Guide to the Records of the Eugenics Society (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Eugenics Society of Great Britain
Records of the Eugenics Society (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
17 December 1912 - 10 April 1961
Collection Number
25 items
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

Records 1950-1958 of Migration Council.

Correspondence and papers 1930-1932 on voluntary sterilisation.

Correspondence 1926-1961 with eugenics societies in Australia and New Zealand.

Papers 1930-1938 concerning Henry Twitchen.

Correspondence 1922-1958, including letters of Henry Twitchen and Edith How-Martyn.

Conditions Governing Access

Permission required for Access. This material may not be viewed without permission of the society. Contact Ask a Librarian for more information (

Conditions Governing Use

Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.

Permission to publish these papers or any part thereof must be sought from the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, Euston Road, London.

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Material selectively filmed at the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1989 (AJCP Reels: M2565). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

Contemporary Medical Archives Centre, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, Euston Road, London.

Collection reference SA/EUG. For further information see Eugenics at the Wellcome Institure for the History of Medicine (

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

The AJCP also filmed the following material from the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine:

M2563-M2564 The British Medical Association. []

M2570-M2574 Contemporary Medical Archives Centre Miscellaneous Collections

Finding-aid Notes

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2019. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.


Australia; Eugenics Society; Family planning; Great Britain; How-Martyn, Edith; New Zealand; Twitchen, Henry


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 159, p58.[]

Biographical / Historical

The Eugenics Education Society was founded London in 1907 on the initiative of the social reformer Sibyl Gotto and the geneticist Francis Galton (1822-1911). It became the Eugenics Society in 1926. Galton was the first president and he was succeeded by Leonard Darwin, the son of Charles Darwin. The Society sought to increase public understanding of heredity and to improve parenthood in Britain with the aim of biological improvement of the nation. There were tensions between supporters of positive eugenics, who sought to encourage the fittest to have more children, and the supporters of negative eugenics, who wanted to prevent people with undesirable characteristics from breeding by means of voluntary or compulsory sterilisation.The Eugenics Society held meetings and conferences, drafted legislation, formed deputations to Parliament, organised lectures and training courses, and sponsored research fellowships. It assembled a library containing works on biology, heredity, family planning, birth control, family allowances and other subjects. It issued various publications and from 1909 to 1968 published a quarterly journal, the Eugenics Review.Members of the Society included Lord Horder (president), Sir Julian Huxley (president), John Maynard Keynes, Marie Stopes, H.G. Wells, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Cyril Burt, Lord Beveridge, Lord Brain, Hans Eysenck, Ronald Fisher, Karl Pearson, Havelock Ellis and Richard Titmuss.The heyday of the Eugenics Society was the 1930s. Its membership declined after World War II, as eugenic policies and practices were associated with Nazi Germany. The Society was granted charitable status in 1963 and abandoned its propaganda work. It changed its name to the Galton Institute in 1989. Its aim in more recent times has been to foster understanding of the biological and social aspects of human heredity.Secretaries of the Eugenics Society, 1907-68Sibyl Gotto 1907-20Edgar Schuster 1916-17Lady Chambers 1920-29Ronald Fisher 1920-30Ursula Grant Duff 1927-33Ward Cutler 1927-34Carlos Blacker 1952-61J.M. Tanner 1961-63A.S. Parkes 1963-68

Item Descriptions

Series B. Early Files, n.d.

1 item

Filmed selectively.

Recommendations of the Research Committee of the Eugenics Education Society concerning the proposed 'Eugenic' Survey of New Zealand Children, n.d. (File B 10)

Eugenic Society's comments on a medical inspection of school children proposed by the New Zealand Government as suggested by Dr. Valentin at Hospitals Conference held at Wellington in June 1911.

Series C. People, 1922 - 1950

7 items

Subseries C 176. Mrs Edith How-Martyn, September 1949 - September 1950

5 items

Filmed selectively.

How-Martyn, Sydney, to Dr Blacker, 14 September 1949 (File)

Forwards her copy of the Review to a birth control worker in New Zealand.

The Society to How-Martyn, 27 September 1949 (File)

Re her desire to become a life member.

How-Martyn, Sydney, to Miss Shenk, 21 July 1950 (File)

Re award of Fellowship.

