Real 1899 Newsie Articles

   These are REAL articles that were written in the summer of 1899, all about the real newsboys's strike. If you read carefully, you can find the names of the newsies. -Ellis

The New York Times... Friday, July 21, 1899

They Want the Old Price of Two Evening Newspapers Restored

Friday, July 21, 1899.

"All about de newsboys' strike!" was the cry that greeted pedestrians along Park Row yesterday as the small vendors pushed toward them bunches of afternoon sheets. "We sell 'em all 'cept World 'n Journal," they shouted.

The strike of the newsboys was due to the fact that The Evening World and Evening Journal would not reduce their price from 60 to 50 cents per hundred. The price was raised to 60 cents at the outbreak of the war when papers were in great demand, and the newsboys thought it time it was lowered. Word was circulated Wednesday night that there was to be a general strike the next morning, and before noon the fun had begun in earnest. Cries of "Scab! scab!" followed the few who dared to handle the forbidden papers, and before long few of them were to be found on the streets. Several affrays of minor importance resulted from the affair.

In the Wall Street district the strike was voted a nuisance by many because of the noisy demonstrations for which the most important business points were selected. During the morning many boys attempted to sell Evening Worlds and Journals all over the financial quarter, and a dozen scrimmages at one moment were features of Wall, Broad, and lower Nassau Streets. The strikers won in every instance, and many of the papers at which the strike was aimed were torn up and littered the pavements.

The police appeared to have been called away to trolley strike duty, as there was little interference with the boys except at the places where the wagons made deliveries. Here the crowds of striking boys were scattered. They claimed that only a few papers were sold. It was, however, possible to obtain copies of the boycotted newspapers in many places, but the vendors of them were as a rule stalwart youths able to cope with any mob of small boys.

At the Custom House the boys were encouraged to further endeavor to secure financial recognition of the cause by a looker-on throwing among them a handful of small change to be scrambled for. The zeal of the youngsters to secure the money was so riotous that pennies, nickels, dimes and even quarters were showered on the demonstrators from sidewalks and windows. In this way the strikers pocketed a gain far ahead of their average daily earnings.

H. H. Kuehn, a striking newsboy, fifteen years old, was arrested last night for tearing up some newspapers belonging to another boy at Thirty-fourth Street and Sixth Avenue. At the West Thirtieth Street Station House he refused to give his address. Before the Gerry Society agent arrived a number of the prisoner's comrades went to the station house with large quantities of fruit and candy for him. When Kuehn was taken to the Gerry society headquarters a large number of the boys followed him.

When the Jersey City newsboys were notified that their brethren in this city had struck they held a meeting at the ferry, at the foot of Exchange Place, and decided not to sell Journals and Worlds. The wholesale dealers tried to persuade them to abandon their resolution, but the boys were steadfast. Those who wanted Journals and Worlds could find them at some of the news stands, but no boy had them for sale.

The New York Times...Saturday, July 22, 1899

Continues with Unabated Vigor and Spasmodic Attacks on So-Called "Scabs" - Women Not Molested.

Saturday, July 22, 1899

"Please don't buy the Evening Journal and World, because the newsboys has striked."

"I ain't a scab."

These and similar notices were pinned on the hats and coats of newsboys all over the city yesterday, for the strike has spread from the Battery to the Bronx, and even across the Brooklyn Bridge. The Harlem newsboys have organized into a union, and a number of newsdealers there and in the Bronx have also refused to handle the barred "extries" or "uxtras."

"Dere's t'ree t'ousand of us, and we'll win sure," one of the boys declared.

Around the Journal and World offices big fellows, who perhaps inspired respect in the strikers by their stature, and who, besides, were protected by the police, offered the papers exclusively for sale. In Wall Street a crowd of boys started a parade soon after the Stock Exchange opened, but a big policeman broke it up and drove the urchins away whenever they attempted to gather. A crowd of a couple of hundred yelling youngsters paraded triumphantly along the Bowery shortly after noon and destroyed or cleared off the stock in trade on a few news stands where the boycotted papers were exposed for sale.

At Fifty-ninth Street and Ninth Avenue, which is one of the distributing points for evening paper wagons, a gang of boys gathered to demonstrate, and pelted two policemen who had been stationed there to protect the delivery carts.

