Human Betterment Foundation

Human Betterment Foundation

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The Human Betterment Foundation (HBF) was an American eugenics
Eugenics is the "applied science or the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population", usually referring to human populations. The origins of the concept of eugenics began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance,...

 organization established in Pasadena, California
Pasadena, California
Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although famous for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game and Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena is the home to many scientific and cultural institutions, including the California Institute of Technology , the Jet...

 in 1928 by E.S. Gosney with the aim "to foster and aid constructive and education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

al forces for the protection and betterment of the human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

In human context, a family is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence. In most societies it is the principal institution for the socialization of children...

 in body
With regard to living things, a body is the physical body of an individual. "Body" often is used in connection with appearance, health issues and death...

, mind
The concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different traditions, ranging from panpsychism and animism to traditional and organized religious views, as well as secular and materialist philosophies. Most agree that minds are constituted by conscious experience and intelligent...

, character
Moral character
Moral character or character is an evaluation of a particular individual's durable moral qualities. The concept of character can imply a variety of attributes including the existence or lack of virtues such as integrity, courage, fortitude, honesty, and loyalty, or of good behaviors or habits...

, and citizenship
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

". It primarily served to compile and distribute information about compulsory sterilization
Compulsory sterilization
Compulsory sterilization also known as forced sterilization programs are government policies which attempt to force people to undergo surgical sterilization...

 legislation in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, for the purposes of eugenics
Eugenics is the "applied science or the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population", usually referring to human populations. The origins of the concept of eugenics began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance,...


The initial board of trustees were Gosney, Henry M. Robinson (a Los Angeles banker), George Dock (a Pasadena physician), David Starr Jordan
David Starr Jordan
David Starr Jordan, Ph.D., LL.D. was a leading eugenicist, ichthyologist, educator and peace activist. He was president of Indiana University and Stanford University.-Early life and education:...

 (chancellor of Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

), Charles Goethe
Charles Goethe
Charles M. Goethe was an American eugenicist, entrepreneur, land developer, philanthropist, conservationist, founder of the Eugenics Society of Northern California, and a native and lifelong resident of Sacramento, California....

 (a Sacramento philanthropist), Justin Miller
Justin Miller (judge)
Justin Miller was a lawyer and a federal appellate judge.Miller was born in Crescent City, California in 1888. He got his B.A...

 (dean of the college of law at the University of Southern California
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

), Otis Castle (a Los Angeles attorney), Joe G. Crick (a Pasadena horticulturist), and biologist/eugenicist Paul Popenoe
Paul Popenoe
Paul Popenoe was an American founding practitioner of marriage counseling. In his early years, he worked as an agricultural explorer and as a scholar of heredity, where he played a prominent role in the Eugenics movement of the early twentieth century.- Biography :Born as Paul Bowman Popenoe in...

. Later members included Lewis Terman
Lewis Terman
Lewis Madison Terman was an American psychologist, noted as a pioneer in educational psychology in the early 20th century at the Stanford University School of Education. He is best known as the inventor of the Stanford-Binet IQ test...

 (a Stanford psychologist best known for creating the Stanford-Binet test of IQ), William B. Munro
William B. Munro
William Bennett Munro was a Canadian social scientist and eugenicist.-External links:*

 (a Harvard professor of political science), and University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

 professors Herbert M. Evans (anatomy) and Samuel J. Holmes (zoology).

After Gosney's death in 1942, Gosney's daughter Lois Castle and the HBF's board liquidated HBF with its funds going to form the Gosney research fund at the California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...

 (Caltech) in 1943. The archives of the Human Betterment Foundation are in Special Collections at Caltech in Pasadena.

See also

  • American Eugenics Society
    American Eugenics Society
    The American Eugenics Society was a society established in 1922 to promote eugenics in the United States.It was the result of the Second International Conference on Eugenics . The founders included Madison Grant, Harry H. Laughlin, Irving Fisher, Henry Fairfield Osborn, and Henry Crampton...

  • British Eugenics Society
  • Eugenics in the United States

External links