Newsboys' Strike: 120th Anniversary - Day 1

photographer: Lewis Hine
Out after midnight selling extras. There were many young boys selling very late. Youngest boy in the group is 9 years old. Harry, age 11, Eugene and the rest were a little older. Washington, D.C
rarehistoricalphotos

"Newsboys Strike For Better Terms" 

"Newsboys Go On Strike"

"The Newsboys' Strike"


These are the headlines that appeared in The New York Daily Herald, The New York Times, The New York Daily Tribune, and The Brooklyn Daily Eagle on July 21, 1899. In the grand scheme of current events, this was a minor blip. The papers were daily regaled with numerous, ongoing strike events around the city and the country. So, the newsboys striking wouldn't normally have raised many eyebrows. I think what captured the attention of New York City and beyond was how quickly it grew and how many newsies were involved. (And just to set things straight, it wasn't just boys, there were newsgirls too!)

Who were these kids peddling newspapers? In the book Kids At Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor, the author, Russell Freedman, explains, 

"Working children were seen everywhere in America's cities. They sold newspapers, shined shoes, ran errands, delivered packages, hauled firewood, coal, and ice, and labored in sweatshops. People passing by took it for granted that a kid at work on the street was helping to support a widowed mother or an ailing parent. 

"Some of these children were in business for themselves. Kids peddled flowers, shoelaces, ribbons, and candy from boxes set up on street corners...Newsboys and on occasional newsgirl hawked theird papers form curbs and corners, shouting, 'Extra! Extra! read all about it!' Some of the youngsters photographed by Lewis Hine had been selling newspapers on street corners since they were six or seven years old. 

"These 'newsies' received no salary or commission. They paid cash for each armload of newspapers, and took the loss for any papers they couldn't sell. Groups of newsies gathered at newspaper offices in the middle of the night, waiting for the early-morning editions to roll off the presses. Then each of them staked out a territory that was forbidden to others...

"Many of these street kids lived in poverty, never went to school, and had no real home. In New York City alone, thousands of homeless working children - orphans and runaways - lived in shelters run by the Children's Aid Society. For a few cents a day, a child could pay for a dormitory bunk, a breakfast of bread and coffee, and a supper of pork and beans. The society operated five lodging houses for boys in New York, and one for girls."

In a report I found, they claimed that many newsboys were regular kids from regular families, that they had to attend school, and the only way they could get a permit to sell newspapers was to get something signed by their school principal saying they were capable of carrying out the work of a newsy - after school.

I'm sure the reality is that newsies comprised a mix of the two - runaways, orphans, and kids in families helping out after school hours, much like Disney portrays in Newsies

We can get to know a few of these kids through the newspaper articles and interviews from the summer of 1899, some of whom were pretty cheeky! 

So, without further ado: The articles.
*A quick note - I printed all of these articles from a microfilm machine back in 2000. A lot of articles turned out fine, but others were originally blurry, too dark or too light, and it was very tricky to get a clear picture. So, keep in mind that I did my best!

**Please respect all my hard work and investment. Please do not copy, store, or share these photos elsewhere without permission and proper linking back to this blog as well as correctly referencing where all the articles come from. Without the references, they pretty much become useless.
Thank you!


BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
21 July 1899
part 1

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
21 July 1899
part 2


NEW YORK DAILY HERALD
New York Daily Herald
21 July 1899
part 1

New York Daily Herald
21 July 1899
part 2

New York Daily Herald
21 July 1899
part 3

New York Daily Herald
21 July 1899
part 4

New York Daily Herald
21 July 1899
part 5


NEW YORK TIMES

New York Times
21 July 1899
part 1

New York Times
21 July 1899
part 2

NEW YORK TRIBUNE

New York Tribune
21 July 1899
part 1
Jennie the newsgirl comes to the rescue!
New York Tribune
21 July 1899
part 2

Join me tomorrow for Day 2 of the Newsboys' Strike Anniversary!

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