Race Science and the Pioneer Fund
Note: Originally published
as "The Funding of the Science" in Searchlight No 277 (Jul7 1998).
This version is slightly revised and expanded.
This special issue of Searchlight devoted to race
science contains articles on American Renaissance magazine,
Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray's The Bell Curve,
Right Now! magazine, and two background articles on the
history and modern applications of race science. If one scratches
the surface of any of these topics one finds that the Pioneer
Fund has played a significant role.
The Pioneer Fund has been involved in the history
of race science since its establishment in 1937. One of its founders,
Harry Laughlin wrote a model sterilization law widely used in
both the United States and Europe. Many of the key academic racists
in both Right Now! and American Renaissance have
been funded by the Pioneer and the Pioneer was directly involved
in funding the parent organization of American Renaissance,
the New Century Foundation. Indeed, most of the leading Anglo-American
academic race-scientists of the last several decades have been
funded by the Pioneer, including William Shockley, Hans J. Eysenck,
Arthur Jensen, Roger Pearson, Richard Lynn, J. Philippe Rushton,
R. Travis Osborne, Linda Gottfredson, Robert A. Gordon, Daniel
R. Vining, Jr., Michael Levin, and Seymour Itzkoff - all cited
in The Bell Curve. (1)
The Pioneer Fund's original endowment came from
Wickliffe Draper, scion of old-stock Protestant gentry. Draper
grew up in Hopedale, Massachusetts - a company town built by his
family. Living in what one historian has called a "a quasi-feudal
manor house." The company maintained almost total control over
the lives of company workers until 1912 when the IWW organized
the Draper Company at Hopedale after a four month strike.(2)
Colonel Draper, as he was often called by his
friends and admirers was a man searching for a way to restore
an older order. Draper believed geneticists could scientifically
prove the inferiority of Negros. According to Bruce Wallace, a
geneticist who tutored Draper in the later 1940s, Draper "was
sure that we had all the answers and that we were just too frightened
to say what they meant."(3) Under
his direction, the Pioneer Fund's original charter outlined a
commitment to "improve the character of the American people" by
encouraging the procreation of descendants of the original white
Abandoned by the political mainstream after World
War II,(4) Draper turned more and
more to academic irredentists still dedicated to white supremacy
and eugenics. Most prominent among these early recruits was Henry
Garrett, Chair of Psychology at Columbia University from 1941-1955.
A Virginia born segregationist, Garrett was a key witness in defending
segregation in Davis v. County School Board (1952) one
of the constituent cases in the landmark Brown v. Board of
It is worth examining the changes in Pioneer grants
over the past four decades. For those interested we are providing
a spreadsheet of all Pioneer grants
from 1971 to 1996. During the 1950s and 1960s, Garrett helped
to distribute grants for Draper and was one of the founders of
the International Association for the Advancement of Eugenics
and Ethnology (IAAEE) in 1959. The IAAEE brought together academic
defenders of segregation in the U.S. and apartheid in South Africa.
The Pioneer Fund supported the IAAEE and other institutions working
to legitimising race science, including the IAAEE's journal, Mankind
In the 1970s the chief beneficiaries were the
Foundation for Human Understand, an organization directed by R.
Travis Osborne; Arther Jensen's Institute for the Study of Educational
Differences, Shockley's Foundation for Research and Education
in Eugenics and Dysgenics; and the IAAEE.
By the decade of the eighties, the largest Pioneer
grants went to the University of Minnesota, Arthur Jensen's Institute
for the Study of Educational Differences, the Federation for American
Immigration Control, Roger Pearson's Institute for the Study of
Man, the University of Western Ontario, and the University of
During the 1990s, the major recipients of Fund
grants have been the University of Minnesota, the University of
Western Ontario, the Ulster Institute for Social Research, the
Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Institute
for the Study of Man, and the University of Delaware.
When Draper first founded the Fund in 1937, he
was looking for "useful science." He was convinced that scientists
had the answers he was looking for, but were too timid to admit
the truth of race differences, Negro inferiority and the value
of eugenics. From the 1960s to the 1990s the Fund has singled
out individual academics whose work proved useful in the political
struggles against integration, open immigration and other right
wing causes. While organizations such as FAIR have received significant
funding, preference has always been given to the more general
purpose (or multi-purpose) scholarship supporting biological determinism,
genetically based race differences, and eugenics. In the early
years, Pioneer funds were funneled through small organizations
such as the IAAEE and FHU which were set up by marginalized scholars
to disseminate work for which there were few mainstream outlets.
