means for those who wish to improve themselves to achieve their goals.[109] Carnegie urged other wealthy people to contribute to society in the form of parks, works of art, libraries and other endeavors that improve the community and contribute to the "lasting good".[110] Carnegie also held a strong opinion against inherited wealth. Carnegie believed that the sons of prosperous businesspersons were rarely as talented as their fathers.[109] By leaving large sums of money to their children, wealthy business leaders were wasting resources that could be used to benefit society. Most notably, Carnegie believed that the future leaders of society would rise from the ranks of the poor.[111] Carnegie strongly believed in this because he had risen from the bottom. He believed the poor possessed an advantage over the wealthy because they receive greater attention from their parents and are taught better work ethics.[111]

Religion and worldview

Carnegie and his family belonged to the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, also known informally as the Northern Presbyterian Church. In his early life Carnegie was skeptical of Calvinism, and religion as a whole, but reconciled with it later in his life. In his autobiography, Carnegie describes his family as moderate Presbyterian believers, writing that "there was not one orthodox Presbyterian" in his family; various members of his family having somewhat distanced themselves from Calvinism, some of them leaning more towards Swedenborgianism. Although, being a child, his family led vigorous theological and political disputes. His mother avoided the topic of religion. His father left the Presbyterian church after a sermon on infant damnation, while, according to Carnegie, still remaining very religious on his own.

Witnessing sectarianism and strife in 19th century Scotland regarding religion and philosophy, Carnegie kept his distance from organized religion and theism.[112] Carnegie instead preferred to see things through naturalistic and scientific terms stating, "Not only had I got rid of the theology and the supernatural, but I had found the truth of evolution."[113]

Later in life, Carnegie's firm opposition to religion softened. For many years he was a member of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, pastored from 1905 to 1926 by Social Gospel exponent Henry Sloane Coffin, while his wife and daughter belonged to the Brick Presbyterian Church.[114] He also prepared (but did not deliver) an address in which he professed a belief in "an Infinite and Eternal Energy from which all things proceed".[115] Records exist of a short period of correspondence around 1912–1913 between Carnegie and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith. In these letters, one of which was published in the New York Times in full text,[116] Carnegie is extolled as a "lover of the world of humanity and one of the founders of Universal Peace".

World peace

Carnegie commemorated as an industrialist, philanthropist, and founder of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1960[117]

Influenced by his "favorite living hero in public life" John Bright, Carnegie started his efforts in pursuit of world peace at a young age,[118] and supported causes that opposed military intervention.[119] His motto, "All is well since all grows better", served not only as a good rationalization of his successful business career, but also his view of international relations.

Despite his efforts towards international peace, Carnegie faced many dilemmas on his quest. These dilemmas are often regarded as conflicts between his view on international relations and his other loyalties. Throughout the 1880s and 1890s, for example, Carnegie allowed his steel works to fill large orders of armor plate for the building of an enlarged and modernized United States Navy, but he opposed American oversea expansion.[120]

Despite that, Carnegie served as a major donor for the newly-established International Court of Arbitration's Peace Palace – brainchild of Russian Tsar Nicolas II.[121]

His largest and in the long run most influential peace organization was the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, formed in 1910 with a $10 million endowment.[122] In 1913, at the dedication of the Peace Palace in The Hague, Carnegie predicted that the end of war was as certain to come, and come soon, as day follows night.[123]

In 1914, on the eve of the First World War, Carnegie founded the Church Peace Union (CPU), a group of leaders in religion, academia, and politics. Through the CPU, Carnegie hoped to mobilize the world's churches, religious organizations, and other spiritual and moral resources to join in promoting moral leadership to put an end to war forever. For its inaugural international event, the CPU sponsored a conference to be held on August 1, 1914, on the shores of Lake Constance in southern Germany. As the delegates made their way to the conference by train, Germany was invading Belgium.

Despite its inauspicious beginning, the CPU thrived. Today its focus is on ethics and it is known as the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, whose mission is to be the voice for ethics in international affairs.

The outbreak of the First World War was clearly a shock to Carnegie and his optimistic view on world peace. Although his promotion of anti-imperialism and world peace had all failed, and the Carnegie Endowment had not fulfilled his expectations, his beliefs and ideas on international relations had helped build the foundation of the League of Nations after his death, which took world peace to another level.

US colonial expansion

On the matter of American colonial expansion, Carnegie had always thought it is an unwise gesture for the United States. He did not oppose the annexation of the Hawaiian islands or Puerto Rico, but he opposed the annexation of the Philippines. Carnegie believed that it involved a denial of the fundamental democratic principle, and he also urged William McKinley to withdraw American troops and allow the Filipinos to live with their independence.[124] This act strongly impressed the other American anti-imperialists, who soon elected him vice-president of the Anti-Imperialist League.

After he sold his steel company in 1901, Carnegie was able to get fully involved in the peace cause, both financially and personally. He gave away much of his fortunes to various peace-keeping agencies in order to keep them growing. When his friend, the British writer William T. Stead, asked him to create a new organization for the goal of a peace and arbitration society, his reply was:

I do not see that it is wise to devote our efforts to creating another organization. Of course I may be wrong in believing that, but I am certainly not wrong that if it were dependent on any millionaire's money it would begin as an object of pity and end as one of derision. I wonder that you do not see this. There is nothing that robs a righteous cause of its strength more than a millionaire's money. Its life is tainted thereby.[125]

Carnegie believed that it is the effort and will of the people, that maintains the peace in international relations. Money is just a push for the act. If world peace depended solely on financial support, it would not seem a goal, but more like an act of pity.

Like Stead, he believed that the United States and the British Empire would merge into one nation, telling him "We are heading straight to the Re-United States". Carnegie believed that the combined country's power would maintain world peace and disarmament.[126] The creation of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 1910 was regarded as a milestone on the road to the ultimate goal of abolition of war. Beyond a gift of $10 million for peace promotion, Carnegie also encouraged the "scientific" investigation of the various causes of war, and the adoption of judicial methods that should eventually eliminate them. He believed that the Endowment exists to promote information on the nations' rights and responsibilities under existing international law and to encourage other conferences to codify this law.[127]


Carnegie was a frequent contributor to periodicals on labor issues. In addition to Triumphant Democracy (1886) and The Gospel of Wealth (1889), he also wrote Our Coaching Trip, Brighton to Inverness (1882), An American Four-in-hand in Britain (1883), Round the World (1884), The Empire of Business (1902), The Secret of Business is the Management of Men (1903),[128] James Watt (1905) in the Famous Scots Series, Problems of Today (1907), and his posthumously published Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie (1920).

Legacy and honors

Carnegie statue, Dunfermline

Carnegie received the honorary Doctor of Laws (DLL) from the University of Glasgow in June 1901,[129] and received the Freedom of the City of Glasgow "in recognition of his munificence" later the same year.[130] In July 1902 he received the Freedom of the city of St Andrews, "in testimony of his great zeal for the welfare of his fellow-men on both sides of the Atlantic",[131] and in October 1902 the Freedom of the City of Perth "in testimony of his high personal worth and beneficial influence, and in recognition of widespread benefactions bestowed on this and other lands, and especially in gratitude for the endowment granted by him for the promotion of University education in Scotland"[132] and the Freedom of the City of Dundee.[133] In 1910, he received the Freedom of the City of Belfast.[134] Carnegie received 1 July 1914 a honorary doctorate from the University of Groningen the Netherlands.[135]

• The dinosaur Diplodocus carnegiei (Hatcher) was named for Carnegie after he sponsored the expedition that discovered its remains in the Morrison Formation (Jurassic) of Utah. Carnegie was so proud of "Dippi" that he had casts made of the bones and plaster replicas of the whole skeleton donated to several museums in Europe and South America. The original fossil skeleton is assembled and stands in the Hall of Dinosaurs at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
• After the Spanish–American War, Carnegie offered to donate $20 million to the Philippines so they could buy their independence.
• Carnegie, Pennsylvania,[136] and Carnegie, Oklahoma, were named in his honor.
• The Saguaro cactus's scientific name, Carnegiea gigantea, is named after him.
• The Carnegie Medal for the best children's literature published in the UK was established in his name.
• The Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education, at Leeds Beckett University, UK, is named after him.
• The concert halls in Dunfermline and New York are named after him.
• At the height of his career, Carnegie was the second-richest person in the world, behind only John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil.
• Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh was named after Carnegie, who founded the institution as the Carnegie Technical Schools.

Carnegie Vanguard High School

• Lauder College (named after his uncle who encouraged him to get an education) in the Halbeath area of Dunfermline was renamed Carnegie College in 2007.
• A street in Belgrade (Serbia), next to the Belgrade University Library which is one of the Carnegie libraries, is named in his honor.
• An American high school, Carnegie Vanguard High School in Houston, Texas, is named after him[137]

According to biographer Burton J. Hendrick:

His benefactions amounted to $350,000,000 – for he gave away not only his annual income of something more than $12,500,000, but most of the principal as well. Of this sum, $62,000,000 was allotted to the British Empire and $288,000,000 to the United States, for Carnegie, in the main, confined his benefactions to the English-speaking nations. His largest gifts were $125,000,000 to the Carnegie Corporation of New York (this same body also became his residuary legatee), $60,000,000 to public library buildings, $20,000,000 to colleges (usually the smaller ones), $6,000,000 to church organs, $29,000,000 to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, $22,000,000 to the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh, $22,000,000 to the Carnegie Institution of Washington, $10,000,000 to Hero Funds, $10,000,000 to the Endowment for International Peace, $10,000,000 to the Scottish Universities Trust, $10,000,000 to the United Kingdom Trust, and $3,750,000 to the Dunfermline Trust.[138]

Hendrick argues that:

These gifts fairly picture Carnegie's conception of the best ways to improve the status of the common man. They represent all his personal tastes – his love of books, art, music, and nature – and the reforms which he regarded as most essential to human progress – scientific research, education both literary and technical, and, above all, the abolition of war. The expenditure the public most associates with Carnegie's name is that for public libraries. Carnegie himself frequently said that his favorite benefaction was the Hero Fund – among other reasons, because "it came up my ain back"; but probably deep in his own mind his library gifts took precedence over all others in importance. There was only one genuine remedy, he believed, for the ills that beset the human race, and that was enlightenment. "Let there be light" was the motto that, in the early days, he insisted on placing in all his library buildings. As to the greatest endowment of all, the Carnegie Corporation, that was merely Andrew Carnegie in permanently organized form; it was established to carry on, after Carnegie's death, the work to which he had given personal attention in his own lifetime.[139]

Research sources

Carnegie's personal papers are at the Library of Congress Manuscript Division. The Carnegie Collections of the Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library consist of the archives of the following organizations founded by Carnegie: The Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY); The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP); the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (CFAT);The Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs (CCEIA). These collections deal primarily with Carnegie philanthropy and have very little personal material related to Carnegie. Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh jointly administer the Andrew Carnegie Collection of digitized archives on Carnegie's life.


• Wall, Joseph Frazier, ed. The Andrew Carnegie reader (1992) online free
• Round the World. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1884.
• An American Four-in-Hand in Britain. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1886.
• Triumphant Democracy, or, Fifty Years' March of the Republic. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1886.
• The Bugaboo of Trusts. Reprinted from North American Review, vol. 148, no. 377 (Feb. 1889).
• "Wealth," North American Review, vol. 148, no. 381 (June 1889), pp. 653–64. – Original version of "The Gospel of Wealth."
• The Gospel of Wealth and Other Timely Essays. New York: The Century Co., 1901.
• Industrial Peace: Address at the Annual Dinner of the National Civic Federation, New York City, December 15, 1904. [n.c.]: [National Civic Federation], [1904].
• James Watt. New York: Doubleday, Page and Co., 1905.
• Edwin M. Stanton: An Address by Andrew Carnegie on Stanton Memorial Day at Kenyon College. New York: Doubleday, Page and Co., 1906.
• Problems of Today: Wealth – Labor – Socialism. New York: Doubleday, Page and Co., 1908.
• Speech at the Annual Meeting of the Peace Society, at the Guildhall, London, EC, May 24th, 1910. London: The Peace Society, 1910.
• A League of Peace: A Rectorial Address Delivered to the Students in the University of St. Andrews, 17th October 1905. New York: New York Peace Society, 1911.
• Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie. Boston: Houghton and Mifflin, 1920.

See also

• Biography portal
• Business and economics portal
• Pennsylvania portal
• Scotland portal
• Trains portal
• Carnegie (disambiguation)
• Commemoration of the American Civil War on postage stamps
• History of public library advocacy
• List of Carnegie libraries in the United States
• List of peace activists
• List of richest Americans in history
• List of wealthiest historical figures
• List of universities named after people


1. But commonly pronounced /ˈkɑːrnəɡi/ KAR-nə-ghee or /kɑːrˈnɛɡi/ kar-NEG-ee[3]


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5. Andrew Carnegie's Legacy
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13. Nasaw, David (2006). Andrew Carnegie. New York: Penguin Group. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-59420-104-2.
14. Jack McKee, "The North Side Story", in North Side Directory Chamber of Commerce Members 1960–61
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50. "Carnegie Assaults the Spelling Book; To Pay the Cost of Reforming English Orthography. Campaign About to Begin Board Named, with Headquarters Here – Local Societies Throughout the Country.", The New York Times, March 12, 1906. Retrieved August 28, 2008.
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67. Krause, Paul (1992). The Battle for Homestead 1880–1892. University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 978-0-8229-5466-8. p. 233
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75. Frank, Walter Smoter (May 1988). "The Cause of the Johnstown Flood". Civil Engineering: 63–66.
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79. Berkman, Alexander (1912) Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist. Mother Earth Publishing Association. p. 67.
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81. Klein, Maury (2004) The Change Makers, p. 57, Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-8050-7518-2
82. Burlingame, Dwight (2004) Philanthropy in America. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-57607-860-0. p. 60
83. Autobiography, pp. 255–67
84. Carnegie, Andrew (1900), The Gospel of Wealth and Other Timely Essays, New York: The Century Company, p. 11, The growing disposition to tax more and more heavily large estates left at death is a cheering indication of the growth of a salutary change in public opinion. The State of Pennsylvania now takes–subject to some exceptions–one tenth of the property left by its citizens. The budget presented in the British Parliament the other day proposes to increase the death duties; and, most significant of all, the new tax is to be a graduated one. Of all forms of taxation this seems the wisest. Men who continue hoarding great sums all their lives, the proper use of which for public ends would work good to the community from which it chiefly came, should be made to feel that the community, in the form of the State, cannot thus be deprived of its proper share. By taxing estates heavily at death the State marks its condemnation of the selfish millionaire's unworthy life.
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Cited sources

• Edge, Laura Bufano (2004). Andrew Carnegie: Industrial Philanthropist. Lerner Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8225-4965-9. OCLC 760059951.
• MacKay, J. A. (1997). Little Boss: A life of Andrew Carnegie. ISBN 978-1851588329.
• Nasaw, David (2006). Andrew Carnegie. New York: The Penguin Press. ISBN 978-1-59420-104-2.
• Winkler, John K. (2006). Incredible Carnegie. Read Books. ISBN 978-1-4067-2946-7.


• Works by or about Andrew Carnegie at Internet Archive
• Works by Andrew Carnegie at Project Gutenberg
• Works by Andrew Carnegie at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)

Further reading

• Bostaph, Samuel. (2015). Andrew Carnegie: An Economic Biography. Lexington Books, Lanham, MD. ISBN 978-0739189832; 125pp online review
• Ewing, Heather. (2014). Life of a Mansion: The Story of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York. ISBN 978-0-910503-71-6
• Goldin, Milton. "Andrew Carnegie and the Robber Baron Myth". In Myth America: A Historical Anthology, Volume II. 1997. Gerster, Patrick, and Cords, Nicholas. (editors.) Brandywine Press, St. James, NY. ISBN 1-881089-97-5
• Hendrick, Burton Jesse/ The life of Andrew Carnegie (2 vol. 1933) vol 2 online; scholarly biography
• Josephson; Matthew. (1938). The Robber Barons: The Great American Capitalists, 1861–1901 ISBN 99918-47-99-5
• Krass, Peter. (2002). Carnegie Wiley. ISBN 0-471-38630-8, scholarly biography
• Lagemann, Ellen Condliffe (1992). The Politics of Knowledge: The Carnegie Corporation, Philanthropy, and Public Policy. U of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226467801.
• Lester, Robert M. (1941). Forty Years of Carnegie Giving: A Summary of the Benefactions of Andrew Carnegie and of the Work of the Philanthropic Trusts Which He Created. C. Scribner's Sons, New York.
• Livesay, Harold C. (1999). Andrew Carnegie and the Rise of Big Business, 2nd Edition. ISBN 0-321-43287-8 short biography by a scholar; online free
• Lorenzen, Michael. (1999). "Deconstructing the Carnegie Libraries: The Sociological Reasons Behind Carnegie's Millions to Public Libraries". Illinois Libraries. 81 (2): 75–78.
• Patterson, David S. "Andrew Carnegie's quest for world peace." Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 114#5 (1970): 371-383. online
• Rees, Jonathan. (1997). "Homestead in Context: Andrew Carnegie and the Decline of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers." Pennsylvania History 64(4): 509–533. ISSN 0031-4528
• VanSlyck, Abigail A. "'The Utmost Amount of Effective Accommodation': Andrew Carnegie and the Reform of the American Library." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 1991 50(4): 359–383. ISSN 0037-9808 (Fulltext: in Jstor)
• Wall, Joseph Frazier. Andrew Carnegie (1989). ISBN 0-8229-5904-6 (Along with Nasaw the most detailed scholarly biography) online free

External links

• Documentary: "Andrew Carnegie: Rags to Riches, Power to Peace"
• Carnegie Birthplace Museum website
• "Archival material relating to Andrew Carnegie". UK National Archives.
• Works by Andrew Carnegie at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• Booknotes interview with Peter Krass on Carnegie, November 24, 2002.
• Newspaper clippings about Andrew Carnegie in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
• Marguerite Martyn, "Andrew Carnegie on Prosperity, Income Tax, and the Blessings of Poverty," May 1, 1914, City Desk Publishing
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue Mar 31, 2020 5:21 am

Charles Goethe
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/30/20


Charles Matthias Goethe (March 28, 1875 – July 10, 1966)[1] was an American eugenicist, entrepreneur, land developer, philanthropist, conservationist, founder of the Eugenics Society of Northern California, and a native and lifelong resident of Sacramento, California.

