Cover

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Half Title, Series Info, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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p. vii

List of Illustrations

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pp. viii-ix

List of Tables

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p. x

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Series Editors’ Introduction

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pp. xi-xii

This volume expands the scope and method of this series, Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology, dealing with World War II legacies of race, class, and ethnicity by engaging with Native American materials especially through the work of Franz Boas and Americanist anthropology’s critique of scientific racism and eugenics. ..

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xvi

My initial interest in Native Americans and eugenics was kindled over forty years ago while developing anthropology courses at the University at Albany, SUNY, on historical and contemporary Native American–European relations. Among the students in my first class was Stephen Comer, a Mohican and member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community ...

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Introduction: The Menace in the Hollow

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pp. 1-8

With these alarming words, Arthur H. Estabrook and Charles B. Davenport concluded their 1912 monograph, The Nam Family: A Study in Cacogenics. Based upon their investigations of an obscure rural community in upstate New York, the authors were not simply indicting the people of Nam Hollow for their objectionable behaviors. ...

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1. Native Americans and Eugenics

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pp. 9-37

Before looking more closely at the Nam case, it will be useful to review what is known about so-called tri-racial and bi-racial isolates, or mixed-race peoples, in the eastern United States and how they became implicated in early eugenics investigations. It will be useful to share some personal history to explain what initially attracted me to these issues nearly forty years ago. ...

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2. Border Wars and the Origins of the Van Guilders

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pp. 38-52

The people who would become The Nam Family, as presented in Estabrook and Davenport’s eugenics study, ultimately derived from the turbulent frontier between colonial New York and Massachusetts in the mid-eighteenth century. This was at the dawn of the French and Indian War. During that seven-year conflict, 1754 to 1761, between New France and the English colonies, ...

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3. A “New” Homeland and the Cradle of Guilder Hollow

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pp. 53-73

In 1810, one of Joseph Van Guilder’s sons, Stephen Van Guilder, who was a grandson of John Van Guilder, purchased 160 acres of land in Washington County, New York. There he built a dwelling for his family with hopes of getting a fresh start after departing the turbulent frontier in western Massachusetts. By this time, however, he had been in ...

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4. From Pioneers to Outcastes

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pp. 74-94

If the people of Guilder Hollow were “wanderers,” were they tramps in the conventional sense? This is highly improbable given that the Van Guilders were known citizens, not strangers, who had a long presence in Hartford and Granville. When they migrated from western Massachusetts, no doubt they had brought with them traditional economic ...

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5. The Eugenicists Arrive

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pp. 95-114

How did Arthur Estabrook and Charles Davenport come to specifically target Guilder Hollow for their research? Their publication, The Nam Family, is silent on this issue. The correspondence and other documents in the Arthur H. Estabrook Papers collection offer no clues. Clearly, they were inspired by The Jukes, but unlike Richard Dugdale, whose ...

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6. Deconstructing the Nam and the Hidden Native Americans

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pp. 115-134

Except for their passing comment on a “roving Dutchman and an Indian princess” as the ancestral founding couple of the Nam, Estabrook and Davenport did not recognize or acknowledge Native American traditions or knowledge among the descendants. Indeed, their analysis was devoid of cultural and sociological context that might have presented their ...

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7. Demonizing the Marginalized Poor

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pp. 135-150

The previous chapter deconstructed Estabrook and Davenport’s narrative to reveal aspects of the Van Guilders’ mixed-race Native American cultural heritage that were overlooked or misconstrued as genetic degeneration. The present chapter will extend this line of analysis to consider how “bad germ plasm” became a catchall rationalization obscuring what were, in actuality, poverty and marginalization. ...

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Conclusion: The Myth Unravels

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pp. 151-164

In the final analysis, The Nam Family was more a literary than a scientific achievement. Estabrook and Davenport invented rather than discovered a community of genetic defectives. In this regard I share the perspective of Nathaniel Deutsch, who revealed how a succession of investigators, from Oscar McCulloch to Hugo Leaming, took considerable license ...

Notes

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pp. 165-204

Bibliography

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pp. 205-222

Index

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pp. 223-238

Further Series Titles

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