How-Martyn to Miss Shenk, 12 September 1950 (File)

No interest in Eugenics in Sydney.

The Society to How-Martyn, 19 September 1950 (File)

Thanking her for donation.

Subseries C 255. Joshua O'Brien, February 1924 - October 1928

1 item
Correspondence between the Society and Joshua O'Brien (Brisbane), 25 February 1924 - 1 October 1928 (File)

Re his election as a Fellow and methods of sending money to the Society.

Subseries C 343. H. Twitchen, July 1922 - February 1930

1 item
Correspondence between H Twitchen (Perth, London, Nice) and the Society, 3 July 1922 - 10 February 1930 (File)

Subjects include Twitchen's health and ideas on eugenics, donations to the Society, possible visit to Twitchen in Australia by Sir Ernest Allen on behalf of the Society. Also includes correspondence between officials of the Society concerning Twitchen, the possible bequest and information and reports to be sent to him.


Series D. General Correspondence, 1922 - 1954

5 items

Foreign Countries, 29 June 1938 - 26 July 1939 (File D 69)

15 items

Filmed selectively.

Dr. C.P. Blacker to Hilda Pocock, 10 October 1938 (Item)

Re Eugenics Society of Victoria.

Victor Wallace, Eugenics Society of Victoria (Melbourne) to Dr. Blacker, 29 June 1938 (Item)

Re membership of the Victorian Society. (copy)

Hilda Pocock to Dr. Wallace, 14 October 1938 (Item)

Sending literature.

Hilda Pocock to Wallace, 2 November 1938 (Item)

Re purchasing film "From Generation to Generation".

Wallace (Melbourne) to Hilda Pocock, 10 March 1939 (Item)

Decided to purchase film.

Hilda Pocock to Wallace, 24 March 1939 (Item)


Eugenics Society, Victoria, to The Society, 17 June 1939 (Item)

Requesting handbook (telegram).

Wallace (Melbourne) to Hilda Pocock, 18 June 1939 (Item)

Officials of his society disappointed in the film, and sending syllabus of lectures for 1939.

Hilda Pocock to Wallace, 19 June 1939 (Item)

Sending literature.

Hilda Pocock to Wallace, 3 July 1939 (Item)

Re criticism of the film.

Visual Education Committee, Department of Education, Hobart to The Society, 8 December 1938 (Item)

Requesting copy of their film.

Hilda Pocock to the Committee, 2 February 1939 (Item)

Sending particulars of the film.

Hilda Pocock to Dr Gordon re film, 18 January 1939 (Item)
Mrs L.P. Goodisson, Racial Hygiene Association of NSW, to Dr. C.P. Blacker, 21 June 1939 (Item)

Requesting details of their film, enclosing leaflet re their Marriage Advisory Centre.

Hilda Pocock to Goodisson, 26 July 1939 (Item)

Sending details of the film.

Immigration and Emigration, n.d. (File D 103)

3 items

Filmed selectively.

Letter sent to members of the Tennyson Commission on Emigration, n.d. (Item)

Re the Society's views on emigration to the Dominions. (1p. copy)

Letter sent to prominent people in the Dominions, n.d. (Item)

Sending literature and requesting their views on quality of population of the Empire. (2pp. copy)

Letter sent to Agents General and High Commissioners sending literature on emigration. (1p. copy), n.d. (Item)

Imperial Conference, 1926 (File D 105)

Includes draft letter on aims of the Society to be sent to colonial premiers and acknowledgements from G.B. Cooke, Australia House 27 November 1926; F. McLaughlen, Dept.of Defence, 27 November 1926; A. [Canser?] P.M. Office, New Zealand, 28 November 1926; H.W. Gepp, Australia House.

Migration Council, 1950 - 1954 (File D 122 - 128)

7 items

Biographical / Historical

An unofficial body established in 1950 with the aim of encouraging voluntary migration to the British Commonwealth.

Minutes, 23 November 1950 - 5 December 1951 (Item D 122)

Minutes and agenda of the Migration Council, 2nd meeting to 7th meeting. (76pp.)

Includes: Proposals for a New Era of Emigration 8 March 1950; Memorandum on Emigration to the European settled under populated Dominions; list of members.

