July 28, 1899: “Dealers Boycott to Aid Newsboys”

Dealers Boycott to Aid Newsboys

West Side Association Declares Sympathy with Strikers and Will Not Handle Papers.

Vote Almost Unanimous

Members Declare Boys Should Win and Appeal to Public Not to Buy Offending Publications.

Strike Still Spreading.

At two meetings of city newsdealers, held last night it was decided to support the newsboys in their strike against the Evening World and the Evening Journal. Resolutions were adopted pledging the members not to handle the boycotted papers and asking readers not to buy them.

This substantial encouragement to the strikers came at the end of an interesting day. The boys had hoped to obtain a permit from Chief of Police Devery to hold a parade, but they were disappointed. In all other respects the day was auspicious for them.

The proprietor of one of the boycotted papers, although the demand of the strikers for arbitration had been persistently refused, made it known late in the afternoon that he would consent to have the dispute submitted to arbitration. When the boys heard the news they became greatly elated, as they regarded it as strong evidence they had the best of the fight.


Another incident that caused the lads much joy was the offer of the boycotted papers to furnish papers free to boys who would sell them. About a hundred boys, following the lead of “Kid” Blink, accepted the offer, and filed in to get the papers.

Each boy was loaded with papers with the compliments of the publishers and was sent out into the byways and hedges of Park row. As soon as the boys had obtained all of the papers that were to be had free they began disposing of them. No sordid desire for gain possessed their young hearts. Instead of trying to break the backbone of the strike, the boys entered into a competition to see which could tear up his bundle of free papers first. No official record was kept, but within a few minutes after the supposedly guileless strikers had been given the papers Park row and vicinity was covered with the torn sheets.

Resolutions against the boycotted papers were adopted after several speeches had been made at the meeting of the West Side Newsdealers’ Association, held at No. 475 Ninth avenue, last night. Robert Grant, secretary of the association, called the meeting to order, and Benjamin Ackerman was made chairman. Mr. Ackerman and others spoke, explaining that the newsboys were entitled to the sympathy of the newsdealers, even though the dealers would have more to gain by discouraging the newsboys than by encouraging them. It soon became apparent that the association’s sympathies were with the strikers, and these resolutions were adopted, by an almost unanimous vote:–

Whereas the newsboys of the city of New York and vicinity are on strike against two evening newspapers, demanding that their price should be reduced from sixty to fifty cents a hundred, and

Whereas this reduction means an increase of four to five cents a day only in their profit, for the reason that the average newsboy hardly sells more than fifty papers an evening, and

Whereas the publishers of these papers could very well afford to sell their papers at fifty cents a hundred before the Spanish-American war, and only for the reason of the increased demand for papers in time of war raised their prices, thereby simply taking advantage of the poor boys, and

Whereas the striking newsboys have, by their resignation, valor and tenacity to principle, shown an example of true unified effort, well worthy of the admiration they have won, therefore,

Resolved, That we extend our most cordial sympathy to these boys;

Resolved, Not to handle the Evening World and Evening Journal until the strike is declared off by them;

Resolved, That we appeal to the readers of the papers in question not to patronize them until the strike is won.

The Brotherhood of Stationers and Newsdealers, at their meeting at No. 19 Manhattan street, also extended their hearty co-operation to the strikers. Adolph Russin, John Sinnenger and others spoke in favor of boycotting the papers against which the boys are fighting m and this resolution was adopted:–

Resolved, That the Brotherhood off Stationers and Newsdealers fully indorse [sic] the demand of the newsboys, which we consider a just one, and we pledge ourselves not to handle the papers they are fighting until a settlement is reached.


The newsboys were apprehensive again yesterday lest the ones they had honored with the title of “leaders” should undertake to end the strike by private arbitration. “Kid” Blink, by appearing in a new suit of clothes, with straw hat and russet shoes, aroused the envy of many of his colleagues. But when the “Kid” was later arrested and taken to the Oak street station because of his enthusiasm in the cause, he was restored to the favor of the boys. Other leaders, it was reported last night, might attempt to take the strikers into the enemy’s country this morning, but if they do, it was said, the effort will fail and some new born leader, probably “Bob Indian” Stone, will be placed at the head of the strike.

The newsboys issued another announcement to the public last night. It read:–

“Special Extra! $50 reward for any newsboy caught selling the boycotted papers. By order Strike Committer, Newsboys’ Union.”

The strike showed no signs of weakening outside the city yesterday. It expended to Danbury and other places in Connecticut.

Source: “Dealers Boycott to Aid Newsboys.” New York Herald, 28 July 1899, p. 6.