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Marian Stephenson Olden (1888-1981), of Princeton, established the Sterilization League of New Jersey to advocate for the sterilization of the “mentally defective” and those with “inheritable disease.” The purpose of the organization was to promote the sterilization of groups of people it considered unfit in an effort to improve “human stock.” As executive secretary, Olden arranged meetings, spoke to interested groups and recruited members. She was successful in convincing the league’s Executive Committee to present a petition supporting a sterilization bill in the New Jersey State Legislature.

By 1935, Olden had begun to write pamphlets for the League of Women Voters in support of sterilization. She took exhibits to conventions on health and social work, and supported the sterilization bill before the state legislature. During the 1960s and 70s, Olden had largely retired from her direct role in the league and thereafter occupied herself by writing the history of the New Jersey Sterilization League and successor organizations.

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