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Georgia State University College of Law

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When Harvard Said No To Eugenics: The J. Ewing Mears Bequest, 1927, Paul A. Lombardo Jul 2014

When Harvard Said No To Eugenics: The J. Ewing Mears Bequest, 1927, Paul A. Lombardo

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James Ewing Mears (1838-1919) was a founding member of the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery. His 1910 book, The Problem of Race Betterment, laid the groundwork for later authors to explore the uses of surgical sterilization as a eugenic measure. Mears left $60,000 in his will to Harvard University to support the teaching of eugenics. Although numerous eugenic activists were on the Harvard faculty, and who of its Presidents were also associated with the eugenics movement, Harvard refused the Mears gift. The bequest was eventually awarded to Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. This article explains why Harvard turned its back ...