July 25, 1899: “Newsboy Strike Gains Ground”

Newsboy Strike Gains Ground

Boys Cease Hindering Men Who Sell Boycotted Wares, but Customers Are Few.

Depend Upon the Public

Tie-Up Extends to Many Suburbs, and All Regular Stands Have Fallen Into Line.

Police Find Little To Do
Evening World and Evening Journal Venders Unmolested To-Day.


A new influence made itself felt in the newsboys’ strike to-day and its appearance made violent measures unnecessary.

The full grown me hired to sell copies of the Evening World and Evening Journal were permitted to go about their business unmolested.

But they were unable to do any business.

The boycott instituted by the newsboys has been suddenly taken up by the public, and copies of the two tabooed newspapers are nowhere in demand.

So the strikers enjoyed a rest to-day. They kept an eye o the men who held the boycotted newspapers, but did not attempt as a rule to interfere with a sale.

It was unnecessary. Nobody wanted the two papers in question, and those who did were so few in number that no noticeable decrease was to be observed in the bundles of the boycotted newspapers offered for sale.

Policemen station in front of the World and Journal offices and in the Wall street district had little or nothing to do. Their charges were not molested for the reason that they hampered the progress of the strike not at all. Persistently they cried their wares, but to no avail.

All the strikers within a radius of twenty blocks were jubilant over the success of their efforts. They gathered in groups about every bearded “newsboys” handling Worlds and Journals and jeered every sale. They had few opportunities to jeer, however.

With their backs against the World and Journal buildings, several men stood throughout the day offering their wares to the public. But the public did not respond. Had they gone out into the street the result would have been the same. They would have encountered no interference. But they were loath to leave their points of vantage.

As the early “red-headed extras” appeared, the World and Journal wagons were guarded by seven and eight men each. The guard was superfluous.

“Ah, let ’em go!” cried one of the strike leaders. “It won’t do any harm! They can’t sell anything!” And so it proved.

All the boys who have no regular districts have lost money by the strike, but say that they are ready to stick out to the end. Each day they lose less money, for they have been able to kill the demand for the boycotted sheets to a certain extent.

With the boys who have regular posts it is different. They have lost nothing. Each one of them has a personal following. Whatever may have been the previous taste of the newspaper buyer in such cases, the customer is willing to take what merchandise the vender has to offer.

Especially is this true of the district in with the Grand Central Station is located. The customers as well as teh newsboys have boycotted the two papers in question.

Many stands with ample police protection, hidden away in corners to which the striking newsboys are unable to penetrate, refuse, nevertheless, to handle Evening Worlds or Evening Journals.

The proprietors of these stands say that it is to their best interests to do so, in the long run. They might make extra profits, but these would not last, they say. Moreover, they say the demand for the two papers in question has been created only by “floating” customers.

The strike has undoubtedly gained in significance through the assistance of what are known as the “established stands.” These stands are the levers in the whole affair.

Not a copy of the tabooed newspapers was to be found at the Rector street, South Ferry, thirty-fourth street, Forty-second street and 125th street stands to-day and all along the line of the New York Central, the Harlem branch and the New York, New Haven and Hartford the boycott is in force.

On the New York Central the boycott is in force all the way up to Tarrytown. On the New Haven road it is next to impossible for the boycotted papers to do any business this side of Larchmont. At Greenwich, several miles further, the demand, always slight, has dwindled to nothing.

On the Harlem branch of the New York Central the boycotted papers are not to be purchased this side of Mount Vernon.

In this city the newsboys have achieved a moral victory, having dissuaded the balance of Manhattanites from buying the boycotted papers.

The utterances at the big meeting last night were strongly prophetic, and the admonitions to cease violent demonstrations have been headed.

Much of the strike literature is no longer to be had. It is no longer needed, the boys said. They have won over all the important districts in the greater city. The others are not worth bothering about, it is claimed.

Neither of the boycotted papers as as yet come to time. Both refuse to arbitrate and the newsboys are confident as ever of victory, complete and overwhelming.

The meeting of the newsboys at New Irving Hall, No. 214 Broome street, was an unequivocal success, if numbers and enthusiasm go for anything. There were speeches and to spare. Speeches were made by half a score of picturesque characters, from “Crazy Arburn” to “Kid Blink,” the leader of the Manhattan strikers, and “Race Track Higgins.” It was a question which of these latter really carried off the oratorical honors.

Higgins proved something of a humorist and a tale of his about a man who refused $2 to attempt to sell the Evening World because a guarantee for the payment of hospital expenses did not go with the offer, was well received.

“Kid Blink,” however, got away with the honors, materially speaking. He called at the office of the EVENING TELEGRAM to-day to display the big floral horseshoe which he won for his presentation of the youthful strikers’ case. The “Kid” as accompanied by a committee made up of “Crooked Mouth” Max, “Young” Hawkeye and “Young” Fisher, and had a deal to say about to-day’s plans.

As announced from the platform at the meeting last night Chief Devery refused to give the boys a permit for a parade. To-day, the strike leader said, Dave Simon would call on Mayor Van Wyek and endeavor to secure a permit for a parade to-morrow night.

Meanwhile, according to the “Kid,” everything is progressing most favorably for the strikers. When asked what their plans were for to-day—what they were going to do, the “Kid” responded naively:—

“We’re going to do everything.”

He went on to say that this morning they had the two-dollar-a-day men hired by the tabooed yellows to force those sheets upon an apathetic public “driven to the doorways.”

Last night, he said, twelve of these hirelings were sent to Hoboken. “Young” Maloney was sent along to keep an eye on teh mercenaries. He came back with the report that the twelve took in twenty-two cents on their stock of five hundred papers, and had to telephone the yellow offices for ferry fare back to the city.

The followng letters have been received:—


We are going to make things come to life again, as we did in bygone days and we ain’t going to give up until we who them what kind of blood we got in our american [sic] bodies. We are loosing time and money every day and and are willing to loose our lives if necessary to win our rights.

We do not to wish to be fighting every day but we are gong to defend ourselves no matter what kind of people they send up or where they come from, or what they are, to distribute the yellow papers. We ain’t look for reparitions like the people that is working on them two yellow papers. but like all the American Newsboys did and all ways will.

We are all looking for our rights now [?] and all join in and do the best you can and stick to one another no matter what kind of people they send up, fight them and send them back.


I write to inform you that there are several boys selling the yellow edition of the New York World and journal ant the 161st street station, Third avenue. Please tell the newsboys about it.

No. 3,204 Third avenue, New York, July 24, 1899.

Source: “Newsboy Strike Gains Ground.” Evening Telegram, 25 July 1899, p. 3.