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The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In 1904, New York nuns brought forty Irish orphans to a remote Arizona mining camp, to be placed with Catholic families. The Catholic families were Mexican, as was the majority of the population. Soon the town's Anglos, furious at this "interracial" transgression, formed a vigilante squad that kidnapped the children and nearly lynched the nuns and the local priest. The Catholic Church sued to get its wards back, but all the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, ruled in favor of the vigilantes.

The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction tells this disturbing and dramatic tale to illuminate the creation of racial boundaries along the Mexican border. Clifton/Morenci, Arizona, was a "wild West" boomtown, where the mines and smelters pulled in thousands of Mexican immigrant workers. Racial walls hardened as the mines became big business and whiteness became a marker of superiority. These already volatile race and class relations produced passions that erupted in the "orphan incident." To the Anglos of Clifton/Morenci, placing a white child with a Mexican family was tantamount to child abuse, and they saw their kidnapping as a rescue.

Women initiated both sides of this confrontation. Mexican women agreed to take in these orphans, both serving their church and asserting a maternal prerogative; Anglo women believed they had to "save" the orphans, and they organized a vigilante squad to do it. In retelling this nearly forgotten piece of American history, Linda Gordon brilliantly recreates and dissects the tangled intersection of family and racial values, in a gripping story that resonates with today's conflicts over the "best interests of the child."

Synopsis:

In 1904, New York nuns brought 40 Irish orphans to a remote Arizona mining camp, to be placed with Mexican-Catholic families. The town's Anglo-Americans, furious at this "interracial" transgression, formed a vigilante squad that kidnapped the children. The church sued but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the vigilantes. Gordon tells the gripping story of this tangled intersection of family and racial values.

Synopsis:

2000 Albert J. Beveridge Award, American Historical Association

Synopsis:

Finalist, 2000 Willa Cather Literary Awards, Women Writing the West

About the Author

Linda Gordon is Professor of History at New York University. She is the author of the now classic history of birth control in America, Woman's Body, Woman's Right, and of Heroes of Their Own Lives: The Politics and History of Family Violence, winner of the Joan Kelly Prize for the best book in women's history.

Professor of History, New York University

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Cast of Principal Characters
  • October 2, 1904, Night, North Clifton, Arizona
  • September 25, 1904: Grand Central Station, New York City
  • 1. King Copper
    October 1, 1904, 6:30 p.m.: Clifton Railroad Station
  • 2. Mexicans Come to the Mines
    October 1, 1904, around 7:30 p.m.: Sacred Heart Church, Clifton
  • 3. The Priest in the Mexican Camp
    October 2, 1904, Afternoon: Morenci Square and Clifton Library Hall
  • 4. The Mexican Mothers and the Mexican Town
    October 2, 1904, Evening: The Hills of Clifton
  • 5. The Anglo Mothers and the Company Town
    October 2, 1904, Night: Clifton Hotel
  • 6. The Strike
    October 3–4, 1904: Clifton Drugstore and Library Hall, Morenci Hotel
  • 7. Vigilantism
    January 1905: Courtroom of the Arizona Territorial Supreme Court, Phoenix
  • 8. Family and Race
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
  • Maps
    • Sonoran Highlands Mining Region in 1903
    • Old Clifton and Morenci

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674005358
Author:
Gordon, Linda
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Author:
Inda
Author:
Gordon, L.
Location:
Cambridge
Subject:
Americas (North Central South West Indies)
Subject:
Ethnology
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
United States - 20th Century (1900-1945)
Subject:
US History - 20th Century
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
April 2001
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
36 halftones in one 24 page insert, 2 ma
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 23 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » Arizona
History and Social Science » Americana » Southwest
History and Social Science » Americana » Western States
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
Science and Mathematics » Agriculture » General

The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction Used Trade Paper
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Product details 432 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674005358 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In 1904, New York nuns brought 40 Irish orphans to a remote Arizona mining camp, to be placed with Mexican-Catholic families. The town's Anglo-Americans, furious at this "interracial" transgression, formed a vigilante squad that kidnapped the children. The church sued but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the vigilantes. Gordon tells the gripping story of this tangled intersection of family and racial values.
"Synopsis" by , 2000 Albert J. Beveridge Award, American Historical Association
"Synopsis" by , Finalist, 2000 Willa Cather Literary Awards, Women Writing the West
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