Thursday, October 11, 2007

Research Journey

One of the pleasures of writing is delving into old books and searching the internet for information. Oh sure, you have to be careful not to believe everything you find on the internet, but for the most part, the information I've gleaned is pretty consistant.

My first bit of research happened at the campus library of UT at Arlington while I was at a summer institute. Stuck there for a week without much to do at night, I used the time to browse through their books. I spent most of my time trying to find information on covered bridges since I knew I wanted my hero to be an engineer working on a covered bridge project in Indiana. I didn't find as much there as I'd hoped. I did find three books on the Orphan Train, though, which pretty much mirrored most of the information I found on the internet.

However, one piece of information came to light that I'd like to share and that's the origin of the phrase, orphan train. In 1995, the PBS channel ran a program on the American Experience and referred to the practice of sending orphans on trains in search of new homes, the orphan train. The phrase "putting up for adoption" comes from the practice of placing children on boxes or platforms to display them for prospective families. These viewings would often occur at a central gathering place like an opera house or church.

In the coming weeks, I'll give you tidbits of information I've discovered that is pertinent to my particular story.

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