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Charles Loring Brace dreamed of savings thousands of children living and sleeping on the streets of New York City. With a dream, a plan, and the resources and assistance from nameless supporters, those children were cleaned up, dressed up and placed on trains to be delivered to waiting new families in the midwestern states. One little girl spotting her number in the hand of a lady, screamed with delight, "There's my new mommy!"
All aboard! Our next stop is the Union Pacific Depot in Concordia, Kansas. The year is 1854, and the cargo is very precious...boys and girls ranging from infants to 18 years of age, all in need of a place to call home. When Charles Loring Brace came to New York in 1848 he was horrified by the number of vagrant children. In the early nineteenth century there were no slums in American cities. Yes, there were poor people, with rundown houses on the back streets, but nothing compared to the sight of little children roaming the streets unsupervised. The city simply grew too quickly, and a person either got in or got left behind. The classes were quite distinct with the affluent on one end and the impoverished on the other. By 1849 there were thousands of children living on the streets of New York, sleeping in alleys, abandoned buildings, or under stairs. The authorities didn’t know what to do with them. Initially the children were placed in prisons or almshouses alongside adult prisoners. By 1820 juvenile prisons and asylums were built specifically for the children, but they weren’t really any better or less harsh, after all, these children were not criminals, but merely survivalist. Charles Brace knew that this was a formula for failure. He believed that incarcerating them would only harden them in the ways of crime...
GREETINGS FROM KANSAS
FIRST DAY OF ISSUE
OCTOBER 25, 2002
NEW YORK, NY 10199
Take a trip
Read the complete article in the Bevil newsletter, which accompanies the cover when collected.