August 27, 2019
Campbell County Public Library
2101 S. 4-J Road
Gillette, WY 82718
Riders on the Orphan Train
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Campbell County Public Library is pleased to host Riders on the Orphan Train. This one-hour multimedia program features live music by Phillip Lancaster and Alison Moore, a video montage with archival photographs and interviews of survivors, and a dramatic reading of the 2012 novel Riders on the Orphan Train by award-winning author Alison Moore.
Few people today know much about the largest child migration in history. Between 1854 and 1929, over 250,000 orphans and unwanted children were taken out of New York City and given away at train stations across America. Children were sent to every state in the continental United States; the last train went to Sulphur Springs, Texas in 1929. This “placing out” system was originally organized by Methodist minister Charles Loring Brace and the Children’s Aid Society of New York. His mission was to rid the streets and overcrowded orphanages of homeless children and provide them with an opportunity to find new homes. Many of the children were not orphans but “surrendered” by parents too impoverished to keep them. The New York Foundling Hospital, a Catholic organization, also sent out children to be placed in Catholic homes. This seventy-six year experiment in child relocation is filled with the entire spectrum of human emotion and reveals a great deal about the successes and failures of the American Dream.
Although the program is about children, it is designed to engage audiences of all ages and to inform, inspire and raise awareness about this little-known part of history.
This event is paid for thanks to a grant from the Wyoming Humanities Council.