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 1937

"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 write you.

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.

Sincerely yours,
Malcolm Donald.

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.