For this project, I am planning on covering a little bit about the Eugenics movement that happened in Virginia from the early to mid-twentieth century. I’m mainly going to focus on the Western State Hospital, Dr. Joseph DeJarnette, as well as some other crucial figures from Virginia relating to this topic. This is an interesting topic that I believe fits perfectly within what we are covering in class. The Eugenics movement and many of the people involved are responsible for some horrible inhumane care and torture of many patients. I would like to cover or talk about some of the effects the Eugenics movement had on people’s everyday lives in Virginia, how patients were treated, and some of the long-term effects this law had on the people and patients. This is a topic that not many people hear enough about, especially with how many individuals it affected. These laws were put into place during the time of Jim Crow laws as a way of silencing voices and enforcing previous racial standards. This movement was a way for Virginian officials to stay in and keep their prominent roles of power while discriminating against African Americans and really anyone who didn’t fit what they considered to be the Virginia Standard.

Annotated Bibliography

Buck v. Bell, Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia, Brief for Appellee, September 1925,” Document Bank of Virginia, accessed September 12, 2023,

         This is a set of documents accessible through the Library of Virginia. These documents are Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia papers that are from the Buck v. Bell case, Mrs. Buck was a patient who was wrongfully sterilized in the 1920s.

Virginia Health Bulletin: The New Virginia Law to Preserve Racial Integrity, March 1924,” Document Bank of Virginia, accessed September 9, 2023,

           This is another set of documents accessible through the Library of Virginia. These are of a health bulletin from 1924 that describes Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act. This law was passed in order to make interracial marriage illegal in Virginia.

 Annual Report of the Western State Hospital: No.104 1930/1931. Virginia, 1931.

         In this report, we can get a sense of what was going on within the Western State Hospital during the early 1930s. This report gives a breakdown of who is in charge, what was going down as well as other significant things related to the institution.        

Annual Report of the Western State Hospital: No.105 1931/1932. Virginia, 1932.

         This is another annual report from the Western State Hospital. This one provides similar information as the previous year, however it is interesting to read and is informational because it shows how the hospital changed within the following year.

Bottom, Davis. “Mental Defectives in Virginia.” Internet Archive, January 2011.

         This is a publication that was put out for the Virginia General Assembly in 1915. This publication covers a wide variety of things such as hereditary characteristics and provides diagrams that were used to describe levels of what they called “Feeblemindedness.”

Catte, Elizabeth. Pure America: Eugenics and the Making of Modern Virginia. First edition. Cleveland, Ohio: Belt Publishing, 2021.

            The author Elizabeth Catte talks about what was going on in Virginia during the 1920s and 30s surrounding the Eugenics movement. She uses case studies and talks about Dr. Joseph DeJarnett as well as a few other crucial people that were involved with Virginia’s eugenics.

Cynkar, Robert J. “Buck V. Bell: ‘Felt Necessities’ V. Fundamental Values?” Columbia Law Review 81, no. 7 (1981): 1418–61.

         This is a journal that provides some more insight into the Buck v. Bell case that happened in Virginia during the 1920s and 30s. The author provides the reader with an in-depth look at what happened during this case and who Ms. Buck was.

DeJarnette, Joseph Spencer. “Mendel’s Law: A Plea for a Better Race of Men.” Encyclopedia Virginia, December 7, 2020.

         In this poem written by Dr. Joseph DeJarnette, we can see how he thought about race and development in people. This piece also shows how Dr. DeJarnette thought in terms of making a “pure Virginia.”

Dorr, Gregory Michael. “Defective or Disabled?: Race, Medicine, and Eugenics in Progressive Era Virginia and Alabama.” The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 5, no. 4 (2006): 359–92.

            This Journal explores how Eugenics was in Virginia and Alabama. This provides a good context of how Eugenics was treated not only in Virginia but also in another Southern state during this period in time.

Dorr, Gregory Michael. Segregation’s Science: Eugenics and Society in Virginia. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008.

