From the May 1, 1904 edition of The Sun:
“Newsboy” Josephine Beck?
As Joe Becker She Fooled the Lodging House.
She’s 14, and She Acted Like a Girl in Some Ways, but Her Sex Wasn’t Suspected Until She Had Been Sent to the Children’s Aid Society’s Kensico Farm.
Mrs. Charles F. Beck of Newark, N.J., learned yesterday of the appearance at the Newsboys’ Lodging House in this city of Joe Becker, who turned out to be a girl, and she believes that the child is her fourteen-year-old daughter Josephine, who left home on April 14.
The girl disappeared with part of her father’s and part of her brother’s clothing. In her room were found curls of her hair and the scissors with which she had cut them off.
Mrs. beck came to New York last night searching for the child, who had been sent from the lodging house to the Children’s Aid Society’s farm at Kensico and then, when her sex was discovered, returned to this city.
The officials of the society were noncommittal yesterday about the Joe who should have been Josephine, barely admitting that a girl had been at the lodging house and that she is now in one of their institutions. But the newsboys, Matron Hike and Assistant Superintendent Gordon had ideas of their own and freely expressed them.
“Just eleven days ago—to-night,” said Gordon, consulting his register, “he—er,she—came here late at night and asked for a night’s lodging. That’s not unusual. It happens every night. The only thing I noticed was high scared-like voice and eyes as pretty as a girl’s. Joe—that was the name he gave—was bashful, but lots of boys at first are.
“Now this is the pedigree of Josephine, or whatever his—or her—name is.” And Gordon produced a filled out official blank, which stated:
Name? Joseph Becker.
Born? Newark, N.J., Aug 3, 1889.
Parents? No answer.
Profession of trade? Brush maker.
Last employer? J. J. Pett.
Why not working now? Can’t get any.
Ever been in an institution? No.
How much money have you been making? Three dollars a week.
Can you read or write? Yes.
Where have you been during the last week? Roving.
Have you any friends? No.
the boy-girl got a berth in the big five cent dormitory on the third floor, and slept late the next morning. When she appeared at the superintendent’s office about 11 o’clock she asked for some kind of work, and was told to assist the janitor in cleaning up.
“That’s where my first suspicions came in,” said the janitor. “Never a boy could make a bed quick and tidy as that.”
“I just thought he was the prettiest, sweetest little boy I ever come across,” said Matron Hite. “He was so polite and he used to blush when the boys said things.”
“Gee!” said one of the newsboys in the “Waldorf” dormitory, so called because there are a chair and a little locker for each bed and because the cost is 15 cents the night. “Gee! That kid Joe’s a girl.”
“Say, yer slow, Mike,” answered his partner, “yer slow. Half the fellers called him ‘sis.’ Pat Hanley says she gave herself dead away in the gym first time she went there. Somebody pitched a ball her way and she tried to ketch it in her lap.
“She didn’t want to mix up wid us much, ‘cept in sellin’ papers,” said another boy. “Said she wus from de country and asked Pete to show her how ter sell papers. Den she beats Pete at his own game. Say, she had us conned all right, all right. but I wouldn’t ha’ bullied her so much ef I’d ha knowed she wus a girl.”
Just what the real antecedents of Josephine are, no one seems to know. She told several tales, all of which vary and it is believed that she is a runaway girl. She gave her age at first as 15, later as 14, and it is now stated that she is 13. She is about 5 feet tall, well built, blue eyed and golden haired. Her hair was cut short and parted on one side. She had smooth, fair skin and a pretty mouth and teeth.
The youngster’s real sex, it is said, was not discovered until Wednesday, when the superintendent of the society’s farm at Kensico, where Josephine had been sent, became suspicious and asked the disguised adventuress to reveal her identity. Then she confessed.
Mrs. Bliss Dines Newsboys.
Back From Europe, She Entertains Them at the Children’s Aid Society’s Rooms.
Mrs. George F. Bliss, the newsboys’ friend, who has just returned from Europe, gave a dinner and entertainment to the city newsboys at all the different homes of the Children’s Aid Society last evening. She wanted this dinner to be on the 19th, the anniversary of the Battle of Lexington, but as this was Sunday the entertainment was postponed until last evening.
