Connie Maxwell in the 1940's and 50's
Updated: May 18
I'm not sure you can ever say that a children's ministry has a "golden age." After all, every ministry would love to work its way out of a job and for all children to grow up in loving homes with their very own families. But in terms of the old campus model of care that was typical of children's ministry in the United States during the 20th Century, you might say the late 1940's and 1950's was the time of greatest acceptance and expansion for Connie Maxwell Children's Home.
Dr. Sam Smith oversaw the time of growth at Connie Maxwell, having taken over from Dr. Atha T. Jamison when he retired in 1946. Smith and his sister, Dora, had come to Connie Maxwell as children following the death of their mother so Smith had a connection with the ministry and the children in his care like no other.
According to Alan Keith-Lucas's book, "Hope and Healing: The First Hundred Years of Connie Maxwell History," the children's home had some 225 children in care when Smith took over, living in cottages of 15 children each, a number that grew to 286 by 1956. The decade of the 1950's also saw the addition of five new cottages, major renovations to other cottages, the construction of support facilities and the general beautification of the campus.
This time was also when church support from South Carolina Baptist churches was the greatest. In 1946 for example, 1,050 of 1,242 churches (84.5 percent) made a direct contribution to the ministry.
A rough cut of the narrated segment of "The Connie Maxwell Story" dealing with this time period is posted above. Now that I am beginning to work on time periods from which there are living alumni, I'm hoping to get help with details and images. While Connie Maxwell has an abundance of historical photographs, these are often unmarked in terms of identifying dates or circumstances, so there's a certain amount of both guessing and creative license going into the selection of images. Hopefully, feedback will help me ensure accuracy.
Remember that a rough cut is just that. The images, script, narration and music can all change before the project is finalized. The rough cut simply helps to give shape to the project as it moves forward.