July 24, 1899: “Sociological Students in Court”

Sociological Students in Court

They Study Newsboy Strikers, Who Show That They Appreciate the Situation

Philip W. Ayres of the Charity Organization Society, with four students of sociology from Columbia and other universities, visited the Centre Street Police Court yesterday and took front seats for the purpose of studying real criminals. The group of newsboy strikers arrested on Saturday night for attempting to organize a parade without having a permit stood inside the rail awaiting the Magistrate, and the students soon attracted their attention.

“Git on ter de bloakies wid der swell rags wot tinks we’se a circus.,” remarked “Juicy Frank” Glasso to his neighbor, Donato Carolucci, otherwise “Musty Pip,” the Jersey City delegate.

The six leaders of the “real thing” strike put their heads together and then quietly sidled closer to Mr. Ayres and his students. Then, at a sign from “Musty Pip,” the six remarked simultaneously “Rubber!” loud enough to be heard in the street. The Magistrate’s gavel came down with a bang, and the boys shrunk back to the protection of policeman Allen.

“This will never do,” said Mr. Ayres to his disciples. “We must obtain another place.”

He then wrote a note to Magistrate Mott as follows:

Dear Sir—A group of students consisting of four persons, graduates from several of the leading university and representing the philanthropic work of different States and cities, are making studies in social conditions and desire to observe the operations of your court as one of the most interesting and profitable lessons in city administration. May we come closer?

Philip W. Ayres,
Assistant Secretary

On receiving the note Magistrate Mott order that the party be admitted within the rail. They immediately began a scientific examination of the boy strikers. “Types of degeneracy, every one,” remarked Mr. Ayres as he felt the bumps on the head of one of the boys. “Most interesting! Combativeness remarkably developed.”

“Wot’s dat?” asked the boy. “Be you’se goin’ ter write a book about de strike? I’m Timblefinger Joe, de delegate from de Borough of Kings. Kin I git one uv youse ter take a note ter Bun-Faced Ben an’ me udder pals? We wants ter git out in time fer de p’rade termorrow night.”

No offer to set as messenger was received. A few minutes later the newsboys were taken before the Magistrate and fined $5 each.

Nelly O’Malley was arraigned for being drunk and disorderly.

“I’ve just come from Joisy City, your Honor, an’ I was looking for work when I was arrested,” she said. “I never was arrested before and I have a sick mother an’ two babies.”

“One month,” said the Magistrate.

“What a sad case,” remarked one of the students. “Can’t we do something for that woman, Mr. Ayres?”

“After a longer experience you will learn that such women do not always tell the truth,” answered Mr. Ayres. “I think we have obtained a sufficient knowledge of this class of persons. Let us pursue our investigation futher.”

After thanking the Magistrate they left the building and went to see the Bowery.