Francis Galton (1822-1911) was an English scholar best remembered for giving the name 'eugenics' to his belief that human personality traits are inherited and might be improved through breeding. Galton attempted unsuccessfully to prove this theory through a series of composite photographs, contained in his Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development (1883), which merged the faces of several individuals of a certain personality 'type' in the hope that they would exhibit common facial features.
Eugenics gained popularity and momentum in several nations throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, before the Nazis rendered it a taboo field by taking it to its logical, unforgettable conclusion.
Online collection of the complete works of Francis Galton
Online account of eugenics as practised in early 20th-century America and Germany