“The Orphan Train” Stops in Emerson!

Heritage of Emerson recently received Humanities Nebraska speaker, Charlotte Endorf presenting “Excess Baggage- The Orphan Train”. The event hosted a large group of community members including the Emerson Hubbard 4th Grade Elementary Class. This community wide intergenerational event was both entertaining and educational. The community of Emerson has personal interest in the orphan train as one of its long standing community members arrived as an orphan on the train to Emerson. The topic hit home to many residents as some recalled the train coming to Emerson.

This presentation was made possible by Humanities Nebraska, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, and The Emerson Betterment Committee. As part of the HN Speakers Bureau. It was the first of three Humanities Nebraska events that Heritage is hosting this year. Heritage has been and will be celebrating Nebraska’s 150 years of statehood all year.

Charlotte Endorf traveled more than 15,000 miles, seeking the last surviving riders and descendants to document the real-life stories of the children who rode the Orphan Trains between the years 1854 and 1929. Dressed in period attire, she entertains and educates audiences of all ages about this little known Nebraska history.  She found she was related to an Orphan Train rider after thousands of miles of speaking about the subject.  Could you be too?  Charlotte wrote four books, produced two DVDs and a CD about this subject.  She took an actual 94-year-old Orphan Train rider to New York City to open her records that dated back to 1917.  The rider, who lived to be 100, traveled about 100,000 miles with her as she spoke.  She was one of the last of the Orphan Train riders Charlotte knew, and is sorry to note that she died in 2014.  This talk is great for many purposes, including women’s club meetings, libraries, town festivals, schools, nursing homes, and senior centers.

“Excess Baggage: Riding the Orphan Train is one of approximately 300 programs offered through the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau. The more than 165 available speakers include acclaimed scholars, writers, musicians, storytellers and folklorists on topics ranging from pioneer heritage to ethics and law to international and multicultural issues, making it the largest humanities speakers bureau in the nation.

Speakers are available to any non-profit organization in Nebraska. Each program lasts 30 minutes to an hour, plus a question –and-answer period.

The most frequent users of the HN Speakers Bureau are primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, libraries, museums and historical organizations and ethnic organizations. Humanities Nebraska sponsors the largest Speakers Bureau program in the U.S. according to the National Endowment for the Humanities.


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