Early life

Charles M. Goethe was born on March 28, 1875 in Sacramento California.[2] He pronounced his last name as GAY-tee.[3] Goethe's grandparents had immigrated to California from Germany in the 1870s.[2] Charles’ father was interested in agriculture and wild life. Both men also pursued careers in real estate as Charles made most of his money as a real estate broker.[2] Charles had passed the bar exam but did not pursue a career in law.[4]

As a child, Charles was interested in agriculture, biology, and the human body. In his diary, he kept a record of his diet and exercise, specifically noting days in which his regimen was not sufficient.[2] Goethe's additional childhood interest in various plants and animals evolved as he pressed and catalogued his findings.[2] His ideas concerning nature tied into his later views on eugenics, as he connected the evolution of nature to heredity.[2] Goethe explained in his memoir Seeking to Serve that his original interest in eugenics began as a child.[2]

Nature guide movement

Goethe (German pronunciation: [ˈɡøːtə] and occasionally incorrectly as "Gaytee") wrote admiringly of California’s Forty-Niners, the State’s giant redwood trees, and loved the outdoors. Goethe worked with organizations including the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society.[2] He and his wife have been called "The father and mother of the Nature Guide Movement,' initiating interpretive programs with the U.S. National Park Service.[5] The National Park Service made Goethe the “Honorary Chief Naturalist” for his work in this field.[2] This was motivated by their experience with nature programs in Europe and desire to educate visitors in the U.S. National Parks.[6] His motto was "Learn to Read the Trail-side as a Book." Goethe encouraged the general public to educate themselves about the evolution of nature as well, personally spending time dedicated to learning about different plants and animals.[2] He later introduced the Boy Scouts to Sacramento, due to his interest in furthering biological education for children.[2] As an adult, Goethe was a conservationist who worked to implement park rangers into national parks.[2]

Founder of Sacramento State College

Goethe founded California State University, Sacramento (Sacramento State College at the time), which in turn treated Goethe with the reverence of a founding father, appointed him chairman of the University's advisory board, dedicated the Goethe Arboretum to him in 1961, and organized an elaborate gala and 'national recognition day' to mark his 90th birthday in 1965, when he received letters of appreciation - solicited by his friends at CSUS - from the president of the Nature Conservancy, then-Governor Edmund G. Brown, and then-President Lyndon B. Johnson. As a result, in 1963, Goethe changed his will to make CSUS his primary beneficiary, bequeathing his residence, eugenics library, papers, and $640,000 to the University.[7]

When Goethe died, CSUS received the largest share of his $24 million estate.

Eugenics controversy

Charles Goethe worked near Arizona, focusing on health conditions in the 1920s.[2] Following his work in Arizona, Goethe desired to understand “the extent of the mestizo peril to the American ‘seed stock.'"[2] Essentially, Goethe was determined to discover the threat of Mexicans to the American population, in a eugenic sense. As a result, Goethe created the Immigration Study Commission.[2][4] With the help of his organization, Goethe hoped to ban Mexican entry into the United States of America. In addition, Goethe portrayed Mexicans as carriers of different diseases and germs. While he believed that certain Mexicans could appear as free of disease, they could in fact be silent carriers due to their health practices.[2] His ideas contributed to 1920s perceptions that the American melting pot had begun to integrate germs from certain races, specifically the Mexican race.[2]

Goethe was a strong proponent of positive eugenics.[4] His mentor was eugenicist Madison Grant, with whom he shared strong anti-immigrant beliefs. Like Grant, Goethe promoted his anti-immigrant and racist ideas through pamphlets and other tracts, and he lobbied with politicians and other bureaucrats.[8] Goethe created tiny pamphlets that he distributed to explain his beliefs concerning specific ethnic groups.[2] In these booklets, he explained the importance of family planning and eugenic practices to ensure the superiority of certain races. He invested nearly 1 million dollars to produce and distribute these pamphlets to increase biological literacy.[2] In addition to investing in these booklets, Goethe also invested in research for plant and biological genetics.[2]

Goethe also recommended compulsory sterilization of the 'socially unfit', opposed immigration, and praised German scientists who used a comprehensive sterilization program to 'purify' the Aryan race before the outbreak of World War II. Goethe also funded anti-Asian campaigns, praised the Nazis before and after World War II, and practiced discrimination in his business dealings, refusing to sell real estate to Mexicans and Asians.

Goethe believed a variety of social successes (wealth, leadership, intellectual discoveries) and social problems (poverty, illegitimacy, crime and mental illness) could be traced to inherited biological attributes associated with 'racial temperament'.

Working with the Human Betterment Foundation in Pasadena, California, Goethe lobbied the State to restrict immigration from Mexico and carry out involuntary sterilizations of mostly poor women, defined as 'feeble-minded' or 'socially inadequate' by medical authorities between 1909 and the 1960s.[7][9]

Goethe was also involved in the publication of multiple journals in which he expressed his views on eugenics. Goethe was involved with the journal Survey Graphic, serving as a member of the council. The journal had published information about typhus quarantines in Mexico in both 1916 and 1917.[2] In addition to Survey Graphic, Goethe was also featured in the journal Eugenics and explained his beliefs that Mexicans were the dirt of society.[2] In the journal from the American Eugenics Society, he explained that Mexicans were as low as Negros, and did not understand basic health rules, but also resisted healthy practices.[2] In his articles, Goethe also explained that Mexicans and South Europeans were responsible for stealing jobs from Americans and introducing germs to the people.[2]

Upon return from a trip to Germany 1934, which at the time was sterilizing over 5,000 citizens per month, Goethe reportedly told a fellow eugenicist, "You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought...I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people."[9] The Nazi eugenics movement eventually escalated to become The Holocaust, which claimed the lives of well over 10 million 'undesirables', including 6 million Jews.

In Sacramento, during Goethe's life, the advocacy of eugenics -the social philosophy of attempting to 'improve' the human population by artificial selection - was considered a progressive issue. Though it was opposed by many scientists who thought the understanding of human heredity was too shallow to create solid policy, and by religious leaders who opposed birth control of any form, in the years after the Holocaust it was not considered to be as radical as it is today.[9] Around 20,000 patients in California State psychiatric hospital were sterilized with minimal or non-existent consent given between 1909 and 1950, when the law went into general disuse before its repeal in the 1960s. A favorable report by Human Betterment Foundation workers E.S. Gosney and Paul B. Popenoe, touting the results of the sterilizations in California, was published in the late 1920s, which in turn was often cited by the Nazi government as evidence wide-reaching sterilization programs were feasible and humane.[10] When Nazi administrators went on trial for war crimes in Nuremberg after World War II, they justified their mass-sterilizations by pointing at the United States as their inspiration.

CSUS attempted to name a new science building after him in 1965, but that effort was rebuffed by students and teachers.[7] In 2005, the university changed the name of its arboretum and botanic garden from the Charles M. Goethe Arboretum to the University Arboretum without fanfare because of renewed attention to Goethe's virulently racist views, praise of Nazi Germany, and advocacy for eugenics.

On June 21, 2007, the school board of the Sacramento City Unified School District voted to rename the "Charles M. Goethe Middle School" to the "Rosa Parks Middle School".[11]

On January 29, 2008, the Sacramento Board of Supervisors stripped his name from one of Sacramento County's busiest parks.[12] On April 25, 2008, the Sacramento Bee reported that, with a nod from Internet voters and the county parks commission, the park will be renamed River Bend Park.[13]

Personal life

Charles Goethe married Mary Glide in 1903.[2] Glide came from a wealthy family and Goethe attempted to court Mary nine times before she accepted his offer.[2] According to Goethe, his wife Mary had refused his proposals since she feared that he was solely interested in her wealth. In addition, she rejected his attempts due to the fact that she was struggling with infertility.[2] The Goethes owned multiple ranches and invested money in the stock market, becoming a wealthy and lucrative family.[2] At the time of her death in 1946, Mary's estate was worth 1.5 million.[2] Her husband, Charles Goethe, had an estate worth 24 million when he died on July 10, 1966.[2] Charles Goethe did not have any children, presumably due to Mary's infertility.[citation needed]


• Manuelito of the Red Zerape by C. M. Goethe

See also

• Eugenics in the United States


1. Burke, Chloe. "Eugenics in California: Charles Matthias Goethe". Center for Science, History, Policy and Ethics, California State University, Sacramento. Archived from the original on 2015-12-17. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
2. Minna, Alexandra (2016). Eugenic Nation. University of California Press. pp. 69–165.
3. Burke, Chloe S.; Castaneda, Christopher J. (2007). "The Public and Private History of Eugenics: An Introduction". The Public Historian. 29 (3): 5–17. doi:10.1525/tph.2007.29.3.5.
4. Platt, Tony (2005). "Engaging the Past: Charles M. Goethe, American Eugenics, and Sacramento State University". Social Justice. 32: 17–33. JSTOR 29768305.
5. "The World's Largest Summer Camp," Yosemite Nature Notes 37(7):89-94 (July 1958) by Charles M. Goethe. Traces the origin of nature guiding in National Parks; reprinted from Nature Magazine
6. "Nature Study in National Parks Interpretive Movement," Yosemite Nature Notes 39(7):156-158 (July 1960) by Charles M. Goethe
7. Platt, Tony (February 29, 2004). "Curious historical bedfellows: Sac State and its racist benefactor: After receiving honors aplenty from university, C. M. Goethe left most of his big estate to it". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on 1 July 2004. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
8. Allen, Garland E. (2013). "'Culling the Herd': Eugenics and the Conservation Movement in the United States, 1900-1940". Journal of the History of Biology. 46: 31–72.
9. Beckner, Chrisanne (February 19, 2004). "Darkness on the edge of campus". Sacramento News and Review.
10. - 'Eugenics and the Nazis -- the California connection', Edwin Black, San Francisco Chronicle (November 9, 2003)
11. - Search Results[permanent dead link]
12. News - Goethe name is gone from park -[permanent dead link]
13. - River Bend favored as new name for Goethe Park -[permanent dead link]

External links

•[permanent dead link] - 'Online petition seeks to change name of arboretum', David Martin Olson, State Hornet (February 4, 2005)
• - 'Liberal California confronts years of forced sterilisation', Chris Ayres, Sunday Times (July 11, 2003)
• 'School to erase Goethe name? Staffers say honoring man with racist views insults the students.', Dorothy Korber, "The Sacramento Bee" (February 15, 2007)
• 'Ugly side of philanthropist divides (California State University, Sacramento)', Eric Stern, Bee Staff Writer, "The Sacramento Bee" (March 1, 2007)
• 'Goethe recalled fondly by some', Eric Stern, Bee Staff Writer, "The Sacramento Bee" (March 2, 2007)


California’s ‘number one citizen’ was a white supremacist, and he founded a state university: Charles M. Goethe, a wealthy eugenicist, was praised by the governor
by Stephanie Buck
Sep 17, 2017

Like his counterparts in Nazi Germany, Charles Goethe espoused eugenic methods of birth control as a means to preserve the aryan race. (Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

Charles M. Goethe invested a lot of money and philanthropy into Northern California. His environmental work earned him a prestigious park in his name, not to mention a school and some shiny plaques. He did good. He also believed white people were the superior race and needed to biologically quarantine themselves from diseased, delinquent Mexicans. If he could prevent brown people from procreating all together, even better.

At the time, this version of white supremacy didn’t stop politicians, educators, and community leaders from singing his praises. In fact, by mid century, Goethe’s name (pronounced “gay-tee”) was everywhere, enshrined in public parks and schools around the state capital. But after his death, and after decades of sanitizing the past, Goethe’s troubling legacy tumbled out.

American eugenics simmered in the early 20th century, then boiled into the 1920s and 1930s. Goethe was a strong force in advancing the conversation. He feared that Nordic people’s historical “contributions to all mankind” were under threat by “the coming of heterogeneity.” Under a guise of protecting this group, who, in California he interpreted as the state’s earliest pioneers, he founded the Immigration Study Commission in the early 1920s. Its target was “low powers,” otherwise known as Mestizos and Mexicans, that were infecting the nation’s “germ plasm,” according to Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America (2015).

In 1927, he wrote to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, “The Anglo-Saxon birthrate is low. Peons multiply like rabbits….If race remains absolutely pure, and if an old American-Nordic family averages three children while an incoming Mexican peon family averages seven, by the fifth generation, the proportion of white Nordics to Mexican peons descended from these two families would be as 243 to 16,807.”

Goethe lobbied to close the border and instructed his real-estate brokers not to sell to Mexican people, who he viewed as sub-intelligent criminals.

Eugenics gave “the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable,” according to one of its founders, Francis Galton. Eugenicists inferred that heredity proved humans were inherently unequal, and race was the primary marker of not only inferior and superior genes but also of social supremacy. Leaders in the movement claimed brown and black populations suffered from inferior health due primarily to intrinsically flawed biology. But the wealth and social influence enjoyed by Anglo-Saxon populations was proof of a vast intellectual edge, too. To protect whites from “contamination” was considered, by eugenicists, a noble cause in the purification of the human race.

Charles M. Goethe (1875–1966) lived as a respected member of California society. In recent years his bigotry has become a public embarrassment. (CSU Sacramento)

Already a member of several influential eugenics organizations, in 1933 Goethe organized and funded the Eugenics Society of Northern California. Over two decades, he lectured and lobbied with the goal of “reducing biological illiteracy.” During this time, he invested an estimated $1 million to publish pamphlets on racial superiority, family planning, tantrums against racial diversity, and other topics he considered related. In a 1936 presidential address to the national Eugenics Research Association, Goethe publicly defended Nazi Germany’s “honest yearnings for a better population” and proclaimed the country’s sterilization strategy as “administered wisely, and without racial cruelty.” (Two years earlier, Germany had sterilized roughly 5,000 people per month. Hitler praised America’s forced sterilization campaigns, such as Goethe’s, for the idea.) In his speech, Goethe emphasized the duty of Nordic nations to sterilize the “markedly social inadequate, such as those insane, blind, criminal by inheritance.” Between 1907 and 1940, tens of thousands of mostly poor women were involuntarily sterilized in the U.S. At least 20,000 Californians residing in state prisons and hospitals were sterilized before 1964, with laws supported by Goethe.

What made Goethe unique at the time wasn’t necessarily his white supremacist beliefs; it was the fact that he interwove racial pseudoscience with progressive tentpole issues, such as conservation and public education. Throughout his lifetime, he designated several redwood preserves, built playgrounds, financed an orphanage, established ranger programs, contributed to San Francisco’s Academy of Sciences planetarium, and, with his wife Mimi, was considered the founder of the interpretive parks movement. Each of these he considered a step toward the purification of a safer, cleaner, more wholesome, and white America.

His ideologies would conflict modern thinkers for decades, especially after Goethe’s name became the backbone of some of Northern California’s crowning establishments. Students at the California State University, Sacramento, with its commitment to diversity, stroll a campus that may not have existed without a white supremacist benefactor. The school’s arboretum, nestled behind a thicket of trees adjacent to the campus entrance, was named the “C.M. Goethe Arboretum.” The elder benefactor presented personal gifts to faculty members, sometimes via grants but also in the form of travel and “other matters.” In the mid-1960s, Sacramento Mayor James B. McKinney proclaimed March 28 “Dr. Charles M. Goethe Day” in honor of one of the city’s “most outstanding citizens.” The county board of supervisors named Goethe “Sacramento’s most illustrious citizen” and designated a portion of the American River Parkway in his honor; Goethe Park boasted 444 acres of oak trees and wild turkeys. And then there was Charles M. Goethe Middle School.

Praise poured in from media and politicians. In February of 1965, in Goethe’s 90th year, the California State Assembly honored the eugenicist with a resolution. The Sacramento Bee called him a “devoted Sacramentan who has brought national recognition to his city through a lifetime of unlimited contribution.” A telegram from President Lyndon Johnson praised “an American whose life has been so richly dedicated to the service of humanity.” Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren remembered Goethe’s “remarkable career of public service.” Governor Edmund Brown called him “our number one citizen.”

Poster for a 1977 rally against forced sterilization in California. (Rachael Romero/SF Poster Brigade via Library of Congress)

After his death in 1966, CSU Sacramento received a sizable portion of Goethe’s $24 million estate. Yet, in a 2004 paper for the university’s Division of Social Work, Professor Tony Platt reported that the university knew about Goethe’s views on race from the start. “Once his bigotry became a public embarrassment, especially in the context of the anti-racism movements of the mid-1960s and 1970s, the administration tried to surgically separate Goethe-the-conservationist from Goethe-the-eugenicist.” For several decades, the matter of benefitting from and decorating a white supremacist went mostly unaddressed.

Then Platt published some of Goethe’s long-buried tracts, which he discovered during his research at CSUS. The issue erupted. Sacramento activists fought to tear down Goethe’s name from the park and the middle school. Opponents claimed that removal was akin to historical erasure and would set a slippery precedent in political correctness. Nevertheless, Goethe Park is now River Bend, and Charles M. Goethe Middle School became Rosa Parks.

Today, another Sacramento elementary school still gets its mail delivered to Goethe Road. Some people would just as soon forget, as if it were that simple.

This article is part of our White Terror U.S.A. collection, covering the shameful history of white supremacy in America.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue Mar 31, 2020 5:54 am

Eugenics & Me: How a Hitler fan paid my mother's college tuition and sent me down a rabbit hole [Charles Goethe]
by Ben Westhoff
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Getty images

Shortly after the birth of my mother in Minneapolis in 1948, a man from Sacramento named Charles M. Goethe began sending my grandfather checks to put toward her college education. They were for small amounts — $36 here, $5 there — but they added up.

