The eugenics movement and institutional memory at Middlebury
Though the undergraduate experience is typically limited to a period of four years, we all attend an institution whose history stretches back more than 200 years. As summer Research Fellows sponsored by the Office of the President, Special Collections, and the Scott Center for Religious and Spiritual life, we were tasked with studying a particularly difficult aspect of our institution’s history. We investigated the relationship between Middlebury, its Chapel, and the Chapel’s original namesake — former Vermont Governor John Abner Mead — and his association with the practice of eugenics. Our research this summer opened our eyes to many of these connections, and we believe that the entire Middlebury community should be familiar with this problematic history and its implications as well.