The orphan train era
March 16, 2007 7:23 PM Subscribe
Orphan trains. From 1853 to 1929 an ambitious relocation adoption program run by the Children's Aid Society, founded by Charles Loring Brace, sent kids from urban slums and orphanages out to live on Midwestern farms, with mixed results. Some became state governors, others suffered abuse or servitude. Even though we use the name Orphan Train, few of these children were true orphans. Some were half-orphans, having lost one parent to disease or accident. Some had both parents but had run away do to abuse or neglect. By 1910, CAS had "placed out" over 106,000 children and the program ran for another 19 years. Also, similar programs were run by the New York Foundling Home (called Baby Trains), New York Juvenile Asylum, and the Boston Home for Little Wanderers. In all, at least, 200,000 children found themselves moved from the city to small towns and farms across the Nation.
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