July 20, 1899: “Newsboys Start A Strike.”

Newsboys Start A Strike.

Object to an increase in the Price of Two Evening Papers—Some Violence Attempted.


About three hundred newsboys employed on the Evening Journal and Evening World went on strike this morning against an increase in the price of the papers from 50 cents per hundred copies to 70 cents. The boys say that at the old price they were only able to make about 25 cents a day, and that the increase in the price to them would mean a loss of livelihood.

Frankfort street at Park row, where the distributing depots of the newspapers are, was in a pandemonium this morning soon after 9 o’clock. The striking newsboys had armed themselves with staves and sticks and they gave the policemen on duty more trouble than the strikers of the great street railroad lines. Many of the boys have been in trouble with the police on former occasions, and it was feared that they would do some mischief.

About 9:25 o’clock this morning a crowd of twenty-five of them, armed with staves, marched down Center street, cheering and shouting. They entered City Hall Park at Chambers street and were marching through the park in solid order when a policeman charged them. The signs “Keep off the Grass” were ignored in the hasty and disorderly retreat. The company was finally rallied in an alley and a new line of march to Frankfort street, the scene of hostilities, was taken up.

On arriving there a big policeman gathered up half a dozen boys in his arms. All but two of them managed to wriggle out of his grasp. The other two he took to the station house and charged them with disorderly conduct. They will be turned over to the Gerry Society.

Moses Burns, 11 years old, of 330 Cherry street, and John H. Alleppo, 13 years old, of 58 Mulberry street, who appeared to be the leaders of the strike, were taken before Magistrate Cornell in the Center street court and remanded to the care o the Gerry Society. Policeman Furlong, who arrested them, said that little Burns was a perfect demon and had tried to brain another boy who wanted to sell papers.

Louis Kerlow, 16 years old, of 159 East Broadway, went into the office of the Journal’s distributing department. He carried a stick and began to belabor the boys who were waiting for the editions. He was also taken into custody and Magistrate Cornell committed him to the Juvenile Asylum for six months.

The boys complain that the same treatment was given them during the Spanish war, when there was a big demand for the papers. After the arrest had been made the strikers cooled off considerably and adjourned to an alleyway to shoot craps.

Source: “Newsboys Start a Strike.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 20 July 1899, p. 2.