Database: Eugenics in College Biology Textbooks

TitleDateAuthor(s)PublisherEugenics 0-5
An Introduction to General Biology1904Sedgwick, William T. (M) MIT; Wilson, Edmund B. (M) ColumbiaHenry Holt and Company, New York0 No mention
Biology1912Conn, Herbert William (M) WeslyanSilver, Burdett, Boston0 No mention
The Principles of Biology1913Hamaker, J. I. (M) Randolph-Macon Woman's CollegeP. Blakiston's Son and Company, Philadelphia 0 No mention
Biology1914Calkins, Gary N. (M) ColumbiaHenry Holt and Company, New York0 No mention
Elementary Priciples of General Biology1914Abbott, James Francis (M) Washington UniversityMacmillan, New York3 First college text to describe eugenics. Disclaimed only slightly: "So far as statistics may be depended upon, it would seem that the proportion of defectives, comprising all sorts of persons who, on account of physical, moral, or mental abnormalities, are a burden to society, is steadily and rapidly increasing" (241).
Biology1917Calkins, Gary N. (M) ColumbiaHenry Holt and Company, New York0 No mention
A Text-Book of General Biology1918Smallwood, William Martin (M) SyracuseLea & Febiger, Philadelphia3 Includes Kallikaks and eugenics. Text closes with discussion of behavior.
General and Professional Biology1922Menge, Edward J. (M) MarquetteThe Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee
General Biology1922Burlingame, Leonas Lancelot (M); Heath, Harold (M); Martin, Ernest Gale (M); Peirce, George James (M) ColumbiaHenry Holt and Company, New York5 - Propagandistic and extremely influential. Eugenics chapter written by Lewis M. Terman. Text closes with "It is clear, however, that the sooner serious general attention is paid to racial betterment through eugenics the better it will be for mankind, both in the near and long distant future" (554).
Foundations of Biology1922Woodruff, Lorande Loss (M) Yale BioMacmillan, New York1 - Cautionary. '37 edition includes important anti-eugenic statement. See pp. 407-09.
Life and Evolution1926Holmes, Samual Jackson (M) University of CaliforniaHarcourt, New York5 - Propogandistic. See pp 411-427. Book's final and climatic chapter. Note particularly citations on 427.
College Biology1930Barrows, Henry R. d. 1935 (M) New York UniversityRichard R. Smith, New York4 Propogandistic. Chapter XVIII - Applied Genetics - ends with subsection on Eugenics. Somewhat edited in 1936.
Fundamentals of Biology1932Haupt, Arthur W (M) UCLA4 Propogandistic.
General Biology1933White, E. Grace (F) Wilson College BioThe C. V. Mosby Company, St. Louis5 Propogandistic. See pp 270-283
Man and the Nature of His Biological World1934Jean, Frank Covert (M); Harrah, Ezra Clarence (M); Herman, Fred Louis (M); Colorado State College of Education and Powers, Samual Ralph (M) ColumbiaGinn, Boston5. Entire narrative leads to the eugenic climax. Influenced by Burlingame (1922). Closes with "Hereditary differences should always have weight in deciding one's vocation" (426). Authors would update text in '44 and '52. Very conscious of latest stats and confirming opinion, including reference to Villee '50 in '52 Jean.
An Introduction to Biology1935Rice, Edward Loranus (M) Ohio Wesleyan University Bio Debated Bryan in '25, advised Darrow at ScopesGinn, BostonCautionary. 1. "Progress must be gradual and conservative" (564)
General Biology1936Mavor, James Watt (M) Union CollegeMacmillan, New York2 Somewhat cautionary. See pp 599-601
Elements of General Biology1936Barrows, Henry R. d. 1935 (M) New York UniversityFarrar & Rinehart, New York3 Supportive. 317-18. But claims of "an encouraging amount of success" and the likelihood to "enact and support some such laws and regulations" (262-63) edited from original (1930).
Human Biology1940Baitsell, George Alfred (M) 1885-1971 Yale BioMcGraw-Hill, New York3 Promotional. (Quotes Holmes: "three generations ..." 426)
Man and the Living World1940Stanford, E. E (M) College of the Pacific, Stocton Junior CollegeMacmillan, New York4 Propogandistic. See all of Chapt. XXX - "Genetics and Human Heredity." See pp. 698-730.