Spasmodic attacks on so-called "scabs" were made during the day, notably in proximity to the World and Journal offices. The few weary-looking women who sell newspapers on Park Row and at the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge apparently are not participating in the strike, for they offered all the evening papers for sale, as usual. They passed unmolested through the lines of strikers, and, indeed, mingled with the boys and offered the barred papers for sale.

This was noticed by a passerby, whose inquisitiveness gave him a wholly unexpected insight into the chivalry that evidently enters into the make-up of the newsboys. He inquired of one of them why a woman was calling extra Worlds and Journals while none of the boys was selling them.

"That's all right, boss," was the reply. "We're sorry, but we can't help it. We ain't fightin' women." The man gave him a dime.

In Harlem the boys sent a committee to see General Master Workman Parsons at his office, 110 East One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street, and asked him to be their leader. He said he was pretty busy, but would receive a delegation to-morrow if they would send one and advise them. The committee then went out and met a policeman, who drove them off.

The New York Times...Sunday, July 23, 1899

Papers Affected Declare that No Concession Is Contemplated.

Sunday, July 23, 1899

There is no change in the strike of the newsboys against the Evening World and Journal. The boys show no signs of weakening, and at the salesrooms of the newspapers affected it was declared yesterday that no concession is contemplated. The boys have had handbills printed, and these were distributed in the copies of the rival "extras," and were also pinned to the boys' hats. The handbill is worded as follows:

"Help us in our struggle to get a fair play by not buying The Journal or The World. Help us! Do not ask for The World or The Journal. Newsboys' Union."

The words Journal and World are printed in yellow ink.

A few yelling boys paraded the Wall Street district during the morning, and there were a few small scrimmages during the day with youngsters caught in the act of offering the boycotted sheets for sale, but no serious fights occurred. The women who sell newspapers on Park Row and neighborhood have now joined the strikers.

At 1 o'clock in the afternoon there was a demonstration in front of the World and Journal offices by a couple of hundred urchins, some of whom carried banners. They whistled and yelled, and hooted until Detectives Allen and Distler of the Oak Street Station charged and scattered the crowd and arrested two of the ringleaders. The prisoners said they were Albert Smith, fifteen years old, of 56 Cherry Street, and Cornelius Boyle, fourteen, of 351 Water Street.

Later in the afternoon Detective Distler and Policeman Snydecker captured two more boys who were heading a noisy gang on Park Row and carrying banners. They were Abraham Greenhouse, fourteen years old, of 35 Allen Street, and Isaac Miller, thirteen, of 163 Ludlow Street. Finally, in the evening Joseph Mulligan, seventeen years old, of 93 Summit Street, Brooklyn; Frank Desso, seventeen, of 82 Mulberry Street, and Donato Caroluci, seventeen, of 184 Twelfth Street, Jersey City, were arrested for fighting on Park Row. All seven youngsters will be arraigned in the Centre Street Court this morning.

On Friday night while a crowd of boys were bombarding a Journal delivery wagon on Fulton Street a stone smashed a big plate-glass window of a jeweler's store in Fulton Street. Yesterday a piece of paper pasted over the hole bore the words: "Dangerous; don't touch; newsboys' strike!"

The New York Times...Monday, July 24, 1899

Strikers Will Gather To-night - Senator Sullivan in Sympathy.

Monday, July 24, 1899

The striking newsboys in pursuit of their efforts to obtain better terms for selling the Evening Journal and Evening World have planned a mass meeting to be held to-night in Irving Hall, 214 Broome Street, for a general discussion of their grievances. Delegations of boys will be present from all the boroughs of Greater New York, Hoboken, and Jersey City.

Senator Sullivan has in a signed letter to the strikers' Executive Committee, expressed his deep sympathy with the boys, and has promised to be present to-night to address the meeting. "Scotty" Lavelle, "the King of Chinatown," will also say a few words, as will also ex-Alderman Patrick Farley.

Among the well-known members of the striking fraternity who will state the grievances of the newsboys are "Little Mike," the "Newsboy Orator," and "Crazy" Arborn. The latter is one of the most prosperous newsboys in the business, and on Saturday he bought 1,500 pretzels and distributed them among the hungry strikers.

