Imagens das páginas

relative degree with which he is able to hold his possessions and emotions, dependent on ancestral inherited qualities.

It is in times of trouble, great stress, shock, disappointment, disease, excitement, great fear or joy that the hidden qualities of the mental makeup are brought to the surface as aberrations and become visible to those about us. These changes may be insidious or precipitate, according to the individual character of the brain constitution, or the psychophysical arrangement.

It is obvious, then, that we may display certain trends or actions which may render us socially unfit in one or more ways, or on the other hand place us in the group of desirable citizens. Aberration begets aberration, and thus in the insanities we have varied symptom complexes emanating from pathological or retrogressive changes in the brain. Overindulgence of passions results in morbid associations dependent on biochemical reactions in parts which have a predisposition and may thus produce temporary or permanent changes, and these in turn may be transmitted through the germ plasm to offspring. That is to say that the sex cells of offspring, being thus continuous with the parental sex cells which give rise to itself, will in turn develop into similar products. It has been fairly well developed that this hereditary substance is the chromosomes of the nucleus of the germ cell, which contains all the potentialities-generic, specific and individual— of a new organism.


The conference was held in the rooms of the Board of Control of State Institutions, beginning December 15, 1914, at 9 o'clock A. M., Chairman McConlogue presiding.

The Chairman: The conference will please be in order. With pleasure I greet the members of this, the last conference for the year 1914.

We meet under very peculiar circumstances. It is the advent of that beautiful season launched on the world nearly two thousand years ago, when from heaven came the announcement to the humble shepherds amongst the hills of Judea, "Peace and Good-will to Men," and that spirit of love and charity has augmented with the years until the little child, from the time it is able to understand things, believes in the mystic person of Santa Clause. This year, however, it is sad to relate, mingled with the expressions of joy there is borne on the breezes from across the ocean deep the roar of the cannon and the cry of the maimed and wounded. In the center of Europe where we were wont to believe was the culture and civilization of the world, with sadness we behold that in this age and in this day of enlightenment men of knowledge and education are springing at one another's throats and seeking with vengeance and its counterpart, revenge, the blood of their fellows. It is a sad but true condition. If we heed the voice of the learned, the devastation that is taking place in Europe is furnishing you who are engaged in the work of caring for the derelicts and defectives of society additional burdens which will last for generations to come. We cannot comprehend, cannot realize the havoc this mighty war is wreaking upon humanity. Who can foretell the

result that will come to the young European mother who bears in her womb the unborn child while its father sleeps in the warriors' trench, the sleep that knows no waking? Who can tell but that the strain and nervousness and the anxiety permeating her life will be transmitted to that child, and the effects of it be felt for generations to come? Who can tell how the weakened mind of the maimed and the injured will leave its traces, not only on the immediate descendants, but even further down the line?

So, while we stand to-day in this glorious country of ours in peace with the world, while we enjoy the fruits and good acclaim that come to us in this land of plenty, our hearts cannot help but be saddened with the results that are taking place among those who are our kin, far beyond our shores. I call all this to your attention to remind you of your work; a work that is a great work; a work for humanity. The care and the bettering of the condition of defectives and afflicted is the noblest occupation which can command the attention of mankind.

I regret to announce that several of the executives of our institutions are unable to be with us. Our good friend, Superintendent Mogridge, is just recovering from a very critical operation, and it might not be very safe for him to be here. Superintendent Applegate informed us this morning that he is at the bedside of his mother who is not expected to live. Warden McClaughry is unable to be here owing to some matters he will have to look after at his institution.

Superintendent Rothert: The suggestion of the chairman with respect to the absence of some of the superintendents brought to my mind a scene in the hospital at Council Bluffs, where I was at the side of the superintendent who had undergone a critical operation, under the surgeon's knife, yet who, in the hope of his recovery, expressed the ardent wish that he might come with me and attend this conference to-day. I believe that among all of us here there is something beyond the cold, distant manipulations of official business. I believe it is right to be good, kind, helpful and cheerful.

Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I wish to suggest that a word of cheer and an expression of fellowship, in the shape of a message, be sent to Dr. Mogridge, who is confined in his room, unable to be present with us. A message from his friends will afford him a great deal of comfort and enjoyment.

With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I move that the chairman of this board, Superintendent Sessions and Superintendent Witte be requested to send a message on the part of the members of the conference who are present.

Superintendent Sessions: I was at Ft. Dodge with Dr. Mogridge on Monday night of the week in which he went to Council Bluffs to be operated upon. He knew at that time that he was going to the operating table. I never saw him in better spirits. I never saw him more thoughtful, more kind, more generous in his expressions than he was at that time. We sat up late that night, talking. I said to him: "Doctor, you look weary." "O," he said, "physically I am weary, but, Sessions, my spirits never go down; I am always right so far as my spirits and good feelings are concerned."

The Chairman: I wish also to state that Dr. Mogridge said to me, as I was leaving for Dixon, Illinois, that he expected to go to Council Bluffs and undergo an operation. He said, "I think I shall pull through all right, but if I do not I am ready to go." He showed, as Superintendent Sessions has stated, that his spirit and courage had not left him.

(The motion was unanimously carried.)
The following message was sent:

"Dr. George Mogridge, Glenwood, Iowa.


The conference congratulates you on your recovery. Your genial personality, helpful suggestions and fine courage are missed at this meeting.

"Signed for the conference:

J. H. McConlogue,
Max E. Witte,

F. J. Sessions,


The Chairman: We shall now take up the regular pro

The first number on this program is a very interesting topic, "Some Demands Made Upon the State for the Care of the Feeble-minded." Dr. T. B. Lacey, of the institution at Glenwood, will respond to this subject.

The paper will be found on page 1.

The Chairman: This very interesting topic, so elegantly placed before us by Dr. Lacey, is now before the conference for discussion. I think it ought to be considered and discussed quite freely.

Mrs. Sickels: This is a question that interests me very much, and I have been very much interested in the paper. We have with us the border-line girl, and it is a question as to what we are going to do with her. What are we going to do when she leaves us? It is almost impossible to parole her. While we do and sometimes are obliged to, even then the time comes when she must be discharged, and the problem comes as to how to deal with her in schools like Mitchellville.

Superintendent Witte: As the chairman of the present program committee, I feel sorry, in a measure, that I did not advise to have Dr. Lacey's paper come closer to that of my friend, Dr. Sylvester, both being concerned with this large, rancorous sore in the body politic of the commonwealth, degeneracy.

I wish to thank Dr. Lacey. He has given us an admirable paper. He has evidently been a very close and keen observer, and the conclusions he comes to are correctly drawn. The reports of the investigators in the fields of the shade and night side of human life will bear him out everywhere. A month or so ago there came to my desk a report of a committee of the state of Massachusetts, which had been charged with investigating the question of social evil in the state of Massachusetts, and the results were what we knew they would be; and yet, after all, in cold, unsentimental figures they were appalling and showed that the march of the social evil and prostitution is dependent on the defects of mentality and feeble-mindedness, and more particularly (that form being the most dangerous) on those more nearly up the line of normal mentality, the morons.

Another thought which has come to me I wish to emphasize. There is a tendency-it almost amounts to a law-that the defective, inferior, feeble-minded, or subject of any other form of degeneracy is very apt to mate, whether legitimately or illegitimately, with his or her own kind. The offspring is numerous, as mentioned, and it is a fact that in the next generation degeneracy is raised to a higher potency, and it is of

« AnteriorContinuar »