Founded in 1921 by then-retired newspaper publisher, E.W. Scripps, Science Service was established as an agency for the popularization of science. The original intent of Science Service was to publish its content in newspapers and popular science periodicals. Eventually, however, the organization produced its own popular publications, including the Science News-Letter (News-Letter). Stories written by Science Service writers and occasional contributors appeared in the News-Letter and were often re-published in the mainstream press. In spite of its high aspirations, Science Service became a promoter of eugenics, likely because E.W. Scripps himself believed in the protoscience. From the early-to-mid 1920s until 1966, the News-Letter published articles endorsing the principles, values, and doctrines of eugenics. The goal of this case study is to explore the previously unexamined role Science Service played in propagandizing (or at least promoting) eugenics’ unscientific, nativist ideas about heredity in Science Service publications and in the popular press.
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