More About the Author
Inspired by her mother, one of the children of the orphan trains, Minnesota author, Renée Wendinger, embraces a scholarly non-fiction documenting an American Experience that speaks to the heart. "Extra! Extra! The Orphan Trains and Newsboys of New York," reveals the life story of orphaned, half-orphaned and runaway children of immigrant parents in nineteenth century New York. A collection of stories effectively communicates little known details about children who faced nearly insurmountable odds. From agonizing letters written by desperate mothers, to news stories of the latest train, or of newsboys looking out for each other, the humanity of individuals caught up in the sweep of history is unmistakable. The numerous archival photographs, hauntingly good!
Patricia Birch, director of the Off-Broadway musical production Orphan Train, supports this book for academic and universal readership, filled with authoritative research with compelling stories from the people who "made history" aboard the orphan trains of New York.
Last Train Home, an orphan train story, is a Dickensian historical novella about two children who rode the orphan trains. Would they be adopted by kind and loving families, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude? The story highlights the methods practiced by the two largest New York agencies sending children West by orphan trains. The Lucy Maud Montgomery(author of Anne of Green Gables)Foundation supports this book.
Renée is an orphan train author and speaker on the subject of the orphan trains and immigration experience offering a historical PowerPoint symposium to educators and schools, community and civic organizations, and libraries and historical centers. Her books complement the orations.
Renée is hon. president of Orphan Train Riders of New York organization, recipient of the New York Foundling award for history preservation and the Founders Award from the National Orphan Train Complex of Concordia, Kansas. She is an orphan train historian in the PBS documentary, West By Orphan Train. The author is an honored essayist supporting historical prose, and both books are award winning books of excellence in history gaining passage onto the Ellis Island Immigration Museum's bookshelves. Brooklyn College has developed a graduate level study course based on The Orphan Trains and Newsboys of New York, and several Sociology professors and theatre groups are using the reserve as a doctrine in social reform. Many authors, some of them best selling authors, have used Renee's knowledge and research about orphan train history in their own book writing.