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Title: Boyville - A History of Fifteen Years' Work Among Newsboys
Author: Gunckel, John E.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Boyville - A History of Fifteen Years' Work Among Newsboys" ***

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[Illustration: Boyville]


                            AMONG NEWSBOYS

                            JOHN E. GUNCKEL


                             PUBLISHED BY

                             TOLEDO, OHIO

                           Copyrighted 1905
                          BY JOHN E. GUNCKEL
                          All rights reserved

             To the Newsboys of America, and their Friends
                  this book is respectfully dedicated

                               PRESS OF
                         THE FRANKLIN COMPANY
                             TOLEDO, OHIO



    Chapter       I                Page   3

       ”         II                  ”    9

       ”        III                  ”   14

       ”         IV                  ”   19

       ”          V                  ”   25


    Chapter      VI                Page  31

       ”        VII                  ”   35

       ”       VIII                  ”   43

       ”         IX                  ”   49

       ”          X                  ”   53

       ”         XI                  ”   59


    Chapter     XII                Page  65

       ”       XIII                  ”   71

       ”        XIV                  ”   80

       ”         XV                  ”   87

       ”        XVI                  ”   93


    Chapter    XVII                Page 105

       ”      XVIII                  ”  111

       ”        XIX                  ”  115

       ”         XX                  ”  120


    Chapter     XXI                Page 129

       ”       XXII                  ”  135


    Chapter   XXIII                Page 143

       ”       XXIV                  ”  147

       ”        XXV                  ”  151

       ”       XXVI                  ”  158

       ”      XXVII                  ”  164

       ”     XXVIII                  ”  166

       ”       XXIX                  ”  171

       ”        XXX                  ”  175

       ”       XXXI                  ”  177

       ”      XXXII                  ”  183

       ”     XXXIII                  ”  186

       ”      XXXIV                  ”  189


    Chapter    XXXV                Page 195

       ”      XXXVI                  ”  200

       ”     XXXVII                  ”  205

       ”    XXXVIII                  ”  208

       ”      XXXIX                  ”  211

       ”       XXXX                  ”  217

                        _LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS_


  The president talking to the newsboys,                    Frontispiece

  “I am scattering hickory-nuts under this old tree for the
    children to find termorrow,”                                       8

  The original charter members,                                       16

  Ready to start for the first Christmas dinner,                      24

  Where the Boyville Newsboy’s Association was organized,
  December 25, 1892,                                                  32

  A bunch of sellers,                                                 40

  Festival Hall. Where the National Newsboy’s Association
  was organized, August 16, 1904,                                     48

  Newsboys’ Band and Cadets—ready to start for
  Washington, D. C., to participate in the inaugural
  parade of President Roosevelt, March 4,
  1905,                                                               56

  “I am an officer of the sellers’ auxiliary; get busy,”              64

  “Lady, I am sorry I run away wid de money,”                         64

  “Trow de cigarette away,”                                           72

  “President, I have already licked de kid,”                          80

  Getting familiar with the headlines,                                88

  “Dis here is de dog,”                                               88

  Roll of honor—some of the boys who turned in valuable
  articles found on the street,                                       96

  The Boyville Cadets—when first organized,                          96

  Members of the East Side auxiliary,                                104

  “Firetop,”                                                         112

  “He sweared at a lady and I punked him,”                           120

  Carriers,                                                          128

  Carriers,                                                          128

  First sale of the day,                                             136

  Lining up ready to go to church,                                   144

  The tough from market space,                                       152

  Dividing the papers,                                               160

  Two new members,                                                   168

  “Tenements on the avenue.” In these old buildings,
  at one time, lived seventeen families,                             176

  “I will buy from the little fellow,”                               184

  Waiting for the last edition,                                      184

  “Billy Butcher, we must have an understandin’,
  which corner ob de street will you take?”                          192

  “He was fishing in the lake,”                                      200

  Pastime—the beginning,                                             208

  Pastime—the finish,                                                216

“IF you are going to do anything permanent for the average man you have
got to begin before he is a man. The chance of success lies in working
with the boy and not with the man. That applies peculiarly to those
boys who tend to drift off into courses which mean that unless they are
checked they will be formidable additions to the criminal population
when they grow older.

“No Nation is safe unless in the average family there are healthy,
happy children.

“If these children are not brought up well they are not merely a curse
to themselves and their parents, _but they mean the ruin of the State
in the future_.”




