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ID 15724

Nam family members, photo by Arthur Estabrook,1912

Description:
While positive eugenics highlighted the achievements of "fit" families, negative eugenics focused on "unfit" families who were burdened with degenerate traits such as feeblemindedness, alcoholism, pauperism, and criminality. Pedigrees of poor, rural families - with fictitious names like the Jukes, the Kallikaks, the Nams, and the Ishmaelites - appeared to show genetic deterioration over time (cacogenics). American eugenicists dismissed any environmental contribution to their plight - such as poor housing, nutrition, or schools and placed the blame directly on bad genes. (DNAi location: Chronicle > Threat of the Unfit > The fit and unfit)
Keywords:
negative eugenics,genetic deterioration,charles davenport,environmental contribution,eugenicists,ishmaelites,fictitious names,pauperism,estabrook,bad genes,dnai,nams,jukes,criminality,pedigrees,alcoholism,plight,kallikaks,new york state,family members
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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15764. Jukes family members, by Arthur Estabrook, about 1910
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11381. The Nam Family: A Study in Cacogenics (Eugenics Record Office Memoir No. 2), by A.H. Estabrook and C.B. Davenport, introduction and early history (3)
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