International Auxiliary Language Association
Personas eminente detra le creation de interlingua Directores de IALA in 1951

SIRI = "Sacre Imperio Roman Interlinguan"
SIRNE = "Sacre Imperio Roman de Nationes Europee"

Frederick H. Osborn


Major General Frederick Osborn
Princeton Academic
Military Tactician
President, American Eugenics Society

"...the reasons advanced must be generally acceptable reasons. Let's stop telling anyone that they have a genetically inferior genetic quality, for they will never agree. Let's base our proposals on the desirability of having children born in homes where they will get affectionate and responsible care, and perhaps our proposals will be accepted. It seems to me that if it is to progress as it should, eugenics must follow new policies and state its case anew, and that from this rebirth we may, even in our own lifetime, see it moving at last towards the high goals which Galton set for it."
Frederick Osborn in The Eugenics Review 1956/57 p. 22

"The Office of Population Research was founded in 1936 when Frederick H. Osborn, a charter trustee of Princeton, formerly a trustee at the Milbank Memorial Fund, used his good offices with both of these institutions to persuade the University to found a program in teaching and research in population, and the Milbank Fund to provide much of the initial financing. Osborn, later a major general during World War II, appointed to study and foster improvement in the morale of the armed services, had a deep interest in population matters, as well as in his alma mater."
From A Princeton Companion

"The Office of Population Research at Princeton University is the oldest population research center in the country. Founded in 1936, it has trained more than a hundred students who received doctoral degrees and more than a hundred others who received one-year professional training. Many of these alumni occupy important professional positions in developing countries; others are on university faculties in this country and abroad."
From the OPR's Web site

"Even before 1945, various American publications--peer-review journals, memos, and periodicals--reveal that millions of dollars were poured into eugenics research and policy studies in this country, much of it directly referencing [Ernst] Rudin and his Nazi colleagues. Funding for these projects over the years has since come from private foundations, primarily the Rockefeller Foundation, individual "benefactors," the National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies. At the forefront of such effort in the United States has always been the American Eugenics Society (AES) Research shows an enormous overlap of membership in the early American Eugenics Society and the Population Council, the latter established in the 1950s by John D. Rockefeller III and General Frederick Osborn, who was also an AES president. Remember that in the 1950s, the memory of Hitler's mass extermination and Ernst Rudin's part in it were fresh. It is odd, therefore, that despite that, copious editorial comments appeared in the organization's publication, Eugenics Quarterly (later changed to Social Biology) hawking a concept called "negative eugenics" and urging the use of what the authors called "eugenic propaganda" to promote public support for measures designed to detect and remove "the heavy burden of the socially inadequate and other defective hereditary types." (p. 171)

According to the now renamed AES periodical Social Biology, in an excellent article on the history of the organization by former AES co-founder and president Frederick Osborn(5), the society held a conference in 1961 on the teaching of eugenics to medical students at Rockefeller Institute in New York City. The conference was jointly sponsored with the Population Council, which paid for travel expenses, and the National Institutes of Health. Publicity given to the AES by those conferences, the periodical says, resulted in "large numbers of individual inquiries on hereditary defects" as well as additional sponsorships.[...] Between 1960 1nd 1970, writes Osborn, the society stengthened its position as a center for bringing together various disciplines havving a common interest in "human evolution." The intent to link birth control and eugenics in America is found in the older December 1961 Eugenics Quarterly, in which policies for "influencing the future course of evolution" were urged, beginning with "eugenic birth selection based on voluntary controls"

In 1964, the annual workshop-conference was ainaugrurated, called the Princeton Conferences. At the third of these Princeton Conferences, not only were demographers, "behavioral geneticists," anthropologists, and psychiatrists in attendance, but a computer specialist attended. By November 1969, the Fifth Princeton Conference took the bold step of going under the title "Genetic Reconstruction of Human Populations." Remember that by then, the periodical Eugenics Quarterly had sanitized its name to Social Biology. By 1970 Rockefeller Center was more or less serving as a hub for discourse in behavioral eugenics."
p. 172 Footnote 5:
Frederick Osborn, "History of the American Eugenics Society," Social Biology, vol. 21 no. 2 Summer 1974, 115-126
From B.K. Eakman's The Cloning the American Mind