Society name changed from Council for New Era of Emigration to Migration Council on 7 March 1951.

Minutes, 6 February 1952 - 11 December 1952 (Item D 123)

Minutes and agenda of the Migration Council 8th meeting. (69 pp.)

Includes: list of members, 1952 including branches in New Zealand and Australia; pt 1, III of memorandum on Need for Joint Permanent British Commonwealth Development and Migration Organisation, 13 October 1952; proposed constitution.

Minutes, 25 February 1953 - 22 July 1954 (Item D 124)

Minutes and agenda of the Migration Council meeting 14th - 17th. (54pp.)

Includes: draft constitutions; statement on present crisis by Sir Clifford Heathcote-Smith, 13 February 1953. Statement on activities, 6 July 1954.

Correspondence, 1950 - 1951 (Item D 125)

Correspondence between Dr C Blacker and other members of the Eugenics Society and Sir Clifford Heathcote-Smith and other members of the Migration Council on Migration to the Dominions. (120pp.)

Includes: newspaper cuttings; memorandum: on a suggested course of action for the Council for a New Era of Emigration; suggestions by Blacker on proposed Migration Council pamphlet; draft pamphlet by Dudley Barker and amended copy.

Correspondence, 5 January 1952 - 25 July 1952 (Item D 126)

Correspondence between Dr C Blacker and Sir Clifford Heathcote-Smith on the work of the Migration Council. (17pp.)

Correspondence, 2 March 1953 - 14 March 1953 (Item D 127)

Correspondence between Dr C Blacker and Sir Clifford Heathcote-Smith. (15pp.)

Includes: Commonwealth Development and Migration: Need for a new approach. Migration Council, September 1953; summary of recent developments, December 1953.

Various Papers, 1954 - February 1959 (Item D 128)

Includes: Circular re new constitution as a limited liability company, 9 July 1954; Memorandum and articles of association of the Migration Council Ltd. 1954; Balance sheets, 1954/55; 1957; Activities, 1953/54; press cuttings; minutes of AGM, 26 July 1956, and 25 September 1957; Commonwealth Migration Council Newsletter no.3, October 1957 and no. 7 February 1959.

Hansard from 30 November 1955 not copied by the AJCP.

(83 pp.)

Premiers, India and Colonies, 1922 - 1927 (File D166)


Comprises of letters from Eugenics Society on their aims to Premiers attending Imperial Conferences 1923 and 1926 and acknowledgements. Includes replies from F. Strahan, Australia House, 19 November 1923; Cassey, New Zealand 20 November 1923; R Wilson, Australia House, 24 November 1923; W Grow, New Zealand House, 26 November 1923.

Series D 204 - 247. Correspondence: Voluntary Sterilisation, 1930 - 1932

2 items

Other Countries I, 25 July 1930 - 13 November 1930 (File D 207)

12 items

Filmed selectively.

The Society to High Commissioner (New Zealand), 25 July 1930 (Item)

Requesting data on Eugenic Bill passed by New Zealand Parliament.

Alexander Crabb (New Zealand House) to The Society, 28 July 1930 (Item)

Forwarding various publications

A. Crabb (New Zealand House) to The Society, 28 August 1930 (Item)

Requesting return of Bill.

The Society to New Zealand High Commission. Requesting invoice, 28 August 1930 (Item)
A. Crabb (New Zealand House) to Society, 19 September 1930 (Item)

Requesting payment of 4/9d

The Society to Crabb. Sending postal order, 2 October 1930 (Item)
A. Crabb (New Zealand House) to the Society. Enclosing receipt, 6 October 1930 (Item)
The Society to New Zealand High Commission. Requesting further loan of Bill, 27 October 1930 (Item)
A. Crabb to Society. Allowed to retain Bill, 29 October 1930 (Item)
The Society to New Zealand High Commissioner. Acknowledgement, 31 October 1930 (Item)
The Society to W. Leslie Farrer. Re the Bill, 31 October 1930 (Item)
The Society to New Zealand High Commissioner returning Bill, 13 November 1930 (Item)

Memoranda Concerning Various Laws Compiled by Dr J Crowley, Board of Control 111 British Empire, 1932 (File D 228)

3 items

Index: resume of state of legislation [on sterilisation] of the mentally unfit in Dominions.

