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Waifs, Foundlings, and Half-Orphans: Searching for America’s Orphan Train Riders, Mary Ellen Johnson

1 Waifs, Foundlings, and Half-Orphans: Searching for America’s Orphan Train Riders
Mary Ellen Johnson
(2005), 2007, 5˝x8˝, paper, index, 102 pp, Heritage Books
During the Orphan Trains Era, 1854 until 1929, an estimated 200,000 orphaned, abandoned, or homeless children and families were relocated from major metropolitan east coast cities to new homes in the "west" traveling aboard trains. Children relocated via these trains were called "Riders." In the early 1850s, the term "orphan" referred to children living without adult supervision. Some of these homeless children were actual orphans, while others were "half-orphans" with one parent living but unable to care for the child. A fair number of these "street" children were turned out to fend for themselves as the result of extreme poverty. This slender volume helps preserve the life experiences of the Riders-information that has impacted foster children today. The traumatic early lives of the Riders demonstrated the need of siblings to keep in touch if they must be separated and the positive affect that work has on self-esteem. Two moving first-hand accounts precede an examination of the impact of mass migration, followed by a discussion of orphanages and institutions, a helpful section on research and resources, and finally, references and a reading list. A full name index adds to the value of this work. Mary Ellen Johnson established the Orphan Train Riders Research Center and Museum, and founded the Orphan Train Heritage Society of America. This book is based upon her work.
Price: 17.50 USD

Orphan Trains to Missouri, Michael D. Patrick and Evelyn Goodrich Trickel

2 Orphan Trains to Missouri
Michael D. Patrick and Evelyn Goodrich Trickel
128 pages, 6 x 9, Biblio. Index. 40 illus., paperback, Rebecca B. Schroeder, Editor
As an "orphan train" crossed the country, it left part of its cargo at each stop, a few children in one small town and a few in another. Even though farmers needed many hands for labor, most of the small farm communities could not or would not take all of the children on the train. As the train moved to its next stop, those children not taken feared no one would ever want them.
Early immigration laws encouraged the poor of Europe to find new hope with new lives in the United States. But sometimes the immigrants exchanged a bad situation in their native country for an even worse one on the streets of New York and other industrial cities. As a result, the streets were filled with crowds of abandoned children that the police called "street arabs." Many New York citizens blamed the street arabs for crime and violence in the city and wanted them placed in orphan homes or prisons.
In 1853 a man by the name of Charles Loring Brace, along with other well-to-do men in New York City, founded the Children's Aid Society. The society planned to give food, lodging, and clothing to homeless children and provide educational and trade opportunities for them. But the number of children needing help was so large that the Children's Aid Society was unable to care for them, and Brace developed a plan to send many of the children to the rural Midwest by train. He was convinced that the children of the streets would find many benefits in rural America. In 1854 he persuaded the board of the society to send the first trainload of orphans west. With this, the orphan trains were born.
Cheap fares, the central location of the state, and numerous small farming towns along the railroad tracks made Missouri the perfect hub for the orphan trains, even though many areas of the state were still largely unsettled. Researchers have estimated that from 150,000 to 400,000 children were sent out on orphan trains, with perhaps as many as 100,000 being placed in Missouri.
Orphan Trains to Missouri documents the history of the children on those Orphan Trainsţtheir struggles, their successes, and their failures. Touching stories of volunteers who oversaw the placement of the orphans as well as stories of the orphans themselves make this a rich record of American and midwestern history.

About Author
Michael D. Patrick is Adjunct Professor of Folklore at the University of Southern Alabama and Associate Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri-Rolla. Residing in Trenton, Missouri, Evelyn Goodrich Trickel is the coauthor of A Pictorial History of Grundy County and recipient of the Charles Loring Brace Award from the Orphan Train Heritage of America. Patrick and Trickel, along with Evelyn Sheets, coauthored We Are Part of History: The Story of Orphan Trains.
Price: 11.95 USD

Orphan Trains: The Story of Charles Loring Brace and the Children He Saved and Failed, O'Connor, Stephen

3 Orphan Trains: The Story of Charles Loring Brace and the Children He Saved and Failed
O'Connor, Stephen
384 pages, 6 x 9, 1 halftones, 2 line drawings, paperback, University of Chicago Press
In mid-nineteenth-century New York, vagrant youth, both orphans and runaways, filled the streets. For years the city had been sweeping these children into prisons or almshouses, but in 1853 the young minister Charles Loring Brace proposed a radical solution to the problem by creating the Children's Aid Society, an organization that fought to provide homeless children with shelter, education, and, for many, a new family in the country. Combining a biography of Brace with firsthand accounts of orphans, Stephen O'Connor here tells of the orphan trains that, between 1854 and 1929, spirited away some 250,000 destitute children to rural homes in every one of the forty-eight contiguous states.
A powerful blend of history, biography, and adventure, Orphans Trains remains the definitive work on this little-known episode in American history.

Table of Contents
Prologue: Working for Human Happiness
Part I: Want
Testimony: John Brady and Harry Morris
1. The Good Father
2. Flood of Humanity
Part II: Doing
Testimony: John Jackson
3. City Missionary
4. Draining the City, Saving the Children
5. Journey to Dowagiac
6. A Voice Among the Newsboys
7. Happy Circle
8. Almost a Miracle
Part III: Redoing
Testimony: Lotte Stern
9. Invisible Children
10. Neglect of the Poor
11. The Trials of Charley Miller
12. The Death and Life of Charles Loring Brace
Conclusion: Legacy
Price: 19.95 USD


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