Part 3: Trait Analysis

“In the scientific study of human heredity, it is necessary first to have an accurate standard for measuring specific traits. When these traits are physical ones, eugenics draws upon the science of anthropometry for its standards and technique.

The recent development of the science of measuring mental qualities and physiological and temperamental reactions, has added much to the efficiency of eugenical studies. 

The statistical study of population by sex, age, race, occupation, literacy, wealth and individual talent reveals the end results of the working out of eugenical factors. The study of population and vital statistics constitute the bookkeeping aspect of eugenics.”

Thomas R. Garth, Adjunct Professor of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin, Texas. Groups of White, Indian and Negro children were engaged continuously in a more or less mental task, i.e., adding one place numbers on sheets already printed for the purpose… The Indians worked with less falling away in efficiency toward the end than either the whites or the negroes, and the whites excelled the negroes in this respect.
Photographs of 50 criminal brains by Dr. Myrtelle M. Canavan, Pathologist to the Massachusetts Department of Mental Diseases. “The most striking feature was that their brains were, for the most part, either very long or very round, with well developed pattern, probably indicating that the criminal is potentially well endowed but improperly uses his endowment. Most of the crimes were minor ones—breaking and entering, drunkenness, vagrancy, now and then a major crime of murder. It was striking, perhaps fortunate, that the majority of these men were unmarried.”
OPPOSITION TO EUGENICAL ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT TRAITS

Most of the mental diseases have no hereditary relationships. Any individual whose candidacy for matrimony is being considered need not hesitate to marry if his ancestors have died in insane hospitals… We are very far from establishing the fact that we are dealing with biological entities concerning which we may make any kind of general conclusions in relation to heredity. The insane have normal descendants; normal folk have insane descendants in a perfectly bewildering and inexplicable fashion.

Dr. Abraham Meyerson, Professor of Neurology, Tufts University, “Heredity and Insanity” paper delivered at the Second Congress.
Close up portrait of neurologist Abraham Meyerson that focuses on his face and the tops of his shoulders. The lighting for this black and white photograph comes from the left side, leaving the right side of his face more in shadow. He has white hair and prominent eyebrows, with his eyes looking slightly above the camera lens and a neutral expression on his face. He is wearing a dark suit and a white shift, with what appears to be a patterned tie. His name is written in capital letters below the photograph.
Biologist Raymond Pearl featured in a black and white portrait. His body is oriented slightly to the left in the photograph, with his face looking directly into the camera and his eyes displaying a neutral expression. He is with dark hair coifed in the front, and he is wearing wire glasses with clear frames around the lenses. Pearl is dressed in a striped suit and his top button is undone. He is wearing a white shift and dark tie under the suit, with a round tie clip and the knot slightly protruding. There is a shadow under his lip either from the camera lighting, a strip of hair, or a scar. He is posed in front of a textured gray background.

The literature of eugenics has largely become a mangled mess of ill-grounded and uncritical sociology, economics, anthropology, and politics, full of emotional appeals to class and race prejudices, solemnly put forth as science, and unfortunately accepted as such by the general public… In preaching as they do, that like produces like, and that therefore superior people will have superior children, and inferior people inferior children, the orthodox eugenists are going contrary to the best established facts of genetical science.

Dr. Raymond Pearl, Professor of Biometry and Vital Statistics, Johns Hopkins University, “The Biology of Superiority,” American Mercury 12 (November 1927), pp. 257–266.) [Pearl attended the Second Congress]