Biology1940Parshley, Howard M (M) Smith College BioJohn Wiley & Sons, New York2 Cautionary. "Ideal rather than practical possibility." Cites SJ Holmes and Huntington's Tomorrow's Children
Man and the Biological World1942Rogers, J. Speed; Hubbell, Theodore H. (M); Byers, Francis C. University of FloridaMcGraw-Hill, New York4 Propogandistic and highly deterministic. Very concerned with rates of reproduction by class (chart p. 282). Text focused on evolution, race and "the individual's capacity for mental, physical, and moral development" (283).
General Biology for College1942Moment, Gairdner B. (M) Goucher College Bio (PDF)D. Appleton-Century, New York0 Anti-eugenic. Great "Gould-like" quote: "In one sense, heredity is predominant. We develop into humans, not starfish or lemurs, because of our heredity. In another, equally valid, sense, environment is predominant. Every living thing can exist only in a suitable environment and is continually reacting to it. Both together make us what we are" (413).
Biology The Science of Life1943MacDougall, Mary Stuart (F) Agnes Scott College; Hegner, Robert (M) Johns HopkinsMcGraw-Hill, New York1 Discusses inheritance with charts (see note), and mentions eugenics in passing (846), but focuses on disease prevention and environmental improvements.
Man and His Biological World1944Jean, Frank Covert (M); Harrah, Ezra Clarence (M); Herman, Fred Louis (M); Colorado State College and Powers, Samual Ralph (M) ColumbiaGinn, Boston5 Repeats and revises '34 text, adds additional supporting references. Entire narrative leads to the eugenic climax. Closes with "Hereditary differences should always have weight in deciding one's vocation" (547).
Biology and its Relation to Mankind1949Winchester, A. M (M) John B. Stetson UniversityD. Van Norstrand Company, New York4 Harshly (and casually) eugenic.
Life Science1949de Laubenfels, M. W (M) 1894-1960 University of Hawaii (later Orgegon State College)Prentice-Hall4 Deterministic and racist. Devotes one of 28 chapters (25) to the topic, titled - Eugenics: The Special Problem of Breeding. "The destiny of a person, animal, or plant exists inside the zygote, chiefly in the chromosomes" (329). Egypt's rise can be traced to "consanguineous marriage by preference" (336). Compares differential births to cancer (338).
The World of Life1949Pauli, Wolfgang F (M) Bradford Junior CollegeHoughton Mifflin, Boston5 Remarkably eugenic. Attempts to introduce topic under cover of "reform" (and fails). Topic serves as climax for the narrative. "it has been argued that any program of negative eugenics, by segregation and sterilization, would be futile, and hence that we had better do nothing about the mater at all. This like the lazy man's argument that since he can never eradicate the last weed out of his garden - and even if he did, new ones would appear anyway - he might as well do no weeding at all!" (580).
College Zoology1949Hunter, George W. III, Hunter, F. R.W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia3 Strong, but significantly soft-pedaled relative to George W. Hunter's high school texts.
General Biology for College1950Moment, Gairdner B. (M) Goucher College Bio (PDF)D. Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York2 A hard to judge work. Gairdner in this significant update to his almost anti-eugenic 1942 text of the same title introduces key principles of the modern synthesis. The author's ecological bent prepared him for the transition to populational thinking. However, in an apparent pitch for relevancy, Gairdner placed increased stress "on the human import of biological facts and principles" (vi), which forced a long discussion of human inheritance and heredity, and brought the author's opinions on genetic determinism relative to topics such as I.Q. to the fore (see 559). Eugenics discounted and supported simultaneously (560).
Biology1950Villee, Claude A. (M) BioW. B. Saunders, Philadelphia4 Though not the text's narrative focus, eugenics serves as the climax to a unit on genetics and precedes the text's extensive section on evolution. Author references R. R. Gates, S. J. Holmes, H. J. Muller among others. Extremely popular textbook revised through 8 editions. Eugenics strongly promoted through 4th edition (at least), 1962. (Quotes Holmes: "three generations ..." 461). Author pridefully cites California's "success" with a program of eugenic sterilization (and would continue to do so through '62).