Frederick Osborn "reformed" eugenics by proposing that eugenicists conceal their true goal, which was, and is, to control human evolution by limiting marriage and parenthood to the superior stocks. He believed that less than ten percent of the population were worthy to have children. But he proposed that eugenicists never mention their conviction that most children should never have been born. Eugenicists were to assert instead a hypocritical concern for the welfare of the children of the inferior. This is the origin of Planned Parenthood's oft repeated slogan "Every child a wanted child". In reality, the eugenicists hope to manipulate the social and economic climate so that children unwanted by the eugenicists will be miserable and their miserable parents will "spontaneously" cease to want them. Ceasing to have children due to manipulation by eugenicists is called "voluntary unconscious selection" or, in other words, "CHOICE".
This project is laid out in the Galton lecture, "Galton and Mid Century Eugenics" which Osborn delivered in 1956*
"The very word eugenics is in disrepute in some quarters ... We must ask ourselves, what have we done wrong?

"I think we have failed to take into account a trait which is almost universal and is very deep in human nature. People simply are not willing to accept the idea that the genetic base on which their character was formed is inferior and should not be repeated in the next generation. We have asked whole groups of people to accept this idea and we have asked individuals to accept it. They have constantly refused and we have all but killed the eugenic movement ... they won't accept the idea that they are in general second rate. We must rely on other motivation. ... it is surely possible to build a system of voluntary unconscious selection. But the reasons advanced must be generally acceptable reasons. Let's stop telling anyone that they have a generally inferior genetic quality, for they will never agree. Let's base our proposals on the desirability of having children born in homes where they will get affectionate and responsible care, and perhaps our proposals will be accepted."
From "Galton and Mid Century Eugenics" by Frederick Osborn, Galton Lecture 1956, in Eugenics Review, vol. 48, 1, 1956


Frederick H. Osborn Papers 1941-1963
AC #001

© 1998 Princeton University Library


The Papers of Frederick H. Osborn, Class of 1910, (1889-1981) cover some of Osborn's service to, and interest in, the University as a charter trustee from 1943-1955 and as a member of several advisory boards, including the Curriculum Committee and Psychology Department Council.

The Papers were given by Alice Osborn Brown Breese in 1983.

Access to the papers is open to all scholars who complete an access to manuscripts form. Single photocopies may be made for scholarly research. Permission to publish material from the papers must be requested from the Associate University Librarian for Rare Books and Special Collections. The Library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright. Citations should be as follows: Frederick H. Osborn Papers, Princeton University Archives. Used by permission of the Princeton University Library.
Containers: 4 folders. Size: .1 linear feet. Accession Number: AM83-170
The bulk of Mr. Osborn's files are with the Osborn and Dodge Family Papers Collection at Firestone Library, Collection #CO537.
The papers were processed by Andrea Schorr in 1990. The papers are located with the Archives' General Manuscripts Collection.


Biographical details may be obtained from Osborn's alumni file. Having helped plan and raise funds for the Office of Public Research at Princeton University (est. 1936), he was elected a charter trustee in 1943. His position on the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Corporation supplemented his work on the Princeton Board. Among his many other distinctions were his posts as a Brigadier General in World War II, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Director of Princeton's Annual Giving Campaign in 1951.


The files relate exclusively to Princeton. They include correspondence and reports related to Osborn's service as a charter trustee and member of various advisory committees, during which time one major project was the commissioning of a Carnegie-funded "Study of Education at Princeton University." Also detailed is Osborn's later work on the computerization of the University data files for the improvement of the admissions process.


