Charles B. Davenport


Charles Benedict Davenport (1866–1944) was one of the most prominent public figures of the eugenics movement in the early decades of the twentieth century in the United States. Trained as a morphologist, biologist and geneticist, he is most remembered for his eugenic studies. Under his direction of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, New York, the research conducted by the laboratory's Eugenics Record Office supported the early eugenics movement by serving as the leading repository of eugenic information and as a primary centre for the training of eugenic field workers.

Keywords: eugenics; Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; Eugenics Record Office; human heredity; genetics

Further Reading

Allen GA (1986) The eugenics record office at Cold Spring Harbor, 1910–1940: an essay in institutional history. Osiris 2 (2): 225–264.

Comfort N (2012) The Science of Human Perfection: How Genes Became the Heart of American Medicine. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Davenport CB (1910) Eugenics: The Science of Human Improvement by Better Breeding. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Davenport, CB (1912) The Trait Book. Eugenics Record Office Bulletin 6.

Kevles DJ (1985) In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Kline W (2010) Eugenics in the United States. In: Bashford A and Levine P, (eds). The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics, pp. 511–522. New York: Oxford University Press.

MacDowell EC (1946) Charles Benedict Davenport, 1866–1944: a study of conflicting influences. Bios 17 (1): 2–50.

Riddle O (1947) Biographical Memoir of Charles Benedict Davenport, 1866–1944. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences.

Stern AM (2005) Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Witkowski JA (2008) Charles Benedict Davenport, 1866–1944. In: Witkowski JA and Inglis JR, (eds). Davenport's Dream: 21st Century Reflections on Heredity and Eugenics, pp. 35–58. Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

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Sohasky, Kate E(Apr 2015) Charles B. Davenport. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005705]