This is the theatrical trailer for the 1941 film Blossoms in the Dust, directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, and Felix Bressart. In the film, Garson portrays real-life Texan Edna Gladney, an early campaigner for children's rights, particularly those born out of wedlock. After discovering the poor living conditions experienced by abandoned children in her hometown of Sherman, Gladney takes action, working with the Texas Children's Home and Aid Society to help find orphaned children new homes. Eventually, Gladney takes her fight to the floor of the Texas Legislature, lobbying to have the word "illegitimate" removed from birth certificates of adopted and abandoned children.
Edna Gladney, an early campaigner for child welfare and adoption rights, was born on January 22, 1886 in Miluakee, Wisconsin. In 1904, she was sent to live with her aunt and uncle in Fort Worth, where she met her future husband Sam Gladney in 1906. In 1913, the couple moved to Sherman where Sam opened his own milling company, Gladney Milling, and Edna joined the Sherman Civic League. During one of her inspections for the Civic League, Edna came across the Grayson County Poor Farm, essentially a dumping ground for the poor, mentally ill, handicapped, and foundling. Enlisting the help of other Civil League ladies, Edna arranged the transfer of the children to the Texas Children's Home and Aid Society, run by Reverend I. Z. T. Morris, which placed abandoned children with adoptive families.
Edna became increasingly involved with the Texas Children's Home and Aid Society, first as a member of the society's board of directors and later as its superintendent, helping to place an estimated 10,000 children over the course of her 33-year career. During her tenure, she established and financed the Sherman Nursery and Kindergarten for Working Women, a free day-care service for poor, working families. She also expanded the society's activities to include the care of unmarried mothers. In 1950, the Texas Children's Home and Aid Society bought the West Texas Maternity Hospital. Now named the Gladney Center for Adoption, the agency provides prenatal and maternity services as well as operates a Baby Home, where infants receive care until their adoption.
In addition to her work with the Texas Children's Home and Aid Society, Edna also lobbied the Texas legislature to keep the word "illegitimate" off birth certificates of adopted and abandoned children. In 1936, Edna succeeded, making Texas the first state in the Southwest to legally remove the stigma of illegitimacy from birth records. Fifteen years later, Edna helped to pass another bill that recognized the need for children to be legally adopted rather than placed in long-term guardianship, as well as gave adopted children the same inheritance rights as biological children.
While Edna remained an active advisor, ill health forced her into semiretirement by 1960. And On October 2, 1961, she died in Fort Worth as a result of diabetic complications.