At the Newsboys’ Lodging House, 9 Duane street, about one hundred and fifty boys sat down to the dinner. Then the adjourned to the schoolroom, where there was music.
From the December 21, 1903 edition of the New York Sun:
Newsboys’ Home Fixed Up.
Changes and Betterments in the Old Duane Street Building.
From the December 18, 1903 edition of the New York Sun:
Newsboys’ Home to Reopen.
The Lodging House Has Been Refitted and the Entrance Moved.
Newsboys Who Wouldn’t Sing
Because the Lodging House Would not Let Them in Before Evening.
Charles Loring Brace, Children's Aid Society, newsboys' house, Pennsylvania Railroad, School for Homeless Boys, West Side Industrial School, West Side Lodging House, West Side Lodging House and School for Homeless Boys
From the November 25, 1903 edition of the The Sun:
Won Fine New Homes.
How the Penns. R. R. Tunnel Project Helped a Worthy Institution for Boys.
From the April 14, 1902 edition of the New York Sun:
Newsboys Eat Their Fill.
Twelve Hundred of Them Dined by Randolph Guggenheimer.
Twelve hundred newsboys from this borough and Brooklyn had a dinner at the expense of the Hon. Randolph Guggenheimer in the Newsboys’ Lodging house last night. Mr. Guggenheimer’s Brooklyn guests to the number of 500 came over in five special trolley cars. There was a car from Greenpoint, one from East New York, one from Fifth avenue and two from Borough Hall in Brooklyn.
The cars all got together at the Borough Hall plaza and came over in line, their occupants relieving the monotony of the trip by catcalls and such suggestive songs as “All I Want is Dat Chicken.” According to those who gathered in the boys for the feast, some of them from the more remote sections of Brooklyn had not been over the Bridge before in their lives. Traffic at the loops was tied up for some minutes while the boys scrambled out of the cars and formed into twos to march to the lodging house.
When the visitors reached the lodging house they were taken upstairs to the library, where the Manhattan boys were waiting. A few dark glances were exchanged. The Brooklyn boys wore white silk badges supplied by a Brooklyn newspaper. The Manhattan boys didn’t have any badges. Some of them looked as though the Brooklyn boys wouldn’t have badges if they were outside.
The Brooklyn boys were kept in one end of the room and the Manhattan boys in another and between them was a detail of policemen so there was “nothin’ doin’.”
Mr. Guggenheimer made a speech before they were allowed to go into the feast. To avoid any chance of trouble, the Brooklyn boys ate first. The managers said it was because the special cars were waiting for them, but the Manhattan boys took the other explanation. The Manhattan boys had to remain in the library and listen to other speeches from Edward McKay Whiting and other friends of Mr. Guggenheimer until the Brooklyn boys were fed.
After the Brooklyn boys were through they were taken upstairs and thanked Mr. Guggenheimer, who made another little speech and invited them over the Bridge again next year, an invitation they received with a shout that made the roof rattle. Then they marched to the cars and went singing and yelling back to Brooklyn.
There was plenty to go around and the Manhattan boys had their fill as well. Manhattan and Brooklyn together ate up 700 pounds of turkey, four barrels of potatoes, four barrels of turnips, 300 loaves of bread and fifty quarts of ice cream.
From the March 11, 1902 edition of The Sun:
Sammy Walked Sidewise.
Joke for the Youngsters in the Newsboys’ Home, but Not for Sammy.
Sixteen-year-old Sammy Broom, who lives at the newsboys’ lodging house in East Forty-fourth street, was taken to Bellevue Hospital last night suffering from a stiffened knee, the result of inflammation of the glands between the joints, caused by a fall. The boy’s right leg was drawn backward, so that he was compelled to hobble along sidewise, like a crab. The two newsboys who took him to the hospital dragged him into the office.
“Hello, Doc,” said one of them, “we brought around Broome, de human crab. He walked backward all de way to de hospital. Hey, Broome, give de doctor a exhibition.”
“‘Taint on no funny bone,” said Broome, “it’s on my kneecap, and dat’s no joke. De bunch up in de newsboys’ says if I don’t git it hammered straight I could die in er night.”
“All right,” said the doctor, “we’ll take care of you.”
He had to chase the other boys away. They wanted to see the “human crab” walk again, they said.