Soc Biol. 1982 Spring-Summer;29(1-2):i-iv.
In memory of Frederick H. Osborn.
Shapiro HL.
PMID: 6764302 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


History of Army Arts & Crafts


After World War I the reductions to the Army left the United States with a small force. The War Department faced monumental challenges in preparing for World War II. One of those challenges was soldier morale. Recreational activities for off duty time would be important. The arts and crafts program informally evolved to augment the needs of the War Department.

On January 9, 1941, the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, appointed Frederick H. Osborn, a prominent U.S. businessman and philanthropist, Chairman of the War Department Committee on Education, Recreation and Community Service.

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“In August of last year, Fort Custer Army Illustrators held an exhibition, the first of its kind in the new Army, at the Camp Service Club. Soldiers who saw the exhibition, many of whom had never been inside an art gallery, enjoyed it thoroughly. Civilian visitors, too, came and admired. The work of the group showed them a new aspect of the Army; there were many phases of Army life they had never seen or heard of before. Newspapers made much of it and, most important, the Army approved. Army officials saw that it was not only authentic material, but that here was a source of enlivenment (vitalization) to the Army and a vivid medium for conveying the Army’s purposes and processes to civilians and soldiers.”

Brigadier General Frederick H. Osborn and War Department leaders were concerned because few soldiers were using the off duty recreation areas that were available. Army commanders recognized that efficiency is directly correlated with morale, and that morale is largely determined from the manner in which an individual spends his own free time. Army morale enhancement through positive off duty recreation programs is critical in combat staging areas.

To encourage soldier use of programs, the facilities drab and uninviting environment had to be improved. A program utilizing talented artists and craftsmen to decorate day rooms, mess halls, recreation halls and other places of general assembly was established by the Facilities Section of Special Services. The purpose was to provide an environment that would reflect the military tradition, accomplishments and the high standard of army life. The fact that this work was to be done by the men themselves had the added benefit of contributing to the esprit de corps (teamwork, or group spirit) of the unit.

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In November, 1942, General Somervell directed that a group of artists be selected and dispatched to active theaters to paint war scenes with the stipulation that soldier artists would not paint in lieu of military duties.

Aileen Osborn Webb, sister of Brigadier General Frederick H. Osborn, launched the American Crafts Council in 1943. She was an early champion of the Army program.

While soldiers were participating in fixed facilities in the USA, many troops were being shipped overseas to Europe and the Pacific (1942-1945). They had long periods of idleness and waiting in staging areas. At that time the wounded were lying in hospitals, both on land and in ships at sea. The War Department and Red Cross responded by purchasing kits of arts and crafts tools and supplies to distribute to “these restless personnel.” A variety of small “Handicraft Kits” were distributed free of charge. Leathercraft, celluloid etching, knotting and braiding, metal tooling, drawing and clay modeling are examples of the types of kits sent.

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(source: ArmyMWR.com)
© Copyright 2002 Fort Lewis DCA Marketing.


The History of the Army Crafts Program

The History of the Army Crafts Program is a short one, but quite dynamic. The mission statement of the Special Services Division should first be considered since it is the responsibility of this branch ultimately to keep the arts alive in the military.

"Special Services embraces those recreational activities provided military personnel which contribute to their well-being and morale through participation on a voluntary bases. "The mission of special services is to stimulate, develop and maintain mental and physical well-being of military personnel though voluntary participation in planned recreational activity"

An Army Morale Branch was created in 1918 for the study and survey of morale problems in the Army. This was terminated with WorldWar 1 demobilization. Not until July 1940 was the office of the chief of Special Service established by the authority of the Army mobilization regulations of 1939. Special Services grew out of report by Raymond D. Fosdick, chairman of the commission training camp facilities to Secretary of War, Newton D. Baker after World War 1. Mr. Fosdick recommended that the Army assume responsibility for leisure-time programs on post. Civilian agencies had carried out previous recreational programs.

