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Orphan Trains, 1854-1929

Read historical accounts of the orphan trains that brought children from New York City and the East Coast to the Midwest. Includes personal accounts, photographs, lesson plans, and booklists. There are also photographs of New York City at the beginning of the 20th century. Includes links to eThemes Resources on adoption and historical fiction writing.


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This site is filled with stories, biographies, and images of people who were part of the orphan trains that arrived in Kansas. It also includes a version of the adoption form used. Much of the reading is advanced.
View photographs taken by Lewis Hine to document tenements and child labor in New York City and other areas around the United States in the early 1900s.
This site has comprehensive information about the orphan trains including stories of orphan train riders, history of the orphan trains, and more. Click educational materials to find online resources, PowerPoint presentations, lesson plans, and more.
This is the Library of Congress' collection of U.S. rail maps.
See examples of adoption forms used for children who rode the orphan trains.
This is a list of books by children's author Joan Lowery. Includes descriptions of her books about children who rode on an orphan train. NOTE: This site contains ads.
This is the official site for a PBS documentary about orphan trains. Click on "Program Transcript" to read the interviews. Contact PBS about getting a copy of the video. NOTE: This site contains ads.
This is a lesson plan for the book "A Family Apart" by Joan Lowery Nixon. Students pretend they are a character in the book and write a letter.
Read how a Missouri eMINTS classroom had a videoconference with a New York classroom and discussed the orphan trains. NOTE: This site contains ads.
View a picture of children on a train. Read more about how the orphan train movement began.
Try this online quiz about orphan trains.
Learn more about the genre of historical fiction. There are definitions and listings of recommended children's books, plus lesson plans and classroom activities. Includes links to eThemes Resources on various historical fiction books.
These sites provide information about open and closed adoptions, adoption procedures, costs, and practices of adoption in the US as compared to foreign countries. Some sites also provide statistics regarding the most common foreign countries adoptions are from and most common ages of children adopted.

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