Monday, January 25, 2016

The Purifying Knife: The Strange Career of Eugenics in Texas, 1850-1940

Women in the gallery of the Texas House of Representatives cheered on the afternoon of March 2, 1923, after Rep. Edith Wilmans of Dallas delivered a fiery defense of a eugenics bill she had sponsored.  The legislation, House Bill 85, required all couples applying for a marriage license in Texas to undergo a physical examination and receive “a certificate from a reputable physician” confirming the couple’s physical fitness. Getting married depended on passing the exam.

     Another member of the House asked Wilmans about the fairness of the financial burden the examinations entailed.  According to The Dallas Morning News, “[t]here was applause . .  . when Mrs. Wilmans replied . . . it would be far better for a couple contemplating marriage to spend $15 for such examinations than $15 later for a coffin for a child born insufficiently nourished.”[i] 

     Neither the Morning News nor the Journal of the House of Representatives provided a full transcript of the debate.  However, based on the Morning News’ brief report, Wilmans implied that requiring physical examinations might prevent the union of poor couples that would produce children they could not adequately feed.  However, her comments also suggested that the required medical exam might reduce marriages among the poor because many in the lower classes were physically and mentally “unfit” and couldn’t pass such medical scrutiny.  Such a legal barrier to marriage might, therefore, reduce the births of what eugenicists called the “dysgenic” –- the biologically inferior.

     Wilmans in 1922 had become the first woman ever elected to the Texas state Legislature.[ii] She failed to win the endorsement of the anti-Ku Klux Klan Dallas County Citizens’ League when she ran for the state House that year because she refused to renounce the so-called “Invisible Empire.”[iii]   She won in spite of the city’s traditional elites and it was extraordinary for a House freshman to introduce a proposed law that received so much attention. House Bill 85 received a favorable report from the Public Health Committee.[iv]  Wilmans and her allies defeated an amendment by Charles Rice of Houston County.  Rice wanted only men to undergo examinations and the tests used merely to detect venereal disease. Wilmans argued such a change would probably render the bill unconstitutional and that the “things which the bills seeks to guard against” were not just sexually transmitted diseases and were not “limited to one sex.” [v]

    Wilmans’ efforts proved to be for naught, the bill ultimately failing on a second reading by a vote of 66-51. (In Texas, bills in the House and Senate go through three separate “readings,” with majorities required to approve the legislation in both chambers of the legislature on the second and third reading before the bill can be forwarded to the governor for signature or a veto).[vi]  This failure was a common experience for Texas advocates of eugenics, a scientific enterprise conducted largely in Britain and the United States (but later most famously in Nazi Germany) that aimed to breed biologically superior humans and eliminate inferior strains.[vii] 

     Eugenicists embraced a lengthy agenda.  For instance, eugenics supporters in the state, like the geneticist and one-time University of Texas professor Hermann Joseph Muller, sought to encourage reproduction among the biologically fit, to allow humanity to “take control of its own evolution and produce future generations that were wiser, brighter, more talented, and healthier in mind and body . . .”[viii]  Some eugenicists  also opposed the immigration into the United States of those they deemed racially undesirable: East Asians, Eastern and Southern Europeans, Africans and Latin Americans.  In a December 1922 speech to the Dallas Critic Club (an influential civic organization), a eugenicist attorney in that city, Lewis Meriwether Dabney, declared that he wanted to end “promiscuous immigration” by "mongrelized Asiatics, Greeks, Levantines, Southern Italians, and sweepings of the Balkans, of Poland and of Russia."[ix]          
     Finally, eugenicists lobbied for compulsory sterilization laws, which allowed judges or boards to order those deemed unfit (overwhelmingly the physically and mentally disabled, as well as men, women, and even children, of color, and the poor) to undergo vasectomies, tubal ligations, and other surgical procedures to prevent the victims from reproducing.  In states other than Texas, eugenicists successfully lobbied legislatures to pass sterilization bills in the American Northeast, across the Upper and Deep South, in much of the Midwest, the Plains States, and the Pacific Coast.  One author, Edwin Black, estimates that nationwide about 70,000 Americans underwent involuntary sterilizations from 1900 to 1970, with women constituting most of the victims.  Yet, by 1936, Texas was one of only 16 states that never implemented a law allowing for the sterilization of the unfit.[x] 
    That Texas never passed a sterilization law represents a mystery, given that the movement in the Lone Star State predated the coining of the term “eugenics,” the presence of internationally prominent eugenicists like Muller there, and a prevailing state culture shaped by the classism, racism, and xenophobia shared by most (but not all) eugenicists.  The absence of a sterilization law wasn’t due to a lack of effort by the Lone Star State’s eugenics movement.  The state Legislature mulled numerous eugenics bills in the early twentieth century, with each going down in defeat. Because of its failures, the eugenics movement in Texas has received little attention from scholars, referred to only in passing in most histories of eugenics.[xi]

     Texas eugenicists’ inability to shape public policy has perhaps led historians to mistakenly conclude that the movement was not vibrant in the state and to therefore ignore the prevalence of eugenics thought and activism south of the Red River.  Eugenics, in fact, has a long history in Texas, was embraced by many prominent figures from the Panhandle to the Gulf Coast, and deeply influenced the state’s popular culture.  Nevertheless, when it came to legislation, advocates came away empty-handed. It is perhaps easier for an historian to explain why something happened rather than theorizing why something did not.  Some explanations for this failure rest on speculation rather than archival resources.  But clues exist and it appears that Texas eugenicists hit a brick wall legislatively for several reasons, including the political and theological leanings of important eugenicists, the association of eugenics with Darwinism (unpopular in a deeply religious state), and the concerns of important cotton growers, who exploited Mexican farm labor, that eugenicists would shut off Mexican immigration.
     Almost three decades before the English biologist Sir Francis Galton coined the term eugenics in 1883,[xii] a Texas doctor, Gideon Lincecum, lobbied for a law allowing the state to order castration – the application of what he called “the knife of purification” -  to be imposed on criminals and others he deemed unfit, to prevent the transmission of defective biological characteristics to future generations.[xiii]  The Georgia-born Lincecum (1793-1874) argued after he moved to Texas in 1848 that criminality and work habits were inborn human traits.[xiv] The eugenics movement later echoed this biological determinism.  Also, like the eugenicists of the coming decades, Lincecum feared that the unfit would soon reproductively run over the biologically superior.  He thought it might take thousands of years to produce a biological paradise, but Lincecum still dreamed of  “a perfect world inhabited by a physically superb race of men and women, morally and intellectually perfect, who selectively reproduced for even higher attainment,” as Lincecum biographer Lois Wood Burkhalter put it. Lincecum saw castration of the unfit as the fastest path towards that dreamland.[xv]
    
     Lincecum was not just a theorist, but had applied the purifying knife himself to someone he deemed a threat to the species-- without the patient’s consent.[xvi] “Did you ever see a eunuch?” he asked his New York friend Dr. R.P. Hallock.  “I have been familiarly acquainted with five of them.  One of them I made myself.

He was a degraded drunken sot – in delirium tremens at the time and I did it in a kind of youthful frolic.  It cured him, however, and made an honest man of him and he often thanked me for it . . . He became quite industrious, religious, and studious . . . I have had this subject under close toiling investigation during the last ten years. [xvii]
      In the 1850s, Lincecum sent a “Memorial,” as he called a proposed law he authored, to 676 legislators, newspaper editors, doctors and other Texas notables. In this Memorial, he fiercely advocated forced castration of criminals as a means of improving the species.[xviii]  He saw castration as a means of holding in check or even curing what he considered the innate animal nature of criminals.  Lincecum tirelessly proposed eugenic castration for two decades, from his first call in the early 1850s until his death in 1874. He reacted with fury when his proposal for castration of criminals met with ridicule, indifference, or fierce opposition.  Only two newspapers in Texas, he complained in an 1859 letter, the Colorado Democrat and the Ranger, published his “Memorial” in full, and most others referred to it only briefly “for the fun of the thing than any other consideration.”[xix] 
     Lincecum was unable to creative a mass movement behind his favorite cause. Benjamin E. Tarver and John Sayles, who represented Lincecum’s Washington County, introduced the “Lincecum Law” in the Texas House on November 16, 1853, but the proposal met only with derision.  “They did it in a manner better calculated to excite ridicule and opposition than a philosophical consideration of the matter,” Lincecum later bitterly complained.[xx]

     Bristling at critics who charged that mandatory castration of criminals was a violation of human rights, Lincecum informed a correspondent that castration would provide a more humane alternative to executions and would prevent the conception of future criminals.  The only available remedy is the knife,” he wrote. “Its power to deter and to save the wicked is indisputably efficient . . . [A]s to the ‘inhumanity,’ and ‘cruelty’ of the proposed changes in our penal code, when compared with the rope, penitentiary, and the branding iron, it is an objection that will never be brought forward by intelligent men . . . ”[xxi]   The legislature rejected the  “Lincecum Law” in both 1855 and 1856.[xxii]

     Similar voices to Lincecum’s would be heard in Texas before the turn of the century.  Dr. F.E. Daniel, publisher of one of the state’s first medical journals, in a paper before the International Medico-Legal Congress in Chicago in August 1893 called for castration and other forced sterilization measures as a final solution to deviancy in the human population.[xxiii]  Daniel subsequently published his paper under the title “Should Insane Criminals, Or Sexual Perverts, Be Allowed to Procreate?”, which appeared later that same year in the Medico-Legal Journal.[xxiv] Daniel admitted that science had not firmly established the root causes of alcoholism, homosexuality, or other behaviors he disdained, but he entertained no doubts that heredity and not a person’s social environment, shaped a person’s behavior. 

     “No fact is better established that drunkenness, insanity, and criminal traits of behavior, as well as syphilis, consumption, and scrofula may descend from parent to child,” he said. Daniel then mourned that states had failed to take more aggressive action “in the way of rational prophylaxis against a long list of maladies that destroy both mind and body.”[xxv]  He protested that, “In no state are such restrictions put upon the privilege of marriage as are calculated to arrest the propagation of consumption, syphilis, insanity, drunkenness, and criminal propensity; nor is any other method resorted to, calculated to counteract, or lessen the degrading effects of hereditary transmission of these vices.”[xxvi]

     Daniel warned that the many drunks, criminals and lower races who lived in Texas would proliferate wildly in the coming years and overwhelm the state’s fit population unless dramatic measures were taken.  “[W]ith the lower classes, particularly negroes, it is known that illicit intercourse is common,” he said.[xxvii]  In spite of his persistence, however (like Lincecum) Daniel proved unable to translate his ideas into state action.

     Texas eugenicists got further in the 20th century than they had the previous five decades, but even as other states passed sterilization laws across the country, similar efforts continued to meet frustrations in the Lone State State.  In May 1913, the Lancet-Clinic medical journal chided the Texas Senate for voting down a measure that spring calling for the “sterilization of defectives” by a margin of 14-11.  “We ought not to expect too much from our legislatures as at present constituted, but it would seem to be a reasonable proposition that they allow themselves to be guided by expert opinion in technical matters,” complained the Cincinnati-based publication.