The War Department faced monumental challenges in preparing for World War 2. One of those challenges as predicted was soldier morale and recreational activities for off duty time. An arts and crafts program informally evolved to augment the needs of War Department. On January 9, 1941, the secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, appointed Frederick H. Osborn, a prominent USA business and philanthropist, Chair of the War Department committee on Education, Recreation and Community Services to study the army needs. Mean while the army recognition of the importance of morale was a natural extension of the events occurring nationally at that time. For example, in 1940 and 1941 many different types of institution were looking for ways to help the war effort. The Museum of Modern Art in New York was one of these institutions. In April 1941, the Museum announced a poster competition, "Posters for National Defense," The director stated, "The Museum feels that in a time of national emergency the artists of a country are as important asset as men skilled in other fields, and that the nations first-rate talent should be utilized by the government for its official design work."

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Army commanders had also recognized that "efficiency" directly correlated with good morale structure. They saw that good morale was largely determined from the manner in which an individual spent his own free time. Army morale programs had by now been viewed and recognized as critical in combat staging areas by War Department leadership. It had become a priority to encourage soldiers to use the morale programs. As the army pushed forward recreational morale programs. Brigadier General Frederick H. Osborn, a 1910 Princeton Bachelor of Arts graduate and War Department leader noticed that the soldiers were not using the off duty recreation areas that were available to them. Unfortunately enormous overnight growth of the military force meant mobilization and construction at every camp. Construction was usually fast, meaning that facilities were not fancy, but rather drab and depressing. The uninviting facilities had to be improved.

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Work Cited:
Janice A. Osthus, Program Manager Army Art & Crafts, "US Army Art and Crafts", 1-4,1992
Data Provided by: the Center for Military History, 230 Park Ave., New York, NY., USA

http://www.rescorp.org/members/directors_history.htm Members of the Research Corporation Board of Directors from 1912 to the present
Frederick H. Osborn
Business Administrator


American Museum of Natural History
Special Collections
Eugenics Papers of Frederick H. Osborn & Gladys C. Schwesinger. Papers, 1921-1943. 5.5 lin. ft. MSS E8.


Minutes of the AHA Executive Committee Meeting, National Archives, Washington, D. C., June 24, 1944

Present: Messrs. Ralph H. Gabriel, Carl Stephenson, Solon J. Buck, Guy Stanton Ford, members of the Executive Committee; Mr. Waldo G. Leland of the American Council of Learned Societies; Messrs. Theodore C. Blegen and Thomas K. Ford of the Historical Service Board; and Major General Frederick H. Osborn, Director of the Morale Services Division, Army Service Forces, War Department.

In the absence of Professor Arthur M. Schlesinger, chairman of the Executive Committee, Mr. Ford acted as temporary chairman. Mr. Ford opened the meeting with a reference to the letter from Major Haycraft stating that the War Department desired to renew the contract of the Historical Service Board. The conference was called primarily to consider the renewal as the present contract expires June 30, 1944. Mr. Ford then introduced General Osborn, for whose division the Historical Service Board prepares its manuscripts.

General Osborn explained the part that the work of the Board plays in the whole educational and morale-building program of the Army the purpose of which is to increase the effectiveness of the soldiers and officers as fighters during the war and as citizens after the war. The difficulties and delays met with by the Board, General Osborn continued, were part of the difficulties and delays of getting the whole immense program set up and functioning properly. He felt that great progress was now being made, however, in moving toward publication the manuscripts prepared by the Board. He also expressed in most cordial terms his appreciation of the material prepared by the Board.

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http://www.foreignaffairs.org Frederick H. Osborn


Vignettes of PAA History - The Beginnings
by John R. Weeks

This is the first of a series of articles by PAA Historian John Weeks, detailing the history of the PAA, excerpts from a book­length project that Weeks is undertaking, building on the work of the previous two historians, Anders Lunde and Jean van der Tak. These vignettes will proceed chronologically.

