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The following information was obtained from Detroit Social Services with the permission of Doris Hammack.

The Social Services records contain the only known facts regarding Ms. Hammack's origin and detail her years in the foster care system.


Detroit Department of Social Services, Division A
Intake Report

Date: August 25, 1960
Social worker assigned: Nina L. Bardwell
Case No.: 0863012
Child's name: Doris Hammack
Age: 5
Birth date:

*Assigned July 1, 1955

* Birth date unknown. The child is too young to recall details other than it was "maybe last month" and that she had chocolate cake but had gotten "no presents again."

For record keeping purposes, standard assignment will be made using the first day of her presumed birth month from self-report: July. The birth date assigned to Doris Hammack is July 1, 1955.

Parental information: Unknown. No known relatives.
Referral Source: Immaculata Girls Home, Detroit
Current address: Immaculata School for Girls
105 Beechtree St., Detroit, Mich. 48234
Term of Residence:

6 months (Aug. 23, 1960 - Jan. 23, 1961)

Child will be allowed to remain at Immaculata for up to the standard six months maximum commencing August 23, 1960, terminating when a suitable permanent or long-term placement is found for her on or before January 23, 1961.

Placement deadline: January 23, 1961

Initial foster home
parental interviews:

30 days, September 25, 1960

Educational information

Unknown; child says she has not attended any kindergarten or nursery.

Health Evaluation

Medical history unknown. Child was healthy and alert at our baseline health assessment, although thin and small for her age.

Immunization history unknown.

No surgical scars or signs of physical abuse. Child still has tonsils and adenoids. Teeth and eyesight normal.

Initial mental health assessment

Child seemed subdued but aware of her surroundings. Intelligent and scored normal on our baseline intelligence and abilities tests.

Tentative diagnosis from mental health evaluation: borderline depressive, long-term counseling recommended.

She is also developmentally delayed in her social skills, possibly due to a restrictive home environment, but may thrive in right setting. Her attitude and failure to thrive is indicative of being reared in a non‑supportive home atmosphere.

Case History

Child's background

An unknown woman left Doris Hammack at Immaculata Catholic Girls Home in Detroit on Tuesday, August 23, 1960, at 3:00 p.m. with a small suitcase containing clothing, a brief letter (attached), and a ring tied to a string and worn as a necklace by the child. The woman disappeared while the nuns were settling the upset child.

The letter states that Doris is five years old and from North Mississippi originally, parents deceased and no surviving relatives.

Child reported that "that man," referring to the person she was living with, had died "a while ago," which upon further questioning may be as little as a few days or as much as a week or more given the child's conception of time.

Child says she stayed with next door neighbors, who had found him dead, and that an unknown woman came and got her and took her to Immaculata on August 23.

Child does not know her street address, her city, man's name, woman's name or neighbor's name. She called neighbor's child just "Billy."

Child reports that she did not always live with "that man," but that she did live there for some time. No more definitive time period can be determined without additional information.

Parental information

Unknown, no known relatives. Child does not know her mother or father. It may be that the child was sent to Detroit to live with her last remaining relative on her parents' death in Mississippi.

With so little information to pursue, initial attempts to locate any Hammacks in Detroit and in North Mississippi who may be related have been unsuccessful.

Death records research for the past six to twelve months in the Greater Detroit Metropolitan Area for the Hammack name has been requested.

There is no information to confirm that the person the child was staying with shared the last name Hammack.

Follow-up notation

June 14, 1961 — A death certificate has been found for a Mr. Howard Hammack, who died of cardiac arrest at his home on August 20, 1960.

Address given is in a low-income, transient neighborhood in the Detroit area. No next-of-kin are noted in his records.

Due to the length of time that passed between his death and our location of this information, no one in the area reported any memory of him or any possible child of Hammack's. The apartment building is now vacant and scheduled for demolition.

Mr. Howard Hammack was buried in a pauper's grave on city property.

Results of parental research

Inconclusive. Tentative identification of Howard Hammack as possible relative or guardian of Doris Hammack. No new information is available at this time for further pursuit of parental identification.

Parental search terminated unless further information is submitted.

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