Orphan Train Rider

Orphan Train Rider
Oliver Nordmark - Age 15 - Esbon KS

Saturday, January 23, 2010

BIG NEWS for the history of the ORPHAN TRAINS!

The NEW YORK TIMES this morning has a story in THE ARTS section that is sure to set the orphan train world abuzz! The Historical Society is going to open a Children's Museum that will focus on the stories of children - including the children who rode the ORPHAN TRAINS from NYC to parts West! This is amazing news for all of us who desperately want to see this forgotton piece of history brought back to life for generations to come! Read more here:


My joint application, along with author Melissa Foster http://www.megansway.com/ has been submitted to the selection committee for the 2010 BALTIMORE BOOK FESTIVAL to be held September 24th, 25th and 26th in the Mt. Vernon section of Baltimore. If selected, we will be in the Literary Exhibitors area in a 10x10 booth presenting, discussing, signing and selling our books. I have also submitted an application to give a presentation in the Children's Tent on the Orphan Train Movement. This event attracts upwards of 55,000 attendees and is sure to be a great experience! Check out more about the Festival at http://www.baltimorebookfestival.com/

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Here We Go.....

As the author of two books on America's Orphan Trains, the granddaughter of an Orphan Train Rider, and a public speaker on the subject at both schools and community organizations, I have started this blog to give an estimated 250,000 children a chance to claim their place back in America's history books. Thankfully, I am not alone. The National Orphan Train Complex http://www.orphantraindepot.com/ , which opened in 2007 in Concordia Kansas, is a small museum dedicated to the history and preservation of this movement. There are several excellent books on the subject and a handful of speakers available around the country to share the story.

"Has anyone ever heard of the Orphan Trains?" It's a question that I often use to begin a presentation on the subject. The answer is almost always, "No." After hearing about the history of the Orphan Trains, I remember one woman in her 70's commenting, "I can't believe that happened in my country!" People are astounded that they have never heard of this 75 year period of migration of youth from East coast cities - mainly NYC - to farming communities in the Midwest in search of homes. How could this be? Could something that went on for all those years, touching that many children really fall from our consciousness? Yes.

In the coming weeks and months I will share with you not only the history of the Orphan Trains, but also the various efforts that are being made on behalf of all those children - of whom it is estimated less than 200 still survive. I will also blog about my upcoming book tour to Salina, Kansas in April, 2010. Sponsored by the Salina Arts and Humanities Commission, I will be speaking at 15+ schools and community gatherings as well as a fundraiser for the museum in Concordia. Stay tuned......

Donna Aviles