Gosney was a philanthropist who helped to finance and promote the eugenics program Popenoe. He helped fund and create the Human Betterment Foundation for well-known wealthy individuals who supported eugenics. The HBF funded surveys to study the effects of sterilizations and promote its benefits Bruinius, p.
Unlike many eugenic supporters of the day, his focus was primarily on the benefits for society, not the benefits for the individual Braslow, p. Butler was the superintendent of Sonoma State home starting in He believed that sterilization benefited both the individuals and society as a whole Butler Both through public promotion and actual operations, he was largely responsible for thousands of sterilizations.
He himself is estimated to have performed at least sterilizations throughout his career Kline, p. Preventative public health measure Kline, p. With a background in plants and animals, he viewed eugenics as a way of improving the human race Center for Science, History, Policy, and Ethics. After the sterilization law was passed in , he became the General Superintendent of State Hospitals. He held this position for the rest of his life, using it to implement policy and hire hospital administrators in favor of eugenics.
While he held this position, about 3, people were sterilized in California Gottshall. Even after his death in , his legacy of an active program for sterilization lived on through the next hospital superintendents. Webb was the attorney general of California during much of the Progressive Era, holding that position for 37 years. He was confident that eugenic sterilization laws, especially those requiring some form of consent, would survive a challenge by the courts.
He preferred that sterilizations be used as a medical treatment, rather than as a punishment by the courts Gottshall. Questionable sexual behavior indicated a primitive savagery and qualified the afflicted individual and unfit to reproduce Kline, p. Sacrifice of individual for public good.
This, in addition to the propaganda from eugenics societies resulted in overall public support for the movement in California La Chappelle, p. Alex Wellerstein; available at http: This transition came with the emergence of eugenics. Since abnormal traits that were thought to be inherited, sterilization was seen as a way to prevent the degeneration of the race through the procreation of those with undesirable traits Kline, p. Rather than protecting patients from society, institutions were instead used to protect society from the very same patients.
Many of these women were considered such because they had sex outside of marriage. Such an act was considered an implication the mental deficiency of the individual and qualified them for institutionalization and sterilization Kline, p. Often overlooked, Sonoma conducted dangerous tests and trials on patients into the s.
Testing in mental institution alleviated the compensation and consent required for researches. Such treatments, including radiation dosing experiments, resulted in countless injuries and deaths that are still being investigated 60 Minutes. Still open today, renamed the Sonoma Development Center, there is no mention of the past on the website State of California.
On March 20, , the first patients were admitted to Pacific Colony with an expected capacity of 50 patients. However, due to a lack of water and limited access to the colony, it soon became inappropriate for their needs and the facility closed on January 23, Pacific Colony reopened and would act as the only feebleminded institution in California, apart from Sonoma, sterilizing patients. However, after the Garcia v State Department of Institutions trial, the judge contributed to the change in the current law.
The new provision allowed patients the opportunity to fight sterilizations. This dramatically decreased the rate of sterilizations in all institutions in California. In , sterilizations were conducted.
This number dropped dramatically after the passing of the new law to just 51 in Stern, "From Legislation to Lived Experience", p. By , in addition to the Sonoma State home and the Pacific Colony, several state mental hospitals performed sterilizations of some kind.
On average, mental hospitals averaged five times as many inmates as the feebleminded homes in California. In , California mental hospitals held 22, patients as compared to 4, patients in Sonoma and the Pacific Colony combined Stern, "From Legislation to Lived Experience", p. Many of these were overcrowded. Between to , the total population of residents increased fivefold 6,, This was used as reasoning to sterilize more patients to increase eugenic efficiency Stern, "From Legislation to Lived Experience", p.
It was the third institution opened for treatment of the mentally ill. The earthquake severely damaged the facility and more than patients died Santa Clara County. It reopened after the earthquake in as Agnews State Mental Hospital. Individuals who possessed developmental disabilities were still admitted and treated until the facility closed in , while those who are mentally ill were not longer admitted by the year The population grew to 1, in ; 2, in , 4, in , 4, in , 6, on April 8, , 6, on June 30, , and in excess of 7, patients in This growth was similar to the trends seen in other state institutions.
