skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 121124 Find in a Library
Title: Hereditary Crime (From White Trash: The Eugenic Family Studies 1877-1919, P 66-73, 1988, Nicole Hahn Rafter, ed. -- See NCJ-121120)
Author(s): G C Davenport
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Northeastern University Press
Boston, MA 02115
Sale Source: Northeastern University Press
Managing Manager
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States of America
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This family study of a European tribe views the habitual criminal as a special breed of human, one that is influenced by heredity to exhibit degenerative tendencies.
Abstract: The study examines the idea that mothers are more responsible than fathers in generating bad offspring. The author conveys this idea by showing good and bad family lines with the same father but different mothers. Good lines are produced by chaste, docile, and healthy mothers, while bad lines are produced by women who are promiscuous or illegitimate or who are foreigners and "tainted with insanity." The difficulties of the study family are traced from the marriage of a miller to a blood relative and carrier of insanity. The son married a healthy, moral woman, thereby founding one of the family's two good branches. The other son married twice, once to a relative which started the vagabond and criminal family line and once to a better wife which resulted in a good family line. Although the family is outside the impact of environmental factors, it is assumed that in the long run, nature will eliminate the family and its physical weaknesses that become more pronounced with each generation.
Main Term(s): Biological influences
Index Term(s): Caucasian/White Americans; Criminality prediction; Environmental influences; Europe; Family histories; Social conditions
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.