Robert Klark Graham

From Academic Kids

Robert Klark Graham (1907-1997) was an American businessman who made millions by developing shatter-proof plastic eyeglass lenses, and who later founded the Repository for Germinal Choice, a sperm bank for geniuses in the hope of implementing a eugenics program.

Graham created his "genius sperm bank" in 1980. Initially, his intent was to obtain sperm only from Nobel laureates, but the scarcity of donors and the low viability of their sperm (because of age) forced Graham to develop a looser set of criteria.

These criteria were numerous and exacting: for example, male donors were required to have an IQ above 180, while female recipients were required to be married and well-to-do.

By 1983, Graham's sperm bank was reputed to have 19 repeat genius donors, including William Bradford Shockley (1956 Nobel Prize in Physics) and two anonymous Nobel Prize winners in science.

The bank closed in 1999, two years after the death of its creator. 218 children had been born under its auspices.

Graham's overriding goal was the genetic betterment of human population as well as solid nurture of newly conceived geniuses. This was a form of "positive" eugenics, meant to increase the number of designated "fit" individuals in a population through selective breeding. Because eugenics has been in disrepute after the atrocities of Nazism, Graham's "genius sperm bank" was seen as highly controversial.

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