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William Pierce papers

 Collection
Identifier: SW 262

Scope and Content

The William Pierce papers include information on the adoption privacy debate over open adoption records and closed adoption records, the Model State Adoption Act, and other subjects of professional and personal interest to Pierce. Also included are Pierce's speeches and writings and files from his time at the National Committee for Adoption, which became the National Council for Adoption, and the Child Welfare League of America. The papers comprise written, printed, and audiovisual materials.

Dates

  • 1966-2002

Language of Materials

English

Use of Materials

Open for use in Social Welfare History Archives reading room.

Copyright

Please contact the Archivist for copyright information.

Biographical Note

William L. (Bill) Pierce founded the National Council for Adoption—originally named the National Committee for Adoption—with Ruby Lee Piester, then executive director of what is now the Gladney Center for Adoption, in 1980. He would serve as president for twenty years. Pierce was active in the press and in politics and fiercely advocated for the passage of a number of pieces of legislation, including the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (1994), the Adoption and Safe Families Act (1997), and the Infant Adoption Awareness Act (part of the Children's Health Act of 2000). He was also a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Hague and helped draft the 1993 Intercountry Adoption Convention while serving in that capacity. In 1994, he attended the work session on the Convention as executive director of the U.S. committee for the International Association of Voluntary Adoption Agencies and NGOs (IAVAAN). A staunch believer in closed adoptions, he was vocal in his opposition to the Draft Model State Adoption Act (such opposition being one of the pillars of NCFA's founding mission) and to all proposed “open records” legislation.

In late 1998, Pierce announced that he would leave the NCFA. After his departure, he continued to serve as executive director for IAVAAN and in 1999 became a senior fellow at Discovery Institute, which describes itself as "an inter-disciplinary community of scholars and policy advocates dedicated to the reinvigoration of traditional Western principles and institutions and the worldview from which they issued."

Prior to his work with the NCFA, Pierce was the assistant executive director of the Daycare and Child Development Council, a national voluntary organization, and subsequently held that same title with the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) starting in 1970. He also served as the director of CWLA's Center for Governmental Affairs. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Benedictine College in Atchinson, Kansas, and his graduate degree from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. His early career included work as a college English professor in St. Paul, Minnesota; associate editor of the diocesan newspaper in Des Moines, Iowa; federal employee of the war on poverty campaign in Kansas City, Missouri; and field instructor at the National Catholic School of Social Service.

*Portions of this biographical note were was drawn from the William Pierce papers, SW262 (Box 12: Pierce, William—Biographical File). Information was also obtained from the websites of the National Council for Adoption (http://www.adoptioncouncil.org) and Discovery Institute (http://www.discovery.org).

Extent

34 boxes (30 linear feet)

33 Linear Feet

Overview

William Pierce was a co-founder of the National Council for Adoption and adoption policy advocate. The William Pierce papers include information on adoption privacy (especially the issue of open versus closed adoption), the Model State Adoption Act, and other subjects of professional and personal interest to Pierce. Also included are Pierce's speeches and writings and files from his time at the National Committee for Adoption/National Council for Adoption and the Child Welfare League of America. The collection comprises written, printed, and audiovisual materials.

Other Finding Aid

Unpublished inventory available. Please contact Archives for more information.

Related Records

For additional information relating to William Pierce, researchers should consult the National Council for Adoption Records, SW263.
Title
William Pierce papers
Author
Biographical note by Madeleine Vasaly.
Date
2010
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Social Welfare History Archives Collecting Area

Contact:

612-624-6394