. . . The reasons advanced by some of the opponents of the bill are so utterly childish as to arouse our pity for the people of Texas, whose destinies are in the keeping of such profound ignorance.  One senator declared that the proposed vasectomy was a “cruel and unusual punishment” and therefore unconstitutional.  The man must have been a lawyer – and one unacquainted with the statutes of other States in the Union . . . One senator “named [H.P.] Brelsford [a Democrat from Eastland], with a voice like a megaphone, made the hall resound with pleas – almost tearful – for the God-given right of procreation,” and another one “drew a pathetic picture of a young couple who had built a nest and looked forward to the laugh of many children, and pictured their sadness and sorrow and disappointment because some board had sterilized hubby.”[xxviii]
     The Clinic-Lancet mocked the compassion of the senator for the theoretical husband, noting that “the hypothetical hubby was in no danger, because the bill . . . ‘confined the operation to the inmates of charity institutions and prisons – the wreckage of humanity – to those whose lives had been wrecked by their ancestors.” The Clinic-Lancet then approvingly quoted an editorial in the Texas Medical Journal, which declared “the necessity of some effort to arrest this deluge of idiots, imbeciles, lunatics, epileptics and hereditary and confirmed criminals.”[xxix]
    Eugenics became a concern not just of a small medical clique. Some of the most powerful politicians in Texas sounded a grim eugenicist warning.  In a speech in the Texas Panhandle in April 1922, Gov. Pat Neff warned that the state faced a crisis as there were “over 6,000 insane in the institutions of Texas . . . We are just breeding lunatics in Texas and it must be stopped.”[xxx]  In spite of Neff’s bully pulpit, his plea fell on deaf ears. Ridicule from medical journals aside, legislative opponents of eugenics in the coming years held the day in Texas.  A decade after the Texas Senate rejected the 1913 sterilization bill, the Texas House also turned down Wilmans’ plan.
     There would be at least three other major pushes for eugenics legislation in Texas in the first four decades of the 20th century.  The state House passed a sterilization bill in 1932, but the law died in the Senate.[xxxi] In 1935, Senator Arthur Duggan of Littlefield, northwest of Lubbock, filed yet one more doomed sterilization bill, one that colleagues J. Franklin Spears of San Antonio and Clarence Farmer of Fort Worth denounced as “vicious.”[xxxii] Duggan believed that the supposedly rapid reproduction of the unfit constituted a state emergency and urged swift action in his legislation. “The fact that there are now no adequate laws for sterilization of inmates in state institutions and the further fact that human experience has demonstrated that heredity plays an important part in the transmission of idiocy, feeble-mindedness, insanity, epilepsy, and other degeneracies and that the state of Texas has in its custodial care  . . . many mentally defective persons who if now discharged or paroled probably would become . . . a menace to society but who, if incapable of procreating might safely be discharged or paroled and become self-supporting . . . creates an emergency.”[xxxiii]
     Duggan’s bill would have created a State Board of Eugenics made up of the Texas State Health Officer, the chief physician and surgeon of the University of Texas at the Galveston Medical College, and a member of the state Board of Control.  (In 1920, Texas established the Board of Control to oversee all “eleemosynary” – charitable – institutions housing dependent populations.)  The eugenics board would have considered recommendations by the administrators of state homes and hospitals and made judgments regarding sterilizations of patients and inmates who “would produce children with tendencies towards serious physical, mental, or nervous diseases or deficiencies.”  The records on such hearings would have been closed to the public.  Notices of recommended sterilizations would have been forwarded to spouses, the nearest living relative, or legal representatives, with the patient given ten days to appeal the eugenics board’s decisions to a district court. If the judge concurred with the board, the sterilization would follow.[xxxiv]
     The Dallas Morning News heartily supported Duggan’s legislation – Senate Bill 59 - and ran a patronizing editorial about its critics. “Sterilization makes its way slowly, yet a misguided sense of humanity opposes it,” said an editorial endorsing the law published on January 18, 1935.  “It is far kinder to prevent the birth of persons doomed to become public charges or to drift early to crime or institutional care than to permit their introduction into the world.”[xxxv] The Morning News predicted that Duggan’s bill, and a rival sterilization bill proposed that session by Sen. Pat Jefferson of San Antonio, would face intense opposition as both senators struggled for space on a crowded legislative calendar.  Alonzo Wasson of the Morning News, characterized the bill’s opponents as being in part motivated by constitutional concerns regarding the right of states to force sterilizations on criminals and the insane.  Wasson believed those concerns had been “largely dissolved” because of the 1927 United States Supreme Court  Buck v. Bell decision that upheld a Virginia sterilization law.  Other opponents of the Duggan bill, Wasson said, believed the legislation violated their religious beliefs. “The arguments left to those opposed to sterilization,” Wasson wrote, “are not much more than comes from sentimentalism and certain religious concepts which antedate even the notion that insanity and other mental ills were penalties visited upon the wicked by a wrathful Providence.”[xxxvi]
     Senate Bill 59 was referred to the Committee on Public Health.  Opposition was intense as Wasson predicted: enough to kill both Duggan’s and Jefferson’s sterilization bills.  Duggan’s bill was reported out of the committee and forwarded to the full Senate along with a minority report urging the upper chamber to reject the law.  The bill lacked sufficient support in the full chamber to ever come up for a vote.[xxxvii]  Any momentum behind introducing a new sterilization measure suffered a serious blow on September 6, 1935 when the chief legislative champion of that cause, Duggan, died of heart failure.[xxxviii]

     Upon Duggan’s death, efforts to implement a Texas eugenics law two years later fell to the state House.  Four representatives – Conde Hoskins of Gonzales in Central Texas, Minet Davis of Kirbyville in Southeast Texas, C.L. Stocks of Gainesville, in North Central Texas, and John Dollins of Waco – backed a new sterilization measure in the lower chamber in the 1937 regular session.[xxxix]  House Bill 555 received an 8-4 favorable report from the Public Health Committee, after provisions allowing the forced sterilization of habitual criminals and “degenerates” were deleted, leaving “incurable insane people” as the only potential target.[xl] Once again, there were critics.  One Dallas Morning News reader worried that the sterilization bill, if passed, would become a slippery slope leading eventually to the euthanizing of the elderly.  Simultaneously alluding to President Franklin Roosevelt’s so-called “court-packing scheme” which would have allowed him to select an additional Supreme Court justice for every sitting justice more than 70 years old on the court, the Texas sterilization bill, and euthanasia policies in Nazi Germany, Mrs. Cecil Smith of Sherman in East Texas worried in a letter to the editor that, “If today, seventy years be the Supreme Court limit, tomorrow it may be the life limit. What with euthanasia for the suffering, sterilization for the unfit, and King Herod for the unborn and for the senile . . .  it behooves us elderly to walk warily.”[xli]  Smith need not have worried because the latest eugenicist effort in the Texas state Legislature failed yet again.  

     Regardless of their lack of legislative success, Texas eugenicists deeply influenced the state’s politics and culture throughout the first three decades of the 20th century.  Political leaders who endorsed eugenicist ideas included not only Neff, governor from 1921-1925, but also Congressman John Box of Jacksonville, Texas, who served on the United States House Immigration Committee and warned of the danger “non-white” immigration, particularly from Mexico and Asia, posed for the future of the United States. “Every Chinaman or ‘mixed breed’ born to these seasonal laborers [in agriculture] under the flag of the United States is, by the provisions of the Constitution, a citizen entitled to go from one part of the nation to another freely and to remain, and have his children remain, forever,” Box declared in a June 5, 1927 statement approvingly quoted in the Eugenical News published in Cold Spring Harbor, New York.[xlii]

     Eugenicist goals overlapped significantly with and reinforced the anti-immigration agenda of the Ku Klux Klan, one of the most powerful institutions in Texas in the early 1920s.[xliii]  Politically influential newspapers like the Dallas Morning News supported eugenics.  “Quality not quantity should be the goal of science in seeking to improve our race,” the Morning News declared in an editorial on August 25, 1932.  “ . . . . Racial poisons, feeble-mindedness, mental diseases, and ignorance are the four great curses that Western civilization, in the long run, must conquer, if it is to survive.”[xliv]  Eugenicists not only held state office and published newspapers, but they also ran institutions of higher education. One of the loudest eugenicists, Edward Everett Davis, who from 1925-1946 served as dean of North Texas Agricultural College (now the University of Texas at Arlington), authored a pro-eugenics novel in 1940 titled The White Scourge, and once complained that, “All that has been said about the Negro regarding his low economic productivity, poor standards of living, and large families . . . apply with equal validity to the Mexicans.”  Davis befriended Congressman Box and urged him to read one of the most important pro-eugenics works in the early twentieth century, Lothrop Stoddard’s The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy (1920).  Davis wanted Box to understand the importance of keeping “lower races” out of the country because of the danger they posed and because of what he claimed was their tendency to intermarry with “marginal” whites who, he said, possessed “just enough intelligence to beget children, hew wood, draw water, and pick cotton.”[xlv] 

     The City of Dallas named Dr. J.W. Bass, who once authored a paper on “Variation, Heredity, and Eugenics,” as its acting director of health in 1927.[xlvi]  Eugenicists found a platform at the Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Texas A&M University), Baylor Medical University, the Dallas Child Guidance Clinic, the Texas State Board of Health, the Dallas Dental Association, the Dallas Association of Visiting Nurses, the Texas State Parent-Teachers Association, and the Dallas Council of Mothers.  The Dallas YMCA and Y.W.C.A. helped organize public eugenics exhibits and in other ways spread the movement’s gospel.[xlvii]  Through the Dallas YMCA, more than “4,000 young people . . . heard” Dr. Winfield Scott’s “ . . . talks on health and eugenics at seventeen district meetings.”[xlviii]
      Influential figures in Texas made a fierce effort to spread the eugenics gospel throughout the state.  For many years in the early twentieth century, a "Better Baby Contest" proved a crowd-pleasing event at the Texas State Fair in Dallas.  In 1914, a committee of doctors measured the skulls and other traits of the 500 entrants, with $15 awarded to the parents of the biologically "best" child, any class, and $5 for the best twins and triplets.[xlix] Winners were white, blonde and the scions of elite families.  Hoping to evangelize the Dallas crowds to the gospel of better breeding, A. Caswell Ellis, an educational psychologist at the University of Texas (later a national leader in the eugenic movement), flattered the crowd attending a Better Baby Contest at the State Fair in 1914, declaring, "Texas babies are better babies than the babies of any other state." Long a popularizer of science[l], Ellis took the opportunity to evangelize for his favorite cause and "lightly touched on eugenics" for his Dallas audience.[li]  Eugenicists also established a “Fitter Families Council” in Dallas in November 1927.[lii]
      Roy Bedichek, the chief of the state’s Interscholastic League Bureau, added his voice to the state’s large pro-eugenics chorus. He publicly mourned the negative eugenic effect of World War I, which slaughtered “the flower of English manhood” and impoverished “German blood.” Bedichek promoted sports as a way to divert energy away from such biologically destructive pursuits as combat.[liii]

