Image adapted from “South facade of American Museum of Natural History, print with handwriting: The Museum South Facade, Exterior Completed in 1899” AMNH Research Library | Digital Special Collections

The Second International Congress of Eugenics was held September 22 – 28th, 1921 to promote the logics of directing human evolution through social policy.

The American Museum of Natural History, hosted the Second Congress under the leadership of museum President Henry Fairchild Osborn, who also served as President of the Second Congress. Under Osborn’s leadership the museum provided space and contributed scholarship and exhibits that advanced the cause of eugenics.

Osborn and other organizers billed the Second Congress as “A Conference on the Results of Research in Race Improvement.” Papers and exhibits at the Second Congress explained the latest research in genetics, heredity, and evolution alongside advocacy for segregation, immigration restriction, and the sterilization and incarceration of the “unfit.”

The Second Congress helped legitimate and popularize eugenics and facilitated better collaboration among eugenicists. Afterwards, Second Congress organizers published a summary report about the Second Congress, two volumes of proceedings, and an exhibit catalog some of which the pages in this online exhibition draw from. Please use the hamburger menu in the upper right of this page to navigate through the exhibition.