April 23, 1910

Eugenics. The Science of Human Improvement by Better Breeding.

JAMA. 1910;LIV(17):1393. doi:10.1001/jama.1910.02550430045020

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This neatly gotten up booklet contains an essay which the author read by invitation before the American Academy of Medicine at Yale University, Nov. 12, 1909. Davenport adopts unquestioningly the Mendelian theories of heredity and applies them to human mating. Whether all would agree with him in such complete acceptance is a question. Some of his statements appear rather positive, such as that, so far as he is aware, there is no case on record where two imbecile parents have produced a normal child. Considering the relativity of the term "imbecility" and "normal," this assertion might be qualified. There are all degrees of general imbecility and of partial imbecility, which latter is frequently the accompaniment of genius in some other direction. It is also pretty safe to say that a perfectly normal individual is a rarity if he exists anywhere. An investigation into the relation between the "ordinary" and the

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