Bartlesville Public Library Hosts Historic Orphan Trains Event

The Bartlesville Public Library will host a free multimedia presentation on Monday about the historical distribution of New York City’s orphaned and unwanted children in foster homes across the United States between 1854 and 1929.

The hour-long presentation, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at BPL, 600 S. Johnstone Ave., will include a dramatic reading of Alison Moore’s novel “Riders on the Orphan Train,” a video montage with archival photographs and interviews with survivors and live music from Phillip Lancaster and Alison Moore, according to a press release.

Intended to raise awareness of the orphan train program, the presentation is part of an outreach program created by the National Orphan Train Complex Museum and Research Center.

Originally organized by the Children’s Aid Society of New York, the “Orphan Train” took more than 250,000 orphans, homeless children and children abandoned by poor parents and distributed them across the United States, placing them in the reception system and giving them to the stations. , according to a press release.

The presentation is funded by the Oklahoma Humanities Council. It’s designed for all ages and explores the history and impacts of the child resettlement program, including the 500 children it brought to Oklahoma.

Both Moore and Lancaster received the 2012 Charles Loring Brace Award for their efforts in preserving the stories of those involved in the resettlement program. An award-winning author, Moore taught English and creative writing at the University of Arizona. Lancaster studied art and music at L’Ecole De Beaux Arts in France.

In her 2012 book, which will be read as part of the presentation, Moore wrote about a fictional 12-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy who form a friendship when they are both placed on the train.

“I chose fiction as a means of exploring emotional truths often overlooked in historical fact. For me, the completion of this novel is the culmination of 14 years of writing and research while touring and to get to know many Orphan Train Riders by attending national meetings,” Moore later wrote of his work on the novel.

“Their experiences are woven through the novel. I hope the stories of the children who rode the trains will live on through this novel for generations to come.”