     Meanwhile, Carrie Weaver Smith used her position as the controversial first director of the Gainesville State School for Girls, in part, as a platform for promoting eugenics. Established by Texas in 1916, the school sat on 160 rural acres, administrators pursuing a mission of providing “a home for delinquent and dependent girls where they [might] be trained to those useful arts and sciences to which women are adapted” and to encourage within inmates a respect for “the sacredness of the responsibility of parenthood and wifehood.” According to historian William S. Bush, by 1920, a large majority of the school’s girls came from cities, half of those from the nearby Dallas-Fort Worth area.  The Gainesville school subjected new arrivals to close physical examinations and found that half of the juvenile offenders suffered from venereal disease.  A progressive like Wilmans, the Georgia-born Smith had graduated from the Pennsylvania Women’s Medical College in 1910, and at Gainesville she ran a program that one social work publication, The Survey, described as “where girls go right.” The Gainesville School housed a tough crowd – teenagers Smith described as “the children of squatters” who came from “shotgun houses” and “covered wagons,” the “moral and physical filth of their surroundings being unspeakable.” The girls were frequently victims of sexual abuse, often at the hands of male relatives, and they had grown up in households characterized by substance abuse.  Smith often told audiences about one girl who told her that at home she was used to “having half a pint of whiskey and two packages of ‘Camels’ a day.” Many never had a room to themselves until the courts dispatched them to Gainesville. [liv]

     Smith’s rehabilitation methods were in sharp contrast to prevailing norms at Texas state schools. Before the Gainesville School had been completed, Smith prepared for running the institution by inspecting the Dallas County Industrial Girls Home.  She found, to her horror, that the girls there suffered from hookworm due to the tainted meat fed them and discovered that the children had even been disciplined with chains and whips. At Gainesville, Smith prohibited corporal punishment.  She sought to introduce the inmates to a more serene, normal life.  Classes taught girls stenography, bookkeeping, and other stereotypically “feminine” skills. She established a museum on the grounds where inmates could leave flowers and other natural specimens they encountered on walks.  If other state schools emphasized criminal corrections, Smith’s school “began with the assumption that its charges were children and adolescents who could be rehabilitated,” as Bush noted.   “The emphasis on privacy, adult mentoring, education, and adult development distinguished Gainesville’s programs as one devoted to juvenile development.” Smith spent more money on her young charges than other state school directors and also provided her girls sex education, two issues which provoked the ire of the state Legislature, which fired her in 1925.[lv]

         Like many eugenicists in Texas, however, Smith held contradictory beliefs regarding the role of nature vs. nurture in shaping individual destinies.  As she pursued rehabilitation of the Gainesville school’s girls, she also often spoke and wrote like a strict biological determinist and sought to reduce the reproduction of the unfit. In her presentation “The Unadjusted Girl,” delivered at the National Conference of Social Work in Chicago in 1920, Weaver noted that the girls at her institution often arrived poorly-nourished, poorly educated, abused, and damaged by years of poverty.  Yet, she also blamed their criminality on their biology.  “Eugenically, the delinquent girl is a terrible misfit, and reflects the folly and criminal negligence of the state in regard to marriage regulations,” Smith said. “Idiots, epileptics, syphilitics, tuberculars, marry ad libitum.  We dare not interfere with their personal liberty, we much prefer to take care of their offspring in the penitentiaries, asylums, schools for the feebleminded, and finally thrust some of them into oblivion by the hangman’s noose or the electric chair.  At the Texas Training School our chief difficulties in discipline have been with girls whose heredity must have rendered them psychopathic.”  In her talk, Smith then thanked one of the chief leaders of the eugenics movement in the United States, Charles Davenport of the Eugenics Records Office in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, for providing the Gainesville School a “eugenics field worker.”  Cornelia Augenstein of Kent, Ohio, was assigned to Gainesville in 1919, the first such worker ever assigned to Texas by the ERO.  Eugenics field workers investigated the family backgrounds of delinquents and others suspected of being dysgenic and then would “collect, sort, and analyze valuable mental and psychological data,” according to author Michael A. Rembis.[lvi] 

     Smith believed that racial identity played a role in delinquency and that Native American heritage in particular contributed to criminal behavior. “At the Texas Training School for Girls, our greatest problems are the girls who have one eighth and one sixteenth American Indian blood,” she said.  “These girls show the racial facial types and marked physical strength, are mentally exceptionally bright, and have varied interests. They are inclined to be physically unclean, frequently objecting to the routine of daily bathing.  Morally, they are indiscriminating and sensual to a morbid degree, seeking indulgence with either sex. They are ego-centric, selfish, resentful of authority, but generally [have] . . .  considerable personal magnetism.  It seems to me that these individuals might be a subject for special research and that the results might indicate the necessity of regulating marriage with Indians.”[lvii]

     Smith would prove controversial and may have, in the long term, damaged the movement.  But the eugenicists’ stature in Texas certainly should have been enhanced in the state by the support of two of the world’s most prominent scientists, Julian Huxley (who from 1913-1916 helped establish the biology department at the Rice Institute – now called Rice University), and a Huxley acolyte, geneticist Hermann Joseph Muller (who later taught at the University of Texas). Huxley came from a British family of brilliant scientists and accomplished authors, including his brother Aldous Huxley who achieved renown with his dystopian science fiction classic Brave New World.  Huxley’s grandfather, T.H. Huxley, won fame as a biologist and became one of the most well-known defenders of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.  The Huxleys, however, through several generations, also battled severe depression and periodic mental breakdowns, and Julian was no exception. While in Texas, he researched genetics with Muller, and studied “ritualized behavior” in birds, as well as doing work on egrets and fiddler crabs. His lab work aside, Julian’s chief role, however, became that of a science “popularizer,” as he reached a wide audience in an astonishingly prolific career as a writer of not just scientific journal articles, but books and newspaper and magazine articles.[lviii]
     The Rice Institute in Houston traced it origins to William Marsh Rice, murdered in 1900, whose bitterly contested will provided the funds for the establishment of an institution of higher learning for white students only.  “There are no colored students allowed,” mathematics professor Griffith C. Evans wrote to Huxley in 1913 before the biologist arrived in the city. “If there were, we should have no white ones.”[lix] Racism enveloped the establishment of Rice and in this way, the scientist fit right in.  “[T]he negro mind is as different from the white mind as the negro from the white body,” he claimed in an article he authored, after he returned to his homeland, in a popular British magazine The Spectator.  In this article, part of a series of his observations on the American scene, Huxley drew on his encounters with African Americans in Texas and across the rest of the country for the article, “America Revisited: The Negro Problem.”  Huxley portrayed African Americans as mentally arrested in a childlike state, in a passage remarkable for its catalog of sweeping stereotypes:
The old characterization " the minds of children " is perfectly true. The typical negro servant, for instance, is wonderful with children for the reason that she really enjoys doing the things that children do.  She is grown up and strong and can look after them: but she enjoys the sort of story that you find in children's books, likes to talk and play around in the way that children do. The race has the child's love of bright colours: a negro buck with Reckitt's blue trousers, Colman's mustard shirt, ox-blood tan shoes, and a face like a polished grate is a grand sight![lx]
     In his article, Huxley suggested that perhaps black historical experiences such as “[s]lavery: freedom and carpetbagging followed by Jim-Crow-ism and the turning of freedom and equality into empty names: discontent and friction: [and] lynchings” might account for what he characterized as infantilism among African Americans, but in the article he gave far more weight to supposed biological differences, perceived variations that clearly discomforted the English gentleman.  “You have only to go to a nigger camp-meeting to see the African mind in operation—the shrieks, the dancing and yelling and sweating, the surrender to the most violent emotion, the ecstatic blending of the soul of the Congo with the practice of the Salvation Army,” he wrote. “So far, no very satisfactory psychological measure has been found for racial differences: that will come, but meanwhile the differences are patent.”[lxi]

     Although Huxley wrote the article after his return to England, it’s reasonable to assume he held and expressed similar views while in Houston. In “The Negro Problem,” Huxley suggested that African Americans posed a eugenical threat to America’s future.  He noted the Great Migration underway – a diaspora of six million or more Southern blacks to the Northern states and the West, beginning just before World War I and continuing for decades,[lxii] a movement that alarmed him because it led to greater miscegenation (the sexual coupling of blacks and whites) and a greater number of mixed-race children. Huxley said that so-called race mixing did not “improve” African Americans but only produced very unhappy, and possibly dangerous, offspring.  “[T]here is the undoubted fact that by putting some of the white man's mind into the mulatto you not only make him more capable and more ambitious (there are no well-authenticated cases of pure blacks rising to any eminence), but you increase his discontent and create an obvious injustice if you continue to treat him like any full-blooded African,” Huxley said. “The American negro is making trouble because of the American white blood that is in him.”[lxiii]

     The Great Migration had another unfortunate consequence, Huxley believed.  As African American sharecroppers and tenants escaped to the North, there was “an attempt to fill the vacuum with another ‘inferior race’ —the Mexicans.”  Mexican immigration had produced even more mixed race children. As a eugenicist, Huxley wanted to prevent interracial unions and to accomplish this, he wanted to shut the door to further Mexican immigration. “There is no immigration quota for Mexicans any more than for other peoples of the American continent,” he wrote. “But there are strict laws as to the literacy and other qualifications of all immigrants, which would keep out 95 per cent. of Mexican labourers. However, the frontier is immense and human smuggling easy, and, legally or otherwise (usually otherwise), the Mexicans continue to pour in.”[lxiv]  As a solution to America’s biological peril, Huxley proposed a more radical de jure and de facto racial segregation than already prevailed in the United States.  After rejecting the deportation of all blacks to Africa as impractical, Huxley said that the United States should allow no African Americans in the North or at least make the region utterly unattractive to prospective black migrants by allowing blacks “no privileges.” The South, he said, should be left multi-racial.[lxv]

     While in Texas, Huxley not only refined his fears of African Americans and Mexicans. He also deepened his commitment to negative eugenics – policies such as compulsory sterilization statutes - proclaiming his support for such  laws as essential for human survival.  Just four years after he left Rice, Huxley proclaimed that negative eugenics, using compulsory sterilization to eliminate the fertility of the unfit, represented the only feasible method of preventing a human biological meltdown.  There are three possible ways in which the level of the race can be raised,” he wrote in The Athenaeum.

