Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Scarce Adoption Resource on line

Let's briefly break out of the all-Midwest-all-the-time-groove and note that the classic 1981 adoption resource, Reg Niles' Adoption Agencies, Orphanages and Maternity Homes: An Historical Directory: Volumes 1 and 2, is on line -- for personal use only: "No more than one or two states is to be printed by any individual, organization, company, or entity. No portion, nor the whole, may be duplicated or distributed in any manner, saved in any way, or for any reason, without [the author's] express written permission."

The listings themselves are alphabetical by state, then alphabetical by town. This is a US and Canada resource, with 9,262 entries in almost 500 pages. (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin listings cover 68 pages.) The author endeavored to cover every 20th-century adoption agency, every maternity home, and every orphanage or children's home with more than 15 beds -- all as of about 30 years ago, of course. Also included are adoptive parents' groups and adoptees' rights groups. Different names for the same institution are cross-referenced, and relations between institutions explained when known. Information is dated so that the reader can judge its currency. I can see why pre-digital researchers would have guarded their copies carefully.

(Hat tips to Reg Niles, Deb Mieszala, and Jeanne Larzalere Bloom.)

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