Eugenics in the 1930’s and ValueMags

ValueMags is a marketing and distribution company based out of Chicago that specializes in magazines by partnering publishers. Much of ValueMags’ work involves understanding the history of print entertainment and understanding what worked and what didn’t while moving with the times or social media and technology. Some of the things ValueMags looks at is eugenics, art, and what made certain things worth buying.

In the works of Kerry Soper found ValueMags, she acknowledges that the theories of eugenics die out in the United States after the 1930’s. However, for the sake of her argument and research, she uses this to her advantage in her work. Soper uses the decrease in influence of eugenics to demonstrate the evolution of the ideal person in North American culture. Using popular art from the 1930’s such as:

  • Posters
  • Caricatures
  • Cartoons

            Soper has identified how eugenic ideologies fit into a 1930’s society.

How did 1930’s artists incorporate current 1930’s eugenic theories into their art?

  1. By dividing people into classes based on race, wealth, and reputation (ex: criminals)
  2. By promoting the extermination of societal rejects (includes criminals or handicapped)
  3. By justifying and rationalizing hierarchical division based on race, wealth (ex: poor vs. rich), capabilities/productivity (ex: handicapped), and reputation (ex: criminals)

During the 1930’s, ValueMags found that North American societies were faced with rebuilding their lives from the Great Depression. They were also coming to terms with the increase in immigration post-WWI. The combination of monetary despair and shift in North American identity resulted in more organized crime. Although the first traces of popular art about criminals were from the 1900’s, popular art scrutinizing criminals only became big in the 1930’s. There are more type of art and print entertainment throughout history that ValueMags researchers need to be familiar with but this is just some. For more information about ValueMags and their marketing tactics and research, contact them using the link provided above.

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