Something horrible took place between 1920 and 1940.
The butter box babies are a sad but true fact that happened in Nova Scotia beginning in 1920. It was a home for wayward girls (pregnant unmarried women) and young married women. It was run by William and Lila Young who were in charge of a maternity home. She was deemed to have been an obstetrician when all she was is a midwife and her husband claimed to have been a Chiropractor. The horrors that took place in this home are embedded in some people’s memories until today. Some of the horrors weren’t revealed until many years after the home was closed down.
They advertised it as being the ideal home which was located in East Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada. The home promised that they would give maternity care for local married couples and discreet pregnancies. The children that were born out of wedlock were promised that their babies would have the finest of home placements that could be found. It was not known at the time but Lila and William had a very profitable business going with the selling of the babies that were born out of wedlock. Most of these children were sold to the US.
At the time the US forbid adoptions across religious backgrounds which caused an acute shortage of babies especially for Jewish people. This is where William and Lila Young stepped up to the plate and sold the black market babies for as high as $10,000. It was found out later that most of these babies ended up in New Jersey in Jewish homes. The income didn’t stop there, in spite of what they were selling the babies for, they also charged the mothers of these babies $500.00 for the privilege of having their baby born there.
Some people back then would find great difficulty in trying to accumulate the money as the wages were only $8.00 a week. If the bill couldn’t be paid then the girls were put to work in the home to pay the bill while they waited to have their babies, sometimes this work went well beyond the time of having their babies and some girls had to stay up to eighteen months to work it off.
In Halifax, Nova Scotia, a major port during the war, in World War II business was booming. There were always ships coming and going and the sailors would squeeze as much life out of their stop over as they could which ended in unwanted pregnancies. The Ideal Maternity Home was the girl’s only option in that area at the time. It was the only place that could provide help for the mothers and babies as well.