Miracles on St. Margaret Street

The roots of a remarkable program that has transformed the lives of thousands of unmarried, pregnant young women and their babies can be traced to a news account of a Charleston woman’s suicide attempt in 1897.

The story in the city’s afternoon newspaper sparked the creation of what’s now known as the Florence Crittenton Programs of South Carolina. It’s no less a miracle that the young woman who jumped into the Cooper River in 1897 survived than it is that the Crittenton rescue effort now is in its second century.

Author Ruth W. Cupp, a former Crittenton Board president, details the
persistence and dedication of many of those who have kept the rescue program alive against all odds. Coupled with riveting personal accounts by mothers who delivered their babies at 19 St. Margaret Street are the stories of their now-grown children.

Crittenton has evolved from a 19 th century “secret hideaway where pregnant unmarried young women came to be delivered into being a full-fledged operation of rescue, rehabilitation, and education,” Dr. Richard Sosnowski, a former board president, wrote a decade ago. It’s an ongoing story.

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About the Author

Author Ruth W. Cupp, an attorney for 60 years, is a former chairman of the Board of Directors of the S.C. Children’s Bureau and a former president and board member of the Florence Crittenton Programs of S.C. A graduate of Winthrop University with a major in Social Work, she spent her summers during college as a recreation worker at the old Charleston Orphan House.