My mom, Catherine Reed, never met Goethe, and my grandparents didn’t know him in those days either. He was a rich, mysterious stranger who’d suddenly come into their lives.

A banker and real estate developer who promoted environmental causes, Goethe had a junior high school, a park, and an arboretum at Sacramento State named for him. The school’s president proclaimed him “Sacramento’s most remarkable citizen.”

For my grandparents — who were young scientists struggling to make ends meet — Goethe’s largesse was a gift from the gods.

He floated into their orbit after my grandfather became a professor at the University of Minnesota’s genetics institute. Goethe was passionate about the eugenics movement, a then-popular effort to improve America by regulating who could and couldn’t have babies. Ultimately, more than 60,000 American women and men with “undesirable” genes would be sterilized without their consent.

Eugenicists believed traits like criminality and “feeblemindedness” were genetic and could be eliminated from the population by sterilizing those who exhibited them. Thirty-three states permitted eugenic sterilization of those believed to be mentally unfit, promiscuous, criminal, epileptic, or in possession of other objectionable qualities.

Charles M. Goethe was a Hitler apologist who paid for my mom’s college.courtesy of Catherine Reed

Eugenicists also encouraged those of “sound genetic stock” to have more kids. That’s why Goethe was interested in my grandparents, who were both of Northern European ancestry and possessed Ph.Ds. He wanted them to have plenty of successful offspring. My mom graduated from Cornell University in 1969, debt free.

Back then eugenics was not yet a dirty word. For much of the 20th century it was considered a progressive cause with a devoted intellectual following — including doctors, lawyers, and, particularly, academics.

But Goethe took it further than most. He fought immigration, believed in white superiority, and defended Hitler in 1936. Among the Nazis’ many atrocities was the forced sterilization of hundreds of thousands of people under a plan that borrowed heavily from the American blueprint.

Upon Goethe’s 90th birthday in 1965, liberal titans including Lyndon Johnson and Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren paid tribute. He would die a year later. In the decades to follow, public opinion turned sharply.

His name became tainted, unceremoniously stripped from the Sacramento facilities that bore it.

Back in the Twin Cities, my grandfather faced a reckoning. He’d arrived from Harvard to lead the Dight Institute, a new genetics program at the University of Minnesota. In the ’50s and ’60s, he fostered an important new scientific discipline called genetic counseling — advising parents on the likelihood their kids would have hereditary diseases — and was featured in hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles, traveling the world and receiving praise from admirers that included the Pope.

But the source of his University of Minnesota funding, as well as his children’s college, would become increasingly problematic.

The story begins with the man for whom the institute was named, Charles Dight.

Dight was eccentric, to say the least. He resided in a treehouse. Seriously. It was next to Minnehaha Creek and built on stilts.

He wanted a good view of the creek, he explained, and was worried that if his home sat on the ground, leaves would bunch up against it and create a fire hazard.

It was cozy but not cramped, featuring multiple floors accessed by a spiral iron staircase, a small kitchenette in the cupola, a coal stove, and a pair of porches. Above the front door it read, “Truth Shall Triumph, Justice Shall be Law,” a quote from an anti-slavery sermon. Impressively, he designed the treehouse himself, although it had no sewage connection — which apparently caused someone to report him to the city health department.

He could also be annoying. Dight advocated for countless causes, from pasteurized milk to public hygiene, and always had a leaflet tucked in his pants, ready to talk your ear off. People were known to leave the room when they heard him coming.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1856, Dight trained as a doctor and settled in Minnesota around the turn of the century, a member of Hamline University’s medical college before it was absorbed into the U. The pay was bad, and he supplemented it by working for an insurance company.

In 1914 he was elected to the Minneapolis City Council as a socialist, and led the push for milk pasteurization laws. For his troubles he had a street named after him — Dight Avenue, which runs parallel to Hiawatha Avenue in Longfellow, next to a bunch of grain silos.

The reforms he favored weren’t always what we think of as left-wing causes today. Sure, he was against war, and believed in the “back to the land” movement. But he also crusaded for temperance and strongly believed pigs should be fed the city’s garbage. (The logic? That pigs would get rid of the waste for free and the city could subsequently make money selling the swine.)

Charles Dight, a socialist city councilman who lived in a treehouse, lobbied to sterilize away genetic defects. Courtesy of the University of Minnesota Archives.

Divorced with no kids, he built a huge nest egg by scrimping, saving, and, well, living in a treehouse. Toward the end of his life he finally decided how he’d like to spend his money: on the eugenics movement.

Eugenics initially piggybacked on the findings of Austro-Hungarian scientist (and monk) Gregor Mendel, who, through experiments breeding pea plants, discovered many important laws of heredity.

The eugenicists applied his principles to humans, speculating (without scientific basis) that negative human traits could be stamped from the species through sterilization. Eugenics soon took hold in academia and even received glowing endorsements in mainstream magazines like the Saturday Evening Post and Cosmopolitan.

Intelligence tests became widely administered (with often-flawed or racist methodologies), resulting in scientific classifications like “idiot,” “imbecile,” and “moron,” helping to determine who was eligible for sterilization.

In Minnesota more than 2,300 people were sterilized, mostly between 1928 and 1960. Many were institutionalized at Faribault’s School for the Feebleminded, which housed generations of the “mentally deficient,” “mentally ill,” epileptics, and others beginning in the late 19th century until finally closing in 1998.

Though Dight was a newcomer to the cause, he embraced it full bore. He started the Minnesota Eugenics Society, unsuccessfully lobbied for a eugenics tournament called the “Fitter Family Competition” at the Minnesota State Fair (these contests, popular around the country, awarded medallions to families who scored high on IQ tests and urine and blood samples), and authored a pamphlet called “Human Thoroughbreds, Why Not?”

Breeding quality people should be as much of a priority as breeding horses, he wrote, defining a thoroughbred as a person free of “inheritable defects.”

Sheldon Reed at the 1965 World Health Organization conference in Geneva. Courtesy of the University of Minnesota Archives.

The perfect human, in the eyes of most eugenicists, tended to be a white Northern European. Madison Grant’s influential 1916 tome The Passing of the Great Race classified “Nordic” Europeans as the superior race, and helped lay a foundation for Nazism in the process.

Dight took heart when Minnesota passed a sterilization law in 1925, which allowed the “feeble-minded and insane” to be “tubectomized or vasectomized” by order of doctors or psychologists. Dight didn’t feel the law went far enough, however, since it only applied to the institutionalized.

He preferred a law closer to that of Chancellor Adolf Hitler’s Germany, which in 1933 enacted the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring, permitting the sterilization of anyone possessing a supposed genetic problem ranging from unintelligence to alcoholism to blindness. On August 1 of that year, Dight sent Hitler a note wishing him well on his “plan to stamp out mental inferiority among the German people.”

“I trust you will accept my sincere wish that your effort along that line will be a great success,” he concluded. He received a thank you card with Hitler’s signature.

Dight never learned the full details of the Nazis’ great “success.” He died in 1938 from heart disease. In his will, he left around $100,000 to the University of Minnesota “to promote biological race betterment, better human brain structure and mental endowment by spreading abroad the knowledge of the laws of heredity and the principles of eugenics.”

The U was thrilled, and the Dight Institute was founded in 1941. Six years later they hired my grandfather, Sheldon Reed, to lead it.

There was only one problem. My grandfather wasn’t a eugenicist. He was a human geneticist, focused on how and why maladies were passed from one generation to the next. But human genetics was a nascent field. The eugenicists held many of the purse strings.

Elizabeth Reed, a Ph.D., saw her own career derailed due to the sexist practices of the time. Courtesy of Catherine Reed.

My name is Benjamin Reed Westhoff. I attended elementary school in Mankato, and our family moved to St. Paul before I started seventh grade. We lived a few blocks away from my grandparents’ house in Falcon Heights, where we visited regularly and ate my grandmother’s meatloaf. They spoiled my brother, sister, and me, overpaying for menial chores and offering sugary cereals like Cocoa Pebbles and Lucky Charms for breakfast. At home, all we got was Cheerios.

Grandpa Shelly, as we called him, was bald and short. He wasn’t a big conversationalist, but had a diverse range of interests, from ballroom dancing to nurturing African violets to learning Hmong. One of the few white people who could write the language, he taught illiterate immigrants how to read and write it, and he and my grandmother hosted newly arrived Hmong families at their house until they could get on their feet.

Back in 1947, he was new to Minnesota and barely getting by on a modest academic salary. He had just married my grandmother, Elizabeth Reed, a scientific powerhouse herself who was raised poor on an Ohio farm, washed laboratory glassware to pay her way through Ohio State, and earned a Ph.D. in biology when it was uncommon for women.

Elizabeth’s first husband was killed in World War II, and she had a young son, whom Shelly helped raise.

As was customary at colleges at the time, nepotism rules precluded the spouses of U professors from becoming professors themselves, a practice that continued until about 1970. Though she taught biology and genetics at the U’s College of Continuing Education and at Macalester and Hamline, and co-authored important studies on psychoses and mental disabilities with my grandfather, her career was largely derailed owing to the sexist norms of the time.

The Dight Institute, housed in the zoology building, had a skeleton staff at first. Part of Shelly’s job was raising money. As anyone who’s ever fundraised can tell you, this is often a huge pain. But shortly after starting he began a promising correspondence with the wealthy Charles Goethe.

“I am intensely interested in your appointment to be Director of the Dight Institute,” Goethe wrote in 1947. “We were in touch with Dr. Dight over a long period of years.”

Ben Westhoff: His mom had no idea her benefactor defended Hitler. Photo by Jay Senter.

It was a short letter and bore the Eugenics Society of Northern California’s logo. In February, 1948 Goethe asked if Shelly would be interested in “occasional small checks” for his department “toward getting you really at work on some Eugenics research.”

Shelly gladly accepted the checks, but from the start it was pretty clear he wasn’t doing eugenics. His big thing was genetic counseling, a term he coined. It examined a subject’s hereditary history to determine the odds that his or her offspring would have health problems.

This much was appealing to the eugenicists. But whereas they might have used the information to sterilize those with “defective” genes, Shelly instead helped people understand their situations so they could decide whether or not to have kids.

Dight staffers counseled thousands of people. DNA testing hadn’t yet been invented — it wasn’t even discovered until 1953 — and many nervous parents were grateful for his services.

Human genetics was becoming mainstream, and Shelly was regularly featured in newspapers. He was asked to weigh in on the controversial paternity case levied by actress Joan Barry against Charlie Chaplin. (Chaplin couldn’t have been the father, my grandfather insisted, after comparing the results of the parties’ blood tests — which the court, who ruled Chaplin the father, for some reason ignored.)

“Got Genes? Then You Must Read This Book,” read a Minneapolis Sunday Tribune headline in 1955, giving serious column inches to Shelly’s first book, Counseling in Medical Genetics. The tome was a hit, selling briskly around the world. It was translated into Italian by the Vatican Press, and Pope Pius XII himself praised it at a 1958 conference on blood transfusion in Rome.

“The effect of genetic consultation,” he said, “is to encourage parents to have more children than they would have had without it because the possibilities of having an unhappy case are less than they think.”

Though Shelly and Elizabeth lived modestly, his work was often glamorous. He hobnobbed and raised money alongside wealthy Minneapolis elites like the Cowles family, who owned the Minneapolis Star and the Tribune. Shelly sailed on luxury liners to conferences and visited genetics institutes in New Delhi, Tokyo, and Stockholm. The World Health Organization made him an adviser, and he spoke in Geneva.

There appears to have been occasional tension with Goethe. After all, Shelly spent his time on genetic counseling, not eugenics. In one letter Goethe emphasized that his money should be used for EUGENICS, in all caps. But for the most part he liked Shelly’s work, and their relationship grew personal in 1948.

“Last but not least in my personal opinion,” Shelly ended his March 9 correspondence that year, “is the fact that my wife and I became the parents of a daughter this last week end.”

“I am thrilled to hear of the arrival of the young lady,” Goethe wrote back immediately. “Will you permit me to send you the enclosed modest check to start the bank account for her college education?”

The amount is unknown, but this was the first of many he sent on her behalf, and for my uncle, born three years later. Though Goethe and my mother never met, he became increasingly enamored of her. “I often look at her sweet smile from the picture I have at my desk at the ranch’s office,” he wrote in 1953 as she turned five. “She is all you say.”

Was Goethe a bad dude? In some ways, yes. Definitely yes. He supported Hitler’s early eugenics efforts, and in 1936 even defended the “honest yearnings for a better population” at a time when Hitler’s persecution of Jews was well known.

He argued for limiting immigration, as did many eugenicists, whose lobbying efforts helped convince Congress to pass the Emergency Immigration Restriction Act of 1921, which dramatically curtailed the number of new arrivals from Southern and Eastern Europe.

This meant hundreds of thousands of Jews were denied entry to the U.S. in the run-up to World War II. My dad’s mother’s family, Orthodox Jews from Romania, made it in just under the wire. In 1941, Anne Frank’s father petitioned a U.S. official, in vain, to allow his family in.

On the other hand, Goethe’s efforts inarguably made life better for many in Sacramento and beyond. As a teen he began working for his father, a banker, and they developed much of the residential property in East Sacramento.

When he was a young man and his future wife denied his initial marriage proposal — “I don’t propose to marry a money-making machine” — he vowed to invest the bulk of their money in “human betterment.” Before long he quit the bank and they established Sacramento’s first playground and founded an orphanage.

He fought to save redwoods, contributed huge sums to Sacramento State, and helped launch the “interpretive parks” movement, which brought educational programs to the national park system.

As for my grandfather, I’m not the best person to conduct a moral evaluation. I will admit that it looks bad how willing he was to work with the eugenicists and accept their money, though he later said he didn’t know Dight supported Hitler.

Also interesting was his 1983 interview with City Pages, after his retirement, for a piece exposing the Dight Institute’s eugenics ties. He told writer Patricia Ohmans that he, like other geneticists, didn’t have a problem with the basic goal of improving society through better breeding, “but we still don’t know how to eliminate genes in any sensible fashion.”

Was Shelly a eugenicist in a geneticist’s lab coat? It doesn’t appear so. After spending days digging through the Dight Institute archives at the University of Minnesota, I’ve found no evidence he ever supported forced sterilizations or espoused racist, anti-immigrant viewpoints. He never argued for genetic superiority. And he and the Dight Institute ultimately failed to spread the principles of eugenics, as Dight had stipulated in his will.

In fact, it’s fair to say Shelly’s views on race were ahead of their time. In the archives was a draft of an address he delivered in 1951 at St. Mark’s Cathedral entitled “All Men Are Brothers Under the Skin.”

Families that couldn’t have kids would ask what type of babies they should adopt. In his book Counseling in Medical Genetics, published in 1955, he suggested that children of “mixed race ancestry” would make an excellent choice. At a time when interracial marriages were illegal in many states, these children were only “illegitimate because of social prejudice and pressure against a marriage that would have provided legitimacy.”

In one undated paper called Color of the U.S.A. — 3000 A.D., he addressed a question that white civil rights advocates sometimes heard: “Would you want your daughter to marry a Negro?”

“My answer is that is I want my daughter to marry whom she chooses,” he answered. “If her choice be a Negro, he has my approval in advance, as I trust her judgment completely.”

Growing up, I was proud of my family’s liberalism. My mother and grandmother were crusading feminists and abortion rights activists. Shelly was on Minnesota Planned Parenthood’s board of directors for many years. I volunteered for Sandy Pappas’ losing St. Paul mayoral campaign against Norm Coleman in 1997. Though I no longer live here, I still cheerlead for Minnesota’s enlightened Scandinavian liberalism, and am proud the state gave its electoral votes to Hillary Clinton.

But let’s be honest: Minnesota has a messed-up racial history.

It’s overwhelmingly white — 85 percent at the last census — and dominated by Northern European ancestry. These demographics are at least partly owing to the racist immigration laws enacted 100 years ago.

In recent decades the Twin Cities has welcomed large populations of Hmong and Somali immigrants, but racial earning disparities here are some of the worst in the nation. (To be fair, these populations haven’t had many generations to assimilate.)

That doesn’t mean things were handed to my grandparents on a platter. It’s true that Goethe saw my grandmother as sound genetic stock. Her family was Scotch-Irish and German, and she was intelligent.

But while he and other eugenicists believed that one’s genes largely determined one’s fate — that nature was far more important than nurture — this was not the case with Elizabeth, who died in 1996. Held back by gender discrimination, her environment affected her career more than her DNA.

“Elizabeth was pretty angry and bitter about this most of her life, because she was smarter and more hard-working than most men who got positions above her,” my mother told me.

My mom faced discriminatory advising herself at Cornell in the late ’60s, when she was exploring post-college options. “One of my advisers said women should not go to graduate school,” she says.

Eventually, she received a Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Northern Colorado and became an entomologist researcher for the U in the late ’80s. Like her mother, she never landed a tenure-track position, and in 2004 became an artist.

She doesn’t regret taking Goethe’s money. “It started when I was a baby, and I don’t think it’s anything I should be ashamed of,” she says. She had no idea he’d defended Hitler. Even so, that knowledge wouldn’t have changed her actions. “I would be totally opposed to his values, but I believe in the idea that you can take the devil’s money and do God’s work with it.”

Considering he died while she was in college, and she went into a different field, it wasn’t hard for her to avoid being tainted by Goethe’s money. It would have been much more difficult for my grandfather, but he seems to have avoided the trap too.

In fact, as I began to dig deeper into his academic archive, something particularly interesting emerged: It turns out that a study he published with my grandmother truly frustrated the eugenicists’ scientific case.

Back in the 1920s, many worried that dumb, loose women were running around having sex and birthing hordes of mentally deficient babies. No joke.

Eugenicists believed in a theory called “differential fecundity,” which held that low-intelligence women had stronger sex drives, and thus birthed more children. Since the smart women were only reproducing in modest numbers, society was therefore slowly dumbing itself into oblivion. (You may recall this as the plot of Idiocracy.) Thus the urgent necessity to sterilize these horny, rampaging women.