The first is the method of negative eugenics, which consists in preventing stocks which are known to be bad in every way from reproducing themselves. The second consists in encouraging the better stocks to greater multiplication, whether by appeals to their patriotism or religion or by bonuses for children.  The third is by raising the maximum level, which could be done by consciously-directed matings.  No sensible person imagines that this last process could be attempted until we have vastly more knowledge than at present. The second just looms on the horizon of practical politics; the first is urgent.[lxvi]

    After settling back in England, Huxley would return to Rice on occasion to deliver guest lectures and promote sterilization laws. In three such appearances in 1924, Huxley called for widely available birth control, which he called the norm in human history. Birth control would prevent overpopulation, increases in infant mortality, and an explosion in the number of defectives. “The regulation of the numbers of population, in some form or the other, has been practiced by the great majority of the human race . . . [E]very savage and primitive people of which we have any knowledge, almost every people of the early civilizations, and many people of the civilizations today, deliberately regulate their numbers . . . Either infanticide, or abortion, or various restrictions upon or regulations of marriage, have been practiced, with the effect of preventing or slowing the natural increase of population.”[lxvii]  Huxley argued to his audience at Rice that some practiced birth control, but that, tragically, the wrong people embraced contraception.  “In all countries, the birthrate of the upper classes – aristocracy, professional people, business men, and trades people – is now much lower than that of the laboring classes,” he said.[lxviii]

    This danger was increasing, he said, because improvements in medicine and public sanitation made it possible for those individuals who would have died of disease and other hardships in an earlier age to thrive. “There is a very real danger that the average quality of the population may be changed for the worse by the survival of the unfit -- a danger that is made more acute by the fact . . . that on the whole the undesirables multiply faster than the desirables,” he said.  “. . . Morons breed morons, and neurotics of criminal tendencies bring others like themselves into the world; and we let them do it. The situation is aggravated when we find that on the whole these undesirable types have a higher fertility than the rest of the population, so that their relative numbers are tending to increase.”[lxix] The facts, as Huxley saw them, led him to fight for coercive “mating control,” including compulsory sterilization.

When we know that men or women are not only the embodiments but the bearers of hereditary taint and defect, we have no more right to allow them to reproduce than to allow a child with scarlet fever to be visited by all his school-friends. We are told that this infringes the sacred rights of the individual and prejudices the idea of personal liberty. Such utterances are but another example of the unfortunate tendency, apparently inherent in the primitive human mind, of demanding and pretending to find absolute sanctions for ideas which are not in any sense absolute. If we talk of the divine and inalienable right of personal liberty, we are talking bunkum . . .  Everyone knows, directly, when they begin to think about the matter, that what we call liberty is a compromise between the claims of the individual and those of the community, a compromise between abstract justice, selfish egotism, practical give-and-take, and social expediency . . .  We do not hesitate to weed our gardens. For God’s sake, why do we hesitate to weed the garden of humanity?[lxx]

     Julian Huxley ended his guest lecture at Rice by proposing his own brave new world in which sterilization might eliminate defectives and in which the “germ plasm” of gifted women might be fertilized and the fetus brought to full development in a laboratory.  In essence, he envisioned what would later be called “test tube babies.”[lxxi]  He dreamed of the state no longer having to rely on the random sexual attraction between the gifted. Super children could be produced in a controlled number, factory-style. Huxley’s remarkable outline of the eugenicist program continued with his call for countries to eliminate “the problem of race” by aiming at “homogeneity.”  Huxley said that the United States must strictly limit immigration to only the best types to achieve this goal.  Huxley concluded by expressing his doubts whether democracy could provide the means towards the golden biological future he sought.

I think it would be well if we asked ourselves whether our present brand of democracy is calculated to give us the best organs of social control and differentiation.

The advantage of democracy is the raising of the condition of the mass of the people to a good average. The curse is the tendency to pull down what is above the average to the level of the average’s mediocrity.

A democracy of material opportunity freely surrendering itself to the guidance of an aristocracy of thought -- that seems to me to sum up pretty closely the biological ideal for society.[lxxii]

     Texas’ white majority had no problem with the state’s racial dictatorship over African Americans and Latino/as, but such an openly elitist call for even the white masses to submit to an “aristocracy of thought” would be a political hard sell.  Such political radicalism of the right and left is one likely reason for the movement’s futility under the Capitol Dome.   Because of the Hitler regime, eugenics today is often stereotyped as a right-wing campaign. However, eugenics represented a broad movement and leading figures ran the gamut politically. Lewis Meriwether Dabney and Edward Everett Davis could be fairly called conservative, or even reactionary.   Huxley’s political ideology is harder to define.

         “He was no socialist, as he made explicit in If I Were A Dictator, [an essay] published in 1934 as a manifesto for the planned society,” wrote author Colin Divall.[lxxiii]  As noted above, Huxley saw democracy as getting in the way of the eugenics agenda and his blunt elitism is hard to reconcile with most definitions of socialism.  His political writings, however, emphasized the importance of central planning, an impulse typically associated with the left.  He also described capitalism as dysgenic, rewarding traits counterproductive to group survival such as “egoism, low cunning, insensitiveness, and ruthless concentration.”  He thought that the competitiveness and ambition rewarded in capitalism also lead to one of the most dysgenic human endeavors, war. “The only environment that had the potential of being truly eugenic [in Huxley’s estimation] was one that was equalized, economically and socially, for all members of society,” as Garland E. Allen summarized Huxley’s political views. “Until such a political environment is created, the long-range effects of eugenics will never be realized.  So, to Huxley, as to his more radical associates, the eugenicist can no longer avoid being both a eugenicist and a social reformer.  In Huxley’s view, the one without the other does not make sense.”[lxxiv]

     Other Texas eugenicists could more clearly be considered, in today’s terms, as belonging to the political gamut running from “liberal” to the left.  These eugenicists ran headlong into the state’s ruling rock-ribbed conservative, or even reactionary, political class.[lxxv]  Carrie Weaver Smith at the Gainesville Training School for Girls faced repeated challenges to her tenure from the state Legislature, which repeatedly tried to pull funding for the institution over issues ranging from how much tax revenue the school spent per inmate to her refusal to build a fence around it to prevent the resident girls from running away.  Smith worried that the fence would limit her girls’ ability to explore the grounds around the campus and create the prison-like atmosphere she was trying to avoid. “The protests against the wall became State-wide and the girls won because the Texas people realize the importance of the spirit that giveth life rather than the restraint that killeth,” Smith declared triumphantly after the Legislature dropped its efforts to get a fence installed but also after she had lost her job. In spite of widespread support from women’s groups in the state, such as the Dallas Women’s Political League, Smith’s promotion of sex education, her ban on corporal punishment and criticism of it at other institutions, and her suggestions that institutions like hers needed more, not less, financial support, clearly irritated her superiors in the state bureaucracy and the Texas House and Senate. By July 1925, Smith’s run as the Gainesville school’s superintendent had ended.  “There is dissatisfaction over the conduct of the school and I for one believe that the cost per girl placed there is too high,” R.B. Walthall, a member of the state Control Board, said before the board voted unanimously to dismiss her. Her dismissal didn’t silence Smith, who continued to protest class biases in the state’s juvenile justice system. “When a poor girl gets into a scandal or is charged with a minor crime, she goes to court,” Smith said in a Chicago speech on December 14, 1925, five months after Texas sacked her.  “When a wealthy girl gets into a similar difficulty she is bundled off to finishing school until the scandal blows over.”[lxxvi]

     Smith, the progressive eugenicist, left Texas to run the Maryland State School for Girls before moving on to Washington, D.C. to administer the National Training School for Girls.  Her unconventional approach to juvenile corrections again got her in trouble.  She reportedly appalled First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt when she brought inmates with her to a White House tea.  When a fight broke out between white and black girls at the National School, the D.C. Board of Commissioners dismissed her for being “too lenient.”[lxxvii]

     Hermann Joseph Muller, a zoology professor in Texas from the World War I era to the 1930s, became a prominent eugenicist and one mentored by Huxley at Rice.  He found himself in the uncomfortable position of being a communist-leaning public figure in an archconservative state.  A native New Yorker whose ancestors fled modern-day Germany for the United States during the European revolutions of 1848, Muller grew up in a leftist home, attending Columbia University in New York City, and eventually obtaining a doctorate from Columbia’s zoology department.  The degree was awarded while he was already teaching biology at the Rice Institute.  A friend, Edgar Altenburg, later observed that while attending Columbia, Muller “traded in the three R’s for the three S’s – science, sex, and socialism.”  Muller described the evolution of his political (and religious) thought in an autobiographical note written at the home of a Russian friend, Nikolai Vavilov, when he was living in the Soviet Union in 1937:

In 1906 I began a lasting friendship with Edgar Altenburg, then a classmate.  He came of a poor, working class German-American family, who were dedicated adherents of the communist (then called the “socialist”) movement and of Marxian thought in general.  He and I argued out vehemently and to the bitter end all questions of principle on which we differed, & thus he succeeded in converting me both to atheism (I had been an enthusiastic pantheist, arriving at this through Unitarianism) and to the cause of social revolution, or communism.  In college we joined the “Intercollegiate Socialist Society,” later were against the war, and for the Bolsheviks, and finally, when Communists and Socialists split from one another, we were unqualifiedly for the former.  Both of us, from 1907 to 1911, got some valuable practical contact with the life of the working masses, during three or four months of each summer, when we had to earn money at very low-paid jobs -- I as a bank messenger (at twenty-five dollars per month), as a waiter, and as a hotel clerk (the later job requiring 14 hours on duty per day.)[lxxviii]

     As the historian Daniel J. Kevles put it, “Muller’s was an armchair socialism, drawn little from reading in its doctrines, imbibed mainly from his father and his own circle of friends in New York.  Nevertheless, he advanced the socialist cause with a bantam outspokenness.”[lxxix]   Muller brought his politics with him when he moved to Houston. Working with Huxley, he would teach as an instructor in the still-new biology department at Rice from 1916-1918, returning to Columbia for a couple of years, before serving as a zoology professor at the University of Texas in Austin, from 1920 to 1936.  While at Rice, he not only finished his doctorate, but also co-authored a groundbreaking work on genetics, The Mechanism of Mendelian Heredity (1915) and started the research that showed radiation from X-rays produced mutations in fruit flies, research that would eventually win Muller a Nobel Prize in the physiology or medicine category in 1946.[lxxx]

     In 1921, Muller moved beyond fruit fly genetics to that of humans, he said, when he studied the different way a set of separated female twins had developed in Wyoming.  Examination of the lives of other separated twins led Muller to conclude, “that both heredity and environment play very important roles in determining mental traits.”[lxxxi] Muller, however, became convinced that through scientific genetic planning, combined with the elimination of poverty, malnutrition and other ills engendered by capitalism, “the positive biological improvement of mankind” could be achieved “provided the social reconstruction occurs first.” In 1925, while at the University of Texas, Muller penned the pro-eugenics clarion call, Out of the Night: A Biologist’s View of the Future, but Muller apparently hid the manuscript from public view for fear it would jeopardize his academic career.  In the book, he praised the “great and solid actualities of collective achievement which are increasingly evident in that one section of the world – the Soviet Union.”[lxxxii]  Unlike his mentor Huxley, Muller was not a racist and rejected the idea that poverty was a sign of dysgenic biology. 

