Wickliffe Preston Draper
family, I'm including several versions on his life here, beginning with a favorable one from his
own organization, the Pioneer Fund., and then moving on down to the less favorable ones.
Five distinguished Americans incorporated The Pioneer Fund in New York City on March 11,
Wickliffe Preston Draper (1891-1972), Pioneer's main benefactor, served on its five-person
Board of Directors from 1937 until 1972. Draper was born in 1891 to a distinguished New
England family, distant kin to three American presidents. He graduated summa cum laude from
Harvard in 1913.
When World War I broke out in 1914, Draper enlisted as a lieutenant in the British Army and
saw action on the western front and then in Greece. Returning to the western front, he fought
at Messines and Ypres, where he was seriously wounded, and was later awarded the British
Star Medal and the Belgian Croix de Guerre. When the U.S. entered the war in 1917, Draper
transferred to the U.S. Army. In 1919, he was discharged with the rank of major. Promoted to
Colonel in the Cavalry Reserve, a title by which many people addressed him, he continued to
take officers' courses until the outbreak of World War II.
When Draper's father died in 1923, he inherited the family's wealth earned from a textile
machine manufacturing company. Dedicating his life to intellectual pursuits and philanthropy,
as well as to adventuring, Draper studied archaeology and anthropology at the University of
London, and genetics with private tutors. In 1927, he joined the French Mission led by Captain
Augiéras to the southern Sahara and helped discover the remains of "Asselar Man," some 400
kilometers north of Timbuktu. For this, the French Societé de Geographie awarded him their
1928 Gold Medal, and in Britain he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
When the United States entered World War II, Draper, now 51 years old, returned to active
service. Assigned to military intelligence, he joined British headquarters in India. Later, he was
made responsible for internal security for the Alcan (Alaska-Canadian) Highway.
By nature introverted, shy, and modest, Draper refused honorary doctorates or having
university buildings named in his honor. The only distinctions he accepted were for his role in
the discovery of Asselar Man and his military decorations. Draper insisted that his role as
benefactor to many charitable causes (including military history, archaeology, conservation,
and population problems) remain anonymous. He never married and when he died in 1972, he
left a significant portion of his assets to the Pioneer Fund to continue its scientific
Wickliffe Preston Draper (sometimes spelled "Wycliffe" in publications) (August 9, 1891-
1972) American eugenicist and a controversial philanthropist. He was the principal benefactor
of the Pioneer Fund, which aims to advance the scientific study of heredity and human
differences (notably those related to race and intelligence), and was a benefactor to many
charitable causes, including military history, archaeology, conservation, and population
Born in Hopedale, Massachusetts, he was the son of a wealthy textile machinery
manufacturer (Draper looms) and the descendant of a long line of prominent Americans.
Wickliffe Draper graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 1913. When the United States
was slow to enter World War I, he enlisted in the British Army (when the U.S. eventually
declared war, he transferred to the U.S. Army).
In 1927, he joined the French Mission led by Captain Augiéras to the southern Sahara and
helped discover the remains of "Asselar Man" some 400 kilometers north of Timbuktu. Asselar
Man is an extinct human believed to belong to the Holocene or Recent Epoch. Some scholars
consider it the oldest known skeleton of an African black. For this, the French Societé de
Geographie awarded him their 1928 Gold Medal, and in Britain he was elected a Fellow of the
Royal Geographical Society. After the war, he travelled and went on numerous safaris (his
large New York City apartment was reportedly filled with mounted trophies).
During this time, Draper became interested in the field of eugenics. Eugenics had been a
popular, progressive movement in the United States during the first three decades of the 20th
century, but by the early 1930s popular interest had begun to fade, as the underlying science
came under question and the use of coercive methods became less palatable. Groups like the
American Eugenics Society (AES) faced declining membership and dwindling treasuries.
Draper helped ease the funding shortfall, making a special gift to the AES of several thousand
dollars to support the society prior to 1932.
