Harry Hamilton Laughlin is born in Iowa. As director of the Eugenics Record Office from its beginning in 1910 until it closes in 1939, Harry Hamilton Laughlin will be America's leading eugenicist during the first half of the 20th century.
Laughlin will also be one of the leading voices advocating for extensive eugenics laws, including forced sterilization. According to biographer Paul Lombardo, Harry Hamilton Laughlin qualifies as being "among the most racist and anti-Semitic of early twentieth-century eugenicists."
Harry Laughlin will be called upon to give expert testimony to the U.S. Congress and he provides statistical evidence to the existence of "excessive insanity" among immigrants from Eastern Europe. Laughlin will create a model for compulsory sterilization laws and by 1924, 18 different states will pass compulsory sterilization laws based on his model.
Virginia will be one of these states and their first victim is Carrie Buck who challenges the right of states to sterilize citizens. Without ever meeting Buck, Harry Laughlin will testify that her family is "the shiftless, ignorant, and worthless class of anti-social whites of the South."
The case Buck v. Bell goes all the way to the Supreme Court, which will uphold forced sterilization as constitutional. More than 60,000 American will be sterilized, many on the basis of Laughlin's model.
Nazi Germany also uses Harry Laughlin's model when it writes its Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring in 1933, leading to around 350,000 sterilizations during the Third Reich. This, however, will cause people to start questioning the validity of eugenics and that will lead to Laughlin's funding drying up.