From the Minutes of the Pioneer Fund, 1937

According to the Pioneer Fund Certificate of Incorporation, one of the primary goals of the Fund was to:

A. To provide or aid in providing for the education of children or parents deemed to have such qualities and traits of character as to make such parents of unusual value as citizens, and, in the case of children or such parents whose means are inadequate therefor, to provide financial aid for the support, training, and start in life of such children.

The children selected for such aid shall be children of parents who are citizens of the United States, and in selecting such children, unless the directors deem it inadvisable, consideration shall be especially given to children who are deemed to be descended predominantly from white persons who settled in the original thirteen states prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the United States and/or from related stocks, or to classes of children the majority of whom are deemed to be so descended (Emphasis added).

Subject to the requirement that the corporation shall be administered for strictly charitable objects, and in so far as it may be found practicable so to do, the foregoing purposes shall be carried out in such manner as to give assurance to parents of the character described that their children shall not lack an adequate education or start in life and thus to encourage an increase in the number at children or such parents, and in so far as the qualities and traits of such parents are inherited., to aid in improving the character of the people of the United States.

In a memo from the Pioneer Fund dated 15 November 1989 to University of Delaware President, Trabant, we read: "The Pioneer charter was drafted in 1937 by Henry R. Guild of the respected Boston law firm of Herrick, Smith, Donald, Farley & Ketchum. The original charter used the phrase "human race" and the phrase "race betterment" in the same sentence. Mr. Guild informed the Fund that his understanding was that these terms were synonymous, and both referred to the human race. To avoid charges that the words had some other and sinister meaning, the present board of trustees amended the charter in 1985 and inserted the word "human" before the phrase "race betterment" in the second part of the sentence, even though it was redundant.

At the same time the word "white" was eliminated from the precatory provisions of the charter authorizing scholarships, in order to avoid more charges. In any case, the charter provision is moot, since no scholarships have ever been given under the provision, before or after the amendment´┐Ż."

In 1937, the Board of the Pioneer Fund began to implement a plan to encourage the breeding of white children of Army Air Cadets (This was the era of the Jim Crow army and there were no black Air Cadets. Here we present two primary source documents of the period. The originals are part of the Pioneer Fund Papers in the Harry Laughlin collection at the University of Missouri, Kirksville).


Extract from minutes of meeting of the Board of Directors held March 22, 1937 with reference to the Special Committee consisting of Dr. Laughlin and Mr. Osborn. After considerable discussion, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:

RESOLVED, that Dr. Laughlin and Mr. Osborn are hereby appointed a Committee to report to the Board on a plan for making a survey as to the advisability of offering financial aid for the education, support, training and start in life of children of officers of the Flying Corps of the United States Army, which study may include a study of the qualities and traits of such officers and their wives, their income and financial status, the extent to which such aid would tend to increase the number of children of such parents, the advisability of offering such aid, and such other matters as the Committee may deem pertinent in reference thereto; and

RESOLVED, that the sum of $2,500 is hereby appropriated for the expenses of such Committee in making such preliminary plan and that the Committee is authorized to employ such persons and incur such expenses as it may deem proper within this limit; and

RESOLVED, that the Treasurer is hereby directed, on the request of the Committee, to pay such expenses as may be incurred by it within the aforesaid limit, or to place such moneys at the Committee's disposal, as the Committee may request; and

RESOLVED, that the Committee is hereby also requested to report to the Board on the cost and advisability of preparing a film on the problems of social inadequacy.


Minutes of a meeting of the Board of Directors held October 28, 1937

A meeting of the Board of Directors of the Pioneer Fund, Inc. was held in Room 1025, 522 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y., at 4:15 P.M. o'clock on Thursday, October 28, 1937.

The following Directors were present:

  • Messrs. Wickliffe Preston Draper
  • Malcolm Donald
  • John M. Harlan
  • H. H. Laughlin
  • Frederick Osborn
  • Dr. John C. Flanagan was present by invitation.

Mr. Laughlin, President of' the Fund, presided, and Mr. Osborn kept the minutes. Notice of the meeting was presented and ordered filed. The minutes of the meeting of July 6, 1937, having been previously circulated, reading of the minutes was dispensed with and they were ordered filed.

Mr. Osborn made a preliminary statement of the negotiations conducted at Washington during the summer and the work done by Dr. Flanagan and his assistants to date. At this point Dr. Flanagan entered the meeting. Dr. Flanagan made a statement of the present status of his work and presented a number of statements summarizing the material obtained and placed on cards to date.

He then presented a proposed letter and questionnaire, which was discussed at length and also considered in connection with the field work. Subject to further conference with the Chief of the Air Service, it was decided to proceed with preparations for work in the field, holding up the questionnaire until such time as preliminary field work had developed the form and practicability of the questionnaire. A statement of expenditures to October 25th, totaling $892.64, was presented by Dr. Flanagan, and Dr. Flanagan was authorized to proceed with the organization of work in the field within the limits of the budget, the meeting was on motion, duly seconded, adjourned.