Butterbox Babies

Baby Sales, Baby Deaths - New Revelations 15 Years Later

By Bette L. Cahill  

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A young woman in Nova Scotia gives birth to a child out of wedlock. A childless couple in New Jersey desperately searches for a baby to adopt. These people never meet but their lives become forever linked through a tiny baby girl. Natalie, that baby, spent the first two years of her life in the Ideal Maternity Home on Canada’s rocky East Coast. Louis and Mabel Goldman of Newark adopted her in August 1945.

Natalie was one of the survivors. Many babies born at the home were not adopted. They mysteriously disappeared. They were buried in butterboxes used to deliver groceries to the home.

Since Bette Cahill first wrote about the Ideal Maternity Home in East Chester, Nova Scotia in 1992, she continued to research the story and corresponded with many of the home’s survivors.

Now, in this new expanded edition, we share the author’s new insights and ongoing interest in the story. We are introduced to many of the survivors and learn about their sometimes sad, sometimes happy searches for their birth parents.

Butterbox Babies is Bette Cahill’s exhaustively researched exposé of the Ideal Maternity Home in East Chester. Cahill, a Halifax journalist, reveals the horrifying tales of abuse, illegal adoptions and even murder.”

The Halifax Daily News

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  • Preface
  • Prologue
  • Part l-Birth of a Business: 1928-1939
  • William and Lila
  • Mothers’ Refuge
  • Seeds of Conflict
  • Eva’s Misfortune
  • Manslaughter
  • Fraud
  • Stolen Baby
  • Suspicious Deaths
  • Part ll-Dangerous Fixation 1939-1945
  • Mounting Suspicion
  • Baby Barons
  • Neglect
  • Trafficking
  • God On Their Side
  • Part III-Gathering Storm 1945-1947
  • Dirty Politics
  • Crack-down in Two Countries
  • Surviving Court
  • Traders In Fear
  • Part IV-Long Shadows 1948-2006
  • Bankruptcy
  • Nova Scotia—Burying Its Past
  • From the Grave
  • Family Portraits
  • The Forgotten Ones
  • Reunions


  • Bette L. Cahill

    Bette Cahill is an award winning journalist who has been a reporter/producer at Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Television for the past 26 years. She is the recipient of four major journalism awards for her work in television news and documentaries. In 1992, Bette was awarded Author of the Year by the Canadian Periodical Marketers Association for the original version of her book, Butterbox Babies. Bette resides in Halifax.

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