Certifying Eugenic Purity in the Churches

Christine Rosen

in Preaching Eugenics

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780195156799
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835218 | DOI:
Certifying Eugenic Purity in the Churches

Show Summary Details


This chapter further places religious leaders’ enthusiasm for eugenics in the context of both Progressivism and the Social Gospel movement. As eugenic ideas gained in popularity, religious leaders such as Rev. Walter Taylor Sumner, a Protestant Episcopal Dean in Chicago, began crafting their own eugenic proposals, which they administered in their churches. Dean Sumner’s eugenic “marriage health certificate” plan garnered publicity and many imitators. This chapter describes such proposals and places them in the context of the growing social service movement in the Protestant churches in particular, and the public’s increasing interest in eugenics in general. It also discusses the many “eugenic family studies” published in the 1910s.

Keywords: social gospel movement; Walter Taylor Sumner; marriage regulation; health certificates; Progressive movement; Protestant Episcopal Church; eugenic family studies

Chapter.  14016 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.