Brace Memorial Lodging House, Children's Aid Society, Henry L. Gassert, Johnny Brady, Johnny Burke, Josephine Beck, life, Little Minnie, Little Timmy, Mother Heig, Narrow Mike, newsboy code, newsboys, newsboys' house, newsies, oral history, Pop Rudolph, Rudolph Heig, Skinny, superintendent, Swipes, Yaller the Butcher
June 30, 1910 marked the last day that Rudolph Heig served as superintendent of the Newsboys’ Lodging House located at No. 9 Duane Street. His wife, who served as the lodging house’s matron, retired alongside him. The Evening Telegram ran the following article about his career on June 27, 1910:
Newsboys’ “Foster Father” Tells How They Won Fame
Pop Heig, Thirty-Five Years in Charge of Home, Relates Story of 100,000 Charges.
“Pop” Rudolph is going to quit. That is not all. “Mother” Heig has decided that she will have to leave with him, and as she is his wife it isn’t strange that she reached this conclusion. Of course the announcement doesn’t mean much to the ordinary New Yorker when there are other things to read about and he is not sure yet whether the Jeffries-Johnson fight is really going to take place or the Giants are beginning to get in better form. It is merely a little item sandwiched in among a lot of advertisements announcing that the Children’s Aid Society has accepted the resignations of Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph Heig as superintendent and matron, respectively, of the Newsboys’ Home, at No. 14 New Chambers street, and that some one else will be appointed to take their places. It doesn’t mean much to some, but it certainly does mean a whole lot to more than a hundred thousand boys and one girl who knew them as their friends, aids and advisers when every one else in the whole world was against them and the outlook for life was about as black as it can appear to the juvenile mind, which ought to be naturally optimistic. It doesn’t mean newsboys who regret their leaving, but it means newsboys, Governors of States and Territories, financiers and lawyers, who still regard the couple as the only persons in the country who took them in and befriended them when no one else thought them worth caring for.
Started as Newsboy.
“Pop” Rudolph Heig didn’t make any fortune for himself and neither did his wife, known from coast to coast by thousands of boys as “Mother Heig.” but if the youngsters whom they have befriended and put on the right road since they first took charge of the Newsboy’s Home had their way they would have the first place in the hall of fame.
Having started life as a newsboy himself there was no one whom the Children’s Aid Society could pick who was more eminently fitted for the place of superintendent of the home for the “newsies” when the home was opened in New Chambers street thirty-five years ago than Mr. Heig. At that time he was a youngster himself, having given up his selling papers in Park row to become office boy in the uptown office of the society and then clerk. He knew boys, and especially newsboys, as only a man who was one himself could know them. He was as well acquainted with their code of honor, division of districts and unwritten fraternal laws as they were themselves and he knew that a newsboy wasn’t to be treated with the same regulations that a youngster of the upper ten would expect. To be pampered and coaxed was disgusting to them, and to have any one start in “preaching” in a vernacular they didn’t know was something that any youngster who had to hustle for himself hated worst of all. Mr. Heig knew this.
A reception is to be tendered Mr. and Mrs. Heig on Thursday night, which will be the last night they will spend in the old lodging house, and it is expected that their boys from all parts of the country will be present.