The only problem is the theory was baloney. My grandparents dispelled it in their 1965 book Mental Retardation: A Family Study. (You’ll have to excuse the title. “Mental retardation” was considered an acceptable scientific term at the time, applied to anyone with an IQ under 70.)

By that point eugenics fervor had slowed and the second wave of feminism was taking hold, but the basic principle of differential fecundity was still believed by many. Elizabeth was the lead author of the study, which surveyed over 80,000 people. It was the largest ever of its kind, an attempt to understand how mental deficiency was passed from generation to generation, and how society was impacted.

Turns out we weren’t turning into a nation of idiots. “Our work shows that the intelligence of the population is not dropping rapidly and that it might be increasing slowly,” it concludes, noting that “while a few of the retarded produce exuberantly large families of children with low average intelligence, most of the retarded produce only one child or no children at all.”

The book tackled difficult questions, like what to do about would-be parents who didn’t have the mental capacity to care for offspring. My grandparents recommended voluntary sterilization, so long as the subjects’ own parents or guardians gave consent. (The sterilization of the “intellectually disabled,” as it’s now known, remains a controversial issue to this day.)

Mental Retardation: A Family Study was reviewed as “monumental” and a “landmark.” At the time of its release, the eugenics movement was on its way out, and my grandparents’ findings only accelerated its demise.

The Dight Institute wasn’t long for this world either. Shelly retired in 1978, and without a strong successor, chaos ensued. In the coming decade it was renamed the Institute of Human Genetics and folded into the medical school. This was done not so much because of controversy over Dight or eugenics itself, but because the institute’s methods were growing obsolete. Human genetics had become medicalized, and genes were increasingly being studied at the molecular level, rather than through surveys and probability charts.

“At the Dight Institute, they were old-fashioned geneticists,” notes Neal Ross Holtan, medical director of St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health, who authored his Ph.D. dissertation on Shelly, the Dight Institute, and eugenics.

Genetic counseling, however, is still practiced to this day.

Sane people now agree that attempting to improve society by stripping away individuals’ reproductive sovereignty is a bad idea. But it’s trickier to pass judgment on people from another time. Was Dight an inspired activist or an overzealous, naive kook? Was Goethe a humanitarian or a monster? What about my grandfather?

Ultimately, these questions are probably moot. Dight’s name is gone from the genetics institute, Goethe’s name has been removed from Sacramento institutions he helped foster, and my grandfather, who passed in 2003, doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. They’re now officially obscure. Time will only make them more so.

Except, of course, to people like me. The people who knew and loved them.

To me, Shelly will always be the guy who let me dig my grubby little paws into a full box of Froot Loops to retrieve a plastic toy. He’ll always be the guy who gave me a special little present on each of my siblings’ birthdays, so I wouldn’t feel too left out. He’ll always be my grandpa. And that means more to me than any paper he wrote.
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Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/1/20

On January 17, 1945, as the Russian army approached Auschwitz, Mengele went from office to office methodically gathering his research materials. "He came into my office without a word," recounted pathologist Martina Puzyna. "He took all my papers, put them into two boxes, and had them taken outside to a waiting car." Mengele and the documents fled first to Gross-Rosen concentration camp, and then into Czechoslovakia. There he joined up with Hans Kahler, a close friend, coauthor and one of Verschuer's twins researchers. The Russians liberated Auschwitz on January 27, at about 3 P.M., and Mengele's horrors were quickly discovered. International commissions listed him as a war criminal. But Mengele slipped through the Allied manhunt and eventually escaped to South America. [1]

Even as the Allies closed in, Verschuer still hoped he and Hitler's Reich would prevail in its war against the Jews. Just months before Mengele abandoned Auschwitz, Verschuer published part of a lecture proclaiming, "The present war is also called a war of races when one considers the fight with World Jewry .... The political demand of our time is the new total solution [Gesamtlosung] of the Jewish problem." By the beginning of 1945, the Reich was collapsing. On February 15,1945, amid the chaos of Berlin's last stand, Verschuer found two trucks with which to ship his lab equipment, library, and several boxes of records to his family home in Solz. [2]

Nazi eugenicists continued their cover-up, in progress since the Normandy invasion. On March 12, 1945, Hans Nachtsheim, assistant director at the Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics, wrote Verschuer in Solz. "A mass of documents have been left here which should be or have to be destroyed should the enemy ever come close to here .... We should not choose a moment ... too late to destroy them." [3] In the first days of May, the Reich was reduced to rubble and der Fuhrer had killed himself. [4] Nazism and its eugenics were defeated. But now its architects and adherents would reinvent its past.

In April of 1946, the military occupation newspaper in Berlin, Die Neue Zeitung, published an article on various doctors who had fled Germany, and followed it up on May 3 with specific accusations against Verschuer. In the article, Robert Havemann, a communist and chemist who had resisted the Nazis, expressed out loud what many knew. He openly accused Verschuer of using Mengele in Auschwitz to obtain blood samples and eyeballs from whole murdered families. [5]

A nervous Verschuer reacted at once. He sent a sworn statement to Otto Hahn, the occupation-appointed administrator of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes, insisting that he had always opposed racial concepts. "Even before 1933," averred Verschuer, "but also after, I took personal risks and attacked, as a scientist, in speeches and in writing, the race concept of the Nazis .... I argued against attributing values to races, I warned against the high estimation of the Nordic race, and I condemned the misuse of the results of anthropology and genetics to support a materialistic and racial point of view of life and history." [6]

He went on to concede his relationship with Mengele, referring to him only as "Dr. M.," and insisting it was totally innocent. Verschuer stated, "A post-doc of my former Frankfurt Institute, Dr. M., was sent against his will to the hospital of the concentration camp in Auschwitz. All who knew him learned from him how unhappy he was about this, and how he tried over and over again to be sent to the front, unfortunately without success. Of his work we learned that he tried to be a physician and help the sick.... [7]

"After I went to Berlin [from Frankfurt]," Verschuer continued, "I began research on the individual specificity of the serum proteins and the question of their heredity .... For these experiments I needed blood samples of people of different geographic background .... At that time my former post-doc Dr. M. visited me and offered to obtain such blood samples for me within the context of his medical activity in the camp Auschwitz. In this manner I received -- during this time, certainly not regularly -- a few parcels of 20-30 blood samples of 5-10 mls." [8]

Verschuer then asked Hahn to give him a character reference, and even drafted a statement for Hahn to sign: "Professor von Verschuer is an internationally known scientist who has kept away from all political activity .... Professor von Verschuer had nothing to do with the errors and misuses of the Nazis, by which his scientific field was particularly hit. He kept his distance from them and, whenever he was confronted by them, he criticized them courageously." Hahn would not sign such a document. [9]

So Verschuer sought support from his allies in American eugenics. Shortly after Havemann's expose, Verschuer wrote to Paul Popenoe in Los Angeles, hoping to reestablish cooperative ties. On July 25, Popenoe wrote back, "It was indeed a pleasure to hear from you again. I have been very anxious about my colleagues in Germany .... I suppose sterilization has been discontinued in Germany?" Popenoe offered tidbits about various American eugenic luminaries and then sent various eugenic publications. In a separate package, Popenoe sent some cocoa, coffee and other goodies. [10]

Verschuer wrote back, "Your very friendly letter of 7/25 gave me a great deal of pleasure and you have my heartfelt thanks for it. The letter builds another bridge between your and my scientific work; I hope that this bridge will never again collapse but rather make possible valuable mutual enrichment and stimulation." Seeking American bona fides, Verschuer tried to make sure his membership in the American Eugenics Society was still active. "In 1940, I was invited to become a member of the American Eugenics Society," Verschuer wrote. "Now that this calamitous war has ended, I hope that this membership can be continued. I would be grateful if you might make a gesture in this matter. In this context, I would like to mention that in recent months a former employee, a person devoid of character, has made extremely defamatory statements about me, which have also found their way into the American press. Therefore, it is possible that persons who do not know me better might have formed a wrong opinion of me. You will surely understand that it is important to me that any damage to my reputation be repaired and I would be very grateful for your kind help in doing so." [11]

Verschuer wrote again at the end of September 1946, requesting Popenoe's help. Because Verschuer was considered part of the Nazi medical murder apparatus, the Americans had halted his further work. "Since I wrote you," said Verschuer, "I have learned that the American military government does not intend to permit the continuation of my scientific work. This attitude can only be due to the spread of false information about me and my work. I have regularly sent you all of my scientific publications and you have known me for many years through correspondence. Therefore, may I ask for two things? 1. For a letter of recommendation from yourself and other American scientists who know me, stating that you know me as a serious scientific researcher and that you value my continued scientific work; 2. I ask you and other American geneticists and eugenicists who know me to undertake steps with the American military government in Germany to bring about the granting of permission for me to continue my life's work as a scientific researcher. It is my urgent wish that I be able to rebuild genetic and eugenic science from the ruins we stand upon in every area in Germany, a science that -- free of the misuse of past years -- may again attain international renown." [12]

Popenoe, who had also been corresponding with Lenz, was eager to be helpful, but uncomfortable standing up for an accused Nazi doctor. "I am distressed to hear that you may not be allowed to go ahead with your scientific work," Popenoe replied to Verschuer on November 7, 1946, "but it is hard for me to see how any of us over here could give any evidence that would be of value to you, even if we knew where to send it. Of course we could all testify that your scientific work before the war was objective and maintained very high standards. But if you have been 'denazified,' as I take to be the case from what you say, it was certainly not for that work, which is the only work I know about. None of us over here knows anything about what was going on in Germany from about 1939 onwards, but I suppose the action taken against you is due to your prominence in public life, as the successor of Eugen Fischer (who has been attacked bitterly in this country), etc. I could say nothing that would be pertinent, because I don't know anything about it. I am being perfectly frank with you, as you see .... But as it stands now, all I could say is: 'All his work that I saw before the war was of high quality,' and the authorities would presumably reply, 'That has nothing to do with it.''' [13]

Correspondence bounced back and forth between the two until Popenoe finally sent a brief letter of endorsement, limited to the prewar years. Verschuer then asked if he could be invited to join the faculty of an American university. "I have inquired from some leaders in American genetics," Popenoe replied, "and they all feel that it will be a long time before any university here is ready to offer a position to any German scientist who occupied an important position in Germany during the war years. As you perhaps know, our army brought over a number of physicists and other specialists, and their presence in this country has led to many protests and recriminations. I think it is out of the question, therefore, for you to look forward to any scientific activity here in the next few years -- much as I myself should like to have a visit from you." [14]

Throughout late 1947 and 1948, Verschuer continued corresponding with leading eugenicists and geneticists at American institutions, seeking to reestablish academic exchanges and professional standing. He submitted one of his older books for a new review by the American Eugenics Society. Popenoe promptly assured he would review it in a new eugenic publication called Family Life, and then bemoaned the loss of German eugenic publications. "It is sad to think," Popenoe wrote, "that the scientific journals, and even the publishing houses that produced them no longer exist!" Verschuer also began exchanges with scientists at the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota. These were received with goodwill and even enthusiasm. When Nazi agitator C. M. [Charles Matthias] Goethe of California received Verschuer's letter, he replied that he was "thrilled." [15]

While Verschuer was busy reestablishing his support in America, he was rehabilitating himself in occupied Germany as well. After making his accusations public, Havemann organized a committee of Kaiser Wilhelm Institute scientists to examine the evidence against Verschuer. They ruled that Verschuer indeed had engaged in despicable acts in concert with Mengele at Auschwitz, but their report was kept secret for fifteen years. In 1949, while the first report remained under lock and key, a second board of inquiry was urged to reexamine the issue. This second board unanimously ruled that he had committed no transgressions involving Auschwitz, and indeed that "Verschuer has all the qualities which qualify him to be a researcher and teacher of academic youth." Virtually comparing Verschuer to Christ being crucified, the esteemed panel of German scientists declared they could not sit in judgment of him as "Pharisees" (Pharisaerhaft). [16]

Soon, Verschuer once again became a respected scientist in Germany and around the world. In 1949, he became a corresponding member of the newly formed American Society of Human Genetics, organized by American eugenicists and geneticists. Hermann Joseph Muller of Texas, a Rockefeller fellow who had worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research during 1932, served as the first president of the American Society of Human Genetics. [17]

In the fall of 1950, the University of Munster offered Verschuer a position at its new Institute of Human Genetics, where he later became a dean. At about that time he helped found the Mainz Academy of Sciences and Literature, which later published his books, including one on cancer. In the early and mid-1950s, Verschuer became an honorary member of numerous prestigious societies, including the Italian Society of Genetics, the Anthropological Society of Vienna, and the Japanese Society for Human Genetics. [18]

A later president of the American Society of Human Genetics, Kurt Hirschhorn, remembered his own encounter with Verschuer in about 1958. An Austrian Jew, Hirschhorn had come to the United States as a refugee during the Hitler era. Hirschhorn became a genetic researcher and, while on a fellowship to Europe, he had visited Verschuer at the University of Munster. "Verschuer was partly responsible for the whole extermination," Hirschhorn related emphatically during a February 2003 interview. "He was the one that gave the Nazis the pseudo-genetic rationale to destroy the Jews and Gypsies. He was part of the organization [American Society of Human Genetics] in 1949 because in those days ... it was all covered up. No one really knew. But I'll never forget. I was sitting in his university office in Munster as a young man, and he asked a lot of personal questions about my background, and so forth, until he found out I was Jewish. I knew who he was by that time. I took a great deal of pleasure in telling him that I came to the United States from Austria, and when I turned eighteen, I enlisted in the army and went over there and fought the Nazis -- and went right through Munster. He was taken aback." [19]

In the 1960s, Frankfurt prosecutors were obliged by international pressure to continue their hunt for Nazis. The same prosecutors who investigated Mengele examined his relationship to Verschuer but concluded there was no connection between the two. Benno Muller-Hill, a German geneticist, later investigated Verschuer's activities. Muller-Hill reviewed Verschuer's many written defenses, including the one in which Verschuer claimed that while in Auschwitz, Mengele "tried to be a physician and help the sick." Writing in the journal History and Philosophy of Science, Muller-Hill described Verschuer's account as "Lies, lies, lies." [20]

Verschuer was never prosecuted. In 1969, he was killed in an automobile accident. But the legacy of his torturous medicine, twisted eugenics and conscious war crimes lives on.


As the ashes of Jews and Gypsies wafted into the air of Europe and were dumped into the Vistula River coursing through the heart of Europe, so their victimization flowed into the mainstream of modern medical literature. Medical literature evolves from decade to decade. As American eugenic pseudoscience thoroughly infused the scientific journals of the first three decades of the twentieth century, Nazi-era eugenics placed its unmistakable stamp on the medical literature of the twenties, thirties and forties.

The writings of Nazi doctors not only permeated the spectrum of German medical journals, they also appeared prominently in American medical literature. These writings included the results of war crime experimentation at concentration camps.
Verschuer's own bibliographies, circa 1939, enumerated a long list of Nazi scientific discoveries, authored by him, his colleagues and assistants, including Mengele. Such scientific publication continued right through the last days of the Third Reich. The topics included everything from rheumatism, heart disease, eye pathology, blood studies, brain function, tuberculosis, and the gastric system to endless permutations of hereditary pathology. [21] Much of it was sham science. Some of it was astute. Both types found their way into the medical literature of the fifties and sixties. Hence, Nazi victimization contributed significantly to many of the modern medical advances of the postwar period.

For example, the Nazis at Dachau, using ice water tests, were the first to experimentally lower human body temperature to 79.7 degrees Fahrenheit -- this to discover the best means of reviving Luftwaffe pilots downed over the North Sea. Nazi scientists learned that the most effective method was rapid rewarming in hot water. Nuremberg testimony revealed that Dr. Sigmund Rascher, who oversaw these heinous hypothermia tests, prominently reported his breakthroughs at a 1942 medical symposium with a paper entitled "Medical Problems Arising from Sea and Winter." [22]

After the war, Rascher's conclusions were gleaned from Nazi reports and reluctantly adopted by British and American air-sea rescue services. A Nuremberg war crimes report on Nazi medicine summed up the extreme discomfort of Allied military doctors: "Dr. Rascher, although he wallowed in blood ... and in obscenity ... nevertheless appears to have settled the question of what to do for people in shock from exposure to cold .... The method of rapid and intensive rewarming in hot water ... should be immediately adopted as the treatment of choice by the Air-Sea Rescue Services of the United States Armed Forces." [23]

Rascher reported to Hubertus Strughold, director of the Luftwaffe Institute for Aviation Medicine. Strughold attended the Berlin medical conference that reviewed Rascher's revelations. A Nazi scientist wrote at the time that there were no "objections whatsoever to the experiments requested by the Chief of the Medical Service of the Luftwaffe to be conducted at the Rascher experimental station in the Dachau concentration camp. If possible, Jews or prisoners held in quarantine are to be used." [24]

After the war, Strughold was smuggled into the United States under the infamous Operation Paperclip project, which offered Nazi scientists refuge and immunity in exchange for their scientific expertise. Once in the U.S., Strughold became the leader in American aviation medicine. His work was directly and indirectly responsible for numerous aeromedical advances, including the ability to walk effortlessly in a pressurized air cabin -- now taken for granted -- but which was also developed as a result of Dachau experiments. He was called "the father of U.S. Space Medicine," and Brooks Air Force Base in Texas named its Aeromedical Library in his honor. A celebratory mural picturing Strughold was commissioned by Ohio State University. When Jewish and Holocaust-survivor groups, led by the Anti-Defamation League, discovered the honors extended to Strughold, they objected. Ohio State University removed its mural in 1993. The U.S. Air Force changed its library's name in 1995. [25]

In 2003, the state of New Mexico still listed Strughold as a member of its International Space Hall of Fame. But on February 13, 2003, when this reporter asked about their honoree's Nazi connection, a startled museum official declared, "If he was doing experiments at Dachau, it would give one pause why anyone would ever nominate him in the first place." Museum officials added they would immediately look into removing his name. [26]