By the 1990s, most of the funds were being distributed directly
to universities for support of Pioneer affiliated scholars.
Leading Grant Recipients, 1994-1996
University of Western Ontario
(J. Philippe Rushton) $334,405
Ulster Institute for Social Research
(Richard Lynn) $289,000
University of Minnesota (Thomas
University of Delaware (Linda
Institute for the Study of Man
(Roger Pearson) $159,500
Federation for American Immigration
Compared to the largest American foundations,
the Pioneer Fund is very small. Its assets have never exceeded
$6.5 million (�4 million) and its total annual grants have never
exceeded $900,000. But the Pioneer Fund's importance in the history
of post-war race science far exceeds its size or the size of its
grants. With almost laser-like precision, the Pioneer Fund has
been at the cutting edge of almost every race conflict in the
United States since its founding in 1937.
SHOCKLEY AND JENSEN
The Pioneer Fund has changed little since its
inception. An article in the New York Times on December
11, 1977 characterized it as having "supported highly controversial
research by a dozen scientists who believe that blacks are genetically
less intelligent than whites." In the 1960s Nobel Laureate William
Shockley (1910-1989), a physicist at Stanford University best
known for his "voluntary sterilization bonus plan" received an
estimated $188,710 from the Pioneer Fund between 1971 and 1978.
Arthur Jensen, an educational psychologist, garnered more than
a million dollars in Pioneer grants over the past three decades.
Three years after being recruited by Shockely, Jensen published
his now famous attack on Head Start in the prestigious Harvard
Education Review. Jensen claimed the problem with black
children was that they had an average IQ of only 85 and that no
amount of social engineering would improve their performance.
Jensen urged "eugenic foresight" as the only solution. (7)
Roger Pearson, whose Institute for the Study of
Man has been one of the top Pioneer beneficiaries over the past
twenty years ($870,000 from 1981-1996) is the clearest example
of the extremist ideology of the Fund's leadership. Pearson came
to the United States in the mid-sixties to join Willis Carto and
the group around Right magazine. In 1965 he became editor
of Western Destiny, a magazine established by Carto and
dedicated to spreading fascist ideology. Using the pseudonym of
Stephan Langton, Pearson then became the editor of The New
Patriot, a short-lived magazine published in 1966-67 to conduct
"a responsible but penetrating inquiry into every aspect of the
Jewish Question," which included articles such as "Zionists and
the Plot Against South Africa," "Early Jews and the Rise of Jewish
Money Power," and "Swindlers of the Crematoria." Taking account
of all groups linked to Pearson, Pioneer support between 1975-1996
exceeds one million dollars - nearly ten percent of the total
Pioneer grants for that period.
For the past few years, University of Western
Ontario psychology professor J. Philippe Rushton has replaced
Jensen as the top individual beneficiary of Pioneer largess. Since
1981 he has benefited from more than a million dollars in Pioneer
grants. Rushton argues that behavioral differences among blacks,
whites, and Asians are the result of evolutionary variations in
their reproductive strategies. Blacks are at one extreme, Rushton
claims, because they produce large numbers of offspring but offer
them little care; at the other extreme are Asians, who have fewer
children but indulge them; whites lie somewhere in between. Despite
Rushton�s controversial race theories, he has been embraced by
the scientific mainstream, having been elected a fellow of the
American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American,
British, and Canadian Psychological Associations.
The Pioneer Fund seved as a small part of "a multimillion
dollar political empire of corporations, foundations, political
action committees and ad hoc groups" active in 1980s (Washington
Post, March 31, 1985, p. 1; A16) developed by Tom Ellis, Harry
Weyher, Marion Parrott, R.E. Carter-Wrenn and Jesse Helms. The
Fund has served as a nexus between academic theory and practical
political ideology. It's leadership, especially, Harry Weyher,
Thomas F. Ellis and Marion A. Parrott are part of an interlocking
set of directorates and associates linking the Pioneer Fund to
Jesse Helms' high-tech political machine. Ellis, for example,
simultaneously served as Chairman of the National Congressional
Club and the Coalition for Freedom, co-founder of Fairness in
Media, a board member of the Educational Support Foundation and
Director of the Pioneer Fund. Harry Weyher, president of the Pioneer
Fund served as lead counsel for Fairness in Media.
AFTER THE PIONEER FUND?
The Pioneer Fund has defined, in important ways,
a distinct era in the history of contemporary thinking about race.