            Author Gregory Dorr discusses how Eugenics was practiced in Virginia with a focus on segregation. This book also focuses on not just a particular group of people but a variety of everyone who was affected by the eugenics movement in Virginia.

Gonaver, Wendy. The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840-1880. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2020.

         This is a book about how segregation was throughout asylums from the mid-1800s to the reconstruction area. This book also has sections relating to institutions in Virginia that can be related to the later implementations of the eugenics movement.

Graham, Jessie. “Two Faces: The Personal Files of Dr. Joseph S. DeJarnette – The UncommonWealth.” The UncommonWealth – Voices from The Library of Virginia, July 21, 2021.

         This is a site that was put out by people from the Library of Virginia. This particular one covers a little bit about Dr. Joseph DeJarnette himself as well as some of his items from his collection at the library. Some of the items include documents, notes, cards, and more.

Hardwick, Kevin R., and Warren R. Hofstra. Virginia Reconsidered: New Histories of the Old Dominion. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2003.

            In this book, there is a section relating to the Eugenics movement in Virginia ranging from about the 1910s to about the 1950s. Author Hardwick discusses Ivey Foremen Lewis who was the dean of the University of Virginia.

 Horning, Audrey. “Reflections on Research: Race and the Virginia Blue Ridge.” Historical Archaeology 56, no. 1 (2022): 32–48.

         This journal takes a look at how people were forced out of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia much like many of the people in the Shenandoah area. The author talks specifically about some of the families that were affected by the eugenics movement during the 1920s and 30s.

 Lombardo, Paul A. Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck V. Bell. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.

            In this book, we see another perspective of the Buck v. Bell case and how Eugenics played a factor in Virginia. The book also discusses a variety of things relating to eugenics and gender as well as some other figures that played a role.

 Maillard, Kevin Noble. “The Pocahontas Exception: The Excmption of American Indian Ancestry from Racial Purity Law.” Michigan Journal of Race & Law 12, no. 2 (2007).

         This article discusses a law established by Virginian officials that related to the racial integrity laws of 1924. Author Kevin Maillard talks about how this rule was a way for people to keep racial purity in Virginia.

 Norris, Caroline. “A History of Madness: Four Venerable Virginia Lunatic Asylums.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 125, no. 2 (2017): 138–82.

         Caroline Norris talks about four Asylums located in Virginia. Some of these are where several of the crucial people who were influential in the eugenics movement were in charge. This article discusses what these asylums were like and the different time periods associated with them.

 Pumphrey, Shelby. “Curiously Cured by Sterilization: Charles Carrington and the Sterilization of African American Men in Virginia, 1902–1910.” Southern Cultures 29, no. 1 (2023): 74–91.

         In this article, author Shelby Pumphrey discusses the sterilization of African American men in Virginia just after the turn of the century. This is an important article because it gives us more insight and perspective on the people who were affected.

Schmidt, Jennifer, Tara Boyle, Shankar Vedantam, Thomas Lu, and Laura Kwerel. “Emma, Carrie, Vivian: How a Family Became a Test Case for Forced Sterilizations.” NPR, April 24, 2018.

         This is a very interesting podcast that includes actual voice audio of Carrie Buck who was forced sterilized and the women behind Buck v. Bell. The podcast gives a great amount of detail about how Carrie was affected as well as how and who introduced eugenics.

Trice, Calvin. “DeJarnette’s Ugly, Complicated Legacy.” The News Leader, April 12, 2014.

         Author Calvin Trice discusses more about Dr. Joseph DeJarnette and his relation to the eugenics movement. He even writes about some of DeJarnette’s background so that we can fully understand who he was.

Wolfe, Brendan. “Racial Integrity Laws (1924–1930).” Encyclopedia Virginia, February 6, 2023.

         This website talks about what racial integrity laws were, who they affected, and what was going on from the 1920s to the 1930s in Virginia. This site also provides pictures of the people who influenced these laws and who were for them.