July 22, 1899: “Boy Strikers Sweep the City”

Boy Strikers Sweep the City

Last District, That About Grand Central Station, Went Over to Ranks of Boycotters To-day.

No More “Yellows” Sold on the Bridge

Few Lingering Venders of the Evening World and Evening Journal Won Over to Victor’s Side.

New Jersey Towns Follow
Strike Against War Time Prices for Slow Selling “Extras” Now Extends to Elizabeth.
Boys Turn to Literature
Are Getting Out Sidewalk “Specials” and Distributing Circulars.


The newsboys’ strike is now general. Every newsboy in the city is now “out” against the “yellow” extras, according to the latest returns.

Last of all the “newsies” to join the strike were those of the Grand Central Station, who declared against the yellow papers to-day. There are from fifty to seventy-five newsboys about the station and each has his own particular district.

One of them explained that they hadn’t heard about the strike until after all the others had gone out and then they at once decided to go out in a body.

not an Evening World or Journal could be bought on the street about the station to-day for the love or [sic] money, and the wagons of the boycotted papers had to slip bundles around archway leading to the trains and the rear of violence.

The strikers “laid” for the wagons as they came, and woe betide the driver who did not whip up his horse and enter at a gallop the archway leading to the trains and the rar [sic] of the station.

“The whole city is out now,” said one of the boys. “We’re the last ones to go.”

Jersey is coming to the front and Elizabeth and Hoboken have gone over to the enemy. As a result it is now almost impossible to get one of the saffron hued extras within miles of the offices of the boycotted sheets.

There is one little strip of territory that furnishes a more or less uncertain exception to this rule. At the Brooklyn bridge the “yellow” papers can be bought if one is brave and doesn’t mind facing a shower of sticks and stones.

Still but one youth had the temerity to sell Worlds or Journals there to-day, and he was a strapping big lad of some sixteen summers. He stood at the end of the Bridge with his sleeves rolled up to his elbow and filled the air with rancous yells.

A dozen small strikers clustered around him and endeavored to drown out his voice. They carried TELEGRAMS and sold them under the lusty youth’s nose. Five or six policemen stood close by to see that no general mix-up resulted.

Jersey City, Newark, Hoboken, Manhattan from end ot end, and Brooklyn from the Bridge entrance to Long Island City are overrun with the strikers and placarded with mottoes urging the public not to buy the Evening World or Evening Journal.

Of course a normal person doesn’t require much coaxing to let the things alone, and the boys are accordingly having the easiest kind of a victory.

An attempt was made this morning to break the boycott in Jersey City. A fat man went across on one of the ferries with a bundle of papers. he got them across all right, but after he got there he had to sit on them to keep the boys from tearing them to shreds.

He kept his papers, but he had to continue to sit on them to do it.

The first “War Extra” of the striking newsboys was issued at an early hour to-day in Heral square. There was only one copy of it, and that was not printed in either red, white or blue ink.

It was a four-sheet extra, covering four spacious flagstones at the corner of Thirty-fourth street and Broadway, and was printed in plain white chalk.

And all who ran read, too. Crowds gathered about the “extra” during the morning and perused its interesting columns.

The general text of the war extra was as follows:ā€”

Boycott the Evening World and
We want 50 cents a hundred or nothing.

World & Journal. Scab Papers for
The Only Way to Help the Boys Out
is to Buy the EVENING TELEGRAM.”

A little handbill, printed in two colors, was distributed about the streets. The body of the epistle is in black, but the words “World” and “journal” are in the yellowest yellow, and in a type suggestive of te less excited heads in the two tabooed sheets. The circular reads as follows:ā€”

to get a fair play by not buying the
or the
Don not ask for the
News Boys’ Union.

Word was passed downtown to Park Row, and the two or three hundred newsboys gathered there cheered the war extra of their uptown brethren.

there was nothing in sight at the seat of war this morning, but the EVENING TELEGRAM. It sold like hot cakes, and the youngsters could scarcely supply the demand.

One of the procession of newsboys, a leader, who took part in the parade about Herald square, was forced to pay for his loyalty to the cause of labor in Jefferson Market Police Court to-day. Policeman Burke, who arrested teh striker, who is twenty-one years old, said that his prisoner had allowed his enthusiasm and zealous desire to better the condition of the newspaper venders to lead him to acts of lawlessness.

The accused said his name was Edward Herbert, and that his home was a No. 196 West [???] street.

Herbert, it seems, had repeatedly pulled papers which are boycotted by the boy strikers out of the hands of persons who had paid for them. In several cases, Burke testified, Herbert jumped aboard cars to snatch papers out of the hands of passengers. He was fined $5.

Source: “Boy Strikers Sweep the City.” Evening Telegram, 22 July 1899, p. 3.