The Smithsonian Institution on Friday destroyed nude photographs taken decades ago of Yale University students who were unaware the pictures were used to advance a since-discredited science.
Under the watchful eye of a Yale representative, Smithsonian officials emptied more than 100 pounds of photos and negatives into a shredder at a museum office in Suitland, Md.
“All material in the National Anthropological Archives pertaining to Yale University students has been destroyed,” said museum spokesman Randall Kremer.
Yale lawyers wanted the photos destroyed to protect the privacy of its graduates, many of whom have since gone on to become leaders in culture and politics.
“We are delighted that the privacy of the individuals in those photographs will be forever protected,” said Yale spokesman Gary Fryer.
Posing for the photos was required of students years ago at many Ivy League colleges and other prestigious schools, including Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, Vassar and Swarthmore.
The photos were taken beginning in the early 1900s as part of physical education classes.