July 20, 1899: “Newsboys Strike Against Two Papers”

Newsboys Strike Against Two Papers

Decline to Sell Park Row Publications and Mob Those Who Offer to Sell.

Seek Reduction in Price

Long Standing Grievance Again Comes to the Front and Boys Declare for a Finish Fight.

Strikers Tear Up the Papers
Solitary Policeman Vainly Endeavers to hold Them in Check.


The newsboys are on strike. Park row and Frankfort street is the storm centre and the Evening World and the Evening Journal are tied up. They wouldn’t reduce the price for papers from sixty to fifty cents per hundred and the “newsies” decided it was time to strike a blow for their “rights.”

Managers of the Evening World and Evening Journal scoffed at the newsboys’ ultimatum and to-day they are having a difficult job in putting their papers in circulation.

This strike has been impending for a long time, and now that it is son the boys say they are in for a finish fight. There were a number of finish fights on Park row to-day. The strikers led the fighting, and those who had the temerity to “take out” Worlds and Journals were finished.

The strikers have opened headquarters in “Frankfurter John’s” lunch wagon. there I found District Master Workman “Muggsy” McGee, and his able lieutenants “Hunch” Maddox, the Speculator, and others. Muggsy granted me an interview.

He said the Evening World and Evening Journal, at the beginning of the war, increased their wholesale price ten cents per hundred, and since then had steadfastly refused to make a reduction. “Now we’re going to force them to,” declared “Muggsy.”

Fully three hundred newsboys refused to take out the papers mention. They hung around the publication offices and mobbed those alleged to have been imported from Brooklyn and other places to sell papers.

Pandemonium reigned in Park row. Armed with clubs the strikers threatened dire vengeance on anybody selling Evening Worlds and Evening Journals. Copies of these papers were confiscated and destroyed when seen. Only the tallest of the rebels escaped punishment. The policeman sent to keep the boys in check had his hands full.

Moses Burns, eleven years old, of No. 230 Cherry street, and John J. Alleppo, thirteen years old, of No. 58 Mulberry street, who appeared to be the leaders in the crowd, were arrested and taken before Magistrate Cornell in the Centre Street Court. They were remanded to the care of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Policeman Furlong, who arrested them, said that burns was a perfect demon, and had tried to brain another boy who wanted to sell papers.

Louis Kerllow, sixteen years old, of No. 119 East Broadway, went into the office of the Evening Journal’s distributing department. He carried a stick and began to belabor the boys who were waiting for the editions. He was taken into custody and Magistrate Cornell committed him to the Juvenile Asylum for six months.

According to the strikers the two papers are badly crippled by the lack of their services.  They asserted that the presses are not running on anything like schedule time, ad that the six o’clock edition was not on the street before one o’clock because of the large number of unsold copies of the extra double extra special night edition.

The strike has extended to Long Island City and Brooklyn.

Source: “Newsboys Strike Against Two Papers.” Evening Telegram, 20 July 1899, p. 2.