During the ss Camarillo was thought to be at the forefront of schizophrenia treatments. Camarillo was likely a place of numerous acts of patient abuses and negligent deaths despite claims of ground-breaking cures for insanity. Electroshock therapy ended at Camarillo in the s. Further, it was criticized for releasing patients who likely needed more supervision. It closed as a hospital in because of low patient numbers and rising costs per patient California State Mental Hospital.
It was located in an isolated part of Northern California so as to keep the activities somewhat covert. However, as compared to institutions such as Sonoma, Mendocino sterilized comparatively few people Wellerstein. Again, similar self sustaining farm and self sustaining facilities were incorporated onto the site so that that hospital could keep patient costs low.
The facility is still in use, and little can be found about the its likely controversial history. Johnson California Department of Mental Health. Similar to Agnews, the facility was self-sufficient in its early days, having livestock, and crops.
This system was put in place to keep costs down. It is currently still in use, and in July had about patients. Unlike many other current mental facilities, it admits acutely ill psychiatric patients, resulting in short says and a high turnover rate "Metropolitan State Hospital" Source: In its peak year, there were sterilizations performed 98 men, and 82 women Stern, "From Legislation to Lived Experience", p. Since the passage of the sterilization law, the superintendents at Patton were very pro sterilization for both eugenic and therapeutic purposes Stern, "From Legislation to Lived Experience", p.
According to Superintendent Dr. John A Riely, the denial of parenthood was far outweighed by the benefits on society. Further, sterilizations were motivated because of the extreme overcrowding at the institution. The California State Hospital at Stockton performed the largest amount of sterilizations out of the six state hospitals. The large-scale sterilization at Stockton was made possible because the physicians at Stockton believed in the medical value of sterilization and demonstrated this conviction in their work.
Even though these doctors did have hereditarian beliefs, these were not the ones that guided their decision to operate. The belief in therapeutic benefits allowed for male sterilization prior to the s to escalate. Doctors believed that the patients felt mentally and physically stronger after the surgery.
Although this belief waned by the mids, it made it possible for more sterilizations to occur. In addition, patients shared the belief that sterilization was therapeutic, making it easier to perform the operation Barslow, p. This belief was also demonstrated in the sterilization of women.
Sterilization of women was guided by the belief that they were protected from psychological and social strains of childbirth and motherhood Barslow, p. This is what made Stockton unique. Not all superintendents were as aggressive in their approach of eugenics as was the case for Sonoma. Leonard Stocking of Agnews mental hospital exemplified this in his conservative approach. Between , Stocking reported very few sterilizations. This cautious approach resulted from his belief that sterilization did not directly benefit the patient and therefore should not be practiced Stern, "From Legislation to Lived Experience", The provision of the sterilization law, in congruence with a changing view of the ethical treatment of the mental ill, resulted in the phasing out of mass sterilizations.
Finally, state prisons in California also participated in the sterilization of individuals, although on a much smaller scale. San Quinton and Folsom Prisons conducted some sterilization on inmates who were convicted of crimes of a sexual nature Gottshall. Opposition Proponents of sterilizations met very little opposition to their ideas. They marketed it as good for society and the individuals sterilized.
Towards the later part of the eugenics movement, activist groups began protesting the injustices committed against their members. There were also two court cases that challenged the sterilization law. The first of these was the Hewitt case in which a young woman was sterilized against her will but with the consent of her mother. However the case was not brought to trial Paul, p. The second case, known as the Garcia case, involved a petition to end the enforcement of the sterilization law.
This case was also not heard because it supposedly lacked any facts justifying a hearing Paul, pp. Commemoration March , Governor Gray Davis apologized in Sacramento to all those affected by the eugenics movement in California. Without commemoration sponsored by the government, the eugenics movement has the potential to a forgotten part of history.
The Hidden History of California Eugenics. Therefore, the exhibit took the visitors through a series of seven sections of visual chapters of flat wall-pieces that were mounted in between two huge sheets of Plexiglas.
The exhibit utilized high-quality reproductions of historical photographs and documents Brave and Sylva, p. This exhibit was created for several reasons. One is that the eugenics movement has been underrepresented in visual media, while there has been many books published and read on the issue.