The stock market had recently crashed, the Depression was settling in, and Warren Thompson had already defined (even if he hadn't named) the Demographic Transition, on the cold, gray December day in 1930 in New York City when the Population Association of America was conceived. We know that there were 13 people at that meeting at Town Hall Club in uptown Manhattan, where Henry Pratt Fairchild (who became the first PAA President) was a member. Fairchild was Professor of Sociology at NYU and was a close friend of Margaret Sanger. The two of them are generally given credit for having inspired the PAA, but the organization would likely not have been formed had it not been for the separate, albeit interrelated, efforts of Ed Sydenstricker at the Milbank Memorial Fund (which funded the early activities of the Association) and Frederick H. Osborn (who provided much of the political muscle that allowed the Association to prosper and became, in turn, PAA President, and then the first President of the Population Council). The PAA was born partly as a result of, but also in the shadow of, the International Union for the Scientific Investigation of Population Problems (now the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population: IUSSP).In 1927, Raymond Pearl, biologist at The Johns Hopkins University, had helped to organize a World Population Congress in Geneva and this led to the creation of the permanent organization. It was not an organization of individual members, however, but of national committees. Thus, each member nation was asked to create a national committee, and that committee would elect a representative to attend the international meetings, with the second international meeting being scheduled four years later (still the IUSSP pattern) in 1931. Pearl (who was a PAA board member, but never PAA President) asked Louis Dublin at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, to chair the American National Committee. Dublin (also later a PAA President) was joined by Professor Fairchild, Alfred Lotka (also at Metropolitan Life and also a subsequent PAA President), C. E. McGuire (who never played a major role in the PAA), Lowell J. Reed (who became President of The Johns Hopkins University and also served as PAA President during World War II), Clarence C. Little (President of the University of Michigan and a member of the original PAA Board, but never served the PAA after that), and Pascal K. Whelpton (Warren Thompson's colleague at the Scripps Foundation for Population Research at Miami University, Ohio, and later, a PAA President).

During the late Winter and early Spring of 1931, subsequent to the Town Hall meeting at which the idea of an American Population Association was discussed, the development of the American National Committee of the IUSSP and the PAA progressed in tandem. The meetings to organize the American National Committee were typically held at the offices of Louis Dublin at Met Life on Madison Avenue. They would then adjourn that meeting and head either over to Professor Fairchild's office at Washington Square East on the NYU campus or uptown to the Town Hall Club on 43rd Street near Times Square, where the group would reconvene as the organizers of the PAA. The Milbank Memorial Fund provided funds for both efforts, including a $600 grant to help fund the first official meeting of the PAA on May 7th, 1931. That meeting, also held at the Town Hall Club (which space is now occupied by a school, above the still extant Concert Hall) was attended by 38 people, not including Margaret Sanger. She was, of course, a social activist, and Frederick Osborn had stepped in to request that she not be named to the Board of Directors because he felt that the organization should be devoted specifically to the promotion of scientific research and should not be influenced by activist pressures. This is an attitude that has continued to pervade the PAA (leading to conflict especially during the 1970s, as we shall recollect in a later vignette).

Osborn was not a professional academician by training (although he had a degree from Princeton and also spent a year at Cambridge). He was a wealthy man from an influential family who had retired from business in the 1920s to pursue his intellectual interests as a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (the same institution that later provided Paul Ehrlich's inspiration for population studies). It was there that he discovered the field of demography and was attracted to the demographic work being initiated in the 1920s by the Milbank Memorial Fund. Osborn's influence on the field of population studies was enormous, more because of his influence on resources than on his academic contributions, although he was co­author on a number of works in the field.