Application will be made to Mayor Van Wyck to-day for permission to parade to the hall to-night, when if the permit is granted, the strike leaders claim 5,000 boys will be in line. The strike is now in the hands of an Executive Committee composed of "Jim Gaiety", "Young Monix," "Barney Peanuts," "Crutch" Morris, "Crazy" Arborn, David Simons, "Scabutch" and "Blind Diamond."

The New York Times...Tuesday, July 25, 1899

Strikers Beat Grown-Up Boys and Men Selling the Boycotted Papers, and Tear the Papers to Pieces.

Tuesday, July 25, 1899

The striking newsboys held a rousing mass meeting in New Irving Hall, on Broome Street, near Norfolk Street, last night. They were to have had a parade with a band of music prior to the meeting, but for reasons explained at the meeting by "Racetrack Higgins" this feature of the demonstration was abandoned. Chief of Police Devery had refused to give the necessary permit.

"Racetrack Higgins," known to race-goers, got the floor at the meeting toward the middle of a program which developed no little oratorical talent among the boys. "Friends, Ladies, and Fellow-Strikers," the lad began. And then he related how he had gone to the Chief of Police for a permit to parade with band music.

"Mr. Devery says to me," said he, "'go away, you slob,' and I says, 'Mr. Devery, don't call me a slob. I'm trying to make my living. I ain't so high in office as you, but some day I may be higher.'"

If the newsboys present could have had a vote last night, "Race Track Higgins" could have had any office in their gift, unless, perhaps, Dewey should have wanted it. Pandemonium of the kind that 2,000 newsboys, packed like sardines in a close hall can make, broke loose.

"Stick by me," cried out the speaker, when the Chairman and some twenty Assistant Chairmen had rapped and shouted for order and threatened to disband the meeting or at least to put a dozen or so over-enthusiastic boys out of the hall; "stick by me, as your Chairman stuck this afternoon, and as he's spoke to-night, and we well win out before Dewey comes home."

"Three cheers for Dewey!" shouted one of the boys, and cries of "Dewey did it!" echoed through the hall, while the cheers were heartily given.

Over 3,000 boys blocked Broome Street before the meeting opened, and after the doors of the hall had been thrown open and every inch of available space, including window sills, had been filled with compressed young humanity, and the space over their heads was filled with noise, there were still 3,000 boys on the street, for they came from all directions. There were delegations from Jersey City, Brooklyn, Harlem, and all sections within the municipal limits.

The meeting was held under a call of the Newsboys' Union, and "Nick" Myers, one of the larger boys, presided. He had his hands full to carry on the meeting, for every boy had something to say, and all talked at once. Joe Bernstein, the prizefighter, helped to keep order, and several lusty-voiced sellers of newspapers sat with the Chairman and the invited speakers on the platform. L. A. Snitkin was first introduced, and after the boys had given to him what they thought a sufficiently long and loud greeting, he managed to make himself heard while he said that he represented Assemblyman "Charley" Adler, who wanted the boys to know that while he couldn't be with them, he was for them, and hoped and believed that they would win.

Frank P. Wood was next introduced as the "Well, well!" man of the baseball field. He told the boys that he was a "kid" once, and he was with them in their fight.

Ex-Assemblyman Philip Wissig's voice proved equal to the occasion, when he was called upon. He told the boys that he had sold papers in 1860, and he was proud of them for showing the spirit they did in fighting for their rights.

"You are only the rising generation," said he, "and if the older ones can't support you, they can at least treat you fairly. Now keep up the fight. Don't violate the law; don't use dynamite, but stick together and you will win."

A big floral horseshoe was presently brought out onto the stage, a gift from Mr. John J. Foley, to be given to the newsboy making the best speech.

"Mr. Symonds, President of the union," the Chairman next announced, and a typical-looking newsboy stepped forward and read a set of resolutions calling upon newsdealers and advertisers to assist the boys in their strike. The boys got noisily restive during the reading, and the Chairman, rapping for order, said: "Don't forget that this gentleman is the President of the Newsboys' Union."

Mr. Brennan, introduced as the oldest war horse in the business, told the strikers that they had the sympathy of the Newsdealer's Association, and that he expected the association would take action looking to their assistance, and that they might have a public meeting to-night.

