“Risks Life to Rescue A Newsboy”



From the New York Tribune’s April 9, 1899 edition, a daring rescue:

Risks Life to Rescue A Newsboy

William Welch, a newsboy, fell into the North River yesterday while trying to reach the string-piece outside the Quebec Line’s pier, in order that he might watch the steamer Trinidad enter her slip.

Michael Hays, a hackman, employed at Savage’s Livery Stable, No. 194 Sullivan-st., seeing the boy’s danger, jumped in and succeeded in getting hold of him. A rope was thrown to Hays, and this he tied around the boy, who was pulled out by men on the pier. In the mean time Hays himself was drawn beneath the pier by the force of the tide and was in danger of drowning. He just had sufficient strength to fasten the rope thrown to him around his body. When they raised him to the pier he was in an unconscious state. He was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital.

The deed was commented upon by those who saw it as a heroic rescue. Had it not been for Hays the boy would undoubtedly have been drowned.


“Maybe This Was Jane Hanrahan”


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On March 30, 1894, The Sun provides a little more detail about Jane Hanrahan’s disappearance:

Maybe This Was Jane Hanrahan.

Jane Hanrahan, who disappeared from the Newsboys’ Lodging House at New Chambers and Duane Streets on Monday morning last, may have been the girl that two deckhands on the steamboat City of Lawrence say they saw jump off the Battery wall on that morning. The City of Lawrence was rounding the Battery at 6:10 o’clock. Deckhands Peter Maloney and Michael Connery happened to be standing on the forward deck, when, as they say, Maloney saw a woman who wore a white apron and had a dark sack over her head instead of a hat, walking toward the Liberty dock. She walked out on the pier, and after standing for a moment on the edge of the wharf plunged into the river. The men did not report this to the Captain.

It was 5 1/2 o’clock Monday morning when Jane Hanrahan left the House. She wore no hat, and had a sacque thrown over her head. Before leaving she cut off her hair. She also left her trunk, trinkets, and jewelry behind.

“Jennie Hanihan Still Missing”


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On March 28, 1894, the New York Herald wrote a short blurb about the missing chambermaid:

Jennie Hanihan Still Missing

No trace of Jennie Hanihan, the domsetic employed at the Newsboys’ Lodging House, who, as told in the Herald, mysteriously disappeared after cutting off her hair, was found yesterday.

Among her effects was also discovered a tin-type of a young man, which nobody has yet been able to identify. Her mother will visit the Morgue to-day to see if her body is there. Meanwhile the New Jersey police have been asked to search for her.


(I posted about poor Jane Hanrahan a long time ago, an article titled “She Fled Without Her Hair.” I have several more scheduled to be posted this year.)

“Jane Hanrahan Missing”


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The Evening World reported the disappearance of one of the Newsboys’ Lodging House employees on March 26, 1894:


Jane Hanrahan Missing

Cut Her Hair and Placed It on a Bed Before Leaving.

Jane Hanrahan, a chambermaid, twenty-one years, employed at the Newsboys’ Lodging-House, New Chambers and Duane streets, has been missing since 5.30 o’clock this morning. Her mother, Kate Hanrahan, of 12 1-2 Washington street, called at Police Headquarters this afternoon and asked to have a general alarm sent out for her. Her mother thinks she has become suddenly insane.

Before she went out this morning she cut off all her dark hair, and doing it up in a newspaper left it on the bed in her room. She wore a dark cape, thrown over her head, in place of a hat, and a dark skirt and buttoned shoes.

A Tale of Two Finns


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From the March 17, 1902 edition of The Sun:


Robbed A Policeman.

Two Newsboys Old in Petty Crime Caught at It, Victim Unsuspecting.


Policeman John Finn of the Elizabeth street station, while strolling along the Bowery in plain clothes last Saturday afternoon, had his pocket picked by two newsboys who were experts at the trick. The boys were sixteen-year-old Joseph Hartmann, living at the Newsboys’ Lodging House in Duane street, and twelve-year-old Samuel Neuman of 105 Allen street.

