Eugenics Survey Records
The Eugenics Survey of Vermont (1925-1936) was part of an international movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries based on the belief that manipulating genetic heredity was the basis of social progress. The Eugenics Survey, which was privately-funded under the direction of Dr. Henry F. Perkins, a zoology professor at the University of Vermont, sought to identify traits as either worthy of cultivation or elimination and, in doing so, compiled information about individual Vermont families and communities. The Survey records later came into the custody of the Vermont Commission on Country Life, under which Perkins continued his work as a member of the Commission's Human Factor Committee.
Survey records that relate to "personal finances, medical or psychological facts concerning any individual" are exempt from public inspection and copying under the Vermont Public Records Act, specifically 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(7). Historically, however, the records of the Eugenics Survey have been provided for inspection as a matter of public interest. Therefore, the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration (VSARA), pursuant to 1 V.S.A. § 315, allows the inspection of Survey records provided that researchers agree to de-identify the individuals referenced in the records in any notes, documentation, or publication that the researcher creates or produces unless the researcher is able to provide evidence that the individual or individuals referenced in the records have been deceased for at least 50 years. Researchers may be asked to enter into a nondisclosure agreement prior accessing the records through our Reference Room.