"Bob Indian" was the name by which the next newsboy speaker was known. He told how a committee went to Mr. Hearst and the owner of the Journal told them he couldn't afford to sell the paper for less. "Bob Indian" said: "You see, he loses $100,000 a year."

The Chairman at this stage requested that the newspaper reporters present shouldn't quote the speakers as saying "dese" and "dose" and "youse."

"Kid Blink," an undersized boy, one of whose eyes is blind, was introduced as "our master workman." Kid said, ("youse" and "do'se" omitted:)

"I don't agree with you boys about going up and taking papers away from people. What we want is to stick together and not sell the Journal and World.

"Ten cents in the dollar is as much to us as it is to Mr. Hearst, the millionaire. Am I right, boys? [Shouts of applause.] We can do more with 10 cents than he can with twenty-five. Is it, boys? I don't believe in hitting the drivers of the news wagons. I don't believe in dumping the carts, same as was done in Madison Street last night. I'll tell you the truth. I was one of the boys that did it, but it ain't right. Just stick together and we'll win. If we did it in '93 we can do it in '99. Is it, boys? ["It is," came back in loud response.] Now, you all know me, boys, don't you? ["We do! We do!"] Well, we'll all go out to-morrow and stick together, and we'll win in a walk."


"Crazy Arburn" and "Annie of the Sun office," the only woman in the audience, (excepting two women reporters,) were called upon to speak. "Crazy" told how a man had attempted to bribe him with $2 to sell the "yellows."

"Annie" was interrupted by a great cheering, during which one of the Sergeants-at-arms was shouting to some unruly spirit: "Hey there, Socks, shut up, will yer?"

"Annie" was shy, but she managed to put on a bold look, and she came forward under the beaming encouragement of a representative of the Sun's staff, and said: "All I can say, boys, is to stick together and we'll win. That's all I've got to say to you."

"Hey, there," shouted the Chairman to a bunch of boys standing on the chairs, "Take life easy. Sit down and it'll come to you."

The boys sat down, and a Mr. Fitzsimmons, a newsdealer, gave some words of encouragement to the boys. "Now, here, you boys all know what you're up against, and if your intellect ain't wide enough for it to be drove in, I'll tell you. You just get these papers two for a cent or don't sell them."

Joe Kiernan, a picturesque little fellow, was put up on the Chairman's table, and he sang a song. He held his audience without any assistance from the Chairman, which led one of the young women reporters to remark that "Music hath charms."

It was pretty hard to tell whether "Kid Blink" or "Race Track Higgins" should get the horseshoe. Higgins threw some humor into his speech. He told how the Journal offered a boy $2 a day if he would sell papers, but he said "the kid wouldn't take it because the Journal refused to contract to pay hospital expenses."

The meeting broke up after a two hours' session, without a single fight and amid enthusiasm. Policemen kept order outside, but they seemed in sympathy with the boys, who appeared to give them more amusement than trouble

The New York Times...Tuesday, July 25, 1899

Tuesday, July 25, 1899

The newsboys had a busy day of it all through. At Forty-second Street and One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street, commencing shortly before noon and continuing for several hours, the most exciting scenes of the strike during the day were enacted, while at certain points in these thoroughfares the streets were fairly covered with torn copies of the Evening World and Journal.

In all their contests the youthful strikers were victorious. The conquered were men and big, strong boys who had gone in the morning to the circulating departments of The World and The Journal to answer to advertisements for 700 men to sell papers. Several hundred were hired, it was said, at $2 a day, and were directed to go to different stations where the papers were delivered to them in the regular wagons. The striking boys soon learned of these manoeuvres and arranged their forces accordingly. Although policemen were sent to many of the stations to guard to new vendors, they did not make many arrests. The boys were sudden in their attacks and quick in dodging the blue coats, who in some instances, did not seem anxious to catch the culprits.

A dozen big, strapping boys began calling The Evening World and Journal in a little after 11 o'clock yesterday in Forty-Second Street at Vanderbilt Avenue, when they were suddenly surrounded by about fifty young strikers, who soon overcame them and tore up their papers into pieces. A little later two wagons loaded with Worlds and Journals drove up. They were accompanied by about thirty men and big boys, who had come to sell the papers, and also by several big-sized inspectors to distribute the papers.