Another case involved Nazi doctors Hallervorden and Spatz. In 1922, the two had successfully identified a rare and devastating brain disease caused by a genetic mutation. The disease came to be known as Hallervorden-Spatz Syndrome in their honor. During the Hitler era, while working at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research, Hallervorden and Spatz furthered their research by utilizing hundreds of brains harvested from T-4 victims. Right through the 1960s, Hallervorden authored numerous influential scientific papers on the subject. For decades, the name Hallervorden-Spatz has been used by the leading medical institutions in the world, honoring the two Nazis who discovered the disorder. Thousands of articles and presentations have been made on the topic, using the name Hallervorden-Spatz. Medical investigators created an "International Registry of Patients with Hallervorden-Spatz Syndrome and Related Disorders." [27]

Leading family support groups involved with the disorder have also taken their organizational names from the two Nazi doctors. But the news about Hallervorden and Spatz's Nazi past recently became known to many in the field. In 1993, two doctors expressed the view of many in a letter to the editor of the journal Neurology. "It is also time to stop using the term, 'Hallervorden-Spatz disease' whose only purpose is to honor Hallervorden by using his name." Another journal, Lancet, expressed a similar view in 1996, describing the continued honorary use of the name "Hallervorden-Spatz" as "indefensible" because "both Hallervorden and Spatz were closely associated with the Nazi extermination policies." [28]

In January of 2003, the Hallervorden-Spatz Syndrome Association renamed itself the NBIA Disorders Association; the acronym was derived from "neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation." Just after the announcement, the newly-renamed association's president, Patricia Wood, told this reporter that the name change was certainly due to the legacy of Nazi experiments attached to Hallervorden and Spatz. The association's website confirmed that the name change was driven by "concerns about the unethical activities of Dr. Hallervorden (and perhaps also Dr. Spatz) involving euthanasia of mentally ill patients during World War II." [29]

The National Institutes of Health also adopted the Hallervorden-Spatz appellation for its research into the disease. NIH convened a two-day workshop on the disorder in May of 2000. As of March 2003, the National Institutes of Health continues to maintain a Hallervorden-Spatz Disease Information web page. On February 13, 2003, an NIH spokesman said that the institute was becoming aware of the Hallervorden-Spatz Nazi legacy and monitoring name changes in the field. "It is unfortunate that the two people who have discovered and researched this disease have undergone political scrutiny," the spokesman said, "but I don't see any name change at this time." The spokesman stressed that the problem was mere "political scrutiny." The spokesman did confirm that the institute would adjust its website's search engine to permit the term "NBIA" to reach its Hallervorden-Spatz information sites. [30]

Nazi medical victims suffered torture to substantially advance Reich scientific knowledge and modern medicine. Then the murdered specimens were delivered to the likes of Verschuer and Hallervorden and their eugenic institutions. But then what? After the war, victims' remains were transferred to or maintained by some of Germany's leading medical research facilities. Hence the exterminated continued to provide organic service to German medicine. In 1989, the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, the successor to Hallervorden's center, admitted that it still possessed thirty tissue samples in its files. That same year, tissue samples and skeletons were also found in universities in Tubingen and Heidelberg. In 1997, investigators confirmed that the University of Vienna's Institute of Neurobiology still housed four hundred Holocaust victims' brains. The University of Vienna had functioned as part of the Reich after Austria's union with Germany in 1938. Similar discoveries have been made elsewhere in former Nazi-occupied Europe. [31]

-- War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race, by Edwin Black

Professor Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer
Otmar von Verschuer (rear) supervises the measurement of two men's head circumference as part of an anthropometric study of heredity.
Born: 16 July 1896, Wildeck, German Empire
Died: 8 August 1969 (aged 73), Münster, West Germany
Citizenship: German
Scientific career
Fields: Human biology, human genetics
Institutions: Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, University of Münster

Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer (16 July 1896 – 8 August 1969) was a German human biologist and geneticist, who was the Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Münster until he retired in 1965. A member of the Dutch noble Verschuer family, his title Freiherr is often translated as baron.

He was regarded as a pioneer in the twin methodology of genetics research and in the study of the inheritance of diseases and anomalies.[1] A eugenicist with an interest in racial hygiene, he was an advocate of compulsory sterilization programs in the first half of the 20th century.[2][3] Among his many students was Josef Mengele.

He successfully redefined himself as a geneticist in the postwar era. During the 1950s and 1960s, he was known for research on the effects of nuclear radiation on humans and for his warnings against the possibility of creating "scientifically improved" human beings offered by genetic science.

Verschuer was the director of the Institute for Genetic Biology and Racial Hygiene from 1935 to 1942 and director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics from 1942 to 1948. From 1951 to 1965, he was Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Münster, where he also served as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. At Münster, he established one of the largest centers of genetics research in West Germany, and remained one of the world's most prominent genetics researchers until his death. He became Professor Emeritus in 1965; he received numerous memberships in learned societies. In 1952 he was elected President of the German Anthropological Association. His son Helmut von Verschuer was a high-ranking official of the European Commission.


Otmar von Verschuer was born into a noble family originally from Gelderland, Netherlands; the Verschuer family remains prominent in the Netherlands, where it is known as van Verschuer. From birth he held the title of Freiherr (baron), a title that had been granted to several family branches by the Holy Roman Emperor, the Dutch king, and the elector of Hesse. He was mainly of Dutch, German, Estonian/Baltic German, and Swedish descent, and had distant Scottish ancestry. His father Hans von Verschuer was a businessman who owned a mining company, while his mother Charlotte née von Arnold was originally from Estonia; her family was ennobled in Russia in the mid-19th century and was partially resident in Sweden. He was a descendant of the House of Stuart through his 6th great grandmother Brita Stuart, a Swedish noblewoman of Scottish royal descent.[4]

Otmar von Verschuer was the father of Helmut Freiherr von Verschuer (also known as Helmut van Verschuer), a high-ranking official of the European Commission, and the grandfather of the Belgian-German actor, Leopold Freiherr von Verschuer (born 1961 in Brussels).[5]

Early career

Verschuer served in the First World War and had been promoted to first lieutenant by 1918. From 1919, he studied medicine at the University of Marburg. He earned a doctorate in medicine at LMU in 1923 and a habilitation at the University of Tübingen in 1927. In 1927, he became head of department for human genetics at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics.

Nazi era

In 1935, Verschuer became a member of the congregation of the anti-Nazi pastor Otto Fricke, a leading member of the Confessing Church. He also maintained a close friendship with his relative, Adam von Trott zu Solz, a leading resistance figure. Despite his proximity to the Confessing Church, he joined the Nazi Party in 1940, although he wasn't actively involved with politics.

In the late stages of the Second World War, Verschuer directly or indirectly started to use research material obtained in the Auschwitz concentration camp, mainly through his former student Josef Mengele, who served there as a camp physician.[6]

Verschuer was never tried for war crimes despite many indications that he not only was fully cognisant of Mengele's work at Auschwitz, but even encouraged and collaborated with Mengele. In a report to the German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; DFG) from 1944, Verschuer talked about Mengele's assistance in supplying the KWIfA with some "scientific materials" from Auschwitz:

My assistant, Dr. Mengele (M.D., Ph.D.) has joined me in this branch of research. He is presently employed as Hauptsturmführer and camp physician in the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Anthropological investigations on the most diverse racial groups of this concentration camp are being carried out with permission of the SS Reichsführer [Himmler]; the blood samples are being sent to my laboratory for analysis.

Verschuer wrote in the report that the war conditions had made it difficult for the KWIfA to procure "twin materials" for study, and that Mengele's unique position at Auschwitz offered a special opportunity in this respect. In the summer of 1944, Mengele and his Jewish slave assistant Dr. Miklós Nyiszli sent other "scientific materials" to the KWIfA, including the bodies of murdered Gypsies, internal organs of dead children, skeletons of two murdered Jews, and blood samples of twins infected by Mengele with typhus.

He was accepted during the war as a member of the American Eugenics Society, a position he kept until his death.

Post-war career

As the war was drawing to a close in 1945, Verschuer moved the files of the KWIfA into the Western part of Germany, hoping for a more favorable response from the advancing Allied armies than from the advancing Soviet Army. In late 1945 or early 1946, he petitioned the mayor of Frankfurt to allow him to reestablish the KWIfA. However, the commission in charge of rebuilding the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft decreed that "Verschuer should be considered not as a collaborator, but one of the most dangerous Nazi activists of the Third Reich." The KWIfA was not reestablished.

In 1951, Verschuer was awarded the prestigious professorship of human genetics at the University of Münster, where he established one of the largest centers of genetics research in West Germany. Like many "racial hygienists" of the Nazi period, and many American eugenicists, Verschuer was successful in redefining himself as a genetics researcher after the war, and avoided the taint of his work with Nazi eugenics. Many of his wartime students were similarly appointed to top positions in universities of Erlangen, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, and Münster.

In his denazification hearing, Verschuer was deemed to be a Nazi fellow traveler (Mitläufer, a relatively mild categorization meaning someone who was neither a supporter or member of the regime nor an active opponent), and fined 600 Reichsmark. He was never prosecuted for his research activities during the war. Leo Alexander who investigated the case concluded that no solid evidence could be found, and considered it likely that Verschuer had destroyed any possibly incriminating material.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Verschuer led major research projects on the effects of nuclear radiation on humans. Deeply religious, he also concerned himself with questions of Christian ethics, and argued that eugenics must be based on human dignity and love for mankind; according to historian Sheila F. Weiss he "turned his back on" Nazi beliefs. In the 1960s he warned against human geneticists trying to create "scientifically improved" human beings.[7]

Verschuer died in 1969 in an automobile accident.


• 1934: Fellow of the Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
• 1943: Fellow of the Prussian Academy of Sciences
• 1949: Fellow of the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur
• 1949: Corresponding member of the American Society of Human Genetics
• 1953: Honorary member of the Italian Society of Medical Genetics
• 1955: Honorary member of the Anthropological Society of Vienna
• 1956: Honorary member of the Japanese Society of Human Genetics
• 1959: Corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences
• 1961: Among the founders of The Mankind Quarterly


• Erbpathologie (Hereditary pathology, 1934).[8]
• Erbbiologie als Unterlage der Bevölkerungspolitik (Hereditary biology as a basis for the population policy). First published in 1933, re-published and modified in 1936.[8]
• Rassenhygiene als Wissenschaft und Staatsaufgabe (Racial hygiene as Science and State function, 1936).[8]
• Leitfaden der Rassenhygiene (Textbook of Racial hygiene, 1944).[8]
• Eugenik. Kommende Generationen in der Sicht der Genetik (Eugenics: Coming Generations in the view of Genetics, 1966).[8]


Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a former title (translated as Baron). In Germany since 1919, it forms part of family names. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin.
1. Björn M. Felder, Paul J. Weindling, Baltic Eugenics: Bio-Politics, Race and Nation in Interwar Estonia, p. 310
2. Nicholas Wade, "IQ and Heredity: Suspicion of Fraud Beclouds Classic Experiment", Science 26 November 1976: 916–919.
3. D. D. Dorfman, "The Cyril Burt Question: New Findings", Science 29 September 1978: Vol. 201 no. 4362 pp. 1177–1186
4. Niclas von Rothstein (2014), "von Arnold." Ointroducerad adel 2015 : kalender över Ointroducerad adels förening, ISBN 9789163766510
5. Hans W. Geissendörfer, Ediths Tagebuch: Erinnerungen, Essays, Personen-Beschreibungen, p. 115, 1983
6. A display of von Verschauer in relation to Mengele appeared during 2011 in the exhibit "Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race" in the Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.Kerns, William (21 February 2011). "Deadly medicine [photo of von Verschuer appears in the print edition only]". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. pp. B1, B4. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
7. Über einen faustischen Pakt
8. Westermann, Kühl, Gross (2009), p. 78


• Westermann, Stefanie; Kühl, Richard; Gross, Dominik, eds. (2009), Medizin und Nationalsozialismus vol. 1: Medizin im Dienst der "Erbgesundheit": Beiträge zur Geschichte der Eugenik und "Rassenhygiene" (English: Medicine and National Socialism, Vol. 1: Medicine at work, the "hereditary health": Contribution to history of Eugenics and "race hygiene"), LIT Verlag Münster, ISBN 978-3643104786

See also

• Nazi eugenics
• Dr Heinrich Gross


• Sheila Faith Weiss: After the Fall. Political Whitewashing, Professional Posturing, and personal Refashioning in the Postwar Career of Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer. Isis, Vol. 101 (2010), 722–758.
• Peter Degen, "Racial Hygienist Otmar von Verschuer, the Confessing Church, and comparative reflections on postwar rehabilitation," pp. 155–65 in Jing Bao Nie, Japan´s Medical Wartime Atrocities (London: Routledge&Kegan, 2010)
• Robert N. Proctor, Racial Hygiene: Medicine under the Nazis, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988.
• Paul Weindling, "'Tales from Nuremberg': The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology and Allied medical war crimes policy," in Geschichte der Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft im Nationalsozialismus: Bestandaufnahme und Perspektiven der Forschung, ed. Doris Kaufmann, v.2 (Goettingen: Wallstein, 2000), 635–652.
• Katrin Weigmann: "In the name of science. The role of biologists in Nazi atrocities: lessons for today's scientists" in EMBO Reports v.2 #10 (2001), 871–875.
• Eric Ehrenreich, "Otmar von Verschuer and the 'Scientific' Legitimization of Nazi Anti-Jewish Policy," Holocaust and Genocide Studies 2007 21(1):55–72

External links

• Works by or about Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer at Internet Archive
• "In the name of science" EMBO Reports article about KWI scientists' wartime atrocities, with images of Verschuer
• "Skeletons in the Closet of German Science" Deutsche Welle article on Verschuer's research connection to Mengele
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Society for Biodemography and Social Biology [American Eugenics Society [The Society for the Study of Social Biology]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/1/20

The Society for Biodemography and Social Biology
Formation 1922
Location: United States
President: Hans-Peter Kohler
Formerly called: The Society for the Study of Social Biology;[1] The American Eugenics Society[2]

The Society for Biodemography and Social Biology, formerly known as the Society for the Study of Social Biology and before then as the American Eugenics Society,[1] is dedicated to "furthering the discussion, advancement, and dissemination of knowledge about biological and sociocultural forces which affect the structure and composition of human populations."[3]


The Society formed after the success of the Second International Congress on Eugenics (New York, 1921). The founders included Madison Grant, Harry H. Laughlin, Irving Fisher, Henry Fairfield Osborn, and Henry Crampton. The organization started by promoting racial betterment, eugenic health, and genetic education through public lectures, exhibits at county fairs, etc.

Under the direction of Frederick Osborn the society started to place greater focus on issues of population control, genetics, and, later, medical genetics. In 1930, the Society included mostly prominent and wealthy individuals, and membership included many non-scientists. The demographics of the Society gradually changed, and by 1960, members of the Society were almost exclusively scientist and medical professionals. Consequentially, the society focused more on genetics and less on class-based eugenics.[2]

After the Roe v. Wade decision was released in 1973, the Society was reorganized and renamed The Society for the Study of Social Biology.[2] Osborn said, "The name was changed because it became evident that changes of a eugenic nature would be made for reasons other than eugenics, and that tying a eugenic label on them would more often hinder than help their adoption. Birth control and abortion are turning out to be great eugenic advances of our time."[4][5]

The name was most recently changed to Society for Biodemography and Social Biology.[1]


The Society's official journal is Biodemography and Social Biology, which was originally established in 1954 as Eugenics Quarterly. It was renamed to Social Biology in 1969 and to its current title in 2008.[6]

List of presidents

Irving Fisher 1922–26 (Political Economy, Yale University)
• Roswell H. Johnson 1926–27 (Cold Spring Harbor, Univ. of Pittsburgh)
• Harry H. Laughlin 1927–29 (Eugenics Record Office)
• C. C. Little 1929 (Pres., University of Michigan)
• Henry Pratt Fairchild 1929–31 (Sociology, New York University)
• Henry Farnham Perkins 1931–34 (Zoology, University of Vermont)
• Ellsworth Huntington 1934–38 (Geography, Yale University)
• Samuel Jackson Holmes 1938–40 (Zoology, University of California)
• Maurice Bigelow 1940–45 (Columbia University)

• Frederick Osborn 1946–52 (Osborn-Dodge-Harriman RR connection)
• Harry L. Shapiro 1956–63 (American Museum of Natural History)
• Clyde V. Kiser 1964–68 (differential fertility, Milbank Memorial Fund)
• Dudley Kirk 1969–72 (Demographer, Stanford University)
• Bruce K. Eckland 1972–75 (Sociology, University of North Carolina)
• L. Erlenmeyer-Kimling 1976–78 (Genetic Psychiatry)
• Gardner Lindzey 1979–81 (Center for Advanced Study, Behavioral Sciences)
• John L. Fuller 1982–83 (Behavioral genetics)
• Michael Teitelbaum 1985–1990 (US Congress staff; US population policy)
• Robert Retherford 1991–1994 (East-West Institute, Hawaii; funded by AID)
• Joseph Lee Rodgers 1994, 1995 (family influences)
• Current: Hans-Peter Kohler

See also

• United States portal
• American Society of Human Genetics
• British Eugenics Society
• Eugenics in the United States
• Human Betterment Foundation


1. Eugenics, Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology, (2014, pp 619-626) ISBN 978-1-4614-5583-7
2. American Eugenics Society, Controlling Heredity.
3. The Society for Biodemography and Social Biology, Homepage (Last retrieved Nov 26, 2014) Archived 2013-04-14 at
4. Messall, Rebecca (Fall 2004). "The Long Road of Eugenics: From Rockefeller to Roe v. Wade". The Human Life Review. 30 (4): 33–74, 67. PMID 15856597.
5. American Eugenics Society, Inc. (1931). Organized eugenics: January 1931. pp. 3, 65.
6. "Biodemography and Social Biology Publication History".

External links

• The Society for Biodemography and Social Biology
• Biodemography and Social Biology The academic journal.


