Adoption is a significant public
and private issue. This site is based on the conviction that history
is an indispensable resource for understanding the personal, political,
legal, social, scientific, and human dimensions of this particular
form of kinship. The Adoption History Project is devoted to making
adoption history accessible and interesting to visitors who may
not be aware that adoption has a history at all.
This site introduces the history of child adoption in the United
States by profiling people, organizations, topics, and studies that
shaped adoption during the twentieth century. I hope individuals
with personal or professional ties to adoption who are curious about
adoption’s past will find the site relevant to their concerns.
It is also intended for students and teachers interested in social
welfare, the human sciences, and the history of children and families
in the modern United States.
This site was created and is maintained by Ellen Herman in the
Department of History at the University of Oregon. It was based
upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant
No. 0094318. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations
expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily
reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The site has
also received funding from Project ECHO, Center
for History and New Media, George Mason University, and from
W. Bernard Foundation.
Grateful acknowledgment to Dan Gilfillan and Devan Wardwell (University
of Oregon, Center for the Study of Women in Society, Wired Humanities
Project) for initial design and technical assistance and two graduate
students in the University of Oregon Department of History, Shannon
Parrot and Beatrice McKenzie, who worked as research assistants
between 2001 and 2003. Christine Sundt, Curator of Visual Resources
for the University of Oregon Library System, provided helpful advice.
During winter 2003, undergraduates in HIST 365 tested the unfinished
site. Their enthusiasm, questions, and suggestions made the site
far better than it would otherwise have been. Several colleagues
also graciously previewed the site, including Barbara Altmann, Wayne
Carp, John Carson, Grant Conway, Dave Klaassen, Barbara Melosh,
and Peggy Pascoe.
All of the text on this site was written by Ellen Herman and permission
is required for its reproduction. Document excerpts and images have
been drawn from a wide range of published and archival
sources. I am grateful for permission to use them here.
The Adoption History Project is a work-in-progress rather than
a comprehensive resource. It will continue to develop in the future.