Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Dawn Bakken
Indiana Magazine of History

Elisabeth Andrews
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Indiana State Fair judges "Better Babies" in Indiana Magazine of History

This photo from 1929 shows child health expert Dr. Ada Schweitzer with Better Babies contestants at the Indiana State Fair.

Print-Quality Photo

March 20, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The little-known story of Indiana's "better breeding" program, which continued from 1907 into the 1960s, is the subject of the lead article of the March 2007 issue of the Indiana Magazine of History.

In her history of eugenics in Indiana, Alexandra Stern writes of the early laws that allowed forced sterilization of prison inmates and patients in state psychiatric institutions. She also recounts how state health officials encouraged better breeding through such venues as a "Better Baby" contest, which ran for 12 years at the Indiana State Fair.

Elsewhere in the issue, Richard Moss examines the efforts of Indianapolis' Jewish Welfare Federation to acclimate Jewish immigrants to the capital city in the 1910s and 1920s. Robert Fuller considers the career of Indiana Congressman Charles Halleck, who rose through Republican ranks in the New Deal-dominated 1930s to become House Majority Leader in 1946. Finally, Keith Erekson reviews the controversial, new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Illinois.

The Indiana Magazine of History is published quarterly by the history department of Indiana University, Bloomington, in cooperation with the Indiana Historical Society. The magazine's Web site can be found at For more information on the articles, contact the editorial office of the magazine at 812-855-4139.