Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : Cradle Society, The
Cradle Society, The

Cradle Society, The

Founded in 1923 by Florence Walwrath, the Cradle Society was among the first private adoption agencies to place infants with families. Before World War II, the Cradle's national reputation rested in part on its pioneering scientific methods in health care, which drastically reduced infant mortality. It also was praised and criticized for placing babies with Hollywood celebrities and out-of-state childless couples.

In the 1940s, the Cradle began to incorporate professional social work practices and evolved into a comprehensive adoption agency. In the 1990s the agency once again reevaluated its policies, incorporating “open adoptions” (in which birth families remain in contact with adopted children) into its program.

Carp, E. Wayne. Family Matters: Secrecy and Disclosure in the History of Adoption. 1998.
Clark, Neil M. “Filling Empty Arms.” American Magazine 110 (September 1930): 24–25, 82–86.
Pfeffer, Paula, “Homeless Children, Childless Homes.” Chicago History: The Magazine of the Chicago Historical Society 16 (Spring 1987): 51–65.