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Remarkable photos of South Carolina midwife who nursed 1950s community living in crippling poverty that inspired thousands of dollars in donations

Maude Callen This gripping image of Maude Callen caring for a young boy in South Carolina, 1951, was not published in LIFE

She was a ‘doctor, dietician, psychologist, bail-goer and friend’ to thousands of mostly African Americans crippled by poverty in the 1950s.

Yet tireless South Carolina nurse-midwife Maude Callen – who delivered hundreds of children, cared for the elderly and educated midwifery students in a 400-mile area ‘veined with muddy roads’ – never considered herself a hero.

W. Eugene Smith’s 20 picture-strong essay, splashed across a dozen pages in December 1951, was considered ‘one of the most extraordinary photo essays ever to appear in [LIFE] magazine.’

Maude Callen

Safe under her watchful eye: Maude Callen attends to a woman in labor

Maude Callen

Maude Callen handing over 17-year-old Alice Cooper’s son after a difficult…

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