Renée Wendinger is from Minnesota and is the youngest of five children. Her mother, Sophia (Kaminsky) Hillesheim, 1917 orphan train rider, was one of the children of the orphan trains taking part in a phenomenal journey from New York City to the Midwest. As an avid historian, Renée has researched the epoch of the largest mass migration of children to occur in American history for decades. Inspired by her mother to reveal the factual story of children of the immigrant poor boarding orphan trains, her books, Extra! Extra! The Orphan Trains and Newsboys of New York, and Last Train Home: An Orphan Train Story, embrace authoritive research with compelling stories from the people who “made history” aboard the orphan trains of New York.
Hon. President of Orphan Train Riders of New York Organization.
Recipient of the New York Foundling Award presented by the National Orphan Train Complex for orphan train history preservation.
Recipient of The Founders Award presented by the National Orphan Train Complex
Minnesota Historical Society winning essayist awards.
Winner of the National Indie Excellence Award in History for Extra! Extra! The Orphan Trains and Newsboys of New York and Last Train Home: An Orphan Train Story, which meet the highest standards of traditional independent publishing.
Winner of the Pinnacle Achievement Award.
A concentrated graduate level study course has been developed by New York college professors built on Wendinger’s books.
News and Broadcasts: USA Today; People, O Magazine, CBS New York; WCCO Minnesota; WVOX New York; American Radio Broadcasts, and numerous newspaper chonicles.
Supporters: The Lucy Maud Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables) Foundation, Canada; Orphan Train the Muscial theatrical director, Patricia Birch; Ann Howard Creel, American Girl book novelist; New York historians, Orphan Train Riders of New York organization, and countless others.