The numbers of the strikers had also increased to about 100, and the combined force of the strikers soon made an attack upon the wagons. The defenders made a vigorous resistance and struck the boys with sticks and their fists, and repeatedly repulsed them, but the youngsters as often rallied and renewed the attack.

Several of the boys got badly handled by the defenders, but nevertheless they persisted and pressed the anti-strikers sorely.

The New York Times...July 26, 1899

Strikers Pass a More Quiet Day and Few Fights Are Reported.

July 26, 1899

The newsboys' strike against The Evening World and Journal was of a less bellicose nature yesterday than it had been on Monday, and the men and big boys who had been hired to sell the papers were attacked in only a few instances.

Five men went to sell the papers at One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street and Third Avenue, and were surrounded by a mob of strikers. The opposing factions held a parley, which ended in a conditional truce for the day. The men were allowed to sell their papers to whoever asked for them, but they were not to call their wares nor to thrust them under the noses of passers-by. Thes two privileges of the trade the strikers reserved for themselves exclusively.

At Eighth Avenue and One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street several men were found selling the papers, and they defied the strikers when ordered to desist. Just as the boys were about to attack the men several policemen swooped down on them and scattered them by a few light blows of their clubs. The boys hid around the corners, and as soon as the policemen were out of sight they attacked the men and took away their papers and tore them up.

The New York Times..July 27, 1899 .

Trouble in the Ranks of the Strikers and More Papers Are Sold.

July 27, 1899

The newsboys' strike against The Evening World and Journal showed signs of weakening yesterday. More boys sold those papers without molestation, and there was some dissatisfaction among the strikers themselves.

A little before noon the strikers held a meeting in a saloon in Park Row to consider charges that "Kid" Blink and David Simonds, two of the leaders, had turned traitors, and has received as much as $400 from the managers of the boycotted newspapers to break the strike. Simonds made his appearance and asked the boys to search him to see if he had any money about him. He turned his pockets inside out and pulled his shirt out of his breeches to show that there was nothing concealed in his bosom.

A committee accompanied Simonds to ascertain whether he had really been bribed and on its return reported that Simonds was honest. Thereupon Simonds, who had been elected President of the Newsboy Union, resigned his office, and said he would work as a private in the ranks, and then made a speech advising the boys to "stick together." He was elected Treasurer, and Morris Cohen was elected President in his place.

A committee came in and reported that the business manager of The Journal has offered to compromise by charging only 50 cents instead of 60 cents per 100 papers, but the meeting decided not to accept the offer. Nevertheless a short time afterward more boys than ever were selling both Worlds and Journals.

The parade of the newsboys, which was to have taken place last night, was postponed until to-night. The reason, so Morris Cohen, the new President of the Newsboys' Union, says, is that Chief Devery did not sign the permit that Mayor Van Wyck granted. The Chief claimed six hours' notice, which under the law he is entitled to. This the boys did not give him, and he did not consider that he had sufficient time to make the necessary police arrangements.

The New York Times...July, 28, 1899

Withdrawal of the Leaders Said to Have Had Little Effect.

The newsboys, notwithstanding the defection of two of their leaders, "Kid" Blink and "Dave" Simons, have determined to continue their struggle for a decrease in price of The Evening Journal and World. It was stated last night that the fight against the two papers would be in the hands of an executive board composed of delegates from each of the boroughs. The headquarters of this board will be announced to-day.

Several members of the board stated last night that the desertion of Blink and Simons had little or no effect on the situation. The new leaders declare that there were fewer of the boycotted papers sold yesterday than on any previous day, and that the strike will be kept up indefinitely. "We ain't got no woifes and fam'lies," is the cry of the strikers.

The withdrawing of the leaders broke up the parade which the boys were to have had last night. Several hundred boys who were indignant at the action of the leaders congregated on Park Row, but having no permit for a parade they were dispersed by the police. Their numbers were continually increased, however, and between 9 and 10 o'clock the police were kept active in keeping the street clear.

