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Newsies: Topics in Chronicling America

During the late 19th century, children working as newspaperboys or "newsies" took a stand against rising costs of newspapers. This guide provides access to material related to "Newsies" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.

Introduction

Mogy Bernstein, "King of the Newboys" (Top Right) and the "Newsies of St. Paul." May 17, 1903. The Saint Paul Globe (Saint Paul, MN), Image 11. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

“Extra, extra!!” In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, newspaper publishers relied on newspaperboys, or “newsies,” to distribute their newspapers on city streets. The newsies purchased the papers and usually had to sell all of them to make a decent profit. In 1899, a sudden rise in the cost of newspapers prompts a contingent of New York City newsies to stage a strike against big-time publishers like Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.

Timeline

April 19, 1886 About 100 Detroit Newsboys strike at the Evening World newspaper office, demanding two newspaper copies for one cent. Anyone attempting to take out papers get beaten and his papers torn.
July 2, 1887 The Evening World newspaper is not on sale. Newsboys strike due to the newspaper price from one cent per copy to one and a half cents per copy.
July 24, 1888 Dallas Newsboys strike in front of the Morning News office and refuse to buy newspapers unless the price was reduced from three cents per copy to two and a half cents per copy.
December 1892 John E. Gunckel invites 102 Newsboys to Christmas Dinner where the Toledo Newsboys' Association would form.
July 13, 1894 Boston Newsboys boycott the Herald and Globe unless the managers of those papers reduce the price from one and one-quarter cents to one cent.
July 1899 Hundreds of New York City Newsboys refuse to distribute the Evening World and Journal, newspapers owned by Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, because of increased prices.
August 16, 1904 Newsboys' day is held at the St. Louis World's Fair. Newsboys from around the country arrive to attend the convention. With the leadership of John E. Gunckel, they formed the National Newsboys' Association.