Index: resume of state of legislation on sterilisation of the mentally unfit in Dominions, n.d. (Item)
Appendix A: report on situation in Tasmania (11pp.), 1932 (Item)
Appendix C: memorandum on legislation in New Zealand (5pp.), 1932 (Item)

Series E. Branches and Other Societies, 1912 - 1961

6 items

Subseries E 2 - 5. Australian Eugenics Societies, 17 December 1912 - 10 April 1961

6 items
Eugenics Education Society in New South Wales, 17 December 1912 - 3 November 1930 (File E 2)
1 item
Correspondence between J Chambers Eldridge, Secretary [Eugenics Education Society] in NSW, Mosman, and officials of the Eugenics Society, London re the activities of the NSW Society, 17 December 1912 - 3 November 1930 (Item)

Includes: Notice of Galton Day Dinner at Baumann's Cafe, Pitt Street, 23 February 1914; Motherhood Movement in Australia; survey of events and legislation, 1921; Proposal Bill for the proposed Qualification of Marriage Act, 1925 - correspondence with Mrs. Marion Piddington (1930), Sydney, and copies of her publications Eradication of Promiscuity and Venereal Disease; Sex Training, Sex Education and Parental Metaphylaxis; Just One Slip: the case against medical prophylactics. (45pp.)

Victorian Eugenics Society (110pp.), 3 March 1914 - 20 October 1939 (File E 3)
2 items
Correspondence between Dr Victor H. Wallace, Angela Booth, Prof. W.E. Agar, Eugenics Society of Victoria and officials of the Eugenics Society London, 2 June 1937 - 20 October 1939 (Item A)

Subjects include: despatch of Eugenics Review; explosion on Narkunda enroute to Melbourne, 1939; grants to the [Eugenics Society of Victoria] by Eugenics Society; publicity; enquiries by Eugenics Society into Bona Fides of the Victorian Society.

Includes: Annual report, 1938/1939; syllabus of lectures, 1937, 1938, 1939; What is Eugenics Voluntary sterilization for human betterment by Angela Booth, (Eugenics Society of Victoria publication no. 1), 1938


Other Correspondence, 3 March 1914 - 14 January 1926 (File B)
7 items
The Society to Agent-General for Victoria, 14 January 1926 (Item)


Agent General for Victoria to the Society, 21 October 1925 (Item)

Re Marriage Acts in Victoria.

W. Ernest Jones, Lunacy Dept, Melbourne, 10 February 1915 (Item)

Victorian Eugenics Society is in 'suspended animation'.

The Society to Mrs C Greenshields (Melbourne), 18 August 1914 (Item)

Re work to be done during the war.

The Society to Mrs C Greenshields, (Melbourne), 24 April 1914 (Item)

Re establishment of branch of Eugenics Society in Melbourne and that Prof Spencer Baldwin be consulted.

The Society to Mrs C Greenshields (Melbourne), 7 April 1914 (Item)

Re establishment of Melbourne branch.

Carletta Greenshields, Melbourne, to The Society, 3 March 1914 (Item)

Requesting literature.

Victorian Eugenics Society, 5 January 1940 - 10 April 1961 (File E 4)
1 item
Correspondence between Dr. V.H. Wallace, Dr. K.S. Cunningham Eugenics Society of Victoria and official of Eugenic Society, 5 January 1940 - 10 April 1961 (Item)

Subjects include: decline and disbandment of the [Eugenic Society of Victoria].; legacy of J.N. Peters of St Kilda to establish a lectureship in Eugenics at Melbourne University; Wallace's book Paths to Peace, 1957; introduction of Dr. J.G. Sloman; statement of principles, drawn up by Dr. K.S. Cunningham, 1947; war news, problems of despatch of Eugenics Review during the war. (some very faint carbons).


Western Australia, 12 August 1933 - 17 January 1934 (File E 5)
2 items


Correspondence between the Eugenics Society and Dorothea Cass, Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia Inc, 2 November 1933 - 17 January 1934 (Item)

Re literature. (3 letters).