American Eugenics Society (1926-1972)
by Rachel Gur-Arie
Arizona State University. School of Life Sciences. Center for Biology and Society. Embryo Project Encyclopedia.
Published: 2014-11-22

The American Eugenics Society (AES) was established in the US by Madison Grant, Harry H. Laughlin, Henry Crampton, Irving Fisher, and Henry F. Osborn in 1926 to promote eugenics education programs for the US public. The AES described eugenics as the study of improving the genetic composition of humans through controlled reproduction of different races and classes of people. The AES aided smaller eugenic efforts such as the Galton Society in New York, New York, and the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan, and it influenced eugenic policy set by the US Supreme Court in cases including Buck v. Bell (1927) and Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942). The AES was renamed the Society for the Study of Social Biology in 1972.

Before the formation of the AES, several other eugenic organizations helped lead to the AES. The increasing international interest in eugenics from 1904 to 1926 spurred the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1904 to create the Station for Experimental Evolution at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. Geneticists Albert F. Blakeslee and Charles Davenport had helped establish the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1890. Davenport, the director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, had connections to the Eugenics Records Office (ERO), and later recruited Laughlin to serve as the ERO's director.

In 1906, John H. Kellogg, a medical doctor, founded the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. The Race Betterment Foundation sponsored three conferences between 1914 and 1928, culminating in the 1928 formation of a Eugenics Registry for family biological records. The American Museum of Natural History in New York, New York, financed the Galton Society. The Galton Society took its name after its founder Francis Galton, a UK eugenicist and cousin of Charles Darwin. The Galton Society focused on racial anthropology and was involved with the Eugenics Education Society in London, England, which played a major role in the 1908 foundation of the English Eugenics Society.

In 1912, Leonard Darwin, son of naturalist Charles Darwin, held the First International Congress of Eugenics in London. More than three hundred people from England, Europe, and the US attended his conference. The growing support for eugenics in the next decade prompted the Eugenics Record Office of Cold Spring Harbor and the American Museum of Natural History to sponsor the 1921 Second International Congress of Eugenics in New York, New York. Scientist Alexander G. Bell served as honorary president. During the Second International Congress of Eugenics, Irving Fisher from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, proposed the American Eugenics Society. Fisher stressed a need for a widespread eugenics education in the US. With that proposal, Osborn, president of the International Congress, appointed an Interim Committee that worked on the AES until its formal incorporation on 30 January 1926. Fisher served as the society's first president. Davenport, director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, was the first vice president. Among the Society's presidents, Laughlin, who served as president from 1927 to 1929, promoted eugenical sterilization in the early twentieth century US.

Multiple committees formed within the AES to target different aspects of eugenic education. Examples of such committees include the Committee on Crime Prevention, whose work pushed the Chicago Municipal Court in Chicago, Illinois, to publish Laughlin's Eugenical Sterilization in the United States. The credibility of the AES increased due to the involvement of Clark Wister, curator of the anthropology section in the American Museum of Natural History in New York, New York, and Sewell Wright, a US geneticist.

From the 1920s to the 1930s, some of the AES's work was presented at state and local fairs. Contests called Fitter Family contests involved popular competitions between families and couples to determine who would produce the most viable offspring based on physical appearance, behavior, intelligence, and health. Exhibits had flashing red lights to emphasize statistics of birth rates of able-bodied people compared to what organizers called degenerates. Statisticians claimed that while every sixteen seconds a child was born in the US, they also said that not all children were of the same caliber. According to the exhibits, a capable child was born every seven and a half minutes, whereas a feebleminded child every 48 seconds, and a future criminal every 50 seconds. To display potential economic benefits of adopting eugenics, the exhibits included the statistic that every fifteen seconds, one hundred dollars of taxpayer money went towards supporting mentally ill patients.

The goals and actions of the AES changed over the years, depending on different presidencies of the organization. Henry F. Perkins, who was president from 1931 to 1933, worked with the Birth Control League, the predecessor of Planned Parenthood and a US sexual and reproductive healthcare center. Margaret Sanger, called Noal Slee at the time of membership, a member of the AES in 1956, established the American Birth Control League in 1921. The American Birth Control League became part of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942. In the 1960s, president Harry Shapiro claimed that increasing the use of birth control gave the potential to improve the quality of the US population.

During Perkins's presidency in 1932, the AES held the Third International Congress of Eugenics sponsored by the ERO and the American Museum of Natural History. Unlike the high attendance of the Second International Congress of Eugenics, seventy-three people attended the conference. After that conference, Perkins published A Decade in the Progress of Eugenics, and it partly noted that eugenics theory had no empirical support to promote discrimination based on race and social class. The document also emphasized the study of hereditary variations focusing on defects such as mental disability. Ellsworth Huntington from Yale University, who served as president of AES from 1934 to 1938, focused on hereditary defects and switched the AES's focus from positive eugenics to negative eugenics. Positive eugenics maintains that superior families should produce more children. In contrast, negative eugenics claims that degenerates should not have children. In his book Tomorrow's Children: The Goal of Eugenics, Huntington described the AES's new focus on negative eugenics.

In October of 1928, the AES launched its monthly journal Eugenics. At the time, Eugenics was the only journal in the world to promote research-based eugenics. In 1930, the Galton Publishing Company took over the journal, but when the company closed in 1931, the journal was stopped. Eight years later in 1939, the monthly publication of Eugenical News was transferred from the Eugenics Research Association to the AES. From 1916 to 1953, Eugenical News was the primary source of eugenic-related events and news in the United States. In 1954, the AES launched Eugenics Quarterly, a journal focusing on hereditary defects in scientific research.

Peak membership of the AES was in 1930 with 1,260 members. Although New York, California, and Massachusetts were the states with the highest memberships, every state in the US had at least one member. The 1930 cohort of the AES consisted predominantly of wealthy men and women, and few scientific professionals from fields relating to eugenics. However, in reaction to the eugenic atrocities of World War II, support for eugenics and AES membership began to drop. By 1960, the AES has less than 400 members, most of whom were male scientists and medical professionals. After that time, the AES's focus shifted to genetic analysis and to the investigation of the factors driving human evolution.

The five Princeton conferences of 1964 to 1969 in Princeton, New Jersey, demonstrated a shared interest in human evolution between geneticists and population specialists. From 1960 to 1970, the AES gathered together researchers from different disciplines and provided people with a place to discuss human evolution. Scientists involved with the group noted that factors in social and physical environments influence heredity and human development. Researchers increasingly studied living conditions and lifestyle habits of people. In many large medical schools, there were facilities for medical genetic research, whereas newly established heredity counseling clinics served as the basis for modern genetic counseling centers. To define a new research focus, in 1969 the official publication of the AES switched its name from Eugenics Quarterly to Social Biology. In 1972, the AES was renamed the Society for the Study of Social Biology. The society stated that the name change did not align with a change in interest or policy, but better reflected the newfound common emphasis on the study of biological, social, and medical trends that shape human evolution.

As of 2014, the Society of Social Biology is also called the Society for Biodemography and Social Biology. The Society's journal, Biodemography and Social Biology, addresses the biological, social, and cultural influences on human population makeup from interdisciplinary fields including psychology, anthropology, genetics, and criminal justice. The Society of Social Biology has distanced itself from the AES.


• Buck v. Bell. 274 U.S. 200 (1927). ... +274+U.S.+ 200+(1927).&hl=en&as_sdt=806&case=1700304772805702914&scilh=0 (Accessed January 9, 2014).
• Darwin, Leonard. What Is Eugenics? New York: Third International Congress of Eugenics, 1929. (Accessed November 20, 2014).
• Davenport, Charles Benedict. Heredity in Relation to Eugenics. New York: Henry Holt, 1911. (Accessed November 20, 2014).
• "Eugenics in the Schools." The Atlanta Constitution, November 27, 1927.
• Fisher, Irving. The Rate of Interest: Its Nature, Determination and Relation to Economic Phenomena. Macmillan, 1907. (Accessed August 2, 2014).
• Galton, Francis. Hereditary Genius. Macmillan and Company, 1869. (Accessed November 20, 2014).
• Grant, Madison. "Racial transformation of America." The North American Review 1924. (Accessed June 27, 2014).
• Huntington, Ellsworth. Tomorrow's Children: The Goal of Eugenics. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1935.
• Laughlin, Harry H. Eugenical Sterilization in the United States. Chicago: Psychopathic Laboratory of the Municipal Court of Chicago, 1922. (Accessed November 20, 2014).
• Mehler, Barry. "A History of the American Eugenics Society, 1921–1940." PhD diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988. (Accessed June 27, 2014).
• Messall, Rebecca R. "Margaret Sanger and the Eugenics Movement." The Denver Post, June 3, 2010, Guest Commentary Section. (Accessed June 27, 2014).
• Osborn, Henry F. "Ontogenic and phylogenic variation." Science 4 (1896): 786–9.
• Osborn, Frederick. "History of the American Eugenics Society." Biodemography and Social Biology 21 (1974): 115–26.
• Perkins, H. F. "A Decade of Progress in Eugenics." Third International Congress in Eugenics, New York. Williams & Wilkins Company: Baltimore, Md., 1934. (Accessed August 2, 2014).
• Roe v. Wade. 410 U.S. 113 (1973). ... 5835207673 (Accessed November 20, 2014).
• Sanger, Margaret. Woman and the New Race. New York: Eugenics Publishing Co., 1920. (Accessed August 2, 2014).
• Shapiro, Harry Lionel. Man, Culture, and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971.
• Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson. 316 U.S. 535 (1942). ... 1644873759 (Accessed November 20, 2014).
• The Society for Biodemography and Social Biology. (Accessed October 26, 2013).
• Treasures of the APS. "Promoting Eugenics in America." American Philosophical Society. (Accessed October 26, 2013).
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:51 am

American Society of Human Genetics
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/1/20

The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), founded in 1948, is the primary professional membership organization for specialists in human genetics worldwide. As of 2009, the organization had approximately 8,000 members. The Society's members include researchers, academicians, clinicians, laboratory practice professionals, genetic counselors, nurses, and others who have a special interest in the field of human genetics.[1]

ASHG's mission is to advance human genetics in science, health, and society through excellence in research, education, and advocacy. It serves research scientists, health professionals, and the general public by providing forums to:

• Share research results at the Society's Annual Meeting and in The American Journal of Human Genetics (AJHG);
• Advance genetic research by advocating for research support;
• Enhance genetics education by preparing future professionals and informing the public; and
• Promote genetic services and support responsible social and scientific policies

As the field of human genetics has expanded, ASHG has founded additional organizations within its membership body, including the following:[1]

• National Society of Genetic Counselors, founded in 1979, as an advocacy group for the nascent field of genetic counseling.
• American Board of Medical Genetics, founded in 1981, to certify practitioners in human genetics.
• American Board of Genetic Counseling, founded in 1991, to certify genetic counselors.
• American College of Medical Genetics, founded in 1991, as a specialty board for medical geneticists at the doctoral level. It achieved full membership in the Council of Medical Specialty Societies in 1993.

ASHG annual meeting

The ASHG Annual Meeting is the oldest and largest international human genetics conference worldwide. It is held each fall in a major U.S. or Canadian city and attracts about 6,000–7,000 attendees, plus exhibitors. The meeting features invited presentations from the world's leading geneticists, along with a variety of symposia, workshops, and other abstract-driven sessions focusing on the most important and recent developments in basic, translational, and clinical human genetics research and technology. It also offers exhibitors the opportunity to interact with attendees and promote their services, products, and new technology, including state-of-the-art medical and laboratory equipment, and computer software designed to enhance genetics research and data analysis.[2]


The Society's highest honor, awarded annually since 1961, is the William Allan Award, established in memory of the physician William Allan to recognize substantial and far-reaching scientific contributions to human genetics, performed over a sustained period of scientific inquiry and productivity. The Curt Stern Award, established in 2001, recognizes scientific achievements over the previous ten years.

Other ASHG annual awards include: the Arno Motulsky-Barton Childs Award for Excellence in Human Genetics Education (established in 1995), Charles Epstein Trainee Research Awards (established in 1995), Advocacy Award (established in 2015), Mentorship Award (established in 2016), and Early-Career Award (established in 2017).[3]

Education and professional development

ASHG aims to promote awareness of human genetics, encourage young people to enter genetics-related careers, foster trust and support for genetics research, and help prepare health professionals to integrate genomics into medicine. Since 2007, the Society has organized the annual DNA Day Essay Contest for high school students. It also provides career development tools and opportunities for early-career geneticists, including fellowships in Genetics & Public Policy and Genetics & Education in partnership with the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Science policy

ASHG backs policies that support scientific discovery, the translation of discoveries into health advances, the appropriate application of genetics in society, and the integration of genetics teaching into children’s education and training of health professionals. In collaboration with the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, ASHG supports increased federal funding for scientific research, particularly from the National Institutes of Health.

On January 2, 2008, the American Society of Human Genetics released a statement on direct-to-consumer sales of genetic tests, calling for improved standards and for oversight by the Federal Trade Commission to insure the accuracy and validity of genetic testing and sales claims.[4]

See also

Franz Josef Kallmann, one of the founders

Franz Josef Kallmann, MD (July 24, 1897 – May 12, 1965), a German-born American psychiatrist, was one of the pioneers in the study of the genetic basis of psychiatric disorders. He developed the use of twin studies in the assessment of the relative roles of heredity and the environment in the pathogenesis of psychiatric disease.

Kallmann was born in Neumarkt, Silesia, the son of Marie (née Mordze / Modrey) and Bruno Kallmann, who was a surgeon and general practitioner.[1][2] He fled Germany in 1936 for the United States, because he was of Jewish heritage.[3] Paradoxically, he had been a student of Ernst Rüdin, one of the architects of racial hygiene policies in Nazi Germany.[4] In a speech delivered in 1935, while still in Germany, he advocated the examination of relatives of schizophrenia patients with the aim to find and sterilize the "nonaffected carriers" of the supposed recessive gene responsible for the condition.[5]

In 1944, he described a congenital endocrine condition (hypogonadotropic hypogonadism with anosmia) that has come to be known as Kallmann's syndrome.

In 1948, he became one of the founders of the American Society of Human Genetics.[4]

-- Franz Josef Kallmann, by Wikipedia

• List of presidents of the American Society of Human Genetics

List of presidents of the American Society of Human Genetics
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/1/20

This list of presidents of the American Society of Human Genetics includes all presidents since the Society's creation in 1948.


Year / Name

2020 / Anthony Wynshaw-Boris
2019 / Leslie Biesecker
2018 / David L. Nelson
2017 / Nancy J. Cox
2016 / Hal Dietz
2015 / Neil Risch
2014 / Cynthia C. Morton
2013 / Jeffrey C. Murray
2012 / Mary-Claire King
2011 / Lynn Jorde
2010 / Roderick R. McInnes
2009 / Edward McCabe
2008 / Aravinda Chakravarti
2007 / Wylie Burke
2006 / Stephen T. Warren
2005 / Peter H. Byers
2004 / Robert Nussbaum
2003 / David Lee Valle
2002 / Michael Conneally
2001 / Huntington F. Willard
2000 / Ronald Worton
1999 / Uta Francke
1998 / Arthur Beaudet
1997 / Larry Shapiro
1996 / Charles Epstein
1995 / Judith Goslin Hall
1994 / Maimon M. Cohen
1993 / Janet D. Rowley
1992 / Walter E. Nance
1991 / Michael M. Kaback
1990 / C. Thomas Caskey
1989 / L. L. Cavalli-Sforza
1988 / David E. Comings
1987 / Stanley Gartler
1986 / Charles Scriver
1985 / Frank Ruddle
1984 David L. Rimoin
1983 John Walley Littlefield
1982 Margery W. Shaw
1981 Barbara H. Bowman
1980 Leon Rosenberg
1979 Eldon Sutton
1978 Alfred Knudson
1977 Arno Motulsky
1976 Barton Childs
1975 John Hamerton
1974 Victor McKusick
1973 Eloise Giblett
1972 John Borden Graham
1971 Alexander Bearn
1970 William Schull
1969 Kurt Hirschhorn
1968 Irene Uchida
1967 Bentley Glass
1966 Philip Levine
1965 Howard Newcombe
1964 Arthur Steinberg
1963 James F. Crow
1962 F. Clarke Fraser
1961 L. C. Dunn
1960 C. C. Li
1959 Madge Macklin
1958 W. D. Boyd
1957 Curt Stern
1956 S. C. Reed
1955 C. Nash Herndon
1954 James Neel
1953 Clarence Oliver
1952 F. J. Kallmann
1951 Lee R. Dice
1950 Laurence H. Snyder
1949 H. J. [Hermann Joseph] Muller


• "ASHG Presidents, 1949-2020". American Society of Human Genetics. Retrieved 2020-03-06.


1. "History, American Society of Human Genetics". Retrieved 2009-06-07.
2. "Meetings, American Society of Human Genetics". Retrieved 2017-12-07.
3. "Awards, American Society of Human Genetics". Retrieved 2017-12-07.
4. "ASHG Statement on Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing in the United States" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-06-07.

External links

• American Society of Human Genetics
• American Journal of Human Genetics
• ASHG Annual Meeting
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:16 am

Franz Josef Kallmann
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/1/20

Category C

The less frequent Category C type of psychiatric genetic writer sees Rudin, in the words of Lerer and Segman, as ‘‘a man who was not only a willing accomplice to the most abhorrent crimes against humanity but an enthusiastic theorist who provided the intellectual basis for many of these crimes’’ (Lerer and Segman, 1997, p. 459). These researchers concluded,

There can be only one justification for the name of Ernst Rudin appearing in a contemporary scientific journal and that is to enable a generation of researchers who may not be fully aware of his tainted legacy, to learn more about it and to appreciate how easily science can be perverted in the service of evil. (p. 460)

Other psychiatric genetic researchers have written about Rudin as an architect and accomplice of unspeakable crimes against humanity (e.g., Baron, 1998; Gejman, 1997; Gershon, 1997; Propping, 2005; Schulze et al., 2004). Authors such as Baron, Gejman, Gershon, and Lerer and Segman did not set out to write a history of their field, but were mainly reacting to what they saw as the ‘‘whitewash’’ (Gershon, 1997, p. 457) perpetrated by colleagues such as Zerbin-Rudin and Kendler (1996) and Gottesman and Bertelsen (1996). In his comment on Zerbin-Rudin and Kendler’s claim that Rudin’s work was not well known due mainly to language barriers and persistent ‘‘presentism,’’ Gershon wrote, ‘‘By putting it this way, this article ignores the disrepute into which this discipline fell all over the world for many years, in no small part because of the misuses of science by prominent scientists in the field, such as Ernst Rudin’’ (Gershon, 1997, p. 457).

