Episode 41: My Baby Takes the Mornin’ Train

One of the best surviving examples of oral tradition, or passing cultural information by word of mouth, are jokes. The classic story of ‘The Baby Train’ is definitely an urban legend with a punchline, even if it’s a hokey one. Jaded as we are today, it’s still easy to imagine your off-beat uncle recounting the story of a town full of babies, whose conception was inspired by having an unwanted alarm, an early morning train, and nothing better to do than… You know, make babies. Have there ever been microscopic baby booms? We’ll explore one inspired by a dead Canadian millionaire, and take a look at how seemingly trivial things like weather, can effect population growth. Join us as we take a look at the real-life baby trains carrying New York’s foundlings across America, and how they compare to this light-hearted legend.

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Interviews about those adopted from the Orphan Trains in Opelousas, Louisiana

Smithsonian Magazine – A Brief History of Children Sent Through the Mail

Really? Natural Disasters Can Influence Birthrates – NY Times

Foundling: The Story of the New York Foundling Hospital by Martin Gottlieb

Today I Found Out – Why Storks Are Associated with Delivering Babies

Kansas Collection Articles – A HISTORY OF THE ORPHAN TRAINS

National Orphan Train Complex – The New York Foundling Hospital

Cambridge Chronicle – May 21, 1887 – Stray Babies: How Metropolis Acts As Mother to the Waifs

The Christian Science Monitor – ‘Baby boxes’ help abandoned infants

New York Times – February 28, 2007 – Updating an Old Way to Leave the Baby on the Doorstep

NPR – U.N. Committee Calls For An End To Centuries-Old Practice Of ‘Baby Boxes’

The Orphan Train Movement: The History of the Program that Relocated Homeless Children Across America

How A Dead Millionaire Convinced Dozens Of Women To Have As Many Babies As Possible – FiveThirtyEight

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