     “[I]t may be admitted that ‘Eugenics’, in the sense in which most of us are now accustomed to thinking of it, has become a hopelessly perverted movement,” he wrote in Out of the Night.  “Beyond imposing some slight limitation on the numbers of the most grossly defective, it would be, with its present methods and outlook, powerless to work any positive change for the good. On the other hand, it does incalculable harm by lending a false appearance of scientific basis to advocates of race and class prejudice, defenders of vested interests of church and state, Fascists, Hitlerites, and other reactionaries generally.”  Muller, angry that capitalist eugenicists targeted the poor, immigrants, and people of color for sterilization, hoped that the Soviet Union, with its stated commitment to class consciousness and to human equality, would focus instead on using eugenics to eliminate disabilities like genetically-related paralysis, blindness, and mental defects. With its top-down authority structure and central planning, Muller believed the Soviet system was the best designed to implement the “real biological upbuilding of humanity.”[lxxxiii]

     His life took a downward spiral in the early 1930s starting with his rejection for election to the National Academy of Science in 1932.  He also discovered that his wife Jessie, a former math instructor at UT, was having an affair with a mutual friend, Carlos Offerman (who worked at Muller’s university lab).  Although Muller had agreed with Jessie to have a so-called “open marriage,” the scientist felt betrayed by his wife.  He disappeared for a time into woods near Austin and a search party involving 100 students, faculty, and police went looking for him.  Muller had gobbled barbiturates in a suicide attempt, searchers finding him disoriented as he sat under a tree, an incident heavily covered by the Austin press. Even with his personal stresses, Muller continued to fight for unpopular political causes, anonymously editing and writing for a radical underground newspaper, The Spark (named after a newspaper edited by Vladimir Lenin while the leader of the Russian Revolution was in exile in Switzerland).  His students distributed The Spark at the UT campus and, through a network of friends, at Rice. Muller became controversial not only in Texas, but even within the eugenics movement, delivering a scathing paper, “The Dominance of Economics Over Eugenics,” at the Third International Eugenics Conference in New York.  In this lecture, he castigated the American eugenics movement for ignoring how the injustices of American capitalism produced much of the inequality conservative eugenicists attributed solely to genes.  Charles Davenport, the founder of the Eugenics Records Office and organizer of the meeting, threatened to cut the time allotted for Muller’s talk from an hour to just 15 minutes, but Muller prevailed and was given his full time.  He not only excoriated his fellow eugenicists, he also publically proclaimed, for the first time, his sympathy for communism.  According to science writer James Schwartz, Muller told the unsympathetic audience that, “In order to justify economic inequality . . .  the dominant classes claimed that it was their genetic superiority that accounted for their success . . . but the very opposite was more likely to be true.”  Like his mentor Huxley, Muller said that in capitalism elites rise to the top due to “predatory rather than constructive behavior” and the upper classes were, therefore, “repositories of the least desirable traits.” As he put it in Out of the Night, Muller feared that eugenics in America would promote breeding among the most superficially attractive, violent, aggressive, and greedy and produce, and (rattling off a rogue’s gallery of movie stars, evangelists, sports heroes, and gangsters), a race of “Billy Sundays, [Rudolph] Valentinos, Jack Dempseys, Babe Ruths, even Al Capones.”[lxxxiv]

     His political radicalism caused him trouble with the UT administration.  Eager to get out of Texas, in 1933 Muller took a leave of absence and had accepted a Guggenheim Fellowship working at the Institut für Hirnforschung in Berlin.   While he was on leave in Germany, the University of Texas fired Jessie’s lover Offerman for his involvement with communist groups and with Muller’s newspaper The Spark.  In spite of the affair with his estranged wife, Muller hired Offerman to work with him in Berlin.[lxxxv]  In Germany, Muller continued his work on how radiation affected genes until his radical politics got him in trouble again, and he was arrested and briefly detained by the communist-hunting German secret police the Gestapo.[lxxxvi]   

    Muller had already struck up a friendship with Soviet scientist N.I. Vavilov, who wanted to increase the stature of Soviet science and tirelessly recruited the pioneer geneticist, who accepted a post at the Institute of Genetics of the Academy of Sciences of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, first at Leningrad (1933-1934), and then at Moscow (1934-1937).  His professional adventures in Texas had not ended yet, however.  Muller finally got his pro-eugenics book, Out of the Night, published in the United States, and he asked his lifelong friend Altenberg (then living in Houston) for help in getting the book distributed in the state.  “If it’s not too much trouble for you . . .   or some other sympathizer (best of all a student in whom you can confide), it might be well to suggest to the more progressive bookstores in Houston (especially near the institute catering to students and faculty) that it might be worthwhile for them to get and display my book [Out of the Night],” Muller wrote hopefully to his friend.  Meanwhile, Offerman followed Muller to the Soviet Union and the two men continued their unconventional professional collaboration. Jessie filed for divorce in Austin, married Offerman, and fearful that Muller would try to gain custody of their son David from a friendly Soviet court when the child travelled with his father in Russia in the summer of 1936, fought to win exclusive custody herself.  Muller had to return to Texas, rendering the child custody battle between a communist professor at the University of Texas and his similarly radical wife a front-page spectacle in the Austin American newspaper.[lxxxvii]

     Muller and Huxley’s sympathies with at least some aspects of socialism and communism, and even Smith’s sometimes ahead-of-its-time progressivism, ran counter to Texas’ rightwing political culture and blunted the effectiveness of the eugenics movement in the state. As Texas historian Randolph Campbell has noted, although the post-World War I, post-Russian Revolution “Red Scare” that gripped the country from 1919-1920 “did not hit Texas particularly hard” because of the relative weaknesses of the union movement in the state, “[a]nti-radicalism had an underlying appeal that never disappeared.”  Fundamentalist Baptists such as J.B. Cranfill, editor of the influential Baptist Standard newspaper, no doubt aware of the biracial nature of the state’s Populist revolt in the 1890s, warned of the dangers leftist radicals posed to a God-ordained color line.  Ministers from Southern Baptist, Disciples of Christ, and other conservative Protestant denominations sought patronage from wealthy businessmen and saw the political left as an enemy.  Such preachers hailed the “dysgenic” capitalism that Huxley condemned, the cutthroat materialism that Muller thought endangered the species, and the unequal legal protections for the poor Smith disdained.  Another Texas historian, Kyle Wilkison, notes how one Disciples of Christ minister declared that, “the most beautiful souls” he had encountered “were not among the poor, but the rich.”[lxxxviii]

      Religion blunted the growth in eugenics in Texas also because the eugenicists were, by definition, Darwinists who rejected the Biblical account of creation in the Book of Genesis and who therefore “undermined morality.” In 1916, S.M Provence wrote an angry letter to the Houston Chronicle after attending a one-hour lecture by Julian Huxley at Rice  on “Biology and Religion.”  Provence said Huxley claimed that religion could aid human progress “providing that men will give up whatever religion they have and accept the Darwinian theory of evolution.”  Provence believed the Darwinism embraced by Huxley presaged a savage future in which, “the weak are without friends, a triumph that would make might the standard of right, reduce love to the passion of the brute, paralyze altruism, destroy at once ‘faith, hope, and charity,’ demand the apotheosis of the ‘superman’ and throw the whole superstructure of civilization into the melting pot to come out (if it should ever come out) without form or substance.” Provence’s comments may have been off-the-mark regarding Darwinism in general, but certainly did apply to the thrust of eugenics as practiced in the twentieth century.[lxxxix]

    Many Texans shared Provence’s concerns about Darwinism. In March 1923, the state House debated a proposed law, the Stroder-Howeth Bill, that would have banned the teaching of evolution in any tax-supported school.  The bill would have also prohibited the use of any textbook that presented evolution as fact.  The bill’s co-sponsor, Navarro County’s J.T. Stroder, condemned Darwinism as a ‘vicious and infamous doctrine . . . that mankind sprang from pollywog, to a frog, to an ape, to a monkey, to a baboon, to a Jap, to a negro, to a Chinaman, to a man.”  A supporter of the bill, J.A. Dodd from Bowie County, complained that the state “forces me to pay taxes to support schools, and then forces me to send my children to these schools and there shows my children the road to hell teaching them the hellish infidelity of evolution.  We owe it to our children and to our mothers who loved their Bibles and taught us its meaning to abolish forever from our schools this insidious fallacy which holds that the Bible is a liar and man is a monkey.” The bill passed the House 71-34.[xc]

     It hit a roadblock in the state Senate. Opponents of the bill successfully argued that an anti-evolution law endangered academic freedom and that such a bill exceeded the authority of the state legislature.  The Senate Committee on Education reported favorably on the bill, but it ultimately failed.  Some senators offered the most likely reason the anti-evolution measure never became law: it was unnecessary because most Texas teachers, who either didn’t know about Darwin or rejected his theories, didn’t teach evolution anyway.  The state Legislature debated anti-evolution bills in public schools in every session from 1923 until 1929, although in each case the efforts failed.[xci]

     One Church of Christ evangelist with a wide audience in the early 20th century, William E. Lemmons, identified Charles Darwin and Karl Marx as two of the chief agents of the devil in the modern world.[xcii] In Texas, Lemmons represented the consensus. As committed Darwinists, eugenicists like Muller, who “fought vigorously against the anti-evolution movement in the United States, circulating petitions among his colleagues to save Texas from enacting an anti-evolution law in the legislature,” would thus find themselves outliers in the state.[xciii]

      Politically, it didn’t boost the eugenicists’ cause that one of the state’s most prominent eugenicists, Muller, was an atheist, or that Huxley publicly rejected the idea of the Bible as divinely revealed and the concept of an anthropomorphic God.   The ideas that Provence found so objectionable during that lecture at the Rice Institute were no doubt those Huxley put into print years later in his book Religion Without Revelation: “It seems to me quite clear that the idea of personality in God or in any supernatural being or beings has been put there by man, put into and around a perfectly real conception which we might continue to call God if the word had not been acquired by long association with the implication of a personal being; and therefore I disbelieve in a personal God in any sense in which that phrase is ordinarily used.”[xciv]

     The identification of some important eugenicists with both political leftism and rejection of Christianity, therefore, alienated potential allies in Texas.  Texas evangelicals and fundamentalists did share a fear of what Lathrop Stoddard called in his best seller, “the rising tide of color.” An article in a 1923 edition of the Dallas-based newspaper The Baptist Standard sounded the alarm over the supposed decline in the white Protestant human stock in the American Southwest:

Here, in the Southland, is at least a third of the population of the whole nation.  The largest percentage of Anglo-Saxons is here.  But we have also some 100,000 Indians, 1,000,000 Mexicans, 3,000,000 European foreigners, and 9,000,000, Negroes . . . In the South is found the home of Protestantism . . . But the Southland is not fully Christianized. It is not all even evangelized . . . Our religious problems are stupendous . . . We have here cities, some of whose vileness, beastliness, criminality, God-defying blasphemousness and utter hellishness puts to shame Calcutta and Constantinople. We have these pitiful backwards peoples, the Indians, Mexicans, and Negroes.  We have these millions of difficult alien people who have brought to our shores their unknown gods and rites and their tiger-like passions . . . [xcv]

     In a positive review of a book called If America Fail: Our National Mission and Our Possible Future (1922) by Samuel Zane Batten, the Standard noted without criticism Batten’s claim that, “If the present tendencies continue for five generations, the Anglo-Saxon blood will have passed and other bloods will be dominant.  The Americans of three generations hence, if present tendencies continue, will be less patriotic, more Catholic; less democratic, more favorable to autocracy.  No Latin or Slavic race has ever been Protestant or democratic.”[xcvi] Nevertheless, even if evangelicals and fundamentalists in Texas could have looked past the eugenicists’ Darwinism and atheism and made common cause against the supposed Eastern European and Southern European onslaught and encouraged white Protestant breeding, many Protestants in Texas had been gripped by a powerful theological trend, “pre-millennial dispensationalism,”  that discouraged political activism. Promoted in the early twentieth century by Dallas minister Cyrus Scofield, dispensationalists believed that the Bible represented a prophetic text that predicted the imminent “Second Coming” of Jesus.  Intensely anti-Catholic because they believed that the Vatican represented a Satanic false Christianity, such Protestants might have been expected to represent a force for eugenics legislation aimed at controlling the population of Catholic Mexicans, Italians and other aliens in Texas.  

     Dispensationalism, however, discouraged political activism, believing that faith in human institutions like legislatures represented a rejection of God as the ultimate arbiter of human affairs. "The true mission of the church is not the reformation of society," Scofield declared.  "What Christ did not do, the Apostles did not do.  Not one of them was a reformer.”  This growing apolitical religious movement denied eugenicists a potentially key group of supporters.[xcvii] 

     The eugenics movement was also weakened by the outsider status of many of the most important spokespersons of the cause.  Huxley came from England and left in three years. Smith emigrated from Georgia and stayed in Texas longer than Huxley, nine years, but was probably marginalized by her status as a woman in a misogynist age. Muller arrived from New York and held professorship at Rice from 1915 to 1918 and the University of Texas until 1936, but was on a leave of absence for the last three years at UT and his Austin years were marked by a highly publicized suicide attempt and divorce, which, along with his political ideology, probably hampered his effectiveness as a lobbyist for eugenics in Austin.  At the same time, a native-born Texan with substantial political pull, Sen. Arthur Duggan, died before he could realize his goal of passing a sterilization bill.

     Of course, some of the factors affecting the success of the eugenics movement in Texas were also present in states that did pass sterilization laws.  Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia certainly held large numbers of evangelicals and fundamentalists who would have been offended by the Darwinism and atheism of the eugenics movement and dominant conservatives in that state might have been put off by the left-leaning radicalism of some famous eugenicists such as birth control advocate Margaret Sanger.[xcviii]  However, those states were not yet importing large numbers of Mexican immigrants to work as agricultural workers, an enterprise at cross purposes with the generally shared goal of eugenicists to limit entry into the United States to those from Northern and Western Europe.

         Eugenicists wanted to not just sterilize the unfit, but also shut down emigration into the United States by so-called undesirables.   Opposition to eugenics laws in Texas was greatly strengthened by the influence of cotton growers in the state who in the early twentieth century began importing Mexican farm workers in large numbers. Texas’ urban population grew steadily in the early twentieth century, but by the 1920s Texas was still an overwhelmingly rural state, meaning that big growers in rural Texas House districts had disproportionate influence over the state legislature.[xcix]
      Cotton growers worried that eugenics legislation nationally and at the state level might make it harder to find cheap labor to compete with white and black farm labor.  After passage of the nativist 1917 Immigration Act, Texas planters and growers successfully lobbied Secretary of Labor William B. Wilson to allow the temporary entry of “otherwise inadmissible aliens” to offset labor shortages created by the American entry into World War I.  Eugenicists led a chorus of protest against the quota waivers, leading Wilson after the war to rescind his exemptions of Mexican workers.  Once again, the big planters and growers insisted they needed the cheap labor of Mexicans (whom they argued were uniquely suited physically for farm labor), and the exemptions were extended until 1920.  When the U.S Congress passed a new Quota Act in 1921 further restricting the immigration of Southern and Eastern Europeans, Mexican farm labor became even more important in Texas, and again the rich landowners got all the poorly paid migrant workers they wanted.[c] Cotton growers, as the historian Neil Foley observed, had become so dependent on scantily-paid Mexican farm labor that they feared that immigration restriction would cause them economic disaster.  Nevertheless, many Anglos worried about the alleged genetic inferiority of Mexicans as well as their possible radical politics.[ci]One opponent to the use of Mexican labor in Texas declared, “To Mexicanize Texas or to Orientalize California is a crime.”[cii]
     In 1923, the Texas House debated a concurrent resolution introduced by Dallas Rep. Lewis Carpenter requesting the United States Congress to allow the governor of a state or the state Legislature to draw up a quota “of the kind and character and number of immigrants which any given State is willing and ready to receive for any given year or period of years.”  The quota would then be forwarded to federal immigration authorities in Washington, and the national quota of immigrants from a nation like Mexico could be raised to that number to meet a state’s economic needs.  As a sop to the nativists and eugenicists, Carpenter and his allies included a provision requiring immigrants to remain in the custody of the state until they returned home or became United States citizens.  Such a requirement would guarantee the “preservation of a homogeneous race” in Texas and the rest of the country, Carpenter argued.  Such arguments didn’t calm lawmakers fearing a rising tide of color washing northward from the Texas border. House Concurrent Resolution 15 was referred to the Committee on Federal Relations, which ultimately rejected the proposal.[ciii]  Nevertheless, in 1924 when the Congress passed the most restrictive immigration legislation in American history, the Johnson-Reed Act, the law focused on shutting down what had been since the 1880s massive Southern and Eastern European immigration while planters in Texas and elsewhere could still import low-wage Mexican farm workers, even as men like Congressman Box throughout the decade continued to warn of “problems from the racial standpoint” of such immigration.[civ]
     During the 1930s, Virginia targeted poor whites with eugenics legislation, in one case rounding up children deemed “feebleminded” in the Brush Mountain region and shipping them to institutions like Western State Hospital, a former mental institution, and subjecting them to involuntary vasectomies and tubal ligations without their knowledge or consent.[cv]  No such scenes played out in Texas. The eugenics movement in Texas had a long life, predating its rise in most of the country.  The movement in Texas had flamboyant and enthusiastic spokesmen.  It recruited a large number of adherents, and believers held important offices at the state and local levels.  Eugenicist warnings of a looming biological apocalypse gripped the meetings of parent-teacher organizations while the promise of planned breeding was celebrated at state fairs.  Eugenics was studied in universities and in public schools, and advocated by the state’s political left and right.  Yet, due to conflicts over Darwinism and atheism, the unconventional and perceived radical politics of some of the loudest Texas eugenics advocates, and the desire of cotton planters in Texas for an exploited, underpaid workforce from Mexico, meant that Texans were never subjected in large numbers to Gideon Lincecum’s “purifying knife.”


Michael Phillips has authored the following:

White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Dallas, Texas, 1841-2001.  (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 2006)

(With Patrick L. Cox) The House Will Come to Order: How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010)

“Why Is Big Tex Still a White Cowboy? Race, Gender, and the ‘Other Texans’” in Walter Buenger and Arnoldo de León, eds., Beyond Texas Through Time: Breaking Away From Past Interpretations (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2011)

“The Current is Stronger’: Images of Racial Oppression and Resistance in North Texas Black Art During the 1920s and 1930s ”  in Bruce A. Glasrud and Cary D. Wintz, eds., The Harlem Renaissance in the West: The New Negroes’ Western Experience (New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2011)

“Dallas, 1989-2011,” in Richardson Dilworth, ed. Cities in American Political History (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2011)

(With John Anthony Moretta, Keith J. Volonto, Austin Allen, Doug Cantrell and Norwood Andrews), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips. eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume I.   (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Keith J. Volanto), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips, eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume II. (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Carl J. Luna), Imperial Presidents: The Rise of Executive Power from Roosevelt to Obama  (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2013).

“Texan by Color: The Racialization of the Lone Star State,” in David Cullen and Kyle Wilkison, eds., The Radical Origins of the Texas Right (College Station: University of Texas Press, 2013).

He is currently collaborating, with longtime journalist Betsy Friauf, on a history of African American culture, politics and black intellectuals in the Lone Star State called God Carved in Night: Black Intellectuals in Texas and the World They Made.


