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Alternate forms: Cuna, Kuna
Contributor: Marsh, Richard Oglesby
Extent: 2 folders
Description: The Eugenics Record Office Records consist of 330.5 linear feet of materials relating to the ERO, founded in 1910 for the study of human heredity and as a repository for genetic data on human traits. The Eugenics Record Office Papers (1670-1964) contain trait schedules, newspaper clippings, manuscript essays, pedigree charts, article abstracts, reprints, magazine articles, bibliographies, photographs, hair samples, postcard pictures, card files, and some correspondence which document the projects of the Eugenics Record Office during the thirty-four years of its operation. Kuna (formerly Cuna) materials include thirty-seven black and white 3 ¼" square silver gelatin photographs of the so-called "White Indians of Panama" located in Series I. Trait Files, Box $65, Folder "A:9861. White Indians - San Blas Coast" (1924-1925). As detailed in the accompanying World's Work article "Blond Indians of the Darien Jungle," Richard Olgesby Marsh photographed Kuna albinos in their village in 1924, and also encountered albinos among the indigenous peoples of mainland Panama. References to "White Indians" and "Albino Indians of Panama" also refer to the Kuna, who live in the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama and who have the highest rate of albinism of any ethnic community in the world. Before geneticists discovered the DNA chromosome responsible, Marsh believed that the Kuna were descended from Vikings who arrived in the Americas before Columbus, and convinced the U.S. government to pressure Panama to set up the current autonomous governing structure of the Kuna. Folder "A:97728. Central America" (1925), also in Box #65, contains a list of seven individuals titled "Skin Color...San Blas Indians."
Collection: Eugenics Record Office Records (Mss.Ms.Coll.77)