On the corner of one of the principal thoroughfares, in a very large
city, there was located, fifteen years ago, a small grocery store.
In front of the building the enterprising owner displayed fruits,
vegetables and other goods; articles that were particularly tempting to

In a near-by cottage there lived a very bright boy, twelve years of
age, and familiarly known to every one in the neighborhood, as Jimmy,
the newsboy. And that meant a bad boy.

On the disappearance of an occasional apple, an orange, or if one of
the fruit-stands was upset, it was declared that Jimmy did it. All
fights around the corner originated from Jimmy.

So bad was this boy’s reputation that every one in the ward, including
several Sunday-school teachers, was kept busy looking for a favorable
opportunity to give Jimmy, what they thought he deserved, “a good

The groceryman was not slow in letting his customers know how bad Jimmy

He was kicked, lectured, preached to, and a dozen times a day was
pushed off the corner.

He was abused because he annoyed men and women by his misbehavior.

No one ever stopped to ask this boy where he lived; what about his
parents, his home life, or to see if there was really any good in him
worth trying to develop. The bad was visible, and the people seemed to
delight in their vain efforts to correct him by censures and kicks.

There was no question about Jimmy being bad, about as bad as any
street-boy would become who had his own way, and, whose parents
permitted him to go and come when he pleased, and to associate with bad
company, particularly boys older than he was.

Jimmy was a leader of a gang of little toughs who always met at the
corner, in the evenings, and delighted in making it unpleasant for
those who lived within hearing distance. He was strong, quick, and
could throw to the ground any boy of his size, and never hesitated
trying a much larger boy. He was the terror of the corners.

Yet with all his bad reputation, no one ever caught him doing anything
for which he could be punished under the state laws.

Circumstantial evidence was all the groceryman could produce at any
time he was accused. The boy who “squealed” to the groceryman about
Jimmy had to remain away from the corner until he thought that Jimmy
had forgotten it.

Jimmy was a typical newsboy.

He was not happy in fine clothes. He did not use the many slang phrases
which so frequently become a part of a street-boy’s life and enjoyment,
but he had everything else.

He had a small route, perhaps thirty customers, for morning and evening
papers, and when he had delivered his papers, he would hasten down
town, get a new supply of the latest editions, and join the boys in
selling on the streets.

He was an early riser, like all carriers, and long before the neighbors
thought of getting up he was out on the street, and in all kinds of

The station agent from whom he procured his morning papers said: “There
is not a more faithful boy in the city, from a business view. But he
has to be served first. He has a way of his own in pushing ahead of the
crowd and is always among the first on his route. He pays cash for what
he gets, but still, he is a bad boy.”

A gentleman who lived in the neighborhood, and frequently called at
the grocery store, became interested in Jimmy. There was something
naturally attractive about the boy. There was a twinkle of his black
eyes that was really fascinating.

“I would like to see what is back of that activity,” said the
gentleman, one day to the groceryman.

One afternoon, late in the fall, the gentleman was standing on the
corner waiting for a car when the groceryman called him.

“You said you would like to see what Jimmy, the newsboy, was made of.
He is up to some mischief now. He just bought a sack of hickory-nuts,
and I’ll bet a cooky he is making some one unhappy.”

Two blocks away was a large lot, with a high fence around it. Scattered
about the lot were a dozen or more hickory trees. The gentleman saw
Jimmy climb the fence, walk to the farther side of the lot, and when
under a heavy foliaged tree he stood for some moments looking in
every direction. Finally he began to scatter hickory-nuts under the
tree. Very carefully seeing that they were dropped all around this
particular tree. Sometimes he would take a handful of leaves and cover
over a lot of nuts. To the gentleman this was an unusual transaction,
so he walked around to the big gate and followed a path across the
heavy grass, and went to Jimmy.

“I have a curiosity to know what you are doing,” said the gentleman,
“and if you have no objections I would like to have you tell me.”

Jimmy took him by the hand, that he might hasten towards the sidewalk,
and when away from the tree, he said.

“You see, mister, termorrow is Saturday. There’s no school. Across the
street lives a whole lot of little boys and girls, and some of the boys
don’t like me very well, but that doesn’t cut any figure with me. They
comes over here every day after school and particularly on Saturday
and hunt for hickory-nuts; but these old trees don’t bear any more;
they’s dead. But that one over there, with the leaves, sometimes has
hickory-nuts, but this year nary a nut is on the old tree. So I bought
these here nuts an’ scattered ’em all around the ground, an’ termorrow
I’ll sneak around the fence and watch the girls an’ boys gather them.
Won’t they be happy?”

