Perhaps the most racist and bigoted book or pamphlet I’ve ever seen, the roots of, and the nature of “Canadian nationalism” are clear for all to see. Eugenics is posited throughout as the solution to various social ills, such as poverty and insanity (in furtherance to the ideas of stirpiculture brought to Halifax by Dr. Reid just before the coup known as “Confederation”). Calls for indefinite terms for “the insane” at the Nova Scotia hospital as well as for criminals at penitentiaries, I wonder how captivated the Dartmouthians of the literary society were when taking in these ideas. Propaganda like …

Building up a Canadian nationality More…

Dr. Alexander Reid was superintendent of the Nova Scotia Hospital in Dartmouth from 1878 to 1892, and as such was one of the first to put the ideas of eugenics into practice in Nova Scotia. The following are some highlights from a speech he gave before the Nova Scotia Institute of Natural Science in 1890, and there’s recognizable bits of policy from today (extolling the virtues of the “dignity” of labor, for example, by those from a class insulated from such labor) embedded throughout. Most interesting to me is the connection made by Dr. Reid as to those “simply honest …

Stirpiculture, or, The ascent of man More…

Considering that most of the literature on the eugenics movement downplays or ignores its history in Nova Scotia, this amazing dissertation is proof one can’t always rely on what little is initially apparent in order to guide the search for facts, especially in regards to Nova Scotia. Never let an initial apparent lack of data discourage your efforts. If you’ve been a member of the “lower classes” in Nova Scotia you too may feel a kind of familiarity with the ways in which eugenics aims were pursued in your life, especially when it comes to experiences and interactions with teachers, …

Institutionalizing Eugenics: Custody, Class, Gender And Education In Nova Scotia’s Response To The “Feeble-Minded”, 1890-1931 More…