Man and His Biological World1952Jean, Frank Covert (M); Harrah, Ezra Clarence (M); Herman, Fred Louis (M); Colorado State College and Powers, Samual Ralph (M) ColumbiaGinn, Boston5 Entire narrative leads to the eugenic climax. Minor text and reference edits and additions relative to Jean '44.
Biology1956Brown, Relis B. (M) Lawrence CollegeD. C. Heath, Boston1 Quite cautionary. Eugenics indexed and defined, its aims "laudable," but dismissed as impractical, with improvement to the environment suggested as the quickest path to human improvement. "Who is to say whether the race would be better or worse off with more people having musical talent, artistic ability, or mechanical aptitude?" (239)
Biology and its Relation to Mankind1957Winchester, A. M (M) Colorado State CollegeD. Van Norstrand Company, New York1 Though deterministic thrust remains, the word eugenics, a central feature in '49, eliminated in '57. Notable retreat from visual spectacle (though author would return somewhat to visual spectacle in '64.
Biology1957Villee, Claude A. (M) BioW. B. Saunders, Philadelphia4 Author cites Frederick Osborn's Preface to Eugenics, increases word count in eugenics section by 25%. Remarkably anachronistic relative to peers. Comparable only to the high school textbook Modern Biology in its tone-deafness.
Life1957Simpson, George Gaylord; Pittendrigh, Colin S.; Tiffany, Lewis HHarcourt, New York1 First "modern" text. Influenced BSCS texts. Eugenics banished, though authors state, "Under present conditions man's future biological evolution is more likely to be degenerative than progressive. (798)
Biology1962Villee, Claude A. (M) BioW. B. Saunders, Philadelphia4 Continues to cite Frederick Osborn and S. J. Holmes. Also cites Buck v. Bell, but removes "imbeciles" quote, still present in '57. Updated to include, "the recent discovery of safe and effective oral contraceptives may be applied to this problem ..." (507).
Biology and its Relation to Mankind1964Winchester, A. M (M) Colorado State CollegeD. Van Norstrand Company, New York1 Eugenics, a central feature in '49, eliminated by 2nd edition ('57). '64 introduced "scare picture" of a Down's teenager (labeled a "mongoloid)" with a frightening skin condition (551).
Biology1967Villee, Claude A. (M) BioW. B. Saunders, Philadelphia4 Continues to cite Frederick Osborn and Buck v. Bell, but drops mention of S. J. Holmes. Scheinfeld still serves as cover. Villee remains steadfast in his opinion that "one of the largest eugenic problems is that of the mental defectives," and that "the average intelligence of the population is decreasing from generation to generation" (570).
Biology1972Villee, Claude A. (M) BioW. B. Saunders, Philadelphia3 Villee finally(!) cleanses his text of any explicit reference to eugenics. However, in its place, and to close the chapter titled "Inheritance in Man: Population Genetics," the author substitutes two sub-sections - "Factors Changing Gene Frequencies: Differential Reproduction" and "Evolution: The Failure to Maintain Genetic Equilibrium" (718). Villee's citing of E. A. Hooton, C. S. Coon (786) and Franz Weidenreich (789) betray continued adherence to concepts of "racial development." Text could easily be classed as a "4," if one is willing to read, and not even too carefully, between the lines.
Biology: A Full Spectrum1973Moment, Gairdner B. (M) Goucher College Moment, Gairdner B. (M) Goucher College Bio (PDF); Habermann, Helen M (F) Goucher CollegeThe Williams & Wilkins Company, Baltimore2 A surprisingly late date to find eugenics indexed and the topic of genetic screening discussed under the label. Authors torn on the topic; speak of both negative and positive eugenics; consider modern "humane" negative eugenic measures for eliminating "horrible" conditions coded by dominant genes non-problematic (vs. Spartan exposure or Nazi gas chambers, p. 180). But also suggest that "afflictions" caused by recessive genes may serve as "gadflies to achievements of great benefit to the human race," noting the cases of Homer, Edison, Steinmentz and Byron (181).

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