In August 1935, Draper traveled to Berlin to attend the International Congress for the
Scientific Investigation of Population Problems. Presiding over the conference was Wilhelm
Frick, the Reichminister of the Interior. (Frick was hanged in 1946 for his crimes against
humanity.) At the conference, Draper's travel companion Dr. Clarence Campbell delivered an
oration that concluded with the words: "The difference between the Jew and the Aryan is as
unsurmountable [sic] as that between black and white...Germany has set a pattern which other
nations must follow... To that great leader, Adolf Hitler!" Three years later, when Draper paid
to print and disseminate a book titled White America, a personal copy was delivered to
In 1937, Draper founded the Pioneer Fund, a foundation intended to give scholarships to
descendants of White colonial-era families, and to support research into "race betterment"
through eugenics. The scholarships were never given, but the first project of the Fund was to
distribute two documentary films from Nazi Germany depicting their claimed success with
eugenics (though years before the Holocaust and its eventual public disclosure, Germany's
eugenic policies were still very controversial for their far-reaching scope and often coercive
public policies). The Pioneer Fund was headed by the controversial eugenicist Harry H.
Laughlin, known especially for his role in the establishment of restrictive immigration laws and
paving the way for national programs of compulsory sterilization of the mentally ill and mentally
Draper volunteered for service again in World War II, and the fifty-year old man was assigned
a post with British military intelligence in India. Draper returned to active philanthropy after the
war and the Pioneer Fund supported the work of a number of notable (and controversial)
researchers of race and intelligence, including William Shockley, Arthur Jensen, J. Philippe
Rushton, and Roger Pearson. Though he never served as its president, Draper stayed on its
board until his death and left his estate to the Fund, having never married. (Subsequent Fund
boards have continued Draper's support for researchers studying race and intelligence). He
also donated considerable funds to right-wing political organizations and candidates.
In addition to the Pioneer Fund, Draper also gave money directly to support causes that he
favored. During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s Draper secretly sent $215,000 to the
Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission in 1963 in order to support racial segregation. The
gifts came to light in the 1990s, when the commission records were made public.
Throughout his life, Draper maintained a very low profile, as did the Pioneer Fund. When he
died in 1972 from prostate cancer, he left $1.4 million to the Pioneer Fund. Since his death,
Draper and the Fund have been heavily criticized for funding race and intelligence research,
which some critics view as scientific racism. His work has become more controversial since the
publication of The Bell Curve, because the Pioneer Fund supported much of the research
used in the book. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wickliffe_Draper
Wickliffe Preston Draper, the son of George A. Draper, a wealthy textile machinery
manufacturer, was born in Hopedale on 9th August, 1891. Draper graduated from Harvard
University in 1913.
On the outbreak of the First World War Draper joined the British Army. Promoted to the rank
of lieutenant he took part in the battles of Neuve-Chapelle, Messines Ridge, Somme and
Ypres, where he was seriously wounded. When the United States declared war on Germany in
1917, Draper transferred to the U.S. Army. He was injured on the Western Front and invalided
home to Hopedale, where he gave a talk at the Draper Memorial Church. According to the
Milford Daily News (5th December, 1917) Draper “emphasized the prime necessity of absolute
discipline in the army, as a requisite of victory, the sort of discipline that keeps the men at the
guns, even though it means almost sure death to remain.”
Wickliffe Draper spent the next year as an artillery instructor with the U.S. Army at Forts Sill. In
1919 he left the army with the rank of major. Later he was eventually promoted to lieutenant
colonel in the Cavalry Reserve.
When his father, George A. Draper, died in 1923, he inherited the family’s wealth. Draper
moved to England where he studied archaeology and anthropology at the University of
London. In 1927 Draper funded the team that discovered Asselar Man, the oldest known
skeleton from Africa. The following year his achievements were acknowledged in Britain by
being elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Draper took a keen interest in eugenics. A very wealthy man, Draper made considerable
donations to the American Eugenics Society (AES). In August 1935, Draper traveled to Berlin
to attend the International Congress for the Scientific Investigation of Population Problems
hosted by Nazi Germany and chaired by Wilhelm Frick, the German Minister of the Interior.
