Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have moved most of their brood into a rented house in Little Rock, 3 hours from home but close to University of AR for Medical Sciences, where baby Josie grows stronger after her premature birth on December 10.
About their leased abode Jim Bob gave Examiner.com an interesting factoid:
… Duggar… said the house they’re renting was previously owned by the lady who started Planned Parenthood in Little Rock, and that Jordyn learned to walk there….
Melody Cash of Seattle said. “I can’t believe they rented the ‘Planned Parenthood’ house and they have 19 kids – that’s just too funny. “…
I asked Jim Bob to fill me in about the house they’re renting and if all of the kids have been staying there with them.
He said, “Well first, it’s comical that the house we’re renting was actually owned by a lady who started PP in Little Rock. There’s even a plaque outside in the front yard.
That lady would be aptly named Brunhilde Kahlert Cornish, and she more than started PP there. She brought the eugenics movement to Little Rock. According to the Encyclopedia of AR History and Culture…
… Cornish was the founder of the AR birth control movement. She was instrumental in founding the organization that became the Planned Parenthood Association of AR.
Hilda Kahlert was born on January 24, 1878….
She moved to Little Rock in 1901 and married a widowed banker, Edward Cornish, in July 1902. The couple had 6 children between 1904 and 1917….
Cornish’s husband committed suicide in 1928. After his death, she devoted much of her time to reform and social work. In the summer of 1930, she met Margaret Sanger, the founder and leader of the American birth control movement. The 2 developed a friendship maintained by correspondence and occasional meetings. During that summer, Cornish visited Sanger’s Clinical Research Bureau in NY, and she launched the AR birth control movement later that same year.
At Cornish’s initiative, a group of physicians, business and religious leaders, and women active in civic work formed the AR Eugenics Association (AEA). Rabbi Ira Eugene Sanders said, “It was suggested that because the movement might evoke criticism on the part of the rather orthodox and staid community, that we call it the AR Eugenics Association on the grounds that nobody would object to being well born.”
In early 1931, the association opened the Little Rock Birth Control Clinic in the basement of Baptist Hospital. There, poor white women could get contraceptives at a time when men and women urgently sought to limit the size of their families.
What motivated Cornish and her fellow birth control advocates must be understood in the context of economics and the Great Depression. The AEA strongly argued that, as a consequence of the current economic hardships facing many, it was necessary to limit the number of children born into poor families. Information disseminated by this group played on peoples’ fear that the poor were gaining in numbers and that this would add to the financial burden of all taxpayers – birth control was a solution offered to prevent “future charity cases.”…
By 1940, many medical units across the state included birth-control services. The AEA… changed its name to the Planned Parenthood Association of AR in 1942.…
Cornish… was also active in the Democratic Party during the 1940s.
Cornish died on November 19, 1965, and is buried in Oakland Cemetery in Little Rock.
I enlarged the plaque to read it. Historians are glossing over Cornish’s eugenics history just as they do Margaret Sanger’s. The plaque reads:
… Hildah Cornish (1878-1965) was prominent in social and political issues of the day. She was a leader in advocating birth control even though she had six children.
[Cornish House photos via Arkansas Ties]