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The Incorrigibles: Eugenics and Sterilization in a Juvenile Girl’s Reformatory

October 18, 2017, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The lecture

In September of 1935 the superintendent of the juvenile girls’ reformatory in Beloit, Kansas, embarked on a program of forced sterilization that eventually reached forty-two percent of the population under her control. Sixty-two girls between the ages of nine and seventeen—committed for being immoral, delinquent, and disobedient—saw their reproductive rights taken away “in the name of eugenics.” Defenders of the program claimed the sterilizations were both lawful and necessary, and that they were doing the state a service by preventing the birth of dependent children. Others claimed the program was draconian, punitive, and illegal. Who are we to believe, and how do we make sense of this episode within the larger history of American eugenics?

The speaker

Dr. Marcattilio-McCracken is an historian specializing in the history of science and medicine in the United States. He works as a Lecturer at Oklahoma State University and as an Adjunct Professor at Southwest Minnesota State University where he teaches courses on the Gilded Age, Modern Civilization, American Thought and Culture, and the Second World War. Dr. Marcattilio-McCracken has been at the Linda Hall Library as a Residential Fellow since August 2017. Additional information about his research can be found at his website www.galtonsbox.com.

Admission tickets

The lecture is free and open to the public; however, e-tickets are required.


Parking is free in Library parking lots and along the west side of Holmes Street between 51st and 52nd streets. The main entrance to the Library grounds is on Cherry Street. The Linda Hall Library is not affiliated with UMKC. Parking in all UMKC lots is by permit or meter.



October 18, 2017
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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Eric Ward


Linda Hall Library
5109 Cherry
Kansas City, 64110 United States
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Questions? Contact Eric Ward at 816.926.8753 for more information about these events.