Harry Olson, US judge and eugenicist

Harry Olson, US judge and eugenicist

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Credit: AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Harry Olson (1867-1935), US judge and eugenicist. Olson was elected Chief Justice of the new Municipal Court in Chicago in 1906. His views were that criminal behaviour resulted from inherited mental and emotional defects, which led him to advocate for a form of eugenics to segregate criminals to prevent them from passing on such traits to future generations. Many eugenicists were criticised for their racist assumptions, but Olson distanced himself from this aspect of eugenics providing immigrants were mentally sound. Photograph from the American Eugenics Society, showing Olson in his role as a member of that Society's Board of Directors.

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