According to Gejman, ‘‘in all probability chronically ill patients from the families that Rudin used in his epidemiological research were murdered in the T4 euthanasia program’’ (Gejman, 1997, p. 456). The same holds true for subjects in other studies conducted by Munich school researchers such as Luxenburger and Schulz. Baron also weighed in on this point:

Given the scope of this hideous program and its focus on the genetically unfit, it is highly likely that Rudin’s own research subjects -– thousands of patients and family members were enrolled in his programs –- were among those who fell prey to the evil he helped inculcate. The information he collected could readily be put to malevolent use. … he compiled a vast data bank (on the order of tens of thousands of families) in order to calculate Mendelian ratios, based on information obtained from hospitals, asylums and other institutions. (Baron, 1998, p. 97)

Because Rudin participated in and supported the T4 ‘‘euthanasia’’ program while possessing detailed records of the families of people diagnosed with schizophrenia and other conditions, it is indeed likely that he provided this information to help identify and kill the people he and his colleagues had studied. As the German psychiatrist Uwe Peters described it, ‘‘Like a spider in the center of its net, all strings of information and power came together in [Rudin’s] hands’’ (Peters, 2001, p. 300).

But even Category C authors are not immune to revisionist accounts. In his book on the evolution of psychiatric genetic thought, Mellon wrote, ‘‘The role of the founders of modern psychiatric genetics in the sequence of events leading to mass murder is most troubling. Ernst Rudin was an early and vocal proponent of eugenic applications to mental problems. …his contribution to the series of events that helped lead to the exterminations is unmistakable’’ (Mellon, 1996, p. 112). At the same time, based on Slater’s 1971 account, Mellon mistakenly claimed that ‘‘in contrast to Rudin,’’ Luxenburger and Schulz ‘‘managed to stay out of the mainstream eugenic movement’’ (p. 113). The fact remains that Luxenburger supported and helped implement the eugenic policies of the Nazi regime (Joseph, 2004), and according to a 1934 report by the Danish eugenicist Tage Kemp, Schulz was ‘‘doing a great deal of statistical work concerning mental diseases of practical value for the sterilization law and the eugenical legislation in Germany’’ (quoted in Black, 2003, p. 419). In the late 1930s Rudin and his institute formed an alliance with Heinrich Himmler’s dreaded SS (Schutzstaffel; Weindling, 1989; Weiss, 2010), and in a memo Rudin assured a leader of the SS Ahnenerbe that although Schulz was not ‘‘a flaming National Socialist,’’ his usefulness to the SS could be assured without reservation (Weiss, 2010, p. 164).

In Baron’s (1998) otherwise important review of Rudin’s crimes, where he wrote that ‘‘Rudin played a central role in inspiring, condoning and promoting forcible sterilization and castration of schizophrenics’’ (p. 96), he implied that Rudin’s former associate Franz Kallmann discarded his hard-line eugenic beliefs after he had been forced to leave Germany in 1936 because of his partial Jewish ancestry. In 1935, while still active in Germany, Kallmann had called for the forcible sterilization of the healthy (yet presumed ‘‘schizophrenia taint carrier’’) family members of ‘‘schizophrenics’’ – a proposal rejected as too radical even by Kallmann’s racial-hygienicist colleagues who strongly supported the sterilization law (Muller-Hill, 1998). Although Baron discussed Kallmann’s 1935 support for the compulsory sterilization of family members, he wrote, ‘‘while in the USA, Kallmann recanted his early position on this matter and proceeded with perseverance and dedication to develop one of the finest academic programs in modern psychiatric genetics’’ (Baron, 1998, p. 99). However, Kallmann’s eugenic views, though adapted to a new country and post-war revelations of Nazi crimes committed in the name of eugenics and racial hygiene, remained largely unchanged until his death in 1965 (Joseph, 2004).

After being forced to leave Germany in 1936, Kallmann established the field of psychiatric genetics in the United States at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University, based largely on the racial hygienic methods and theories he had learned in Rudin’s Munich school. At the same time, Kallmann remained a strong supporter of eugenics and compulsory sterilization (Kallmann, 1938a, b). Upon his arrival in the United States, Kallmann wrote, ‘‘The recommendation of negative eugenic measures against the carriers of any mental disease is genetically justifiable’’ after meeting certain criteria. Kallmann then wrote that ‘‘the schizophrenic disease process’’ meets these criteria (Kallmann, 1938b, p. 105). Clearly, in addition to people labeled schizophrenic, the ‘‘healthy’’ biologically-related ‘‘carriers of mental disease’’ were targeted by Kallmann for the application of ‘‘negative eugenic measures’’ such as sterilization. He called for ‘‘systematic preventative measures among the tainted children and siblings of schizophrenics’’ (Kallmann, 1938b, p. 113), because ‘‘we cannot expect sufficient success from the prevention of reproduction in the symptom-carriers alone’’ (Kallmann, 1938a, p. 4). This suggests that his 1935 position in favor of eugenic interventions directed at the family members of people diagnosed with schizophrenia remained largely in place, although by now he would not support the compulsory sterilization of these relatives, despite ‘‘the menace involved in the propagation of heterozygotic taint-carriers’’ (see Kallmann, 1938a, pp. 68–69).

Moreover, Kallmann published an annual review in the American Journal of Psychiatry from 1944 until his death in 1965, entitled ‘‘Heredity and Eugenics.’’ Themes of Kallmann’s annual updates included positive references to eugenic theories and policies, the alleged benefits of the compulsory eugenic sterilization laws then existing in many U.S. states (e.g., Kallmann, 1947, p. 515; 1951, p. 505), and discussions of Nazi genetic researchers Rudin and Verschuer in a positive light (e.g., Kallmann, 1952, 1953).

-- Ernst Rudin: Hitler’s Racial Hygiene Mastermind, by Jay Joseph and Norbert A.Wetzel

Franz Josef Kallmann
Born: July 24, 1897, Neumarkt, Silesia
Died: May 12, 1965 (aged 67), New York
Nationality: German-American
Known for: Kallmann's syndrome
Scientific career
Fields: Psychiatry

Franz Josef Kallmann, MD (July 24, 1897 – May 12, 1965), a German-born American psychiatrist, was one of the pioneers in the study of the genetic basis of psychiatric disorders. He developed the use of twin studies in the assessment of the relative roles of heredity and the environment in the pathogenesis of psychiatric disease.

Kallmann was born in Neumarkt, Silesia, the son of Marie (née Mordze / Modrey) and Bruno Kallmann, who was a surgeon and general practitioner.[1][2] He fled Germany in 1936 for the United States, because he was of Jewish heritage.[3] Paradoxically, he had been a student of Ernst Rüdin, one of the architects of racial hygiene policies in Nazi Germany.[4] In a speech delivered in 1935, while still in Germany, he advocated the examination of relatives of schizophrenia patients with the aim to find and sterilize the "nonaffected carriers" of the supposed recessive gene responsible for the condition.[5]

In 1944, he described a congenital endocrine condition (hypogonadotropic hypogonadism with anosmia) that has come to be known as Kallmann's syndrome.

In 1948, he became one of the founders of the American Society of Human Genetics.[4]

He died in New York.

Partial bibliography

• The genetics of schizophrenia; a study of heredity and reproduction of the families of 1,087 schizophrenics. New York: JJ Augustin, 1938. 291 ss.
• Kallmann FJ, Reisner FJ. Twin studies on the significance of genetic factors in tuberculosis. The American Review of Tuberculosis 47, s. 549 (1943)
• The genetic aspects of primary eunocchoidism (1944)
• The genetic theory of schizophrenia. The American Journal of Psychiatry 103: 309 (1946)
• Modern concepts of genetics in relation to mental health and abnormal personality development. Psychiatric Quarterly 21, 4, 535-553 (1947) DOI:10.1007/BF01654317
• The genetics of psychoses; an analysis of 1,232 twin index families. American Journal of Human Genetics 4, ss. 385–390 (1950)
• Heredity in Health and Mental Disorder (1953)
• Zur Symptomatologie der Gehirnzystizerkose. Mschr. Psychiat. Neur. (1929)
• Marcuse H, Kallmann F. Zur Sulfosinbehandlung der Paralyse und Schizophrenie. Nervenarzt 2: 149-53 (1929)

See also

• Kallmann syndrome


1. "Who was who in America". Marquis-Who's Who. 17 February 1968 – via Google Books.
2. " Home Page".
3. Obituary Franz Joseph Kallman, 1897-1965, The American Journal of Psychiatry, July 1966, Issue 123 pages 105-106
4. Torrey EF, Yolken RH (September 2009). "Psychiatric Genocide: Nazi Attempts to Eradicate Schizophrenia". Schizophr Bull. 36 (1): 26–32. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbp097. PMC 2800142. PMID 19759092.
5. Muller-Hill B. Murderous Science: Elimination by Scientific Selection of Jews, Gypsies, and Others in Germany, 1933–1945.Woodbury, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; 1988: 11, 31, 42–43, 70.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:35 am

Hermann Joseph Muller
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/1/20

Hermann Joseph Muller, ForMemRS
Hermann J. Muller speaking at the 1952 World Science Fiction Convention
Born: December 21, 1890, New York City, New York, U.S.
Died: April 5, 1967 (aged 76), Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Nationality: United States
Alma mater: Columbia University
Known for: The genetic effects of radiation
Spouse(s): Jessie Marie Jacobs (m. 1923); Dorothea Kantorowicz (m. 1939)
Children: 2
Awards: 1927: Newcomb Cleveland Prize; 1946 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; Linnean Society of London's Darwin–Wallace Medal (1958); Foreign Member of the Royal Society[1]; 1963 Humanist of the Year (American Humanist Association)
Scientific career
Fields: Genetics, molecular biology
Doctoral advisor: Thomas Hunt Morgan
Doctoral students: H. Bentley Glass
Influences: J. T. Patterson

Hermann Joseph Muller (December 21, 1890 – April 5, 1967) was an American geneticist, educator, and Nobel laureate best known for his work on the physiological and genetic effects of radiation (mutagenesis), as well as his outspoken political beliefs.[2] Muller frequently warned of long-term dangers of radioactive fallout from nuclear war and nuclear testing, which resulted in greater public scrutiny of these practices.

Early life

Muller was born in New York City, the son of Frances (Lyons) and Hermann Joseph Muller, Sr., an artisan who worked with metals. Muller was a third-generation American whose father's ancestors were originally Catholic and came to the United States from Koblenz.[3] His mother's family was of mixed Jewish (descended from Spanish and Portuguese Jews) and Anglican background, and had come from Britain.[3][4] Among his first cousins are Herbert J. Muller and Alfred Kroeber (Kroeber is Ursula Le Guin's father).[3] As an adolescent, Muller attended a Unitarian church and considered himself a pantheist; in high school, he became an atheist. He excelled in the public schools. At 16, he entered Columbia College. From his first semester, he was interested in biology; he became an early convert of the Mendelian-chromosome theory of heredity — and the concept of genetic mutations and natural selection as the basis for evolution. He formed a biology club and also became a proponent of eugenics; the connections between biology and society would be his perennial concern. Muller earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1910.[5]

Muller remained at Columbia (the pre-eminent American zoology program at the time, due to E. B. Wilson and his students) for graduate school. He became interested in the Drosophila genetics work of Thomas Hunt Morgan's fly lab after undergraduate bottle washers Alfred Sturtevant and Calvin Bridges joined his biology club. In 1911-1912, he studied metabolism at Cornell University, but remained involved with Columbia. He followed the drosophilists as the first genetic maps emerged from Morgan's experiments, and joined Morgan's group in 1912 (after two years of informal participation).[6]

In the fly group, Muller's contributions were primarily theoretical - explanations for experimental results and ideas and predictions for new experiments. In the emerging collaborative culture of the drosophilists, however, credit was assigned based on results rather than ideas; Muller felt cheated when he was left out of major publications.[7]


In 1914, Julian Huxley offered Muller a position at the recently founded William Marsh Rice Institute, now Rice University; he hurried to complete his Doctor of philosophy degree and moved to Houston for the beginning of the 1915-1916 academic year (his degree was issued in 1916). At Rice, Muller taught biology and continued Drosophila lab work. In 1918, he proposed an explanation for the dramatic discontinuous alterations in Oenothera larmarckiana that were the basis of Hugo de Vries's theory of mutationism: "balanced lethals" allowed the accumulation of recessive mutations, and rare crossing over events resulted in the sudden expression of these hidden traits. In other words, de Vries's experiments were explainable by the Mendelian-chromosome theory. Muller's work was increasingly focused on mutation rate and lethal mutations. In 1918, Morgan, short-handed because many of his students and assistants were drafted for the U.S. entry into World War I, convinced Muller to return to Columbia to teach and to expand his experimental program.[8]

At Columbia, Muller and his collaborator and longtime friend Edgar Altenburg continued the investigation of lethal mutations. The primary method for detecting such mutations was to measure the sex ratios of the offspring of female flies. They predicted the ratio would vary from 1:1 due to recessive mutations on the X chromosome, which would be expressed only in males (which lacked the functional allele on a second X chromosome). Muller found a strong temperature dependence in mutation rate, leading him to believe that spontaneous mutation was the dominant mode (and to initially discount the role of external factors such as ionizing radiation or chemical agents). In 1920, Muller and Altenburg coauthored a seminal paper in Genetics on "modifier genes" that determine the size of mutant Drosophila wings. In 1919, Muller made the important discovery of a mutant (later found to be a chromosomal inversion) that appeared to suppress crossing over, which opened up new avenues in mutation-rate studies. However, his appointment at Columbia was not continued; he accepted an offer from the University of Texas and left Columbia after the summer of 1920.[9]

Muller taught at the University of Texas from 1920 until 1932. Soon after returning to Texas, he married mathematics professor Jessie Marie Jacobs, whom he had courted previously. In his early years at Texas, Muller's Drosophila work was slow going; the data from his mutation rate studies were difficult to interpret. In 1923, he began using radium and X-rays,[10] but the relationship between radiation and mutation was difficult to measure because such radiation also sterilized the flies. In this period, he also became involved with eugenics and human genetics. He carried out a study of twins separated at birth that seemed to indicate a strong hereditary component of I.Q. Muller was critical of the new directions of the eugenics movement (such as anti-immigration), but was hopeful about the prospects for positive eugenics.[11] In 1932, at the Third International Eugenics Congress, Muller gave a speech and stated, "eugenics might yet perfect the human race, but only in a society consciously organized for the common good.[12]

Discovery of X-ray mutagenesis

In 1926, a series of major breakthroughs began. In November, Muller carried out two experiments with varied doses of X-rays, the second of which used the crossing over suppressor stock ("ClB") he had found in 1919. A clear, quantitative connection between radiation and lethal mutations quickly emerged. Muller's discovery created a media sensation after he delivered a paper entitled "The Problem of Genetic Modification" at the Fifth International Congress of Genetics in Berlin; it would make him one of the better-known public intellectuals of the early 20th century. By 1928, others had replicated his dramatic results, expanding them to other model organisms, such as wasps and maize. In the following years, he began publicizing the likely dangers of radiation exposure in humans (such as physicians who frequently operate X-ray equipment or shoe sellers who radiated their customers' feet).[13]

His lab grew quickly, but it shrank again following the onset of the Great Depression. Especially after the stock market crash, Muller was increasingly pessimistic about the prospects of capitalism. Some of his visiting lab members were from the USSR, and he helped edit and distribute an illegal leftist student newspaper, The Spark. It was a difficult period for Muller both scientifically and personally; his marriage was falling apart, and he was increasingly dissatisfied with his life in Texas. Meanwhile, the waning of the eugenics movement, ironically hastened by his own work pointing to the previously ignored connections between environment and genetics, meant that his ideas on the future of human evolution had reduced impact in the public sphere.[14]

Work in Europe

In September 1932, Muller moved to Berlin to work with the Russian expatriate geneticist Nikolay Timofeeff-Ressovsky; a trip intended as a limited sabbatical stretched into an eight-year, five-country journey. In Berlin, he met two physicists who would later be significant to the biology community: Niels Bohr and Max Delbrück. The Nazi movement was precipitating the rapid emigration of scientific talent from Germany, and Muller was particularly opposed to the politics of National Socialism. The FBI was investigating Muller because of his involvement with The Spark, so he chose instead to go to the Soviet Union (an environment better suited to his political beliefs). In 1933, Muller and his wife reconciled, and their son David E. Muller and she moved with Hermann to Leningrad. There, at the Institute of Genetics, he imported the basic equipment for a Drosophila lab—including the flies—and set up shop. The Institute was moved to Moscow in 1934, and Muller and his wife were divorced in 1935.[15]

In the USSR, Muller supervised a large and productive lab, and organized work on medical genetics. Most of his work involved further explorations of genetics and radiation. There he completed his eugenics book, Out of the Night, the main ideas of which dated to 1910.[16] By 1936, however, Joseph Stalin's repressive policies and the rise of Lysenkoism was making the USSR an increasingly problematic place to live and work. Muller and many of the Russian genetics community did what they could to oppose Trofim Lysenko and his Larmarckian evolutionary theory, but Muller was soon forced to leave the Soviet Union after Stalin read a translation of his eugenics book and was "displeased by it, and...ordered an attack prepared against it."[17]

Muller, with about 250 strains of Drosophila, moved to Edinburgh in September 1937, after brief stays in Madrid and Paris. In 1938, with war on the horizon, he began looking for a permanent position back in the United States. He also began courting Dorothea "Thea" Kantorowicz, a German refugee; they were married in May 1939. The Seventh International Congress on Genetics was held in Edinburgh later that year; Muller wrote a "Geneticists' Manifesto"[18] in response to the question: "How could the world's population be improved most effectively genetically?" He also engaged in a debate with the perennial genetics gadfly Richard Goldschmidt over the existence of the gene, for which little direct physical evidence existed at the time.[19]

