MC 823; T-484; Vt-228

Concerned United Birthparents, Inc. Additional records of Concerned United Birthparents, Inc., 1974-2013: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass.
July 2015

© 2015 President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MC 823; T-484; Vt-228
Repository: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Creator: Concerned United Birthparents, Inc.
Title: Additional records of Concerned United Birthparents, Inc., 1974-2013
Quantity: 4.17 linear ft. (10 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder, 1 oversize folder, 119 slides, 32 audiotapes, 17 videotapes
Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Board records, research questionnaires, flyers, pamphlets, audio and videotapes, electronic records, etc., of Concerned United Birthparents Inc., a birthparent support and adoption reform organization.

Processing Information:

Processed: July 2015
By: Mark Vassar, with assistance from Dan Bullman and Henry Shull.

Acquisition Information:

Accession numbers: 2012-M130, 2013-M49, 2014-M196
These additional records of Concerned United Birthparents, Inc. were given to the Schlesinger Library in July 2012 and March 2013 by Concerned United Birthparents by way of Lee Campbell, a founding member.

Access Restrictions:

The bulk of the collection is open for research. Folders #5.3-5.7, 5.9, and 6.2-7.3 are closed until January 1, 2041 though January 1, 2067 as noted below. These files, where access would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy for third party individuals, are closed for a period of 90 years from the date of birth of the individual discussed in the file.
Access. Unrestricted. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Use Restrictions:

Copyright. Copyright in the additional records created by Concerned United Birthparents is held by Concerned United Birthparents. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred citation for publication:

Concerned United Birthparents, Inc. Additional records, 1974-2013; item description, dates. MC 823, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Concerned United Birthparents, Inc., records (MC 630; Vt-115).


Concerned United Birthparents, Inc. (CUB) formed in Milford, Massachusetts, in 1976 under the leadership of Lee Campbell (who sometimes acted under the pseudonym Lenore Hatch). Early active members included Mary Anne Cohen, Susan Darke, Gail Hanssen, Kathy Leahy, Joanne McDonald, Sandy Musser, and Carole Anderson. CUB was founded as a support group for "birthparents" (the term preferred by the group over "biological parents") who found it necessary to relinquish their children to adoption. However they quickly became involved in legislative reform, supporting ethical adoption laws, policies, and procedures, as well as advocating for open adoption records for adoptees and birthparents. Most early members believed that they had been stigimatized by having a child out of wedlock and then further vicitimized by a corrupt adoption system that all but kidnapped their birthchildren. CUB also provided resources to help prevent unnecessary family separations and to educate the public about the life-long impact on all who are touched by adoption. Although initially limited to birthparents, the organization grew to include adoptees, adoptive parents, siblings, and other family members. In 2003, CUB revised its mission statement to that effect.
Throughout the 1980s, CUB continued to push for adoption reform at both the state and national level. Its national headquarters had moved to Dover, New Hampshire, and then, in 1986, to Des Moines, Iowa, and, as it grew it began to sponsor local branches throughout the country, including in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara, California; Toledo, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Boston, Massachusetts; and Kansas City, Missouri. As part of its support effort, the organization published several newsletters, including the CUB Communicator, Family Advocate, and Leaders' Journal, which included adoption and reunion stories and branch reports, as well as advertisements placed by those seeking birthparents, adopted children, or relatives. CUB also published a number of articles and pamphlets regarding various facets of the adoption and reunion process. At its height, the organization boasted as many as two thousand members. As of 2007, the organization was headquartered in Encinitas, California, and sponsored eight branches having about four hundred members.


The collection is arranged in four series:


The Additional records of Concerned United Birthparents include meeting minutes, correspondence, memos, financial reports, clippings, questionnaires, publication materials, audiovisual materials, etc., which document the administration of the organization, projects it conducted, and its educational and legislative efforts to provide support to birthparents, adoptees, and adoptive parents and to initiate a shift from closed to open adoption records so that individuals in the triad could more easily locate each other at some future date. There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Concerned United Birthparents records (MC 630; Vt-115).
Series I, ADMINISTRATIVE, 1976-2013 (#1.1-4.9), includes meeting minutes, correspondence, memos, financial and other reports, meeting agendas, notes, membership lists, legal case files, etc. Meeting minutes, memos, financial and other reports, meeting agendas, correspondence, notes, membership lists, etc., document the governance of both the national organization and its local branches. Activities of the board and president include amending by-laws; approving new branches and leaders; approving expenditures; guiding the education, legislative reform, and search assistance efforts of the organization; and planning national conferences. Since national board members were scattered geographically, it appears that most board meetings were held by mailed-in ballots or through virtual meetings. In-person meetings were held infrequently. Daily activities were handled by the national office manager under the direction of the board president. Files related to the Phyllis Silverman case include correspondence, board minutes, notes, legal documents etc.; they document Phyllis Silverman's libel suit against Concerned United Birthparents and its national officers. The case arose out of Concerned United Birthparents' public accusation that Silverman and her fellow researchers had illegally obtained research data belonging to the organization, interpreted the data, and published it as their own work. Silverman, claiming that she had legal rights to the data, sued both the organization and each national officer for libel stating that they had damaged her professional reputation by writing to national research journals, adoption reform organizations, and state licensing boards. The case was eventually dismissed with both parties retaining legal rights to the research data in question and the ability to publish their individual findings after notifying the opposing party of said intention. Questionnaires related to this research can be found in series II. Folder titles were created by the processor. The series is arranged alphabetically.
Series II, PROJECTS AND CLIPPINGS, 1974-1999 (#4.10-8.8), includes clippings; draft and completed questionnaires; correspondence; draft and published articles; etc., related to projects undertaken or participated in by Concerned United Birthparents. The bulk of material in this series consists of completed questionnaires and documents the collection of data and its analysis for a post-reunion study conducted under the auspices of Concerned United Birthparents by Phyllis Silverman, Lee Campbell, and Patricia Patti. Data collected was used to publish several studies regarding the post-reunion experiences of adoptees, adoptive parents, and birthparents. This data also became the subject of an internal dispute among the board members of Concerned United Birthparents and the subsequent lawsuit filed by Phyllis Silverman. A small amount of material in this series documents the organization's activity in sponsoring legislation related to adoption. Clippings document Concerned United Birthparents' activities in legislative reform, education, and search assistance at both the national and local level. Folder titles were created by the processor. The series is arranged alphabetically.
Series III, NEWSLETTERS AND PUBLICATION MATERIALS, 1975-2012 (#8.9-10.12, PD.1sl), consists of flyers, newsletters, etc., published by Concerned United Birthparents, including a number of branch newsletters; the Family Advocate and the Leader's Journal; and a number of pamphlets on topics including searching for relinquished children, adoptees unwilling to meet birthparents, and the social worker's role in adoption. The national organization also engaged in a newsletter exchange program through which they amassed a collection of newsletters and other printed material of a number of other organizations dealing with adoption and adoption law reform both in the United States and in several other English-speaking countries. Folder titles were created by the processor; they are composed of organization names, newsletter titles, or a combination of the two. The series is arranged alphabetically. Consult the library's catalog for holdings of national Concerned United Birthparents publications. The Concerned United Birthparents' web site is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection service (WAX).
Series IV, AUDIOVISUAL AND OVERSIZED, 1979-2001 (#T-484.1 - T484.32, Vt-228.1 - Vt-228.17, F+D.1, OD.1), consists of audiotapes and videotapes and oversized material removed from other series and previously described. Many of the audiotapes document various sessions at American Adoption Congress or Council for Equal Rights in Adoption conferences and/or workshops which featured one or more speakers followed by a question and answer session with attendees. Many of those presenting or asking questions at these sessions are members and/or officers of CUB and other well-known adoption activists and psychologists and psychiatrists. It appears that CUB's San Diego branch recorded many of these American Adoption Congress conference sessions themselves and may have offered them for sale. Other audiotapes contain recordings of similar sessions, although the conference name is not recorded. One audiotape contains the narration for CUB slide show narrated by Lee Campbell. See #PD.1sl and 8.9 for slides and accompanying documentation.


Additional catalog entries

The following catalog entries represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. An entry for each appears in the Harvard On Line Library Information System (HOLLIS) and other automated bibliographic databases. THIS IS NOT AN INDEX.




Donors: Concerned United Birthparents by way of Lee Campbell
Accession numbers: 2012-M130, 2013-M49
Processed by: Mark Vassar
The following items have been removed from the collection and transferred to the Schlesinger Library printed materials division: