Babies for Sale
In 1950, the Governor of Tennessee called for an investigation
of the Tennessee Children's Home black market baby operations, said to have grossed $1 million for Georgia Tann, the superintendent
of the local branch of the home. Tann was accused of fraudulently persuading pregnant mothers to relinquish their children.
A number of Hollywood celebrities adopted children through the home, namely Joan Crawford, June Allyson, and Dick Powell.
During the investigation, local attorneys and justices were found to be part of the scandalous network of adoption that allowed
adoptive parents to be out-of-state residents. The story is dramatic and shows southern politics at its worst--congenial,
respected public figures running shady deals in the back room. Thousands of children were placed in adopted homes during the
agency's operation. Each case is a fascinating story involving the search and reunion of adopted children with their natural
Background to the Scandal Crump's Memphis Matriarch of Juvenile Court: Judge Camille Kelley The Scandal
Unfolds The Scandal's Aftermath Congress and the Black Market The Right to Know: The Adoptee's Dilemma Conclusion References
The only nonfiction account of the adoption agency scandal that began in the 1920s and eventually implicated
not only the agency's administration but also local attorneys, court justices, and politicians.