Naming the Pioneer Fund
In 1937, Malcolm Donald of the firm of Herrick,
Smith, Donald & Farley wrote to Harry Laughlin, Director of
the Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor to discuss details
regarding the formation of a foundation by Mr. Draper. The first
question was the advisablity of calling the new foundation "The
Eugenics Fund." Draper wondered if it might be confused with other
organizations such as the Eugenics Record Office, the Eugenics
Research Association, etc. Donald wondered if the term eugenics
ought to be used in the title at all. What follows is the discussion
regarding the naming of the Pioneer Fund. The correspondence is
part of the Harry Laughlin Papers at Northeast Missouri State
University in Kirksville, Missouri.
Malcom Donald to Harry Laughlin, February 19th
"It seems to me," Donald wrote, "if we're to investigate...
members of the flying Corp and their wives and ask them various
questions and make some offer... there might be a little amusement
attached to the suggestion that they were picked out for eugenics
purposes so that some ridicule might interfere with the investigation
and carrying out of the work. For this reason a more colorless
name, such as `Pioneer Foundation' or some similiar name might
be advisable. This is merely an offhand suggestion. I do not think
Mr. Draper thought there was much in it, but suggested that I
3. Mr. Draper himself is going abroad. I think
when the corporation is organizaed it would be well for the directors
to have a meeting and authorize you to go ahead with a project.
As you know, Mr. Draper's plan at present is to make $50,000 available
for the work. He suggested that I write and ask you if you could
prepared a suggested project which the firectors might approve.
I think, as you know, he had in mind investigation among the Flying
officers and possibly, if you thought well of it, the use of the
films about which he spoke the other day at luncheon.
I hope we can get incorporated within the next
couple of weeks and have a meeting of the incorporators.
Mr. Draper suggested that if this would give you
time to prepare such a project, it would be well to have a copy
mailed to each of the directors before the meeting so that they
could give it a little consideration and thus, perhaps, have some
suggestions to make, or be able to discuss it a little more intelligently
with you. The Directors so far, besides yourself, are Mr. Draper,
Mr. Frederick Osborn, 111 Broadway, New York City, and myself.
It might cause a little delay, but if you wanted to send your
project to me I could have copies made and mail them for you.
Frederick Osborn responds date cannot be read.
"I have your letter of the 19th... Mr. Laughlin
and I have talked on the phone at some length about the choice
of names. ...
As the the name, while we both feel that the
word `eugenics' must be strengthened until it takes the high place
in the public mind which it must eventually have, it might be
a dangerous name for the Fund, as it might attract the sort of
people to make carelessly thought out demands on the Fund. Mr.
Laughlin and I both feel therefore that the name `Pioneer Fund'
would be an excellent corporate title for a number of reasons,
and it is the one which we jointly recommend.
Lauglin responded: 2/24/37
[re: name] ... I should prefer the name Pioneer
Foundation. While in itself this is a colorless term, it would
be perfectly appropriate if this foundation should have for its
purpose the maintenance of the pioneer traditions and the perpetuation
of pioneer family-stocks and the hereditary qualities - physical,
mental and spiritual - of the pioneer families of America. Ultimately
I should hope to see some such title as the Draper Eugenics Foundation
used but, of course, if this is not in accordance with Colonel
Draper's wish the title Pioneer Foundation would, I am sure, served
the purpose extremely well.
I. Outline Proposed for first
year's work of the Foundation. (1937)
1. Money grants to encourage high fertility by
junior flying officiers of especially superior heredity - in physical
traits, in mental traits and in character - of the Air Force of
the United States army.
This is one of the major projects which Colonel
Draper had in mind for the first year's work of the Pioneer Foundation.
In carrying out this project, collaboration would be sought by
the War Department and by the officiers of the Air Force.
(a) Study would be made of the several junior
flying officers in reference to such matters as the following:
Age, race, descent, hereditary qualities and marital
status. If married age, race descent, hereditary qualities of
wife. number, (sic) age, sex and qualities of each child already
born. Annual family income - salary, private income, total income.
Determination of the relationship between annual family income
and number of children in family.
(b) Computation of the actualrail set-up and within
resources possible cash grants to young officers of superior quality
whose income limits number of children.
(c) Type of application and collabortaion required
by the individual junior officer in meeting the conditions of
the actual ??? (two words). …
2. The eugenical education of the American people
by moving picture films on eugenical subjects.
The two German films referred to by Colonel Draper
have been received and a machine has been secured to show these
films, which might be called "Applied Eugenics in Present Day
Germany" with English legends. his German set-up (film and machine)
is now ready for practical use.
In this same field, arrangements might possibly
be made to secure more copies of this film and, under certain
conditions, to lend the film to high schools, colleges, clubs,
churches, each for a limited period of time.
Along this same line, if funds were available,
it might be desirable to take some American films on different
phrases of practical eugenics. there is plenty of available material
in America on such subjects as the racial basis of the American
civilization, immigration-control, human heredity good and bad,
pedigree analysis, superior family strains, degenerate family
strains, problems in mate selection, differential fertility of
family-stocks, eugenical sterilization, and the like.