Orphan Train by Christina Baker KlineThe author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be delivers her most ambitious and powerful novel to date: a captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.
Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from aging out of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.
Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian arent as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life - answers that will ultimately free them both.
Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.
'Orphan Trains' Brought Homeless NYC Children to Work On Farms Out West
The orphan trains were a series of social service programs that relocated poor and homeless city children. From to , more than , children traveled by train from the East Coast to seek new homes in nearly every state in the continental United States. Many were immigrants who had recently arrived from other countries seeking a better life. Others had come from more rural parts of the U. As a result, cities were growing, and some areas, especially poor neighborhoods, were becoming extremely crowded. Many families lived in just one or two small, cramped rooms which often lacked direct sunlight or even windows. Some tenement apartments housed illegal factories, where workers sewed garments or assembled items like brooms or cigars, working long hours for low wages.
Blacking boots. Dodging angry, drunken adults. Living on the street. Now, their ragged clothes had been stripped from them and replaced with sturdy new clothing and coats by aid workers. It was time for a long journey west. They were part of what is now known as the orphan train movement, a sweeping attempt to protect homeless, poor and orphaned children in a time before social welfare or foster care. Organized by reformers in the Eastern United States, the program swept children westward in an attempt to both remove them from the squalor and poverty of the city and help provide labor for farms out west.
And yet, you are perplexed what to do. The human soul is difficult to interfere with. You hesitate how far you should go. Introduction: Between and the United States was engaged in an ambitious, and ultimately controversial, social experiment to rescue poor and homeless children, the Orphan Train Movement. While they operated, Orphan Trains moved approximately , children from cities like New York and Boston to the American West to be adopted. Many of these children were placed with parents who loved and cared for them; however others always felt out of place and some were even mistreated.
The Heartbreaking WWII Rescue That Saved 10,000 Jewish Children From the Nazis
Between and , nearly a quarter of a million orphaned children were resettled under what came to be known as the Orphan Train Movement. - Street Arabs Street Urchins
During the s, New York City was a city in the midst of rapid development. As such, it experienced serious growing pains, and one of them was the number of homeless children. A statistic from shows that during that year, there were around 20, to 30, homeless children in New York City alone, at a time when the total population of the city was merely , Many other larger cities on the East Coast had the same issue and something needed to be done. Life was not easy for homeless children at the middle of the s. Many of the children became orphans after their parents died as the result of epidemics such as typhoid, yellow fever, or flu.
The Orphan Train Movement was a supervised welfare program that transported orphaned and homeless children from crowded Eastern cities of the United States to foster homes located largely in rural areas of the Midwest. The orphan trains operated between and , relocating about , orphaned, abandoned, abused, or homeless children. Three charitable institutions, Children's Village founded by 24 philanthropists ,  the Children's Aid Society established by Charles Loring Brace and later, the New York Foundling Hospital , endeavored to help these children. The institutions were supported by wealthy donors and operated by professional staff. The three institutions developed a program that placed homeless, orphaned, and abandoned city children, who numbered an estimated 30, in New York City alone in the 's, in foster homes throughout the country. The children were transported to their new homes on trains that were labeled "orphan trains" or "baby trains".