“I should think they would,” replied the man.

“They are real hickory-nuts, too,” added Jimmy, “I blowed in fifteen
cents at our grocery store. If you want to you may come termorrow an’
I will guarantee you will see the happiest bunch ever gathered under a
hickory-nut tree. Will you come?”

“Well, I should be delighted to come; and I will be there before you
will,” replied the gentleman kindly.

“You see,” said Jimmy, “I cannot come until I deliver all my papers,
an’ that’ll be about eight o’clock. If you get there before I do, don’t
you ever tell who put the nuts under the tree, will you?”

“I promise you, Jimmy, I will not only keep it to myself, but I will
not even go on the lot, until you come.”

A few words about Jimmy and his home, and they parted as friends.

“Under the hickory-nut tree termorrow there’ll be a dozen happy girls
an’ boys, an’ some of the boys don’t like me,” rang in the ears of the
gentleman all during the evening and frequently in the night.

What a sermon, sowing and reaping.


  _See Page 7_


Saturday morning was an ideal autumn day; a day children delighted to
go into the woods after hickory-nuts.

A few moments before eight o’clock the gentleman was slowly walking
around the great lot when he saw Jimmy running at full speed down the
street towards him.

Under the great trees were a dozen little boys and girls, and the air
was filled with their merry laughter as they excitedly gathered into
their baskets the hickory-nuts that Jimmy had so kindly dropped for
their pleasure and happiness.

“They tell me, Jimmy, you’re a bad boy,” said the gentleman as they sat
on a stump of a tree, in sight of the children.

Jimmy made no reply.

“Well, I don’t care what any one says,” added the gentleman, “I don’t
believe it. Your little act with the hickory-nuts has taught me a
lesson I never learned in books. No boy would do that unless he has
some good qualities in him. I feel honored to have this privilege of
seeing those children so happy this morning, and to think who did all
this. Jimmy,” and he took his little hand in his, “I want you to make
me a promise—I want you always to be my friend. What do you say?”

This was something Jimmy never heard of before. He was accustomed to
being kicked, and censured, and for a man to ask him to be a friend
was, what he afterwards called, “a new deal.”

“Sure thing, I will,” he said frankly.

“Now I want you to come down to my office, Monday after school, and we
will talk over something that I want you to do for me.”

“I’ll be there,” replied Jimmy, and after a moments thought he asked.

“And can I bring some of my friends with me?”

“Certainly, that is exactly what I want you to do. Bring your gang, all
your friends, particularly the little toughs, and when you come into my
office don’t let any one stop you from seeing me.”

“Oh, don’t be afeared o’that, we knows as how to get there.”

A few other things were talked about and they separated for the day.

As the gentleman rode down town he thought of the events of the
morning, of the life of a newsboy. These little wiry, nervous street
boys, alert of eye, and lithe of limb, who flock the principal
thoroughfares of our great cities at almost all hours of the day.

Newsboys and bootblacks, boys whom the world seems to have forgotten.
By peculiar conditions these boys are used to being at odds with the
world. It need not be told that our newsboys, as a general rule,
as people know them, are regarded as a swearing, stealing, lying,
dishonest lot of young criminals, and these qualifications are
recognized adjuncts to their business. With these conditions is it
not a wonder that any of them ever succeed in working their way into
the ranks of respectibility? People who curse and kick them, as they
did Jimmy, never stop to think that these neglected newsboys, of
today, sharp, shrewd and keen, may be the thieves, the burglars, the
highwaymen; or the successful patriotic citizens of tomorrow.

No one will dispute the fact that, the street-boy is surrounded on
every hand by degraded and vicious men, with drunkenness regarded as a
desirable condition, and the indulgence in drink only limited by the
ability to procure it.

Among many, robbery is regarded as a fine art, and the tribute of
praise bestowed upon rascality. If christian people do not find
time, amid the rush and roar of the city, in their mighty struggle
for wealth, to lend a hand to lead him out on the highway of honest
success, what is to become of the street-boy?

Is it not true that many a boy is bad because the best part of him was
never developed?

It is not that a newsboy is so much worse than other boys, but simply
that the other half of him didn’t get a chance.

If you, dear reader, will take time to get into the real life of a
boy, as the gentleman did with Jimmy, you will be surprised, as he
was, at what you will discover. How quick he is to see an opportunity
to do something bad, and when discovered, his conscience brings the
blush of shame to his cheeks. Take boys like Jimmy, the leader of a
gang of toughs, his acts on the public highway, his language, his
ragged clothes all indicating neglect and evil designs, yet get his
friendship, his confidence, and he will prove, as did Jimmy, the best
and most faithful friend you ever had, not only in his youth, in his
teens, but long after you have forgotten him.

