Book to Reveal History of West Chester Hospital That Harbored Secret Babies of Unmarried Women


Sisters Susie Armstrong and Shirley Clark in Mercer County, Pa., have been searching for their older brother, who may have been born at the Veil Maternity Hospital in Corry in about 1926. Image via Jim Martin, Erie Times-News.

West Chester has harbored the secrets of adopted babies born to well-off but unmarried women since the mid-1900s.

Until now.

A New Hampshire historian is working toward publishing an account of the Veil Maternity Hospitals that originated in Kansas City and sprang up in the Pennsylvania communities of Corry, Langhorne, and ultimately West Chester, according to an Erie Times-News report by Valerie Myers.

“My goal is to help people looking for their families,” said author Karen Amos. “In (coming years), there isn’t going to be anyone left who was adopted from Corry; it will be only their descendants looking. That history will be dead.”

The Veil Maternity Hospital offered each young woman “protection of her reputation and social standing, which permits her to return home and enter upon a life of rectitude and usefulness without fear of being cast out or even shunned by her former associates,” the article explained. Her baby was then offered up for adoption.

The Veil Maternity Hospital in Corry opened in 1921, was relocated to Langhorne in 1927, and later moved to West Chester.

Read more about its unique history and Amos’s difficult search for answers in the Erie Times-News here.
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