Guiding Questions:

What were some of the reasons/causes of the orphan train movement?

What can the orphan train movement tell us about how immigrant children were treated during the process of "placing out" in the years 1854-1929?


Political Cartoon: Every Dog (No Distinction of Color) Has His Day, From Harper's Weekly, Vol, XXIII, No.1154, February 8, 1879

Between the years 1853-1929, over 200,000 children were placed on "orphan trains." During this series of lessons, we will explore who rode the orphan trains; what routes the trains took. We will examine what happened to the children when the train reached its final destination. Finally we will explore what purpose did the orphan trains serve for children: did they have any role in helping immigrant children assimilate to an American way of life?


Header Image: "The Orphan Trains,"as seen on as part of the American Experience: The Orphan Trains program. Photos courtsey of the Library of Congress.

Inline Image: "Group of children ready to find new homes," retrieved from Orphan Train Deport, National Orphan Train Complex, 300 Washington St., PO. Box 322
Concordia, KS 66901.