In 2020, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival presented "The Copper Children," a play by Karen Zacarias. The plot is based on the historical events surrounding the adoption of 40 orphans from New York by Mexican American families in Clifton in 1904.

There’s been plenty of instances in my life when I had less time to delve into the history of where I was, simply focused on the necessities of living. But in early July, the first time I visited Greenlee County, I was fascinated by the town of Clifton and its company-town neighbor, Morenci. That initial trip started a series of research, and in the process I rabbit-trailed into a fascinating story about the kidnapping of 40 children in that very area.

There seemed to be one liminal text, and I wanted to know more.


A scene from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2020 production of Karen Zacarías' play "The Copper Children."


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The story of "The Copper Children" is also recounted in New York University Professor Linda Gray's book, "The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction."

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