Today they're mostly known as "orphan trains," but the trains that carried children from U.S. cities on the East Coast to farms out West between 1854 and 1929 didn't just have orphans as their passengers. They weren't always headed out West, either. About 250,000 children did find new homes on the trains, though, through outplacement programs that set the foundation for foster care and adoption systems in the United States.
Our listener mail is from Valerie, who shares an excellent story following our episode on the Pueblo Revolt.
For more knowledge: How Adoption Works
Episode link: Orphan Trains
- Cook, Jeanne F. "A History of Placing-Out: The Orphan Trains." Child Welfare League of America.
- Creagh, Dianne. "The Baby Trains: Catholic Foster Care and Western Migration, 1873-1929." Journal of Social History. Vol. 46, No. 1 2012.
- Graham, Janet. "American Experience: Orphan Trains." WGBH/Boston. 1995. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/orphan/orphants.html
- Jalongo, Mary Renck. "From Urban Homelessness to Rural Work: International Origins of the Orphan Trains." Early Childhood Education. Vol. 38, 2010.
- Kahan, Michelle. "'Put Up' on Platforms: A History of Twentieth Century Adoption Policy in the United States." Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare. Vol. 33, No. 3. 2006.
- Keen, Judy. "Orphan Train Riders, Offspring Seek Answers About Heritage." USA Today. 1/24/2012. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/parenting-family/adoption/story/2012-01-24/Orphan-train-riders-offspring-seek-answers-about-heritage/52779412/1
- O'Connor, Stephen. "Orphan Trains The Story of Charles Loring Brace and the Children He Saved and Failed." Prologue, reprinted in the New York Times, 2001. http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/o/oconnor-01orphan.html
- Schuerman, Dan. "Lost Children: Riders on the Orphan Train." Humanities. Vol. 28, No. 6. November/December 2007. http://www.neh.gov/humanities/2007/novemberdecember/feature/lost-children-riders-the-orphan-train
- Torigoe, John. "He Rode 'Orphan Trains' Across the Country." CNN. 12/24/2008. www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/wayoflife/12/24/orphan.trains/index.html
- Warren, Andrea. "The Orphan Train." The Washington Post. November 1998. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/horizon/nov98/orphan.htm
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