Real Life Newsies Were Very Different Than What We Saw In The Disney Film

posted Apr 25, 2016 by Kathy Pinna
These aren't the boys who delivered a newspaper to your home, these are the children (usually age 9 - 15, sometimes younger) who bought papers and sold them on the streets of cities. They became the face of child exploitation during the 19th and 20th centuries. How would you feel if your son had to live the life you see on these pages?

History: Newsboys, or "newsies", referred to boys (and sometimes girls) who sold newspapers on street corners. They made up a large percentage of the child labor force from the mid 1800's through the 1920's. While working for long hours and low pay (they couldn't return unsold papers to the publishers), they were also considered "thugs" or "hooligans" by the public because they worked at night and their work took them to adult places such as saloons and vaudeville halls. They had to be street smart and good businessmen, achieving their education in daily life, not in school.

Buying your wares

These newsies are lining up to buy a token ("brass checks"), which they exchange for newspapers to sell.

Brothers - 5, 7, 10 yrs

These Texas brothers worked from 6a to 9 or 10p selling newspapers. 1913

Long nights

This little newsboy (in 1912), fell asleep while selling his papers.

Waiting for the special edition

These newsies are waiting for a special baseball edition, which they will then sell on the street.

Just, awww . . .

A six yr old newsboy in Texas - and he isn't the youngest.

"Newsboy Club"

Guess they created a club for newsies - to keep them out of saloons - but they're still in trouble. (With a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for . . . )

Pretty perky!

Well, at least they're young. This is noon on Sunday and they have been out selling papers since 5a. No church, of course.

"Where some of their money goes"

12 - 15 hr days and buying something to drink! (The public thought that newsies were akin to modern gangs.)

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