From 1859 to 1929, the emigration of an estimated 200,000 children took place in the USA----one of the largest movements of people in our history. Yet, many people in this country know nothing of the Orphan Train Era. In 1852, police estimated 10,000 homeless children lived on the streets in New York City. One thousand or more emigrants from Europe arrived daily in the city. Poverty, disease and alcoholism were common.
What to do with the homeless children? The Orphan Trains heading for the developing Mid-West were one answer.....for the next 75 years. Two organizations were closely identified with the Orphan Trains. The Children's Aid Society, founded in 1853 in New York City by the Rev. Charles Loring Brace, and the New York Foundling Hospital established by the Catholic Order of Sisters of Charity in 1869. Each sent thousands of orphans West.
Paul will tell the story of these two organizations and their placements of orphans, the story of one of the riders, my Mother, and the story of the Orphan Train Heritage Society which has preserved the stories of thousands of Orphan Train Riders.
Dr. Paul Erickson is a retired professor, San Diego State University. He grew up in Independence, MO and served as an Army Sergeant in the final months of World War II. He has a B.A. ( History) Arizona State University, an M.A. ( History) Stanford University, and an Ed.D. ( in Counseling Psychology ) University of Southern California. He is married, and has two sons. He and his wife, Marilyn, currently live at Fredericka Manor in Chula Vista. Dr. Erickson and his sister, Norma Poling, have been active members of the Orphan Train Heritage Society since it's founding in 1986.