Author Brings History of “Orphan Trains” to York County Library

Christina Baker Kline

Christina Baker Kline, author of the novel “Orphan Train,” will discuss the history of orphan trains in the United States on Monday, September 28 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the York County Library in Rock Hill.   A book sale and signing will follow the program.  Seating is limited and registration is required for this free program. Beginning September 9, you may call 803-981-5845 or visit, then “events and classes,” to register.

In 1850s New York City, thousands of neglected, orphaned or abandoned children were left with no formal means of support.  Seminary student Charles Loring Brace was compelled to make things better for them by sending them to new lives in the Midwest.  His Children's Aid Society arranged “orphan trains” from 1854-1929, transporting over 100,000 children mainly to Midwestern farms, where the extra hands were needed to help with farm chores.  Brace’s hope was that farming families would welcome the children into their homes and make them a part of their families.  Printed handbills announcing the arrival of the needy children in town drew prospective parents to community centers or town halls to examine the children and choose which, if any, would go home with them. 

“Orphan Train” was selected as a Target book club pick and was on five national bestseller lists, including the New York Times.  Kline is also the author of novels “Bird in Hand,”  “The Way Life Should Be,” “Desire Lines” and “Sweet Water.”   For more information on the author, go to