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Open Access

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Master of Arts (M.A.)

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euthenics, eugenics, heredity, environment, domestic science, home economics


This is an analysis of the connection between the domestic science and eugenics. While it is made clear by historians such as Megan Elias and Kathy Cooke that there is ample connection between eugenics and euthenics, there has not been as comprehensive an analysis of the direct connections between domestic science and eugenics. Close examination of literature from the domestic science movement reveals the shared goals of domestic science and eugenics. The domestic science movement was also a necessary precursor to the euthenics movement, not simply a “re-envisioning” of home economics by Ellen Richards. When Richards died, her euthenic ideals would continue to be a part of domestic science in the early decades of the twentieth century. This analysis will contribute in part to the understanding of how, through rhetoric, nations can progress towards more unsightly policies of social engineering from seemingly benign beginnings. Eugenics may not have origins in domestic science, a field of homemaking, cookery, etiquette, and child-rearing, but eugenics certainly shares goals, purposes, and a vision with domestic science.


First Advisor

Laura L Lovett