Ruth Darwin

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Ruth Darwin
Born20 August 1883
Died15 October 1972
NationalityBritish
Known forEugenics activism
Board member ofBoard of Control for Lunacy and Mental Deficiency
Spouse(s)
FamilyDarwin–Wedgwood family
AwardsCBE (1938)

Ruth Frances Darwin CBE (20 August 1883 – 15 October 1972)[1] was Commissioner of the Board of Control for Lunacy and Mental Deficiency[2] and an advocate of eugenics.

Career[edit]

Darwin was appointed to the Board of Control, as an unpaid member, in 1921, replacing Ellen Pinsent.[3] She retired from the Board of Control in 1949.[4]

In 1929, with money from the estate of her father who had died in 1928, she founded the Darwin Trust[5] to foster research into "mental defect, disease or disorder".[6]

In 1932 she was appointed to the Brock Committee (a Parliamentary committee chaired by Sir Laurence Brock)[7] that produced the Brock Report that called for the forced sterilisation of "mental defectives".

She was appointed a CBE in 1938.[8]

Family connections[edit]

Darwin was the middle child and elder daughter of Sir Horace Darwin, through whom she was a granddaughter of the naturalist Charles Darwin (she was born a year after Charles's death in 1882). Her mother, The Hon. Ida Farrer (1854–1946), was the daughter of Thomas Farrer, 1st Baron Farrer. Her younger sister Nora, later became Lady Barlow after marrying Sir Alan Barlow, 2nd Baronet, while her elder brother Erasmus was killed during the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915[9]

In 1948, she married the Welsh psychiatrist William Rees-Thomas, who was a colleague of hers on the Board of Control.[10] She died in 1972, predeceasing her husband.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Burke's Landed Gentry: Darwin, formerly of Downe http://www.burkespeerage.com/FamilyHomepage.aspx?FID=3423
  2. ^ ‘DARWIN, Ruth Frances’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007 accessed 27 Dec 2012
  3. ^ The Times, Tuesday, Apr 19, 1921; pg. 4; Issue 42698; col F
  4. ^ The Times, Thursday, Sep 15, 1949; pg. 7; Issue 51487; col D
  5. ^ Not to be confused with the modern-day Charles Darwin Trust
  6. ^ Daniel J. Kevles "In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity"
  7. ^ House Of Commons The Times Friday, Jun 10, 1932; pg. 7; Issue 46156; col B
  8. ^ http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/34518/supplements/3697
  9. ^ Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Casualty details. Darwin, Erasmus. CWGC.org. Retrieved Sep 15, 2015.
  10. ^ ‘REES-THOMAS, William’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007 accessed 27 Dec 2012
  11. ^ Obituary: Mrs W. Rees-Thomas, The Times, Monday, Oct 16, 1972; pg. 14; Issue 58606; col F