David Starr Jordan, among other accomplishments, was president of Stanford University from 1891 to 1913, and then chancellor of Stanford until 1916. He was also director of the Sierra Club from 1892 to 1903. He chose Stanford's motto, "Die Luft der Freiheit weht" ("The winds of freedom blow"). Stanford's Jordan Hall is named for him, and now houses the psychology department.
In the course of randomly scanning the results of a query at bookworm.culturomics.org, I stumbled on Jordan's essay The Blood of the Nation: A Study of the Decay of Races Through the Survival of the Unfit. This work was apparently published for the first time in 1901 by the Peace Association of Friends in America, as the "abstract of an address given at Stanford University, May 9, 1900". The whole thing was put out in 1902 by the American Unitarian Association in Boston, and in at least three other editions in later years
To today's reader, even the title is somewhat shocking; and the work itself fully delivers what the title promises.
Here's how it starts:
In this paper I shall set forth two propositions : the one self-evident ; the other not apparent at first sight, but equally demonstrable. The blood of a nation determines its history. This is the first proposition. The second is, The history of a nation determines its blood. […]
We know that the actual blood in the actual veins plays no part in heredity, that the transfusion of blood means no more than the transposition of food, and that the physical basis of the phenomena of inheritance is found in the structure of the germ cell and its contained germ-plasm. But the old word well serves our purposes. The blood which is "thicker than water" is the symbol of race unity. In this sense the blood of the people concerned is at once the cause and the result of the deeds recorded in their history. For example, wherever an Englishman goes, he carries with him the elements of English history. It is a British deed which he does, British history that he makes. Thus, too, a Jew is a Jew in all ages and climes, and his deeds everywhere bear the stamp of Jewish individuality. A Greek is a Greek; a Chinaman remains a Chinaman. In like fashion the race traits color all history made by Tartars, or negroes, or Malays.
The climate which surrounds a tribe of men may affect the activities of these men as individuals or as an aggregate, education may intensify their powers or mellow their prejudices, oppression may make them servile or dominion make them overbearing ; but these traits and their resultants, so far as science knows, do not "run in the blood," they are not "bred in the bone." Older than climate or training or experience are the traits of heredity, and in the long run it is always "blood which tells."
It's difficult to imagine the respected president of a major American university giving this speech today, and it's not much easier to imagine the Quakers and the Unitarians publishing and promoting it.
Some of the mystery surrounding the role of the Quakers and Unitarians is dispelled by the nature of Jordan's overall argument, which is that war is bad eugenics:
By the sacrifice of their best or the emigration of the best, and by such influences alone, have races fallen from first-rate to second-rate in the march of history.
Greece died because the men who made her glory had all passed away and left none of their kin and therefore none of their kind. […] [T]he Greek of to-day, for the most part, never came from the loins of Leonidas or Miltiades. he is the son of the stable-boys and scullions and slaves of the day of her glory, those of whom imperial Greece could make no use in her conquest of Asia.
But still, cultural history is weird. (And in fact, the people and organizations involved in 1900-ish American eugenics are somewhat unexpected in the modern context: the League of Women Voters, the Carnegie Foundation, Margaret Sanger, etc.)
For the obligatory linguistic connection — beyond the tenuous chain of associations involved in my "bookworm" test — we can turn to another work of Jordan's, Evolution and Animal Life, 1907, where he takes up and extends an analogy that goes back to Darwin, developing a sort of social Darwinism of vocabulary.
Darwin noted that "descent with modification" was accepted as the basis for the origin of languages, and suggested that a similar process could be responsible for the origin of species. Jordan says that
There is the closest possible analogy between the variations of species of animals or plants in different districts and that of words in different languages. The language of any people is not a unit. .It is made up of words which have at various times and under various conditions come into it from the speech of other people. The grammar of a language is an expression of the mutual relations of these words. The word as it exists in any one language represents the species. Its cognate or its ancestor in any other language is a related species. The words used in a given district at any one time constitute its philological fauna. There is a struggle for existence between words as among animals. For example the words begin and commence, shake and agitate, work and operate (Saxon and French) are in the English language constantly brought into competition. The fittest, the one that suits English purposes best, will at last survive. If both have elements of fitness, the field will be divided between them. […]
The spread of a language, like the spread of a fauna, is limited by natural barriers. It is the work of civilization to break down these barriers as limiting the distribution of civilized man. The dominant languages cross these barriers with the races of man who use them, and with them go the domesticated animals and plants and the weeds and vermin man has brought unwillingly into relations of domination.
In general, attempts to apply notions of morphemic "fitness" to the evolution of vocabulary have not been especially successful; and for some discussion of the notion of "dominant" languages and their association with "dominant" races, see Nick Ostler's Empires of the Word. One of the key lessons of Nick's book is that the histories of languages (like those of words) are strongly influenced by network externalities and other factors that have nothing to do with the "fitness" of individual competitors, and are often surprisingly detached from questions of military or political domination.