[i] “Mrs. Wilmans’ Eugenics Bill Killed in House,” Dallas Morning News, March 2, 1925, p. 11.  Adjusted for inflation, the cost of the examinations required in Wilmans’s bill would cost  about $206 today.
[ii] The New Handbook of Texas, s.v., “Edith Eunice Therrel Wilmans.”
[iii] David Mauzey, unpublished manuscript, p. 9, Winegarten (Ruthe) Papers 2.325/G226 Edith Wilmans folder 1, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
[iv] Journal of the House of Representatives of the Regular Session of the Thirty Eighth Legislature Begun and Held at the City of Austin, January 9, 1923 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones Co., 1923), p. 47-48, 311.
[v] “Mrs Wilmans’ Eugenics Bill.”
[vi] “Mars. Wilmans’ Eugenics Bill”; Journal of the House (1923), p. 1,078-1,080.
[vii]  Wendy Kline, Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 13.
[viii] Elof  Axel Carlson, The Unfit: The History of a Bad Idea (New York: Cold Spring Harbor Press, 2001), 2.
[ix] The speech in included in Lewis Meriwether Dabney, A Memoir and Letters (New York: privately printed by J.J. Little and Ives Company, 1924), 214.
[x] There were 48 states at the time.  States that never enacted compulsory sterilization laws were Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Wyoming. See Lutz Kaelber, “Eugenics: Compulsory Sterilization in 50 American States,” http://www.uvm.edu/%7Elkaelber/eugenics/. Accessed December 27, 2015.  For the number of sterilization victims, see Edwin Black, War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2003), 398.
[xi] In addition to Black and Carlson’s works, major scholarly explorations of eugenics include Elazar Barkan, The Retreat of Scientific Racism: Changing Concepts of Race in Britain and the United States Between the World Wars (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Susan Currell and Christina Cogdell, eds., Popular Eugenics: National Efficiency and American Mass Culture in 1930s (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2006); Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1981; Daniel J. Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985); Wendy Kline, Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics From The Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001); Marek Kohn, The Race Gallery: The Return of Racial Science (London: Vintage, 1995);  Edward J. Larson, Sex, Race, and Science: Eugenics in the Deep South (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995); Paul A. Lombardo, ed., A Century of Eugenics in America: From the Indiana Experiment to the Human Genome Era (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2011); Nancy Ordover, American Eugenics: Race, Queer Anatomy, and the Science of Nationalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001); James Schwartz, In Pursuit of the Gene: From Darwin to DNA (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008); Jonathan Peter Spiro, Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant (Burlington: University of Vermont Press, 2009); and William H. Tucker, The Funding of Scientific Racism: Wycliffe Draper and the Pioneer Fund (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002).  Neil Foley explores Texas eugenics in The White Scourge: Mexicans, Blacks, and Poor Whites in Texas Cotton Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), as does Ramona Hopkins in “Was There a ‘Southern’ Eugenics; a Comparative Case Study of Eugenics in Texas and Virginia, 1900-1940” (master’s thesis, University of Houston, 2009).
[xii] Jonathan Peter Shapiro, Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant (Burlington, Vermont: University of Vermont Press, 2009), 118-120.
[xiii] Letter from Gideon Lincecum, Long Point, Texas, June 12, 1859, to Parson Lancaster, Gideon Lincecum Papers, Box 2E363, Briscoe Center for American History, Austin, Texas.
[xiv] For more on Lincecum, see Lois Wood Burkhalter, Gideon Lincecum, 1793-1874: A Biography (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1965); Jerry Bryan Lincecum, Edward Hake Phillips and Peggy A. Redshaw, eds. Science on the Texas Frontier: Observations of Dr. Gideon Lincecum (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1997),; and Jerry Bryan Lincecum, Edward Hake Phillips and Peggy A. Redshaw, eds. Science on the Texas Frontier: Observations of Dr. Gideon Lincecum (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1997),
[xv] Burkhalter, Gideon Lincecum, 93
[xvi] Burkhalter, Gideon Lincecum, 94.
[xvii] Burkhatler, 95.
[xviii] Ibid., 94.
[xix] Letter, Gideon Lincecum, Long Point, Texas, to Parson Lancaster, June 12, 1859, Gideon Lincecum Papers, Box 2 E363, Folder 3, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History (CAH), Austin, Texas.
[xx] Burkhalter., 96.
[xxi] Lincecum to Lancaster. 
[xxii] Burkhalter, 97-99.
[xxiii]  F.E. Daniel, “Should Insane Criminals, Or Sexual Perverts, Be Allowed to Procreate,” Texas Medical Journal (August 1893), 255-271.
[xxiv] F.E. Daniel, “Should Insane Criminals, or Sexual Perverts, Be Allowed to Procreate?” Medico-Legal Journal, Volume XI, No. 3 (1893), 275.
[xxv] Daniel, “Should Insane Criminals,” 275.
[xxvi] Ibid., 275-276.
[xxvii] Ibid., 276.
[xxviii] “The Texas Sterilization Bill,” The Lancet-Clinic (Vol. CIX,  No. 18), May 3, 1913, p. 467,https://books.google.com/books?id=UHLlAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=Texas%20Sterilization%20Bill&f=false.  Accessed January 12, 2015;  Legislative Reference Library of Texas. Legislators and Leaders, http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeleaders/members/memberdisplay.cfm?memberID=2632.  Accessed January 12, 2015.  Eastland is about 100 miles west of Fort Worth.
[xxix] “Texas Sterilization Bill,” The Lancet-Clinic.
[xxx] E.M. Dealey, “Neff Says Texas Breeding Lunatics: Expects to Make Most Unpopular Speech Ever Made by Governor,” Dallas Morning News, April 29, 1922, p. 2.
[xxxi] “Upper House Soon to Take Action on Sterilization Bill; Opposition Is Expected, but Author Believes It Will Survive Vote,” Dallas Morning News, February 19, 1935, p. 2.
[xxxii] “Sterilization Bill Is Called Vicious Move at Hearing; Tie Is Voted On Test Ballot and Measure is Sent to Subcommittee,” Dallas Morning News, February 1, 1935, p. 12.
[xxxiii] “Senate Bill Asks for Sterilization of Wards of State: Would Prevent Reproduction of Mental Defectives, Duggan Says” Dallas Morning News, January 15, 1935, p. 2.
[xxxiv] “Senate Bill”; “Upper House Soon to Take Action”; William S. Bush, Who Gets a Childhood: Race and Juvenile Justice in Twentieth Century Texas (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2010), 26.
[xxxv] ‘Sterilization Law,” Dallas Morning News, January 18, 1935, p. 4.
[xxxvi] “Upper House.”  In Buck v. Bell, the court upheld the constitutionality of a Virginia coerced sterilization law, with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., defending the statute in the majority opinion he authored by referencing the family of Carrie Buck a woman contesting an order that she undergo a tubal ligation, infamously declared, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” See Black, War Against the Weak, 116-122.
[xxxvii] Journal of the Senate of Texas Being the Regular Session of the Forty-Fourth Legislature Begun and Held at the City of Austin, January 8, 1935, pp. 66-67, 338-340, 2,665, http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth142185/.  Accessed January 13, 2016.
[xxxviii] “Arthur Duggan, Member of State Senate, Is Dead; Littlefield Man Dies on Visit To Relatives at Gonzales, Old House,” Dallas Morning News, September 7, 1935, p. 1; New Handbook of Texas, s.v. “Arthur Pope Duggan.” https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdu08.  Accessed January 13, 2016.
[xxxix] Journal of the House of Representatives of the Regular Session of the Forty-Fifth Legislature of the State of Texas, Begun and Held at the City of Austin, January 12, 1937, Volume 1, 429, http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth145966/m1/433/?q=555.  Accessed January 13, 2016.
[xl] Journal of the House, 1937, p. 752, http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth145966/m1/756/?q=555.  Accessed January 13, 2016; “Sterilization Bill Passage Favored,” Dallas Morning News, March 3, 1937, p. 2.
[xli] “Prefers Horse and Buggy for This Kind of Trip,” Dallas Morning News, March 6, 1937, p. 2.
[xlii] John C. Box, “Immigration Control,” Eugenical News, Volume XII, No. 9 (September 1927), pp. 118-119.
[xliii] Michael Phillips, White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity, and Religion in Dallas, 1841-2001 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006), 78-102.
[xliv] “Eugenic Problems, Dallas Morning News, August 25, 1932, p. 2.  For another example of that publication’s support for eugenics, see its endorsement of a proposed 1937 compulsory sterilization bill the publication characterized as a “wise course” in “Sterilization Law,” Dallas Morning News, January 18, 1935, p. 4.
[xlv] The New Handbook of Texas, s.v., “North Texas Agricultural College”; Edward Everett Davis, The White Scourge (San Antonio: Naylor, 1940); Neil Foley, White Scourge, 6; Cal Jillson, Tarnished: A Critical Look at Texas Politics and Public Policies (New York: Routledge, 2015); 68
[xlvi] “Named Acting City Director of Health,” Dallas Morning News, July 30, 1927, p. 13.
[xlvii] “The Eugenics Society of the United States of America: Organization and Work,” The Eugenical News, Volume X, No. 2 (March 1925), p. 28; “‘Jake’ Fight Is Outlined: W.C.T.U. President Speaks Before Council of Mothers,” Dallas Morning News July 2, 1925, p. 6.
[xlviii] “Y.M.C.A. Does Extensive Work: Community Chest Agency Has Served 6,000 Young Men in One Year,” Dallas Morning News, April 28, 1924, p. 9.
[xlix] For newspaper coverage leading up to the contest, see "Better Babies Show," advertising copy, Dallas Daily Times Herald, 11 October 1914, sec. 1., p. 14;  "Prizes Offered for The Baby Show," Dallas Daily Times Herald, 26 October 1914, sec. 1, p. 1; "Wednesday Is Big Day For Baby Contest," Dallas Daily Times Herald, 27 October 1914, sec. 1, p. 3;  "Bright Sunshine And Varied Features Bring Big Crowd To The Fair: Better Baby Contest Is Drawing Card," Dallas Daily Times Herald, 28 October 1914, sec. 1, p. 1.  For more on the contest, see Nancy Wiley, The Great State Fair of Texas: An Illustrated History (Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company, 2000), 73.
[l] Edward T. Downer, “A. Caswell Ellis,” Skyline (A Quarterly of the Cleveland College of Western Reserve University), Vol. XIII, No. 4, May 1940, 19-20.
[li] "Girl Child Makes Best Test Marks: Grace Gulden, Dallas County, Winner of Sweepstakes.  Two Perfect Boys," Dallas Daily Times Herald, 28 October 1914, sec. 1, p. 4.
[lii] “Families Form Eugenics Society,” Dallas Morning News, November 6, 1927, p. 15.
[liii] Roy Bedicheck, “Hardy Sports Give Outlet for Tendencies That Might Leader to War, Bedicheck Says,” Dallas Morning News, January 13. 1926, p. 10.
[liv] Bush, “Who Gets a Childhood?,” 22-25; Carrie Weaver Smith, “The Unadjusted Girl,” Proceedings of the National Conference of Social Work, Volume 47 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1920), 181.
[lv] Ibid. 
[lvi] Smith, “The Unadjusted Girl,” 181; “Field Assignments for the 1919 Training Class,” The Eugenical News IV, No. 9 (September 1919), 72; and Michael A. Rembis, Defining Deviance: Sex, Science, and Delinquent Girls, 1890-1960, 168.
[lvii] “Indian-White Blood,” Eugenical News, Vol. VII, No. 3 (March 1922), 48.