This era began after World War II, when anti-egalitarian race
scientists were scientifically and politically marginalized and
defeated, and it continued long enough to witness their subsequent
victory, with the Pioneer Fund's support, in an aggressive campaign
to rehabilitate the notion of incorrigible racial differences
as a cardinal scientific and civic fact. This era may now be coming
to an end. Harry Weyher and the others who have guided the Fund's
activities for several generations will probably soon pass from
the scene, and many of the grant recipients with whom it has been
most closely identified also are approaching the end of their
The environment within which the Fund operates
has also changed. Over the past decade the Fund has responded
to these circumstances, and to the window of opportunity afforded
it in recent years for advancing its agenda, by accelerating its
grant-making to a rate sustainable only by spending its capital.
Weyher was quoted in GQ magazine after the publication
of The Bell Curve as saying, "It seemed to make more sense
to spend the money than to save it, so we spent it. Once it's
gone, we'll just quit."(8) As a result
of this policy, by the end of 1996 the Fund's assets had declined
in real terms to less than 40 percent of their 1986 level. If
this trend continues, the Fund will not long outlast its current
officers. At the same time, the development of alternative sources
of funding is making workers in the fields that the Fund traditionally
has supported less dependent on it. These changes in funding arrangements
will change the character of discourse on immigration and individual
and group differences in ways that cannot now be foreseen.
For now, however, it is a useful measure of the
Pioneer Fund's success that anti-egalitarian race scientists are
more confident and better organized in the United States than
at any time since the 1920s, and public policy internationally
has begun ineluctably to reflect their assumptions and preferences.
Barry Mehler, Director
Keith Hurt, Research Associate
Institute for the Study of Academic Racism, 1998
1. Pioneer Grants were made to the New Century
Foundation (NCF) in 1994, 1995, and 1996. 1997 and 1998 data is
not yet available (see our spreadsheet). The first Pioneer grant
to NCF was $12,000 approved as of Sept 21, 1994 "for publishing
& disseminating writings which enable the public to understand
scientific findings about the human race and which otherwise might
not be published." A $500 grant was approved as of Dec 8, 1995
"for the distribution of scientific manuscripts." And finally,
a $4,990 grant was paid to NCF during 1996. It is probable that
the material distributed included work by such major Pioneer grantees
as J.P. Rushton and Michael Levin. They were among the speakers
at the 1994 and 1996 AR conferences, and the money might have
gone to supporting distribution of the proceedings of the conferences.
2. Margaret Crawford, Building the Workinginan's
Paradise: The Design of American Company Towns. Haymarket
Series. London and New York: Verso, 1995.
3. Taped interview with Bruce Wallace 24 January
1990. Between March and May 1960, Ronald W. May wrote a series
of articles on Draper's relationship to the House Un-american
Activities Committee. In preparation for these articles he interviewed
a number of well-known geneticists, including Bruce Wallace. Wallace
was quoted by May in "Genetics and Subversion," The Nation (May
14, 1960). Defenders of the Pioneer Fund have raised questions
about the authenticity of these quotes, so in 1990, I called Dr.
Wallace. Dr. Wallace did not remember the interview with May,
but after hearing the quotes attributed to him said: "I can say
this and that is that the tenor of quotations you have cited to
me are probably correct."
4. Frederick Osborn, for example, a founder of
the Pioneer Fund along with Harry Laughlin, distanced himself
from the Pioneer Fund. In a dramatic parting of ways in 1954,
Draper offered Osborn full support for the financially ailing
American Eugenics Society if Osborn would support "measures for
establishing racial homogeniety in the United States." Osborn
turned down Draper's offer and resigned from the Pioneer board.
5. Newby, I. (1969). Challenge to the court:
Social Scientists and the defense of segregation, 1954-1996.
Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press; Kluger, R. Simple
Justice: The history of Brown v. Board of Education and Black
America�s struggle for equality. (New York: Knopf, 1976).
6. Winston, A. S. (1998). "Science in the service
of the far right: Henry E. Garrett, the IAAEE, and the Liberty
Lobby." Journal of Social Issues, 54, no. 1, 179-209.
7. Hirsch, J. "To Unfrock the Charlatans," Sage
Race Relations Abstracts 6 #2 (May 1981) pp. 1-68 and "Jensenism:
The Bankrupcy of "Science" Without Scholarship Educational
Theory 25 No 1 (Winter, 1975) pp. 3-27.
8. Sedwick, John. "The Menatality Bunker," Gentlemen's
Quarterly (November 1994).
July 15, 1998
Mehler, Barry and Keith Hurt. "Race science and the Pioneer Fund." Revised version of "The funding of the science." Searchlight 7 Jul 1998.