Brace, Charles Loring

Brace, Charles Loring,

1826–90, American clergyman and social reformer, b. Litchfield, Conn. America's pioneer children's advocate, he founded (1853) the Children's Aid Society of New York, an organization that established modern methods in child welfare. Brace was also mainly responsible for the "orphan trains" that were common in the decades just preceding and following the Civil War and lasted until about 1930. These trains transported orphans from the crowded, poverty-stricken, and disease-ridden streets of New York City to Midwestern farms and other rural locations, where they were adopted and/or obliged to work. The system improved many lives, but some of the children were exploited as free labor. This practice was the immediate predecessor of the U.S. foster carefoster care,
generally, care of children on a full-time, temporary basis by persons other than their own parents. Also known as boarding-home care, foster care is intended to offer a supportive family environment to children whose natural parents cannot raise them because of the
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 system. Among Brace's books are Short Sermons to Newsboys (1866) and Gesta Christi (1882).


See G. Trasler, In Place of Parents (1960); T. Bender, Toward an Urban Vision (1982); S. O'Connor, Orphan Trains: The Story of Charles Loring Brace and the Children He Saved and Failed (2001).

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Brace, Charles Loring

(1826–90) philanthropist; born in Litchfield, Conn. A relation of the Beechers, he was trained in theology but drawn to assisting the urban poor, particularly children. A pioneer in modern philanthropic methods, he promoted self-help, and during his tenure as founder and secretary of the New York City Children's Aid Society (1853–90), he assisted more than 100,000 immigrant children in finding homes and jobs. Resourceful and tolerant, he gained an international reputation and counted as friends many well-known thinkers and social activists of his time.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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