They approached the unsuspecting Finn from different sides, and under cover of his papers, Hartmann got his fingers into the fob pocket of Finn’s coat and extracted a dollar bill. The moment he had it in his hands he ran, followed by Neuman.

The entire proceeding was observed from a doorway by Detective Sergeant Richard A Finn, who is no relative, although a namesake of the robbed man. Thanks to the second Finn the two little thieves were caught before they had run more than a few feet. The younger boy was sent to the rooms of the Children’s society, where a long record of offences, including one case in which sentence was suspended, was found against him.

Hartmann, the older boy, pleaded guilty yesterday, adding gratuitously the infomation that on Friday he rifled the pockets of six men without getting more than 30 cents, so he was willing to go to jail till his luck turned. The Magistrate held him in $1,000 bail for trial. The Neuman boy, against whom there was no binding evidence, was remanded into the custody of the society till he can be committed to an institution.

“‘That’s Gratitude.'”


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From the September 27, 1907 edition of Washington, D.C.’s Evening Star:

“That’s Gratitude.”

Boy Helped by Newsboys Lodging House Charged With Theft.

NEW YORK. September 27.—Ralph Bonneau, the sixteen-year-old boy who went to the Newsboys’ Lodging House in New Chambers street a short time ago with a hard luck story, disappeared yesterday with $15 belonging to E. J. Abele of 18 Rose street. The boy told Supt. Heigh [sic] that he came from France ten years ago with his uncle, Robert Bonneau. They had lived in Chicago, the boy said, till two years ago, when his uncle disappeared, and after that he had supported himself by selling newspapers. The boy could not name any of the streets in Chicago, but Mr. Heigh [sic] decided that he came of a good family and put him in the apartment in the Newsboys’ Lodging House known as the Waldorf-Astoria.
Then Mr. Heig got him a job as an errand boy for Mr. Abele. At first he was paid $2 a week, but he did so well his salary was raised to $4. Yesterday morning, Mr. Abele says, he gave $15 to the boy and sent him to make a purchase. He has not been seen since.

“The Latest Thing in Journalism Is the Thug Era”


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From The Morning Telegraph’s editorial page, July 27, 1899:

The Latest Thing in Journalism Is the Thug Era

The past decade has seen many changes in journalism. Some fifteen years ago a man came out of the West and began ferreting out crime for the purpose of gaining a circulation for the moribund paper he had purchased. In due course of time there arose “comic” supplements, latest afternoon extras, and other innovations which possessed, in those days, the merit of novelty, if no other merit. Then came the “signed statement” era. The first pages of several papers were largely devoted to statements, two columns wide, set in long primer, on “How to Make a Pretty Lambrequin Out of Last Summer’s Chiffon Underskirt,” and singed by some distinguished person such as Edward W. Bok or Joseph H Choate. No news story was complete without a signed statement. Hordes of reporters held up ambulances and secured signed statements from the dying victim of an accident, which duly appeared in print the following morning, headed:

The late John Thompson writes exclusively for The Daily Lightning, describing how it feels to be killed in a dynamite explosion.

This signed statement era was a hideous dream. That eminent young philosopher, Charles Dryden, immortalized it in the following touching verse:

“We are lost!” the captain shouted,
As he staggered down the stair.
But his little daughter whispered,
As she clasped his icy hand:
“Let us sign a written statement;
They will print it when we land.”

Then there a came a long series of journalistic epochs—the monument, the memorial sword, the free weiner schnitzel kitchen, the woolen blanket and overall fund epochs—but to-day sees the ushering in of an even more remarkable journalistic era. I hesitate to give this a name. It might be called the Thug Era. That will do as well as anything else.

Two evening papers are responsible for this—or, perhaps more properly, the striking newsboys are the direct cause. When the boys refused to sell their papers the circulation managers were compelled, much against their will, to think. If the boys would not sell the papers and were determined to attack all other boys who were willing to do so, then must force be met with force.

“We will secure vendors who are physically able to resist the assaults of the strikers,” said the circulation managers.

