Charles Benedict Davenport (1866-1944)
AuthorLawrence, Cera R.
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Charles Benedict Davenport was an early twentieth-century experimental zoologist. Davenport founded both the Station for Experimental Evolution and the Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor in New York. Though he was a talented statistician and skilled scientist, Davenport's scientific achievements are eclipsed by his lasting legacy as the scientific leader of the eugenics movement in the US. Eugenics, an attempt to apply genetic science to improve humanity by selective breeding, was a major public health movement in Europe and the United States in the twentieth century prior to World War II. Davenport's involvement in the eugenics movement helped pave the way for the sterilization of tens of thousands of US citizens.