Orphan Trains

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Orphan Trains: The Story of Charles Loring Brace and the Children He Saved and Failed

Stephen O'Connor

Publisher: University of Chicago PressFormat: Paperback

In mid-nineteenth-century New York, vagrant children, both orphans and runaways, filled the streets. For years the city had been sweeping these youngsters 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 first-hand accounts of orphans, Stephen O'Connor here tells of the orphan trams 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, Orphan Trains remains the definitive work on this little-known episode in American history.

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