The result has been interesting. By the promise of $2 per day and a commission of forty cents for each one hundred papers sold, the circulation managers have secured the most wonderful set of newsboys ever seen in this or any other community. The streets in the lower part of the city present a unique and even terrifying spectacle. Square-jawed, evil-eyed thugs, looking strange in citizen’s clothes instead of striped garments, hawk the evening editions with hoarse cries.

“Hevenin’ Dot! Hevenin’ Dot! Come here, me blokie, h’and buy th’ Evening’ Dot! No, ye don’t get no change, see!”

The citizen, pallid, thinking of the dear ones at home dependent on him for support, meekly hands over a $5 bill for a paper, and slinks away, thankful he still retains possession of the old fashioned watch which once belonged to his sainted mother.

There have been a few attempts on the part of the strikers to interfere with the business of these vendors, but they have been futile. With memories of many athletic struggles at the dear old Alma Mater the purveyors of evening papers have formed a flying wedge and with their stirring college cry of

Rah! Rah! Rah!
Siz! Boom! Ah

have charged the attackers and dispersed them.

And from far across the square is heard the battle cry of other college graduates shouting:

Ring, ring, ring,
Let the welkin ring!
Who are we?
Don’t you see?
Sing Sing-Sing!

Truly, the Thug Era is the latest development in up-to-date journalism.

W. R. Sill

“Newsboys At Rosie’s Funeral. “


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From the May 24, 1900 edition of the Sun:

Newsboys At Rosie’s Funeral.

Meanwhile They Are Taking Care of the Corcoran Business at the Bridge.

The funeral of Rosie Corcoran, the Brooklyn Bridge newsgirl, will be held from her home at 102 James street, to-morrow. She will be buried in Cavalry Cemetery. Last night the women friends of Mrs. Corcoran, who are very many in Cherry and Water and Henry streets, sat in the front room about Rosie’s white-covered coffin and commented tearfully on the uncertainties of life. In an outer room at the head of the stairs sat Rosie’s oldest brother surrounded by a large number of his friends. Pipes and tobacco and other simple refreshments were provided for them.
Most of the Park row newsboys intend to go to Rosie’s funeral. A number of them voluntarily took the Corcorans’ places at the Bridge entrance yesterday and carried on the business for them under the supervision of Mrs. Corcoran’s rival, Mrs. Shea, who was anxious that the respect which the family was showing for its dead might not cost it too much. Mrs. Corcoran, who has had years of bitter experience with the Parkrow newsboys, sent them word by visitors at the house that if they thought they were making a permanent entrance on her territory under the semblance of doing her a favor she would take great pleasure in showing them to the contrary when the period of her mourning was over.

“Saved From A Pauper’s Grave.”


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From the May 16, 1905 edition of the New York Tribune:

Saved From A Pauper’s Grave.

Newsboys Contribute to Buy Plot for Fellow Newsboy.

“Dutch” Johnson, a Park Row newsboy, was buried yesterday in a flower covered grave in Middle Village, Long Island. His body was saved from Potter’s Field by the pennies of fellow newsboys. Thursday night “Dutch” lay ill with pneumonia in the Newsboys’ Lodging House.
“I ain’t goin’ to weaken’ jus’ ’cause I got to cash in,” he told Superintendent Haig [sic], “but it ain’t ecksactly a happy thought ter t’ink I’ve gotter be planted up there in the Potter’s Field.”
Superintendent Heig assured him that he would not have a pauper’s grave. That night “Dutch” was taken to Bellevue, where he died a few hours later. As soon as the other boys learned of his death the hat was passed around by Jack Kelley, who stands at the Brooklyn Bridge. Jack has a persuasive voice and hands, and not a boy refused to contribute. In a few hours $36.40 had been gathered from 143 contributors, and $17 from the Paper Handler’s Union. This was turned over to Superintendent Heig, who bought a three-grave plot, enough money being left to purchase a modest gravestone. The body was buried at noon, with a few of the boy’s friends present, Superintendent Heig readnig [sic] the prayers.