Orphan Trains program at Freeport Library

January 9, 2013

Staff Report

FREEPORT, Ill. — The emotional turmoil of an orphan dropped into a new family and community will be the topic of a program by Clark Kidder at 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 14, at Freeport Public Library, 100 E. Douglas St. Kidder’s presentation will focus on the experiences of his paternal grandmother, who was one of the thousands of orphan children brought by trains from New York City and Boston to the Midwest in the early years of the 20th century.

A resident of Janesville, Wis., Kidder is the author of Orphan Trains and Their Precious Cargo and Emily’s Story: The Brave Journey of an Orphan Train Rider. In addition, Kidder has authored some seven other books, as well as numerous articles for periodicals.

The PowerPoint program of Kidder is being sponsored by the Stephenson County Museum, Freeport Public Library and the Illinois Humanities Council. The exhibit “Stephenson County Stories: The Role of the Railroads,” currently at Freeport Public Library, is the basis for Kidder’s program. “Stephenson County Stories” is a parallel program to the exhibit “Journey Stories,” created by The Smithsonian Institution and presently on display at Freeport Public Library.

The program will allow time for questions and answers. Admission to the program is free, but attendees are asked to donate a non-perishable food item for the local food pantry. Cookies and coffee are being provided courtesy of the Freeport Public Library Foundation. The speaker will have copies of his Orphan Train-themed books for sale and signing at the program.

From the Jan. 9-15, 2013, issue

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