Later career

When Muller returned to the United States in 1940, he took an untenured research position at Amherst College, in the department of Otto C. Glaser. After the U.S. entry into World War II, his position was extended indefinitely and expanded to include teaching. His Drosophila work in this period focused on measuring the rate of spontaneous (as opposed to radiation-induced) mutations. Muller's publication rate decreased greatly in this period, from a combination of lack of lab workers and experimentally challenging projects. However, he also worked as an adviser in the Manhattan Project (though he did not know that was what it was), as well as a study of the mutational effects of radar. Muller's appointment was ended after the 1944–1945 academic year, and despite difficulties stemming from his socialist political activities, he found a position as professor of zoology at Indiana University.[20] Here, he lived in a Dutch Colonial Revival house in Bloomington's Vinegar Hill neighborhood.[21]

In 1946, Muller was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, "for the discovery that mutations can be induced by X-rays". Genetics, and especially the physical and physiological nature of the gene, was becoming a central topic in biology, and X-ray mutagenesis was a key to many recent advances, among them George Beadle and Edward Tatum's work on Neurospora that established in 1941 the one gene-one enzyme hypothesis.[22] In Muller's Nobel Prize lecture, he argued that no threshold dose of radiation existed that did not produce mutagenesis, which led to the adoption of the linear no-threshold model of radiation on cancer risks.[23]

The Nobel Prize, in the wake of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, focused public attention on a subject Muller had been publicizing for two decades - the dangers of radiation. In 1952, nuclear fallout became a public issue; since Operation Crossroads, more and more evidence had been leaking out about radiation sickness and death caused by nuclear testing. Muller and many other scientists pursued an array of political activities to defuse the threat of nuclear war. With the Castle Bravo fallout controversy in 1954, the issue became even more urgent.[citation needed] In 1955, Muller was one of 11 prominent intellectuals to sign the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, the upshot of which was the first 1957 Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, which addressed the control of nuclear weapons.[24][25] He was a signatory (with many other scientists) of the 1958 petition to the United Nations, calling for an end to nuclear weapons testing, which was initiated by the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling.[24]

Muller's opinions on the effect of radiation on mutagenesis, however, had been criticized by some scientists; geneticist James F. Crow called Muller's view "alarmist" and wrote that it created in the public "an irrational fear of low-level radiation relative to other risks".[26][27] It has been argued that Muller's opinion was not supported by studies on the survivors of the atomic bombings, or by research on mice,[28] and that he ignored another study that contradicted the linear no-threshold model he supported, thereby affecting the formulation of policy that favored this model.[23]

Muller was awarded the Linnean Society of London's Darwin-Wallace Medal in 1958 and the Kimber Genetics Award of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1955.[29] He served as president of the American Humanist Association from 1956 to 1958.[30] The American Mathematical Society selected him as its Gibbs Lecturer for 1958.[31] He retired in 1964.[32] The Drosophila basic units of inheritance, their chromosomal arms, are named "Muller elements" in Muller's honor.[33]

H. J. Muller and science-fiction writer Ursula Le Guin were second cousins; his father (Hermann J. Muller Sr.) and her father's mother (Johanna Muller Kroeber) were siblings, the children of Nicholas Müller, who immigrated to the United States in 1848, and at that time dropped the umlaut from his name. Another cousin was Herbert J. Muller, whose grandfather Otto was another son of Nicholas and a sibling of Hermann Sr. and Johanna.[34]

Personal life

Muller is survived by his daughter, Helen J. Muller, now a professor emerita at the University of New Mexico, who has a daughter, Mala Htun, also a professor at the University of New Mexico. His son, David E. Muller, professor emeritus of mathematics and computer science at the University of Illinois and at New Mexico State University, died in 2008 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. David's mother was Jessie Jacobs Muller Offermann (1890-1954), Hermann's first wife. Helen's mother was Dorothea Kantorowicz Muller (1909-1986), Hermann's second wife.[3] He had a brief affair with Milly Bennett.[35]


His work on the biological effects of radiation exposure is referenced in Rachel Carson's revelatory book, Silent Spring.[36]

Former graduate students

• Seymour Abrahamson
• Raissa L. Berg
• Elof Axel Carlson
• Sara Helen Frye
• H. Bentley Glass
• C. P. Oliver
• Irwin I. Oster
• Abraham P. Schalet
• Wilson Stone
• William Edgar Trout III
• Dale Eugene Wagoner

Former postdoctoral fellows

• George D. Snell

Worked in lab as undergraduates

• Margaret Russell Edmondson
• Carl Sagan

People who worked in his lab in Indiana [1]


• Herman Joseph Muller, Modern Concept of Nature (SUNY Press, 1973). ISBN 0-87395-096-8.
• Herman Joseph Muller, Man's Future Birthright (SUNY Press, 1973). ISBN 0-87395-097-6.
• H. J. Muller, Out of the Night: A Biologist's View of the Future (Vanguard Press, 1935).
• H. J. Muller, Studies in Genetics: The Selected Papers of H. J. Muller (Indiana University Press, 1962).

See also

• Mutagenesis
• Bateson–Dobzhansky–Muller model
• Repository for Germinal Choice
• Muller's ratchet
• Muller's morphs
• History of biology
• History of genetics
• History of model organisms


1. Pontecorvo, G. (1968). "Hermann Joseph Muller. 1890-1967". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 14: 348–389. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1968.0015.
2. Carlson, Elof Axel (1981). Genes, radiation, and society: the life and work of H. J. Muller. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-1304-9.
3. Elof Axel Carlson (2009). "Hermann Joseph Muller 1890—1967" (PDF). National Academy of Sciences.
4. "Hermann J. Muller - Biographical".
5. Carlson, Genes, Radiation, and Society, pp 17-37
6. Carlson, Genes, Radiation, and Society, pp 37-69
7. Carlson, Genes, Radiation, and Society, pp 70-90; for more on the culture and norms of the fly lab, see Kohler, Robert E. (1994). Lords of the fly: Drosophila genetics and the experimental life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-45063-6..
8. Carlson, Genes, Radiation, and Society, pp 91-108
9. Carlson, Genes, Radiation, and Society, pp 109-119
10. Hamilton, Vivien (2016). "The Secrets of Life: Historian Luis Campos resurrects radium's role in early genetics research". Distillations. 2 (2): 44–45. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
11. Carlson, Genes, Radiation, and Society, pp 120-140
12. "The Eugenics Crusade What's Wrong with Perfect?". PBS. October 16, 2018. Retrieved November 4, 2018. There is no scientific basis for the conclusion that the socially lower class have genetically inferior intellectual equipment. Certain slum districts of our cities are factories for criminality among those who happen to be born in them. Under these circumstances, it is society, not the individual, which is the real criminal and which stands to be judged. Eugenics might yet perfect the human race, but only in a society consciously organized for the common good.
13. Carlson, Genes, Radiation, and Society, pp 141-164
14. Carlson, Genes, Radiation, and Society, pp 165-183
15. Carlson, Genes, Radiation, and Society, pp 184-203
16. H. J. Muller, Out of the Night: A Biologist's View of the Future(New York: Vangard, 1935), p. v.
17. Carlson, Genes, Radiation, and Society, pp 204-234; quotation from p 233, correspondence from Muller to Julian Huxley, March 9, 1937
18. "The 'Geneticists Manifesto'," originally published in Journal of Heredity, 1939, 30:371-73; reprinted in H. J. Muller, Studies in Genetics: The Selected Papers of H. J. Muller (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1962), pp. 545-548.
19. Carlson, Genes, Radiation, and Society, pp 235-273
20. Carlson, Genes, Radiation, and Society, pp 274–288
21. Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory. City of Bloomington Interim Report. Bloomington: City of Bloomington, 2004-04, 90.
22. Carlson, Genes, Radiation, and Society, pp 304–318
23. Calabrese, E. J. (30 June 2011). "Muller's Nobel lecture on dose–response for ionizing radiation:ideology or science?"(PDF). Archives of Toxicology. 85 (4): 1495–1498. doi:10.1007/s00204-011-0728-8. PMID 21717110. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
24. John Bellamy Foster (2009). The Ecological Revolution: Making Peace with the Planet, Monthly Review Press, New York, pp. 71–72.
25. Carlson, Genes, Radiation, and Society, pp. 336–379.
26. James F. Crow (1987). "Muller, Dobzhansky, and Overdominance". Journal of the History of Biology. 20 (3): 351–380. doi:10.1007/bf00139460.
27. "Calabrese says mistake led to adopting the LNT model in toxicology". January 23, 2017.
28. Les leçons inattendues d'Hiroshima par Bertrand Jordan - SPS n° 308, avril 2014
29. "Kimber Genetics Award". National Academy of Sciences.
30. "Past AHA Presidents". American Humanist Association.
31. Muller, H. J. (1958). "Evolution by mutation". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 64 (4): 137–160. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1958-10191-3. MR 0095766.
32. "Hermann Muller and Mutations in Drosophila". U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Scientific and Technical Information. Archived from the original on 2 February 2015.
33. Schaeffer, SW (2018). "Muller "Elements" in Drosophila: How the Search for the Genetic Basis for Speciation Led to the Birth of Comparative Genomics". Genetics. 210 (1): 3–13. doi:10.1534/genetics.118.301084. PMC 6116959. PMID 30166445.
34. Carlson, Genes, Radiation, and Society, pp 10–11
35. Kirschenbaum, Lisa A. (July 28, 2015). International Communism and the Spanish Civil War. Cambridge University Press. p. 175. ISBN 978-1-107-10627-7. Retrieved January 16,2020.
36. Carson, Rachel (Rachel Louise), 1907-1964. (1962). Silent spring. pp. 209, 211, 279. ISBN 978-0-14-118494-4. OCLC 934630161.

External links

• Nobel Biography
• Hermann Joseph Muller — Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences
• The Muller manuscripts, 1910–1967 in archives of the Indiana University
• On the origins of the linear no-threshold (LNT) dogma by means of untruths, artful dodges and blind faith, Edward J. Calabrese, Environmental Research 142 (2015) 432–442.
• Hermann J. Muller Collection Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives
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Max Planck Institute for Brain Research
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Accessed: 4/1/20

New building of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt

The Max Planck Institute for Brain Research is located in Frankfurt, Germany. It was founded as Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research in Berlin 1914, moved to Frankfurt-Niederrad in 1962 and more recently in a new building in Frankfurt-Riedberg. It is one of 83 institutes in the Max Planck Society (Max Planck Gesellschaft).


Research at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research focuses on the operation of networks of neurons in the brain. The institute hosts three scientific departments (with directors Moritz Helmstaedter of the Helmstaedter Department, Gilles Laurent of the Laurent Department, and Erin Schuman of the Schuman Department), the Singer Emeritus Group, two Max Planck Research Groups, namely Johannes Letzkus' Neocortical Circuits Group and Tatjana Tchumatchenko's Theory of Neural Dynamics Group, as well as several additional research units. The common research goal of the Institute is a mechanistic understanding of neurons and synapses, of the structural and functional circuits which they form, of the computational rules which describe their operations, and ultimately, of their roles in driving perception and behavior. The experimental focus is on all scales required to achieve this understanding - from networks of molecules in dendritic compartments to networks of interacting brain areas. This includes interdisciplinary analyses at the molecular, cellular, multi-cellular, network and behavioral levels, often combined with theoretical approaches.


The "Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Hirnforschung" (KWI for Brain Research) was founded in Berlin in 1914, making it one of the oldest institutes of the "Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science", itself founded in 1911. It was based on the Neurologische Zentralstation (Neurological Center), a private research institute established by Oskar Vogt in 1898 and run together with his wife Cécile Vogt-Mugnier, also an accomplished brain researcher.

From 1901 to 1910, Vogt's coworker at this institute was Korbinian Brodmann, who in 1909 established the cytoarchitectonic classification of cortical areas still in use today (e.g., his area 17 is the primary visual cortex). Oskar Vogt's own scientific achievements also were in the field of cortical cytoarchitectonics and myeloarchitectonics.

In the 1920s Oskar Vogt became interested in the potential morphological correlates of mental abilities, and hence in the neuroanatomical study of 'elite brains'. When Lenin died of a brain hemorrhage in 1924, his brain was preserved in formaldehyde, where it remained for two years. In 1926, Vogt was recruited by the Soviet government to help establish Lenin's genius via histological investigation of his brain. He was given some space in Moscow to carry out this work and two years later, a spacious and representative brick building that had been confiscated from an American business. In it, he helped establish and then headed the Moscow Brain Institute. Between 1926 and 1930, Vogt travelled to Moscow several times to supervise the work on Lenin's brain by the Russian collaborators who had been trained at Vogt's KWI for Brain Research in Berlin.

In 1927, Vogt gave a preliminary report on his findings in Moscow, concluding from his histological observations that Lenin must have been an athlete in associative thinking ("Assoziationsathlet") - a conclusion deemed farfetched by some of his neurologist colleagues and adversaries. Lenin's brain was, for a time, on display in the Lenin Mausoleum and now rests at Moscow's Brain Institute.

World War I delayed the plans for a new building to house the KWI for Brain Research. The KWI's first proper building in Berlin-Buch was only inaugurated in 1931 under the directorship of Oskar Vogt. It was the world's largest and most modern brain research institute of its time, including Departments of Neurophysiology (Tönnies and Kornmüller), Neurochemistry (Marthe Vogt and Veit), Genetics (Timoféeff-Ressovsky), a Research Clinic (Soeken, Zwirner), and the Neuroanatomical Departments of Oskar and his wife Cécile Vogt. Based on critical remarks Vogt had made about national socialism, a protective attitude towards Jewish coworkers at the institute, and rumors that he was a communist (spirited by his Moscow contacts), Vogt was pressed to early retirement by 1937. The Vogts moved to Neustadt in the Black Forest and established another private brain research institute, funded in part by the family of steel baron Krupp (who had already funded Vogt´s first private institute in Berlin) and by Vogt´s own funds. In 1937, Hugo Spatz, a pupil of Franz Nissl, became Vogt's successor as director of the KWI for Brain Research and head of the Neuroanatomy Department. During his tenure, the Departments of Neuropathology (Hallervorden) and of Tumor Research (Tönnis) were added. One focus of both Spatz’s and Hallervorden’s histological research were pathologies of the extrapyramidal/motor system. In a previous collaboration they had described an extrapyramidal disease that was later named Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome.

Between 1940 and 1945, Hallervorden and Spatz became involved in the atrocities of the Nazi regime by studying the brains of euthanasia victims. For many years, brain sections from these studies remained archived in the institute (which by then had become the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt am Main) together with research material from other periods. When this was recognized, all sections dating from the period 1933-1945 were given a burial at a Munich cemetery by the Max Planck Society in 1990. A memorial stone was erected in honor of the victims of these atrocities. Use of the eponym Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome is strongly discouraged due to Hallervorden and Spatz's involvement with the Nazi party and was replaced by the more descriptive terminology pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration.

After 1945, the different departments of the KWI for Brain Research were relocated to Dillenburg, Giessen, Köln, Marburg and Göttingen. In 1948 the Max Planck Society was founded to succeed the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, and the institute became the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research. Hallervorden retired as director in 1955, Spatz in 1959. In 1962, a new building was erected in Frankfurt-Niederrad to house the Departments of Neurobiology (Hassler, Director 1959-1982) and Neuropathology (Krücke, Director 1956-1979), as well as the Research Groups "Evolution of the Primate Brain" (Stephan) and "Neurochemistry" (Werner). Rolf Hassler, a pupil of Oskar Vogt and coworker of the famous Freiburg neurologist Richard Jung, studied subcortical brain areas, thalamo-cortical systems, basal ganglia and the limbic system. Wilhelm Krücke, a pupil of Hallervorden, was a renowned specialist on peripheral neuropathies. He was the reason for the institute's relocation to Frankfurt, as he was simultaneously head of the 'Edinger Institute', the Neuropathology Department of Frankfurt University's Medical School. In 1982, the KWI for Brain Research's Department of General Neurology, which had been relocated to Köln, became the Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research in that city, independent of the MPI for Brain Research. The other relocated departments of the KWI were closed with the retirement of their directors.

In 1981, the MPIH was restructured towards non-clinical, basic neuroscience through the establishment of the Departments of Neuroanatomy (Wässle, Director 1981-2008) and Neurophysiology (Singer, Director 1982-2011), followed by the Department of Neurochemistry (Betz, Director 1991-2009). Heinz Wässle conducted functional and structural studies of the mammalian retina, Heinrich Betz analyzed the molecular components of synapses, and Wolf Singer studied higher cognitive functions with a focus on the visual system.

In the first decade of the new millennium, the MPG defined the analysis of neural networks as a central research topic for the institute. In 2008 Erin Schuman and Gilles Laurent were appointed as directors of the departments "Synaptic Plasticity" and "Neural Systems", respectively. The new departments took up work in the summer of 2009 and were initially located in interim facilities on the Science Campus "Riedberg" of the Frankfurt University. The construction of a new building for the institute on this campus was recently finalized, next to the MPI of Biophysics. The new institute building currently houses the three departments of the institute (those of Erin Schuman, Gilles Laurent and Moritz Helmstaedter), several Research Groups at the institute (Tatjana Tchumatchenko and Johannes Letzkus recently joined as Max Planck Group Leaders in 2013), several core facilities, and the Max Planck Research Unit for Neurogenetics of Peter Mombaerts.

As of 2016, Moritz Helmstaedter is the Managing Director of the Institute.[1]

Graduate Program

The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Neural Circuits is a graduate program offering a Ph.D. The school is run in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics and the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main as well as the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies and the Ernst Strüngmann Institute.


1. Marx, Vivien (May 2015). "Erin Margaret Schuman". Nature Methods (Paper). 12 (5): 375. doi:10.1038/nmeth.3374.

External links

• Homepage of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research
• Homepage of the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Neural Circuits
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