No matter how bad the boy is, how miserable his environment, that great
spark of good, that something, no one can explain its power, its
influence, is still there. To get into touch with that life, to draw
out the goodness of heart and make it a tangible blessing to the boys
of our land, is the work every man and woman ought to try to do. It was
this object the gentleman had in asking Jimmy and his friends to meet
at his office. He felt that opportunities of this nature come but once
in a life time.

George Eliot wrote: “The golden moments in the stream of life rush past
us and we see nothing but sand. The angels come to visit us and we
only know them when they are gone. How shall we live so as at the end
to have done the most for others and make the most of ourselves.” We
become good ourselves only in the measure that we do good to some other
soul. In Jimmy, the newsboy, no one stopped to see what was sleeping
under the cover of extreme mischievousness. They were always looking
for bad and they found it. Neglect is the mother of more calamities
than any other sin, and who are neglected more than the newsboys?


On the following Monday morning, at the appointed, hour, Jimmy, with
eight other boys, was at the office of his newly-made friend.

It was an interesting picture, an exciting scene.

Noisy, loud talking, several answering questions at the same time, some
turning over books, papers, investigating everything in sight. Sharp,
shrewd, busy at every moment, quick to answer any question and the
replies always satisfactory, and to the point.

“Don’t you know anything,” said Jimmy to a friend, who was trying to
investigate how a typewriter was made, “let that meechine alone.”

It was soon in evidence that Jimmy’s word meant something, for each
boy obeyed him without saying a word, except a little grunt of
dissatisfaction, to show he hated to obey. Not one of the eight boys
had clean hands. Not one a coat with a button. Three safety-pins held
holding positions in some of their coats. Not one used a handkerchief,
and the slang would puzzle many a lawyer.

As one of the boys lost his cap he said: “Some kid five-fingered
it.—took it with his hand.” It was an interesting crowd.

“Well, you are on time, Jimmy, and I see you have brought some of your
friends with you,” said the gentleman.

“These is part of de gang,” said Jimmy.

“Do you boys all want to be my friends, just the same as Jimmy is?”

They replied, “Sure thing; cert. Yes’m.”

These friendly words brought the gang closer to the gentleman’s desk.
And more papers were disturbed. The ink was investigated and one of the
boys wanted to know why it wasn’t red ink. Another poked his finger
in the ink stand and made black streaks down the smallest boy’s face.
The gentleman was shown quite a number of articles they had in their
pockets. Nails, buttons, marbles, pieces of slate-pencils, etc., all of
which had to be admired.

“Say, you, mister,” said a nine-year-old dirty-faced, bright-eyed boy,
“I had trouble gittin’ here. De con. wus onto me an’ I had to take two
lines ’fore I rode into de office wid out blowin’ in a cent.”

“Well, quit your wasting words,” said Jimmy.

The boys gathered around the gentleman, and he said:

“My! what good you boys can do in this world with all of your push,
and energy, your hustling, your good health, you boys can turn up
something, and I’m going to help you do it. How would you like to help
me make all the men and women who buy papers of you learn to love you.
Learn to speak kindly to you?”

“Aw, de peoples don’t care fur us.” said a boy Jimmy called “Indian.”

“Well, I don’t know about that. There is one thing certain there can be
no harm in trying. The trouble is, people don’t know you, and you won’t
let them get acquainted with you. Let’s make a start. First, I want to
know if every one of you wants to be a friend of mine? You do, that’s a
good start. And whenever you see me on the street, it doesn’t make any
difference what I am doing, or who I am talking to, will you come to me
and say, good morning or good evening?” They all agreed.

“And another thing, when you boys are down town and should you hurt
yourself, or get into some trouble, lose your papers, your money, or
some one frightens you, I want you to call on me, and I will try to
help you. Notice, I say when you are in trouble, because when you are
doing well and everything comes your way, you need no assistance. You
can take care of yourselves. What do you say, boys, to this?”


  _See Page 14_

They all promised and were glad of the opportunity.

This was the first intimate talk with the gang.

Two days later, while the gentleman was very busy in his office, into
the room came one of the little visitors followed by some of the gang,
he was limping and crying as if his heart would break. He paid no
attention to any one in the office but made directly for the gentleman,
who seeing him, excused himself from his business friends and said to
the boy,

“Well, now, what has happened to you?”