[lviii] C. Kenneth Waters and Albert Van Helden, “Preface” and Waters,  “Introduction: Revising Our Picture of Julian Huxley,” Julian Huxley, Waters and Van Helden, Julian Huxley: Biologist and Statesman of Science (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1992), v, 1-5.  For more on Huxley and Muller, see Barkan, The Retreat of Scientific Racism; “Herman J. Muller – Biography,” Nobelprize.org, http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1946/muller-bio.html, accessed April 9, 2011;  David Plotz, The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank (New York: Random House, 2005), 29-30; and James Schwartz, In Pursuit of the Gene.. Memories  (New York: Harper & Row, 1970). Muller penned two eugenicist polemics, Out of the Night: A Biologist’s View of the Future (New York: The Vanguard Press, 1935) and Man’s Future Birthright: Essays on Science and Humanity (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1973).
[lix] Letter, Griffith C. Evans to Julian Huxley, March 24, 1913, Julian S, Huxley Papers, General Correspondence, 1904-1919, Box No, 5, Folder 10 (Correspondence -1913), Fondren Library, Rice University, Woodson Research Center Special Collections, Houston, Texas;  “A Short History of Race-Based Affirmative Action at Rice University,” The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, No. 13 (Autumn 1996), p. 36.
[lx] Julian Huxley, “America Revisited III: The Negro Problem,” The Spectator, November 29, 1924, p. 9. http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/29th-november-1924/9/by-julian-s-huxley.  Accessed January 18, 2016.
[lxi] Huxley, “The Negro Problem.”
[lxii] Important works on the Great Migration include James M. Gregory, The Southern Diaspora: How the Great Migrations of Black and White Southerners Transformed America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005); Carol Marks, Farewell—We’re Good and Gone: The Great Migration (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989); and Alferdteen Harrison, Black Exodus: The Great Migration from the American South  (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1991).
[lxiii] Huxley, “The Negro Problem.”
[lxiv] Ibid.
[lxv] Ibid. Throughout his career, Huxley produced a prodigious volume of essays and books aimed at both a popular and a narrower scholarly audience and which revealed an evolving understanding of race.  By the 1930s, as his opposition to the Nazi regime in Germany deepened, he argued that race was not a valid biological concept and that it was, essentially, socially constructed.  Nevertheless, he retained an inaccurate, and exceedingly condescending, understanding of African culture, suggesting in one article in the Fortnightly Weekly that “The inhabitants of tropical Africa ranges from Hottentot an Pigmy to Negro, Bantu, and Hamite; but in spite of their great diversity (far greater than is to be encountered in all Europe from Stockholm to Constantinople, from Leningrad to Lisbon), they have never achieved more than the rudiments of civilization.  In tropical Africa, the plough is unknown, and agriculture must make shift with hoe or digging stick.  The principle of the wheel was never known there. The art of building in stone was never leant (save in a restricted region of time and space, near Zimbabwe).  And writing too, remained undiscovered.”  See Julian S. Huxley, “Why is the White Man in Africa?” Fortnightly Review (January 1932), p. 6.  Important works by Huxley on race include The Stream of Life (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1926); We Europeans: A Survey of ‘Racial’ Problems (London: Jonathan Cape, 1935);  “The Concept of Race in Light of Modern Genetics,” Harpers Monthly Magazine  170 (May 1935); (with A.C. Haddon), “Scientific Pitfalls of Racialism,” Yale Review Vol. XXIV, No. 6 (June 1935); “Racial Myths and Ethnic Fallacies,” Discovery XVI (September 1935);
[lxvi] Julian Huxley, “Eugenics and Eugenicists,” The Athenaeum (December 31, 1920), 895.
[lxvii] Julian Huxley,  “The Outlook in Biology: A Course of Three Lectures Delivered in the Physics Amphitheatre of the Rice Institute, September 29 and 30, and October I, 1924,” The Rice Institute Pamphlet, Vol. XI, No. 4 (October 1924) No. 4, pp. 286-287. https://scholarship.rice.edu/bitstream/handle/1911/8413/article_RI114274.pdf?sequence=5&isAllowed=y.  Accessed January 18, 2016.
[lxviii] Huxley, “Outlook in Biology,” 289-290.
[lxix] Ibid., 293-294.
[lxx] Ibid., 294-296.
[lxxi] Ibid, 299.
[lxxii] Ibid, 301.
[lxxiii] Colin Divall, “From a Victorian to a Modern: Julian Huxley and the English Intellectual Climate,” in Waters and Van Helden, Julian Huxley, 35.
[lxxiv] Garland E. Allen, “Julian Huxley and the Eugenical View of Human Evolution,” in Waters and Van Helden, Julian Huxley, 211.
[lxxv] Three essential works on the hegemony of conservative ideology in Texas are Chandler Davidson, Race and Class in Texas Politics (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1990); George Green, The Establishment in Texas Politics: The Primitive Years, 1938-1957 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1979); and David O’Donald Cullen and Kyle Wilkison, eds., The Texas Right: The Radical Roots of Lone Star Conservatism (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2014).
[lxxvi] “Training School Head Criticized; Dallas Women Protest Against Striking Out of Appropriations,” Dallas Morning News, February 5, 1921, p. 3; “Purl Renews Fight on Parole System on State Girls School; Said Matter to Be Offered to Solons,” Dallas Morning News, February 1, 1925, p. 1; “Committee Votes Strike Out Appropriations for Girls Training School: Fight Over Fence Cause for Action,” Dallas Morning News, February 4, 1925, p. 1; “Political League of Women Assails Action on Girls’ Institution,” Dallas Morning News, February 6, 1925, p. 6; “Eleemosynary Bill Now in Conference: Measure Amended Monday in Senate and Finally Passed, Girl’s School Saved,” Dallas Morning News, February 17, 1925; “Shytles Declines Job in Austin Hospital,” Dallas Morning News, July 18, 1925, p. 5; Carrie Weaver Smith, “Self Expression is Stressed as Means of Coping with the Problems of Delinquent Girls,” Dallas Morning News, August 10, 1925, p. 9; “Carrie Weaver Smith Asks That Poor Girl Who Errs Get Equal Right with Rich,” Dallas Morning News, December 14, 1925.
[lxxvii] Bush, Who Gets a Childhood?, 25.
[lxxviii] Herman J. Muller, typed note,“Prepared at Vavilov’s, 1936-1937,” Hermann J. Muller Collection, Series II, Biographical Materials, Memorabilia, 1912-1972, Box 1, Biographical, Folder 1.38, Carnegie Library, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Springs, New York
[lxxix] Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics, 186-187.
[lxxx] Hermann Muller, “Autobiographical Notes Requested of the National Academy of Sciences,” Hermann J. Muller Collection, Series II, Box 1, Biographical, Folder 1.38, Carnegie Library; Kevles, Name of Eugenics, 187.
[lxxxi] “Prepared at Vavilov’s.”
[lxxxii] “Prepared at Vavilov’s,”; H.J. Muller, Out of the Night: A Biologist’s View of the Future (New York: The Vanguard Press, 1935), vii.
[lxxxiii] Muller, Out of the Night, ix-x.
[lxxxiv] “Herman Joseph Muller, 1890-1967,” Yearbook of the American Philosophical Society, (reprint, 1967), Hermann J. Muller Collection, Series II: Biographical Materials/Memorabilia, 1912-1972, Box 2, Folder 2.23; James Schwartz, In Pursuit of the Gene, 234-251; Muller, Out of the Night, 113-114, 120.
[lxxxv] Kevles, In the Name of Genetics, 187; Schwartz, In Pursuit of the Gene, 256-257.
[lxxxvi] “Herman Joseph Muller, 1890-1967”; Kevles, 187.
[lxxxvii] Letter, Herman Joseph Muller to Edgar Altenburg, Moscow, Institute of Genetics, Academy of Sciences,  December 15, 1935, Hermann J. Muller Collection, Series II, Biographical Materials, Memorabilia, 1912-1972, Box 1, Correspondence Folder 1.3; “Autobiographical Notes”; Schwartz, 254-257; “Mullers Dispute Over Son’s Custody,” Austin American, June 9, 1936, p. 1; “Muller Boy Must Stay in Texas Wherever Parents Go, Judge Orders,” Austin American, June 11, 1936, p. 1.  Muller’s cinematic life continued in the Soviet Union.  A serious and accomplished geneticist, Muller made enemies with Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s pet scientist, an unqualified political hack, Trofim Lysenko, who became head of the Institute of Genetics.  Made exaggerated claims that he had successfully made wheat crops resistant to Russian freezes by treating wheat seeds with moisture and cold, an alleged durability he falsely claimed could be inherited by a crop’s offspring.  Muller scathingly refuted Lysenko, but was forced by Soviet officials to issue an apology.  Appalled by the Stalin dictatorship’s suffocation of free scientific inquiry, and the perversion of science there to meet propaganda ends, Muller realized he might be in danger amid the great Soviet purges of the 1930s.  This fear grew when Stalin read a Russian translation of Out of the Night, the communist party chairman greatly disliked. Muller knew he would soon be denounced in the Soviet press, an event often the prelude to an execution. He travelled to Spain for a time to support the Republican cause in the civil war against the fascists led by Francisco Franco, making his final escape from “the closing jaws of Stalinism” in 1938. He made it back to the United States in 1940 and , though he had trouble finding work because of his Soviet sojourn,  he eventually landed a tenured professorship, with the help of Huxley, at the University of Indiana in Bloomington.   At the end of his life, he lent his support to the Institute of Germinal Choice, later labeled in the press as the “Nobel Sperm Bank,” in Escondido, California.  Established by eccentric eugenicist millionaire Robert Klark Graham, the institute sought to fertilize intellectually gifted women with the sperm of Nobel Prize winners.  Graham’s efforts failed, in part, because the few Nobel winners who contributed semen to the Institute were at an age where they suffered decreased sperm motility, greatly reducing their fertility.  See, Schwartz, 257-276; David Joravsky, The Lysenko Affair (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1970), pp. 72, 103, 117, 235, 264, 317; Plotz, The Genius Factory.
[lxxxviii] Randolph Campbell, Gone To Texas: A History of the Lone Star State (Oxford University Press, 2003), 366; Kyle Wilkison, “The Evils of Socialism: The Religious Right in Early Twentieth-Century Texas,” in Cullen and Wilkison, The Texas Right, 39-40.
[lxxxix] Newspaper clipping, “Religion Not Yet Routed,” Houston Chronicle, n.d., Julian S. Huxley Papers, General Correspondence, 1916, Box 5, Folder 14.
[xc] Norman D. Brown, Hood, Bonnet, and Little Brown Jug: Texas Politics, 1921-1928 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1984), 147-148.
[xci] Brown, Hood, Bonnet, and Little Brown Jug, 147, 148; Campbell, Back to Texas, 366.
[xcii] Wilkison, “The Evils of Socialism,” 43.
[xciii] “Herman Joseph Muller, 1890-1967.”
[xciv] Julian Huxley, Religion Without Revelation (New York: Mentor Books, 1958), 18.
[xcv] “The Southland Under the Searchlight,” The Baptist Standard, April 5, 1923.
[xcvi] “If America Fail,” The Baptist Standard, January 4, 1923, p. 9.
[xcvii] Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More; Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1992), 298.
[xcviii] For perceptions of Sanger and her relationship to eugenics, see Black, War Against the Weak, 125-144.  For an excellent biography of Sanger, see Ellen Chesler, A Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992).
[xcix] Allen Duckworth, Dallas Morning News, “Redistricting Long Overdue: Law Governing Membership of Legislature Unobserved,” 7 January 1951.
[c] Neil Foley, The White Scourge, 45-46.
[ci] Ibid., 52-53.
[cii] Ibid., 55.
[ciii] Journal of the House of Representatives of the Regular Session of the Thirty Eighth Legislature Begun and Held at the City of Austin, January 9, 1923 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones Co., 1923), 587-588, 614, 643.
[civ] Mark L. Goodwin, “Annual Quota from Mexico Being Sought: Percentage Restriction Plan on Immigration Abandoned,” Dallas Morning News, August 30, 1929, p. 2.
[cv] Black, War Against The Weak, xv, 3-6.