In 1937, Draper founded the Pioneer Fund "to advance the scientific study of heredity and
human differences." However, Draper told a geneticist that he "wished to prove simply that
Negroes were inferior." The Pioneer Fund was headed by the eugenicist, Harry H. Laughlin,
an advocate for restrictive immigration laws and national programs of compulsory sterilization
of the mentally ill and mentally retarded. He was also the director of the Eugenics Record
Office (ERO) and was among the most active individuals in influencing American eugenics
policy, especially compulsory sterilization legislation.
Draper and Laughlin proposed a research agenda to assist in the enforcement of Southern
"race integrity laws" by developing techniques for identifying the "pass-for-white" person who
might "successfully hide all of his black blood". Laughlin was also highly critical of Jews who he
described as "slow to assimilate" and praised the Nuremberg Laws, arguing that the United
States and the Third Reich shared "a common understanding of ... the practical application" of
eugenic principles to "racial endowments and... racial health." The Pioneer Fund distributed
two films from Nazi Germany depicting the eugenic programs in that country.
Draper also developed a close friendship with Earnest Sevier Cox, who argued that the only
permanent solution to America's racial problems was complete and total separation of black
and white. Cox also advocated the resettlement of African Americans to Liberia. In 1938
Draper published Cox's book, White America. A personal copy was sent by Draper to Wilhelm
On the outbreak of the Second World War Draper moved to London where he joined British
military intelligence and was later transferred to the British headquarters in India.
After the war, he returned to eugenicist and segregationist activism. Draper was outraged by
the Supreme Court's 1954 decision, Brown v. Board of Education. It later emerged that Draper
secretly sent $255,000 to the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission to support racial
segregation and anti-civil rights violence and intimidation.
John Bevilaqua has argued that Draper might have been involved with James Angleton,
Charles Willoughby, Gerald L. K. Smith, Ray S. Cline, Robert J. Morris and in the
assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Draper also donated considerable funds to right-wing political organizations such as the World
Anti-Communist League (WACL). Established in 1966 by the intelligence organizations of
Taiwan and South Korea to provide anti-communist propaganda. Fascists played an important
role in the WACL and at least three European chapters of the organization were controlled by
former SS officers from Nazi Germany. Members included John K. Singlaub and Ray S. Cline.
Wickliffe Draper died from prostate cancer in 1972. He left $1.4 million to the Pioneer Fund.
It appears that Wickliffe wasn't living in Hopedale by the 1920s, although he was listed as
living at 66 Adin Street in the twenties and up through 1934 in the town directories. He gave
his occupation as statistician. In 1935 through 1937, he was still in the books, on Adin Street,
but no number was given. He didn't appear after 1937. In the 1936 book, B.H. Bristow Draper,
Jr. was at 66 Adin Street. Evidently what happened was that Wickliffe's parent's house had
been razed and that. Bristow, Jr, generally known as Ben, built the house that is still on that
site. Ben and family had been living at 170 Dutcher Street prior to their move to Adin Street. In
the 2011 list of residents, Salvatore Tinio is at 66 Adin and Ian and Andrea MacDonald are at
Wickliffe Draper by Aviva Chomsky.
A biography of Draper on the Constantine Report site.
A newspaper account of a 1917 talk by Draper about his World War I service in the British
JFK - The Final Solution by John Bevilaqua Wickliffe Draper and the Kennedy assassination.
A web search for Wickliffe Draper will provide you with much more to read.
on walls at the Community House. Eventually they started to deteriorate so
they're no longer there. This Campfire Girls picture from the fifties is the only one
I've seen that shows one of them. The picture on the left is of Wickliffe's father,
George Albert Draper.
Back row - Barbara Sardell, Beverly Boucher, Ruth Bassett, Sally Ward, next
(?), Marcia Dee (?), next(?), Sandra Heron, Shirley Johnson, Leslie Spencer
This picture was taken at a Women's Club event in the early 1950s.
as Wyckliffe. Thanks to Hopedale Town Clerk Lisa Pedroli for finding the book in
the town records with births for 1891. As you can see, his name was given at that
time as Wickliffe Preston Draper.
A biography of Draper on the Constantine Report site.