YearsWork Among Them" (ISBN 1402181493).
Fostering and the ?rphan Trains”
Brace also endeavored to place children into farm families of northern New York State, the Midwest and, after the American Civil War, some southern and a few western states. From 1853 to 1864, 384 children were sent each year to families in New England states, the North Atlantic states and East North Central states. Nearly 1,000 children per year were sent from 1865 1874 to Michigan, Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri. This was carried out through Brace's "Emigration Plan now known as "The Orphan Trains," where children were "placed-out" in new homes.
The ?rphan Trainstransported children removed from lodging houses, orphanages, private homes or the street, and sent them by train to towns where local organizers had created interest in the children. Posters ("circulars") were placed throughout town as well as newspaper advertisements notifying locals of the date of the children's arrival and "viewing" location. The Children's Aid Society (CAS) had made arrangements with train companies for the children (in groups ranging in size from three to 35) along with at least two adult "agents" to travel in regular trains, not wooden "box cars" as depicted in novels. The boys and girls were asked to stand on boxes at the train station or were brought to opera houses, schools, or town halls and placed on stages for the community to meet them. ?n every American community, especially in a western one, there are many spare places at the table of life,Brace wrote. ?here is no harassing struggle for existence. They have enough for themselves and the stranger, too.Brace? vision of migrating children to live with the western Christian farming families was widely supported by wealthy New York families. The first $50 was given by Mrs. John Astor in 1853.
Brace's Emigration Plan was also an anti-eugenic movement because Brace believed that one's "gemmules" (an early, pre-genetic concept that blood carried a family's heritability and character) did not predetermine one's future. Brace was deeply moved by Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species", having read it thirteen times [Stephen O'Connor, "Orphan Trains", pg. 80] . Brace was also an outspoken abolitionist. In a bold move (and perhaps inspired by his abolitionist and Darwinian mindset), Brace did away with the centuries-old custom of indenture so that the "placed" children were allowed to leave a home if they were uncomfortable with the placement.
The plan had failures and critics, but there were many success stories as well. Many children placed in the program grew up to become productive citizens. The Children's Aid Society (CAS), the most well-known organization responsible for finding homes for children, made every effort to screen the host families, and follow up on the welfare of placed children. By 1909, at the first White House Conference on Dependent Children, the country's top social reformers praised the CAS' emigration movement, but argued that children should either be kept with their natal families or, if they were removed as a result of parental neglect or abuse, every effort should be made to place the child in a foster home nearby. In a report in 1910, the Children? Aid Society estimated that 87 percent of children placed through ?rphan trainshad done well. While there were occasional abuses of children placed in the foster families, most people agreed that over all, the children were better off in foster care than on the streets of big cities without shelter, food, clothes or health care.
By 1920, the CAS and approximately 1500 other agencies and institutions had placed approximately 150,000 children in what became known as the largest migration or resettlement of children in American history. The CAS' Orphan Train movement ended in 1929, 75 years after it had begun as a social experiment.
Charles Loring Brace served as an executive secretary of Children's Aid Society for 37 years, overseeing the foster care program. He died in 1890 from Bright's disease. After his death, the Brace Memorial Farm was created for street children to learn farm skills, manners, and personal social skills to help prepare them for life on their own.
In popular culture
*The song by Utah Phillips called "Orphan Train" has been performed by numerous modern bluegrass singers. [ [http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/folk-song-lyrics/Orphan_Train.htm "Orphan Train" Lyrics] ]
*The book "Gratefully Yours" describes a nine-year-old girl's feelings about her new family who adopt her from the orphan train. [ [http://www.mcpl.lib.mo.us/readers/awards/juv/mt-master.pdf "Mark Twain Award Master List 1971-2006"] ]
*There is a ballet entitled "Orphan Train" presented by [http://www.covenantdance.com Covenant Ballet Theatre of Brooklyn] , which tells the story of Brace and shows stories of orphans on the train. It is choreographed by [http://covenantdance.com/cbtartisitcdirector.html Marla Hirokawa] .
*Authors Al and Joanna Lacy have written an " [http://www.amazon.com/Little-Sparrows-Orphan-Trains-Trilogy/dp/1590520637 Orphan Trains Trilogy] ", depicting the lives of fictional orphans.
*The ballad "Rider On An Orphan Train", written by David Massengill, describes the inevitable tragedy of the separation of siblings in spite of the efforts to keep brothers and sisters together.
* Timeline of children's rights in the United States
* [http://www.childrensaidsociety.org/ The Children's Aid Society]
* [http://www.alhn.org/~ahtopabp/orphanages/ Orphans' stories]
*America Past and Present Online-Charles Loring Brace, The Life of The Street Rats (1872) Available:http://occawlonline.pearsoned.com/bookbind/pubbooks/nash5e_awl/medialib/timeline/docs/sources/theme_primarysources_Labor_3.html
*End Child Abuse- Champion of Children: Charles Loring Brace Available:http://www.childabuse.org/champions2.htm
*Graham, Janet & Gray, Edward.(1995). "The Orphan Trains". A one-hour documentary film based on exclusive access to the CAS archives using original research: Brace's diaries, letters from children, agents and interviews with "riders." Distributed by PBS DVD/Video @ http://www.shoppbs.org
*Jackson, Dave & Jackson, Netta (2001) Charles Loring Brace, The Founder of The Orphan Trains. Available:http://trailblazerbooks.com/books/roundup/Roundup-bio.html
*O'Connor, Stephen. (2001). Orphan Trains: The Story of Charles Loring Brace and the Children He Saved and Failed. Available: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/hfs.cgi/00/16328.ctl
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