Children’s Bureau provided no adoption services. Yet hundreds
of adults seeking children to adopt, birth
parents in trouble, and children of all ages wrote heartfelt
letters to the Bureau in hopes of forming families, finding help,
and locating lost relatives. Each inquiry was answered promptly
and respectfully, usually with referrals to local or state agencies
whose staff and minimum
standards were deemed reliable.
W.H. Sullivan to U.S. Children's Bureau, April 27, 1918
As mayor of the city of Bogalusa [Louisiana], am sending circular
out to a large number of institutions that thought might be interested
in placing some white babies in a progressive growing city. A large
number of well to do citizens of the City have requested me to bring
a carload of babies to Bogalusa. By a carload, mean about thirty
to fifty. . . . There are sixteen thousand people
and there are many families who have no children, who would like
to have them. . . . The city authorities themselves
will see that the children are placed in desirable homes and will
look after them. . . .
We do not care to know anything about their antecedents or parentage.
All we want to know is that they are healthy. We would be interested
in about one half Protestant and one half Catholic children, both
boys and girls. . . .
* * *
Mrs. L.A. Parkhurst to U.S. Children’s Bureau, September
I am thinking of adopting a little girl as I have only one, seven
years old, and want a companion for her but would like information
in regard to the chance one takes in bringing a child without blood
ties into the home. Granted the home conditions are good is one
taking a much greater chance than with their own? I would also like
to know what age is best. I think I would like one about three years
old? At that age would a child completely forget the past and be
like my own?
I have lived in Baltimore long and would like to know how I can
locate the most desirable orphans homes. I am not very particular
about the child’s looks if its health and disposition are
of the best. Doesn’t the ravages of influenza and the high
cost of living make the number of orphans in this country unusually
large at the present time?
* * *
Zilpha Warren to U.S. Children’s Bureau, December
I am a little orphan girl age 13, who wishes to be adopted by
a woman who is mentally, physically and financially able to rear
and educate me.
1. I am robust and healthy
2. I have completed the 8th grade at school and received a diploma.
3. I attend church and Sunday school
4. My mother died when I was less than one yr. old
5. I am both poetic and artistic
6. I am about 5 ft. tall, weight 112 lbs., have gray eyes and brown
7. I never attend parties and dances as I think they are unelevating
to the mind.
8. I now reside in the country, altho I was born in Kan. City,
Oct. 6, 1908, residing there one yr. only.
9. My mother passed away ere I could remember and I pine, I long,
for a God-mother all the while.
10. Here are some of my maxims.
(1) Perfect health, is a steadfast foundation for wealth
(2) If we people on earth are afraid, It is because our own
Divine Master we have not obeyed.
(3) Wear a smile, it costs nothing so continue to wear it all
(4) Do the very best that you can do, and the world in return
will be proud of you.
(5) Sanitation helps to make a stronger and better nation.
(6) What e’er you do, do it well, for neatness the story
will always tell.
If you will refer me to a dear, kind lady who desires a little
girl for adoption, I am almost aware that God in Heaven will repay
you many times.
Enclosed I am sending a goose as seen running over one of my father’s
former snow-covered wheat fields.
Please ans. promptly.
* * *
Mrs. C.B. Sheppard to U.S. Children’s Bureau, July
Will you plese helpe me to git my Baby girl; I have Ben trying
going on five long years now and I cant make no hidway She will
Be 5 five years old 28 of this month. I cape her until she was Six
6 month old. and I was taking sick and they stold the Baby a way.
and wondent let me no ho got her. I came down hear from the north
two month before my Baby came and was a stranger here in Tarpon
Spring [Florida] and I work hard to keepe my Baby with me until
was worked down and was taking sick and then it seems as they wanted
to run over me and take the Baby.
I said at I nevery will give my Boy up and I wont I nevery have
Sined no pappers. and now I have got a nother Baby girl at will
be wone year old in nick month and I would like to Bring them Both
up togither if I can I have talk it over with my husban and he is
willin and would Be glad fore me to git the Baby But I want to take
him on a Surprise if I can All I every as find out is at the Baby
was putt in the hands of Blacks in St. Peterburg fla. But I was
told at they was norther foaks. But still you no as mutch a Bout
it as I do an I was told at you help monther out and don’t
charge any thing and if you can and will I shur will Be a happy
mother a gain thank you
* * *
Louis Hooper to U.S. Children’s Bureau, April 28,
My dear Miss Abbott:—
My wife and I want very much to adopt a little girl; we have talked
the matter over with most of the child placement agencies in the
larger cities from New Haven to Washington and from each we have
obtained some points that were of value to us. But the matter is
of such tremendous importance to us and to the child whom we hope
to adopt that we would like very much the privilege of talking the
subject over with you who know so much about children. If you can
spare us just a little time we can come to your office any afternoon
that may be convenient for you.
I am taking the liberty of enclosing a statement telling about
the child that we want and about ourselves.
Mr. and Mrs. Hooper, who recently lost their only daughter, are
anxious to adopt a little girl, one who comes from an American Protestant
family, who is between five and ten years old, and who is in perfect
health. They hope to find a child who possesses, besides these essential
requisites, at least some of the following: New England ancestry:
an I.Q. of at least 110; a happy, loveable disposition; some social
and cultural background.
Mr. Hooper was born in Worcester, Mass. in 1867; Mrs. Hooper in
Toconderoga, N.Y. in 1885; both are of New England stock. They were
married in 1913 and have had two children, a daughter born 1917,
died 1930; and a son born 1919. They are both in the very best of
health and their family physician assures them that they have yet
many years to live. If, however, Mr. Hooper should be compelled
to give up active work or should die, ample provision has been made
so that the family will not come to want.
Mr. Hooper received his A.B. (magna cum laude) and his A. M. from
Harvard, being of the fourth generation to have attended that college.
He has taught at Harvard and at several preparatory schools; for
ten years he was Head Master of the Washington School for Boys;
and since 1911, he has had charge of the business affairs of the
Columbia Institution for the Deaf. Mr. Hooper’s brother, Horace
E., was, before his death a few years ago, President of the Encyclopaedia
Britannica Company; another brother, Franklin H., is the American
Editor of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Mrs. Hooper, who is a graduate of the Oswego, (N.Y.) State Normal
School was, at the time of her marriage, a supervising teacher in
the public schools of Elizabeth, N.J. This year she has been doing
part time teaching in Kendall School where she was formerly a full
The family occupy a non-housekeeping apartment in one of the college
dormitories and they take their family meals at a small faculty
table with a few of the other officers and teachers. . . .
Mr. and Mrs. Hooper receive in addition to their living a salary
of $3,000.00 a year. . . .
Mr. and Mrs. Hooper are planning to send their son to Harvard and
they would expect to send their adopted daughter to a college of
equal standing. . . . Mr. and Mrs. Hooper feel that
they can offer any child whom they may adopt a very happy home and
abundant care and love. . . .
* * *
Leonard King to Eleanor Roosevelt, U.S. Children’s
Bureau, March 3, 1943
Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:
I deeply appreciate that this letter may or may not reach you but
perhaps some one will interpret my motives and assist me in a problem.
My wife and sweetheart underwent some surgery that precludes
any more children and she has one of those “motherhood aches”
that only a woman could understand. We have a boy age 5 and a girl
aged nine and we are most anxious to use our home for some one who
could use the care of a father and a moH
Mrs. King has expressed a keen desire to have a girl companion
for my little girl and perhaps you may know of some one who may
want a home. We are both fair complexioned and American birth—Protestant
faith and would dearly love to either legally adopt or take to our
hearts a little girl who could become one of us. If such a thing
is possible please write.