c.1870's albumen photograph of an orphan train holding house. These type of homes were set up in the mid-west to facilitate orphans who would be gathered together for viewing by local communities for the purpose of adoption.
They typically arrived in a town where local community leaders had assembled interested townspeople. The children would usually be put up on a stage-like podium or holding house for viewing and inspection. Children would often sing or dance to attract interest.
The townspeople would examine the kids, perhaps feeling muscles and checking teeth, and after a brief interview take the chosen one's home. Many siblings were separated during this process because the foster parents wanted to take only one child. Some children became indentured servants to their host families, while most were adopted, formally or informally, as family members.
Original Photograph measures 8' x 10 inches.