Correspondence between the Eugenics Society and Muriel Marion, Eugenics Society, University of Western Australia, 12 August 1933 - 23 September 1933 (Item)

Re formation of the Society. (5 letters).

Subseries E 14 - 21. Miscellaneous, 25 June 1933 - 19 May 1936

1 item

Series H. Henry Twitchen and the Twitchen Bequest, 1924 - 1938

4 items

Filmed selectively.

Biographical / Historical

Henry Twitchen (1867 - 1930) was a wealthy Western Australian sheep farmer who was interested in Eugenics. On his death he left his estate to the Society.

Pedigree and Family, n.d. (File H 1)

1 item
Information on Henry Twitchen's parents and his emigration to Australia (5pp.), n.d. (Item)

Biographical / Historical

The Twitchen family came from North Hampshire.

Correspondence re Estate I, 1924 - 23 August 1930 (File H 2)

7 items
Public Trustees Office. Estate of late Henry Twitchen: statement (Item)

Shows value of property in Western Australia and details of legacy to Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Inc. Perth. (4pp.)

Nature. Obituary of Twitchen, 19 April 1930 (Item)
Notes upon the late H. Twitchen and press cutting from Times (3pp.), 5 April 1930 (Item)
H. Twitchen's Australian passport (7pp.), 1924 (Item)
Will and codicil of H. Twitchen (6pp.), 1926-07-24; 1930-03-19 (Item)
Gally proofs Eugenics Review, n.d. (Item)

Gives extracts from Twitchen's correspondence with the Society from Towera, WA. (4pp.)

R.P. Baulkwill, Public Trustees Office to Major Darwin, Eugenics Society, 23 August 1930 (Item)

Giving details of the Australian estate. (3p. copy)

Correspondence re Estate, II, 23 January 1931 - 13 April 1938 (File H 3)

13 items
Supplemental Statement of account of Estate of Henry Twitchen, 5 October 1936 (Item)

Gives details of property in Australia. (5pp.)

Supplemental Statement of account of estate of Henry Twitchen. (3 pp.), 13 April 1938 (Item)
Leonard Darwin, Forest Row, to Sir Bernard Mallett, [1933]-08-12 (Item)

Re problems with sale of Australian sheep station.

Copy of resolution of Special Meeting of Council of Eugenics Society, 30 December 1931 (Item)

Re purchase of Australian bonds. Approximate estimate of net assets transferable to residuary legatee. Includes details of Australian estate.

Letters from Leonard Darwin to Sir Bernard Mallet, 7 February 1931 - 13 March 1931 (Item)

Letters dated: 5 March 1931, Thursday, 7 February 1931, 11 February 1931, 13 March 1931, 24 February 1931. Re sale of Towera station to Dalgety and sheep losses due to bad weather.

Darwin to Mallet that Towera sold, 18 March 1931 (Item)
R.P. Baulkwill, Public Trustees Office to Darwin, 12 March 1931 (Item)

Re sale of Towera to Dalgety.

B.S. Bramwell, London, to Mallet, 9 March 1931 (Item)

Re Towera property and forwarding memoranda on the sale and on the Australian economic situation. (8p.)

Bramwell to Mallet and Darwin re sale of Towera, 24 February 1931 (Item)
C.P. Blacker to Mallet (6pp.), 19 February 1931 (Item)

Encloses minutes of Council meeting on 11 February 1931 which discussed the Towera estate.

Leonard Darwin to Mallet, 23 January 1931 - 25 January 1931 (Item)

Re offer from Australian syndicate.

Darwin to Mallet, 2 February 1931 (Item)

Re offer from Dalgety.

Sir Ernest Allen to R.P. Baulkwill, 27 February 1931 (Item)

Re Towera sale. (Copy)

Claims of Mrs Drake-Brockman and Madeleine Rocca, 21 June 1930 - 1 August 1930 (File H 6)

1 item
Extracts from letters from the Public Trustee to Major Darwin, 21 June 1930 - 1 August 1930 (Item)

Includes copies of letters from Alison Drake-Brockman, Claremont, to Sir Ernest Allen re provision for herself and her children formerly provided by H. Twitchen. Due to friendship between her husband and Twitchen their money was used to purchase Towera and Lyndon stations. (5pp.)