The Image Archive on the American Eugenics Movement Internet site was conceived in 1995, soon after the DNALC launched its first primitive home page. We saw the Internet as the perfect medium to introduce students, teachers and the public to this hidden period in scientific history. After several tries, we were ultimately awarded a two-year grant from the Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues (ELSI) Program of the National Human Genome Research Institute in early 1998; then a continuation grant extended support to March 2004.
The Archive contains 2,500 images of photographs, lantern slides, correspondence, journals, texts, manuscripts, charts, and data. Text-rich images have been transcribed as text-only files, which allow the content to be searched by our database engine. The images represent collections from the following institutions: American Philosophical Society Library, New York; Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives, New York; Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York; International Center of Photography, New York; Max Planck Society Historical Archives, Berlin; Rockefeller University Archive Center, New York; State University of New York at Albany; Truman State University Archives, Missouri; University College, London; University of Tennessee at Knoxville; and University of Virginia.
The Eugenics Archive provides materials that stimulate independent, critical thinking about the parallels between eugenics and modern genetics research. The site is intended as an educational tool to allow individuals to learn about society's past involvement in genetics by exploring primary materials that heretofore have been inaccessible to the layperson. By basing the Archive on primary materials, the user assumes the role of historian/researcher, finding materials according to his/her own preferences and drawing inferences based on their own synthesis.