At the first meeting of the PAA in May of 1931, Henry Pratt Fairchild was elected President, and the Vice­president was William Ogburn (of the University of Chicago and an important contributor to the development of American demography although he never served as PAA President). The Second Vice­president was Robert Rene Kucynski (then at the Brookings Institute, but who almost immediately left the US to return to the London School of Economics), and the Secretary­Treasurer was Alfred J. Lotka. Following that meeting, a great deal of work went into developing a constitution for the organization, preparing incorporation papers, and defining the field of demographic studies. This work was presented to what is now usually called the First Annual Meeting of the PAA in April of 1932, once again at the Town Hall Club in New York City. The rest, as they say, is history.
The timeline of the Population Association of America is available on the internet at http://typhoon.sdsu.edu/paa.html


Frederick Henry Osborn Papers 1903-1980 (8.5 linear feet). Ms. Coll. 24 © American Philosophical Society Philadelphia, PA 19106-3386

Background note

Frederick Osborn

The respectable face of eugenic research in the post-war period, Frederick Osborn was raised in an environment of wealth, social power, and intellectual privilege. From youth, he stood out from the crowd. At 6'8? tall, confident and well-spoken, Osborn adopted his family's ethic of public involvement leavened with philanthropy, enjoying success in business, the military, and public life, and played an important part in reviving and reorienting the eugenics movement in the years following World War II.

The grandson of the railroad tycoon, William Henry Osborn, and nephew of Henry Fairfield Osborn, the paleontologist and Director of the American Museum of Natural History, Frederick Osborn was descended from New York's merchant elite on both his paternal and maternal sides. After graduating from the Browning School in New York City, he took his bachelor's degree from Princeton in 1910, and attended Trinity College, Cambridge, for a postgraduate year before entering into business. Following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Osborn set out to make a career as a railroad man, reviving the flagging Detroit, Toledo, and Ironton Railroad and working his way from Treasurer to President in the span of half a decade.

Osborn took leave from the railroad to enlist in the army during the First World War, and when refused, he joined the Red Cross instead, serving in France as Commander of the Advance Zone during the last eleven months of the conflict. When he returned to business in 1919, he sold his share in the railroad to Henry Ford at considerable profit and entered into partnership with two friends from the Red Cross in the firm G.M.P. Murphy and Co., which specialized in industrial management and later in stock brokerage. His business interests, however, were highly diversified and he maintained a hand in several other corporations, particularly in the oil industry, serving as officer or member of the board.

During the 1920s, Osborn became increasingly interested in the fields of anthropology and population studies, perhaps with the encouragement of his uncle. He became one of the founding members of the American Eugenics Society in 1926, an organization founded to promote eugenic education in the general public, and was associated with the Society throughout its existence. He was also began an active association with the Galton Society in 1928, serving as its Secretary in 1931. The year that he joined the Galton Society marked the end of his business career, as Osborn decided to retire to devote himself to science and the public welfare. Osborn represented a distinct strain of reformed eugenics, and is credited by later eugenicists with providing the "American movement with a program that abandoned the race- and class-consciousness of an earlier period and that tied eugenics closely to science" (Social Biology 16, 1969, 58). Elected president of the AES in 1946, he convened a meeting to discuss the reconstitution of the Society, steering it away from "propagandizing" on social policy and toward becoming a forum for the discussion of eugenic ideas with a "well-informed audience," and toward promoting scientific studies of population. One of the most tangible fruits of his impact on the society was the new journal launched in 1954, the Eugenics Quarterly, which, after an acrimonious debate, changed its name in 1970 to Social Biology.

A trustee of Princeton, as his father was before him, Osborn was also active in promoting study of the social issues surrounding population. He was instrumental in founding the Office of Population Research as part of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1936, an organization devoted to the study of population issues. He also served as trustee to the Milbank Memorial Fund and the Social Sciences Research Council.

