Famous Granny, Lay and certified Midwives
Margret Charles Smith (1906-2004): Margaret Charles Smith, one of the last granny midwives from the Southern United States. Margaret Charles, a former slave, raised the future midwife, who delivered over 3,500 babies and never lost a mother. In assessing her last days as a midwife, Smith concluded, ‘You could count on midwives. They took care of everybody, no matter what.’”—Journal of the American Medical Association.
Gladys Milton (1924-1999): From 1959-1976 Gladys Milton delivered babies and provided postpartum services in the homes of her clients. She also sought additional aid for these women from social programs or donations from church and civic groups. Then, in 1976, Gladys established Walton county’s first birthing center, a facility now known as Milton Memorial Birthing Center (MMBC). In addition to being a midwife, Gladys Milton was a community activist. She was a strong advocate of the preservation of history and the promotion of literacy. Gladys Milton delivered approximately 3,000 babies during her notable midwifery career (from 1959-1999).
Miss Mary Frances Hill (Coley 1990-1996): Mary Frances Hill Coley help deliver over 3,000 babies in Dougherty, Lee, Mitchell, and Worth counties. She is known for her tireless work ethic and dedication to serving both black and white mothers in need. Midwife washing her hands prior to examining patient, 1944: Title
Biddy Mason (1818-1991): Biddy Mason won freedom from slavery, worked as a nurse/midwife and then became a successful entrepreneur and a generous contributor to social causes. She was born August 15, 1818 in Mississippi, U.S.A.
Maude Callen (1898-1990): Maude Callen was educated at Florida A & M and took a nursing course before moving to Berkeley County as a nurse and midwife in 1923. Sponsored by the Episcopal Church, Callen spent 13 years as a nurse and midwife in the Pineville area before joining the Berkeley County Health Department.
Rosanna Ruso (1895-1975): Portrait of a midwife Rosanna Ruso at the West Florida Midwives Institute at Florida A&M College in Tallahassee, Florida. Accompanying note: “Midwives photographs – with captions from J.n Graves photo book” “Delivered herself of all but the first 3 of her 22 children. The day of one delivery, she picked cotton, cut out 2 dresses, made 2 chicken coops, cooked supper and –. ‘Birthed herb baby. Didn’t feel no mis’ry, so didn’t stay in bed.’ Was at the fireplace next morning cooking breakfast.”
Ayana Ade (1951-2013): Ayanna Ade founded the Childbirth Providers of African Decent in 1980, the first organization to provide educational workshops to midwives of African descent. AS a midwife, Ade delivered more than 2,000 babies and earned the nickname “Mama Ade.” Ade was the first Texas State Representative for the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC).
Onnie Lee Logan (1910-1995): Onnie Lee Logan, the Alabama midwife who used what she called her God-given mother wit to deliver hundreds of babies before her 1989 autobiography titled “Mother Wit” that made her a favorite in feminist circles, she died on Tuesday at the Mobile Infirmary in Mobile, Ala. By her own reckoning she was about 85.