newsboy_RPPC_ebay_sm“Nickel a copy, mister.” (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

In 1912, The Dallas Morning News reported that there were over 700 newsboys in the city of Dallas, over 200 messenger boys, and “hundreds of other working boys between the ages of 6 and 17” (DMN, July 19, 1912). Some of these boys were working to help out their families, but many were homeless. Child labor was a major concern throughout the country, and most larger cities, such as Dallas, had “newsie homes” and associations to look after the interests of the boys.


Newsboy photo found on eBay.

To read “Story of a Street Waif” (DMN, Dec. 22, 1912) — a somewhat Dickensian fictionalized account of a resilient Dallas newsboy written by Mrs. M. L. Kauffman (Sam Houston’s granddaughter, the former Margaret Belle Houston) — click here.

Photographer Lewis Wickes Hine had perhaps the greatest impact on the reform of child labor laws. Hine traveled the country photographing and interviewing working children in order to put a human face to a growing problem. Some of his photos can be seen here; his Wikipedia entry is here.

Some of Hine’s Dallas photos (and stories about the children) can be found on Joe Manning’s site, here.

Photos of newsboys from previous Flashback Dallas posts can be found here.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.