From the 1930s onward, Osborn was regularly drawn into public life, and his experiences in the public realm both shaped and were shaped by his scientific interests. An advocate of an activist foreign policy and an ardent anti-isolationist, he volunteered for the war effort even before America entered the war. His administrative and organizational skills made him a valuable asset, and in August 1940 he was selected by Franklin Roosevelt to chair the Civilian Advisory Committee on Selective Service. Five months later he took over as Chair of the Army Committee on Welfare and Recreation, responsible for information and education services for military personnel, and in September 1941, he was commissioned as Brigadier General and appointed Chief of the Morale Branch of the War Department. His efforts were well regarded. By the war's end he had earned promotion to Major General and had been awarded a bronze star in Paris, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Selective Service Medal, and was made Honorary Commander in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

After the war, Osborn continued to pursue his joint interests in public policy and population policy. His military experiences further strengthened his belief in an activist position on the world stage, and he assumed a hard line position, though not extremist, with respect to the Soviet Union. A supporter of the Marshall Plan and moderation in reconstructing Germany and Japan, he was he was appointed Deputy to the U.S. Representative to the UN Atomic Energy Commission in March 1947 (resigning in 1950), and he served for a year on the U.N. Commission for Conventional Armaments beginning in 1948. With John D. Rockefeller, he was also co-founder of the Population Council in 1952, promoting birth control and population planning internationally. He remained active in public life into the 1970s, opposing the war in Vietnam, largely because he felt it flummoxed American foreign policy while the Soviets consolidated their position in Eastern Europe and Asia. He held a dim view of the prospect of unchecked population growth in the third world From middle age through the end of his long life, Osborn was active in civic affairs on a more local level, as well as international, including taking part in the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, the Olana Preservation Society (Olana was home of the artist, Frederick Church), and the New York Governor's Committee to Study the Sale of Liquor to Minors, 1956-1957. He married Margaret Schiefflin, a descendent of John Jay, in 1916, with whom he had two sons and four daughters. Frederick Osborn died in 1981 at the age of 92.

Scope and content

Frederick Osborn's Papers chart the shift in the American eugenics movement onto a more "scientific" footing and into closer communion with population studies, and at the same time, they illuminate the link between population science and foreign and public policy in the post-war United States.

Correspondence forms a relatively small part of the Osborn Papers, although several files are revealing of Osborn's attitudes toward public affairs. Osborn's service in the Red Cross during the First World War is reflected in two very interesting reports he filed from the field in 1918, and there is some material to document his work as Chief of the Morale Branch of the War Department during the Second World War.

Much of Osborn's correspondence and work on behalf of the American Eugenics Society is housed with that collection, however the Osborn Papers include a wealth of other materials on eugenics and population studies. There are several files relating to the Association of Research in Human Heredity, previously the Eugenics Research Association, and Osborn's part in folding the Association in 1950, 10 folders relating to the Pioneer Fund (1937-1954), and eight folders for the Princeton Conference on Population Genetics and Demography (1967). Several of Osborn's essays and speeches also flesh out his thought on eugenic themes, including the notes marked "Concerning Eugenics," which lay out Osborn's ideas on the future of eugenics in American life, his essays "Social morality in a period of diminishing population" (1935); "Statement on eugenics and the family" (1940); "Human heredity and the modern environment" (1941); "Where do we stop?" (1961); "Crisis in world population" (1967); "The future of human heredity" (1969); "On population and fertility" (1970), and a small number of his lectures. His paper with Carl Bajema, "The eugenic hypothesis," is a tidy summary of his views, and was published in Social Biology.

Foreign policy was a particular concern of Osborn's during the post-World War II years, and materials relating to his views on America's responsibilities internationally are salted throughout the collection. Of particular interest in this regard is his exchange with Douglas Burden, a violent anti-communist who felt that Osborn was too forgiving of the welfare state, and Osborn's speeches dealing with atomic diplomacy, "absolute weaponry," foreign policy, and "Social Science and the Problems of Government" (1955). His correspondence with Kathleen Harris is similarly revealing of how Osborn viewed the, mixing an ardent anti-communism with an opposition to the Vietnam War and a disdain for American politicians, and a dismal view of the future impact of unchecked population growth for the future of the world. His long-time colleague, Frank Lorimer, echoes many of the same sentiments in his work the "Conditions of Civilization." More formally, Osborn retained copies of his speeches relating to atomic energy and atomic weaponry in the late 1940s and to "U.S. and Russian Ideology" (1947). His diaries for 1948 include his experiences with the United Nations commissions dealing with the nuclear weaponry.

