Promoting involuntary sterilization: early hints of problems in the 1930s
A 1930s article published in The Journal of Heredity, “Beginnings of Sterilization in America,” is notable for the way it portrayed sterilization, particularly when it is compared to an earlier account of the same interview with Dr. Sharp that formed the basis of the article and that has been preserved in the archives of California’s Human Betterment Foundation.
“Baloney Detection” in the era of “fake news”
In attempting to help my students (and extended family) recognize these categories more responsibly — preferably before they share them — I think it’s useful to remember Carl Sagan’s chapter on “The Fine Art of Baloney Detection” from 1996.
E. S. Gosney Papers and Records of the Human Betterment Foundation
As part of my dissertation on privacy and technology, I’m looking into sterilization in the early part of the twentieth century. The E. S. Gosney Papers and Records of the Human Betterment Foundation have a number of archival records capturing information about these patients, especially those who were institutionalized.
Victorian domestic specialization and gender roles
As the Victorian version of separate spheres solidified in the mid-nineteenth century, the “idea of wifely sainthood gained ever more credence as housewives found themselves increasingly isolated from the male-operated world.”
Prohibition and the domestic home
The Volstead Act (implementing Prohibition), in keeping with American legal tradition, gave special recognition to the home and the private, domestic sphere.
No privacy in city life: what modern methods are bringing us to (1902)
“Is it possible,” asked the Chicago Tribune in 1902, “to be a private citizen in Chicago?”
Four useful analytic categories from science and technology studies
Science and technology studies (STS) is an interdisciplinary collection of analytic approaches. In his analysis of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Philip Doty pulls out four concepts from STS that he believes are particularly useful
Haverty v. Bass: protecting the public health in 1876
In 1873 a Bangor police officer and a physician forcibly pulled Martin Haverty’s child “out of the arms of the mother” in order “to remove it to the city hospital” for quarantine due to suspected smallpox infection.
New-Fashioned Quarantine (from 1916)
One traditional method Hill discusses is quarantine — but Hill gives it a rational spin, characteristic of early twentieth century optimism and trust in science and expertise.