There were a number of fights among the boys. A policeman rushed into one group where a fight seemed imminent and placed one boy under arrest. He proved to be "Kid Blink" himself, and the object of a threatened attack. The merits of the case were not considered by the policeman, who marched Mr. "Blink" off to the Oak Street Police Station. He was shortly afterward released on bail.

The business manager of The Evening World declared last night that the backbone of the strike had been broken, and that neither paper had reduced the price from 60 cents a hundred.

At a meeting of the Newsdealers and Stationers' Association last evening resolutions were adopted supporting the boys in their strike.

Chief Devery sent out a communication to the precinct commanders, saying he was informed the delivery wagons of The World and Journal are being constantly interfered with. The Chief announces his intention to hold the Captains personally responsible for any further depredations of this sort.

The New York Times...August 3, 1899

Elect a Man as Leader and Will Divide City Into Districts.

August 3, 1899

There was a rally of newsboys at Gardner's Hall, at 21 Suffolk Street, last evening, to organize a new union and elect new officers. Abraham Lippman, who has a newsstand at Canal and Essex Streets, called the meeting to order. He is a grown-up man, and for some time he ran the meeting much to the disgust of Simon Levy, who was trying to wedge in a word without success.

After some skirmishing the boys accepted a suggestion of Lippman's to have a full-grown man for a President, and elected James G. Neill, fifty years old. President Neill, in making his inauguration speech, said that the price maintained by some of the evening papers virtually imposed a tax on newsboys and newsmen, and the latter could not transfer the tax to the public as other dealers did the war tax.

Mr. Neill suggested that all union boys should wear badges, and become affiliated with other labor organizations. He proposed that the city should be divided into districts and send delegates to a central union. The meeting adopted Mr. Neill's suggestions.

Other officers were elected as follows: Vice President - "Racetrack" Higgins of Brooklyn; Secretary - Abe Cutler; Treasurer - Dave Ruben of Bleecker Street and the Bowery; Sergeant at Arms - "Yellow" Simon Levy. John Masin was elected head Captain, and will select his district Captains. A floral horseshoe was sent by William Reese, the colored lemonade seller in Printing House Square, for the best orator of the day. It was won by George J. Fabian.

The New York Times...August 1, 1899

Held for Trial on Charges Growing Out of a Meeting with World and Journal Representatives.

August 1, 1899

Before Magistrate Mott, in the Centre Street Court, yesterday, Edward Fitzgerald of 483 East One Hundred and Twenty-second Street; Henry Butler of 435 One Hundred and Fifteenth Street; and "Jack" Harney of 82 West One Hundred and Fifth Street, all newsboys, were charged with extortion and blackmail. The complainants against the boys were Edward H. Harris of The Evening Journal and Patrick F. Duff of The Evening World.

They alleged that the three lads, in company with another named Seeley, who escaped, called at Mr. Duff's office, at 11 Frankfort Street, yesterday afternoon and offered for the sum of $600 to call off the strike from Yorkville to the Borough of the Bronx. They said, it is alleged, that if they did not get the money they would make the strike stronger than ever, as they could get money to carry it on from some of the opposition dailies which were being benefitted by the strike.

It was stated that the boys' proposition was overheard by Detective Distle of the Oak Street Station, and that he started to place them under arrest, when Butler and Seeley jumped out of a rear window to a roof ten feet below and made their way to the ground by the aid of the leader pipe. The detective followed the boys and succeeded in arresting Butler, but did not get Seeley. He then arrested the other two and took them before the Magistrate.

When the lads were arraigned they denied emphatically the charge against them. Fitzgerald stated that they had come downtown on business, and had been approached by "Kid Blink," who asked them to go up to Mr. Duff's office and talk over the strike. When they went in the office Mr. Harris was also there, and before talking Mr. Duff said he would send out for a World reporter, who it afterward developed was Detective Distle. "Kid Blink" was also present.

The proposition was then made to them, alleged Fitzgerald, that for $600 they should endeavor to abate the strike. He said further that $10 was placed in his hand, but that it remained there only for a second, disappearing mysteriously, and at the same instant he was placed under arrest.

After hearing the boys' side of the case, Magistrate Mott held them for trial, fixing the bail at $1,000 each. Fitzgerald said afterward that the proposition of the newspaper men was that they should work among the boys in the down-town districts in an endeavor to get them to give up.