Osborn's military experiences are documented in his diaries from the First and Second World Wars (which are also supplied in typescript) and in several folders marked "United States Army Information and Education Division." Perhaps more informative are several speeches stemming from his role with the Morale Branch of the War Department. Finally, the collection contains approximately 0.5 linear feet of correspondence between Osborn and his family, mostly his parents, which provides insight into Osborn's "philosophy of life."


Gift of Alice Osborn Breese, daughter of Frederick Henry Osborn, 1983 (accession number 1961-635ms).

Preferred citation
Cite as: Frederick Henry Osborn Papers, American Philosophical Society.
Additional information
Related material
The Records of the American Eugenics Society (575.06 Am3) contain include important correspondence of Osborn while he was president. Osborn appears as a correspondent in numerous other collections. A second collection of Frederick Osborn Papers is housed in the Seeley Mudd Library, Princeton University (AC #001). The material there relates exclusively to his activities as a trustee and as member of various advisory committees at Princeton.


Osborn, Frederick, "History of the American Eugenics Society," Social Biology 21 (1974), 115-136. Call no.: 575.05 Eu43.
Osborn, Frederick, The Future of Human Heredity; An Introduction to Eugenics in Modern Society (N.Y.: Weybright and Talley, 1968). Call no.: 575.01 Os1f
Osborn, Frederick, The Human Condition; How Did We Get Here & Where are We Going (N.Y.: Garrison, 1968). Call no.: 573 Os1h
Lorimer, Frank and Frederick Osborn, Dynamics of Population; Social and Biological Significance of Changing Birth Rates in the United States (N.Y.: MacMillan, 1934).

Frederick Henry Osborn was an administrator, humanist, and scientist. This collection includes letters, diaries, reports, speeches, drafts of articles and books, oral history interviews, and photographs. There are diaries and letters for his service in Europe with the American Red Cross during World War 1.
   There are some letters and documents, such as patent applications and plans for inventions, from his "business career" period prior to 1928, after which he became a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History studying anthropology and population. This study led to his later important contributions to the redirection of eugenics study in the U.S. and the reorganization of the American Eugenics Society. His other related organizational work and publications relating to human and population genetics are also documented in this collection.
   There is significant material (letters, diaries, reports) related to Osborn's World War II contributions as the chairman of the Civilian Committee on Selective Service in 1940, and as head of the Morale Branch of the U.S. Army (later, the Information and Education Division of Special Services) in 1941.
   Also included are important documents, especially his diary, from his work as deputy representative on the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and the U.N. Commission for Conventional Armaments. His letters, writings, and speeches relating to foreign policy are extensive, spanning the period from the 1940s until his death, much of it from the Vietnam War years. The correspondence with Kathleen Harris is particularly rich in this respect.
   There is family correspondence reflecting his dynamic philosophy of life, with long series of letters to his parents (1917-1945) and to his children and grandchildren. His later civic and regional interests, as a long-time resident of Garrison, N.Y., are evidenced in the work he did on the Palisades Interstate Park Commission.


Constructing a Postwar World
The G.I. Roundtable Series in Context

[3] In a speech to delivered to the headquarters staff in the European Theater of Operations, Major General Frederick H. Osborn, Director of the Army’s Morale Branch, compares the Army to a large national corporation and notes how these large businesses are now engaged in internal public relations directed at employees, to remind them that they belong to “a great organization that is rendering a great public service” and that “they have a sense of their own personal part in this great job of public service.”


The generals of the WWII
Generals from USA
Frederick Henry
, Major-General
(1889- )
Chairman of the President's Advisory Commission on Selective Service
1941 - 1943
Chairman of War Department Committee on Education, Recreation & Community Service
1943 - 1945
Director of Information & Education Division, Army Service Forces

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