We lost one another of our shining lights Monday with the passing of Tennessee rights activist Denny Glad.

Denny reunited hundreds of Georgia Tann’s victims and knew the rot of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society inside out. Trained as an historian, Denny brought the historian’s passion to her work. You can read about her marvelous energy and activities in Barbara Bisantz Raymond’s expose of Georgia Tann, The Baby Thief.

In the 1990s, Denny was one of the key people in the passage of Tennessee’s semi-records access law which led to Doe v Sundquist. While we disagree with the contact and veto provisions of the law, and I believe Denny did, too, the court decisions that came out of it have become an important marker for us. The lawsuit broke the back of NCFA bullyhood. (Oregon was the coup de grace.)

I met Denny only once–at the infamous March 2001 baby dump conference-that-never-was at the University of Memphis (see “Quick exit following opening remarks at symposium on unwanted babies”–Tennessee Commercial Appeal, paid archives, March 25, 2001) but we occasionally emailed and talked on the phone. She was a walking talking history book.

Today’s Commercial Appeal published a lovely article about Denny. Her”partner in crime” adoptee activist Caprice East is quoted: “I’ve never seen anybody that so many people revered and that nobody vilified. She was just absolutely incredible.”

She was. And is!

Holly Span, Tennessee AAC rep sent the following message about Denny’s passing:

Tennessee lost its most prominent Angel in Adoption – Denny Glad of Memphis, this week. It is a terribly sad time for us and we are crushed. For many, many years, Denny was a bright beacon of inspiration. She wore many hats, including her association with the AAC as the Tennessee Representative and the president of Tennessee’s Right to Know organization.

Denny helped thousands trace their biological families, many of whom were adopted out of the Memphis Children’s Home operated by baby stealer Georgia Tann.

Marianne (Denny) Glad is at:
Memorial Garden‘s
5868 Poplar Ave.
Memphis, TN 38119

Visitation is Thursday 5:00-7:00 pm
Service Friday at 11:30 am

In lieu of flowers, her children (Tony and Keith) have asked for donations to the American Adoption Congress.

Cards may also be sent to Denny’s home:
5182 Oak Meadow
Memphis, TN 38134

Holly Spann
AAC – Tennessee Rep


  1. My biggest regret is not flying to Memphis to meet Denny in person. We spoke and the phone many times, and through mail. She changed my life, and the life of so many.
    Denny reunited me with my birth family, though my mother was already deceased. I was able to meet my birth brother and other members of my mothers adopted family. Turned out, she was adopted also. My case was one that helped prosecute Georgia Tann, though I didn’t know that until 1990 when Denny finally found my records. My brother and I are very close and shows that growing up in different regions doesn’t outweigh genetics. It is a great story and I owe Denny so much.
    Thank you for your life’s work,
    Judith Ann Bishop

  2. I need help finding my Dad’s birth parents. We are pretty sure he was a victim of this Georgia Tann baby scandal. I don’t even know where to start? If anyone has any info I’d be so thankful. He has never really pursued anything but has always wanted to. Thank you
    Ursula Van Dam

  3. I am posting this information any and everywhere I can. My brother was a Georgia Tann baby. The documents from the state of TN say that he was born Raymond Lewis Bradley on Sept. 14, 1947 at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, TN to a Vera Bradley of Chattanooga, TN or Sparta, TN and Cecil Cruse of Jamestown, TN or Detroit, MI. He supposedly was surrendered for adoption at the Florence Crittenden Home. Another document says that he was surrendered at the Vine Street Orphanage. Supposedly there are other relatives: Grandparents Everett and Callie Bradley, Uncles Bethel Bradley and James Bradley, and an unnamed male sibling that is 6 years older, all from the Chattanooga area. If this matches any information for anyone searching for a stolen baby boy, please feel free to email me at [email protected]. Thank you, Ayn Maddox

  4. My grandmother was a Georgia Tann baby. I am searching and it seem so hopeless. She tells me that she was taken at only a few days old. The name she was given for her birth parents does not add up and the timing (1945) makes me think that maybe Tann would have been a bit desperate for infants since so many died that year. I don’t know which hospitals she took babies from so my preliminary search is one of babies that were born and died in 1945 that match my grandmother’s pictures as best as the records will offer. I am hoping to find some help. Grandma would like to at least find a picture of her family and I would really like to know my roots, whatever they may be.
    Anybody who can help me in this search would be welcome to email me. I pray I can find some answers for her and for myself.

  5. If anyone knows any of the following,Willie Barnes was my grandma’s maiden name,then she became a Cobb,there are two of my uncle’s out there,I do believe one’s name was Thomas or John,she had out of wed lock,she lived in Crossville TN,known as Cumberland and they were the first homesteader’s,also my mother Catherine Cobb has family in mother and uncle Danny were stolen an adopted in mi.

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  7. I’m a journalist, doing a story for a national publication on children taken from the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. If anyone sees this and wants me to share their story as part of our anniversary coverage I would be happy to do so. I’m writing this 10/5/19 and need to hear from people by 10/14/19. Please email me at [email protected].

  8. I am wondering what champions remain to pick up The gauntlet or continue to carry the gauntlet in helping these innocent children, now adults, to find their birth family. I was born in 1949 in Memphis to a young unwed teenager. So I was at the end of her terror reign. I was adopted by my birth mother’s oldest sister but do not know my dad. I pray for these victims that GOD will help the researchers in finding the birth families

    • For what it’s worth, this year the Tennessee legislature ran a bill to repeal the state’s Draconian Contact Veto. It died, though seems to have some substantial support. Of course, the COVID shut-down didn’t help any. That wouldn’t help in your case specially, however, since your father seems is a deep dark secret. It could have helped others, though. We have no idea how often, if ever, the CV has been used.

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