Stories on the Sidewalk

Featuring some of Bakersfield’s most famous and influential historical characters

Straight from the mouths of those who were there, Stories on the Sidewalk will be a fun, educational walk through history, where colorful and amazing characters from Kern County’s past come alive on the streets of Bakersfield. This walking tour features eleven stops in downtown Bakersfield, with a different actor at each stop portraying some of Bakersfield’s most famous- and infamous- residents, such as Colonel Thomas Baker, Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, Madge the Madam, the outlaw Dick Fellows and more. Wear comfortable walking shoes and enjoy these exciting stories of Kern’s rich history, told in riveting, locally written dramatic presentations and performed by local actors.

– The Arts Council of Kern

In February of 2018, I was tasked to write a narrative for the most notable Black residents of Bakersfield, William and Amanda Pinckney. The story was written to inform the residents of Kern County about their life in the 1900s including their journey to Bakersfield and their “current” struggles with racism.

More information can be found at these sites

The Arts Council of Kern- Stories on the Sidewalk

KGET- Stories on the Sidewalk tell about Bakersfield’s history

Walk into Kern’s past with Stories on the Sidewalk

 

Not So Secret History: Eugenics in America

Originally Posted on Blogging for Books

This post is for educational purposes only. All images owned by the American Philosophical Society Library.

Any group of farmers who permitted their best stock not to breed, and let all the increase come from the worst stock, would be treated as fit inmates for an asylum.

Theodore Roosevelt, 26th U.S. President

This collection of images show a history of America that is not often talked about. Touted as the Land of Freedom and Progress, history such as the Eugenics Programs that inspired Hitler beg to differ. These images from the American Philosophical Society Library are from the Eugenics Record Office (1910-1939).

The Eugenics Record Office (ERO) was a research institute established by the Carnegie Institute and financed primarily by the Institute, the Rockefeller Family, and Mary Harriman, an American Philanthropist. Charles Davenport, the founder of the ERO, believed that it was necessary to apply Mendelian Genetics to humans and together with the help of his wife Gertrude Davenport, an embryologist and geneticist, they wrote papers supporting the ERO and his ideas about Mendelian Genetics and humans.

Not only was the ERO financed by well-known and respected members of American Society, it was also run by various committees with other influential people. The Committee on Inheritance of Mental Traits included among its members Robert M. Yerkes and Edward L. Thorndike. The Committee on Heredity of Deafmutism included Alexander Graham Bell. Harry H. Laughlin was on the Committee on Sterilization, and the Committee on the Heredity of the Feeble Minded included, among others, Henry Herbert Goddard. Other prominent board members included scientists like Irving Fisher, William E. Castle, and Adolf Meyer (Wikipedia).

These photos, which were given to the American Philosophical Society Library, are some of the non-genealogical material collected by the ERO. The collection mainly consists of portraits of those deemed to be “Unfit” as well as photos of newspaper articles supporting Eugenics, Pedigrees, propaganda, and portraits of notable figures and contests showcasing “Fitter Families”.

While the ERO was eventually closed down due to the rise of Nazism and large criticism, it’s role in American Eugenics is just a small drop in the bucket of Eugenics in the United States.


Unknown Artist

Family affected by albinism. 1938

Photomechanical prints

Eugenics Record Office Records, American Philosophical Society Library

https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/family-affected-albinism


 

Unknown Artist

Midgets at Luna Park, Coney Island, New York. n.d.

Photomechanical prints

Eugenics Record Office Records, American Philosophical Society Library

https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/midgets-luna-park-coney-island-new-york


Unknown Artist

Toney, Alligator Skin Boy, Dreamland Circus Side Show, Coney Island, N. Y. 1927

Photomechanical prints

Eugenics Record Office Records, American Philosophical Society Library

https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/toney-alligator-skin-boy-dreamland-circus-side-show-coney-island-n-y


 

Unknown Artist

Mongolian Idiots Hands. n.d.

Photomechanical prints

Eugenics Record Office Records, American Philosophical Society Library

https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/mongolian-idiots-hands


 

Unknown Artist

Flashing light sign “Some People are Born to be a Burden on the Rest” used with small exhibit. 1926

Photomechanical prints

Eugenics Record Office Records, American Philosophical Society Library

https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/flashing-light-sign-some-people-are-born-be-burden-rest-used-small-exhibit


 

Unknown Artist

Flashing light sign “Learn About Heredity, You can help to correct these conditions” used with small exhibit. 1926

Photomechanical prints

Eugenics Record Office Records, American Philosophical Society Library

https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/flashing-light-sign-learn-about-heredity-you-can-help-correct-these-conditions-used

 


Unknown Artist

Board showing color inheritance in guinea pigs. 1926

Photomechanical prints

Eugenics Record Office Records, American Philosophical Society Library

https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/board-showing-color-inheritance-guinea-pigs


 

Unknown Artist

Chart used at Kansas Free Fair describing “unfit human traits” and the importance of eugenic marriage. 1929

Photomechanical prints

Eugenics Record Office Records, American Philosophical Society Library

https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/chart-used-kansas-free-fair-describing-unfit-human-traits-and-importance-eugenic

 


 

Unknown Artist

“Eugenics, like a tree, Eugenics draws its materials from many sources…” n.d.

Photomechanical prints

Eugenics Record Office Records, American Philosophical Society Library

https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/eugenics-tree-eugenics-draws-its-materials-many-sources%E2%80%A6


Unknown Artist

“How to Keep Well: Results of Mixing the Races.” 1927

Clippings

Eugenics Record Office Records, American Philosophical Society Library

https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/how-keep-well%3A-results-mixing-races


 

Unknown Artist

Zoology Department Course Descriptions: Heredity and Genetics, Social Hygiene, University of Idaho. 1920

Clippings

Eugenics Record Office Records, American Philosophical Society Library

https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/zoology-department-course-descriptions%3A-heredity-and-genetics-social-hygiene

 


 

Unknown Artist

Banquet tendered physicians and delegates to the national Conference on Race Betterment by the Battle Creek Sanitarium portrait in dining hall. 1914

Gelatin silver prints

Eugenics Record Office Records, American Philosophical Society Library

https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/banquet-tendered-physicians-and-delegates-national-conference-race-betterment

 


 

Unknown Artist

Eugenic and Health Exhibit, Kansas Free Fair. 1929

Photomechanical prints

Eugenics Record Office Records, American Philosophical Society Library

https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/eugenic-and-health-exhibit-kansas-free-fair-1929

 


Unknown Artist

Winner of Large Family Class, Kansas Free Fair. 1925.

Photomechanical prints

Eugenics Record Office Records, American Philosophical Society Library

https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/winner-large-family-class-kansas-free-fair-1925


 

Unknown Artist

Family of Honorable mention, Large Family Class, Fitter Families Contest, Kansas Free Fair. 1923

Photomechanical prints

Eugenics Record Office Records, American Philosophical Society Library

https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/family-honorable-mention-large-family-class-fitter-families-contest-kansas-free