“A man shoved me off de sidewalk into de gutter and me foot struck a
piece of glass,” he replied, between sobs. His foot was bloody, and
the more blood he saw the louder became his cries. He was taken into a
near-by hotel, his foot carefully washed, a handkerchief tied over the
wound, his tears wiped away, and when back into the office he said:

“I thank you, sir.”

He picked up his bundle of papers, all pain had disappeared, the smiles
again came to his pretty face, and with his friends, left the office,
singing a popular air.

The result of this little act of duty added fifty new friends.


A week later, a little colored boy entered the office crying. He was
known on the street as Midnight.

“Tree boys trowed me down in de alley, an’ swiped me papers.”

Four boys came with him. They wondered what would be done. While
talking with him, Jimmy dropped in. Not quietly but made everybody get
out of the way.

“I know the three kids,” said Jimmy, “and I’ll go after them.”

So Jimmy left on his own accord. In fifteen minutes he returned
bringing two boys.

“There, you kids,” he said, “give Midnight back his money fur de papers
you stole.”

It was done. Midnight’s eyes resumed their natural brightness, and he
left happy, thankful to Jimmy for his interest.

To the gentleman this was a revelation. The power one boy can have
over a gang of boys ought to be used for good. Such vital energy, such
quick action, such nerve and endurance, all this must be used for
doing good, for helping each other. My! what a boy who has influence
among his fellow companions, can do. If each boy could be placed
on his honor, each boy aiming to do the best he can to uplift his
associate, trying to correct the little evils from which spring so
many crimes, how much happiness, how many useful lives would result.
If men would try to instill into the young hearts of our boys, our
newsboys, because they are tempted more than any other class, a spirit
of trust and love, instead of a spirit of fear and hate and revenge,
what a happy unselfish world we would have. Suppose these newsboys,
the boys who are so often accused of being bad, would be treated as
Christ treated wrong-doers, not as criminals, but as misdirected and
misguided boys, putting everything in their way to encourage them to do
right. Suppose they were warned of danger, were propped up when about
to fall, and personal efforts were made to find the good in each boy
and to cultivate it as a husbandman would his garden—pulling out and
destroying the weeds, removing the germs of disorder, and keeping a
watchful eye over all even until the ripening of the fruit. What would
be the result? The gentleman gave the subject considerable thought and
concluded to try the experiment.

From the material at command it was surprising how many little good
things sprung up where least expected and from soil considered as
absolutely worthless. Like some products of the garden, good came from
unexpected places.

Taking advantage of conditions and circumstances, the number of friends
increased so rapidly that when cold weather set in, over a hundred
little hustling friends of the street were added to the list.

Winter came with snow and ice and cold winds, making it hard for the
carriers to deliver their papers before the breakfast hour. The little
sellers were heard only a short time after the newspaper editions were
out, and they were compelled to seek warm places. It was noticeable
that the saloons of the city were the only places open to these boys
seeking shelter and warmth.

There were several gentlemen in the city heartily in sympathy with the
new movement among the newsboys, and among them was a generous clothier
who presented, through the gentleman, fifty overcoats to be given to
the poorest newsboys.

To select fifty of the most deserving, for the entire hundred were in
want, was a very difficult task, especially as those interested had but
little experience with boys of the street.

But Jimmy came to the rescue and he and the gentleman began to deliver
the coats. When forty-five coats were given there remained twenty boys
who were equally as needy as the others and there were but five coats
left. How to select five boys from this number was the question.

Jimmy accomplished it.

The next day the gentleman was asked to go into the alley in the
rear of the post-office where he met about sixty boys. Twenty of the
poorest, those whose names were booked for coats, were asked to “stand
in line against the building.” Jimmy asked them to name five of their
number who were very poor.

“You see, Kids,” said Jimmy, “we have only five coats and if you select
the five boys needing them it is all right.”

The boys quickly named the lucky sellers.

Midnight, Peanuts, Bluster, Swipsey and Bundle were unanimously chosen
and the orders were given to them.

This was a great surprise to the gentleman, for what he had imagined
would be a difficult problem was satisfactorily settled in a very few
moments by the boys.

“Boys, come close to me,” said the gentleman. It was difficult for him
to stand as they crowded so closely around him.

“I am surprised at your way of doing business. This is one of the
greatest things I ever saw. It shows you boys can take care of
yourselves and I believe you could manage worse things than dividing up
a lot of coats. For this nice little act of yours I am going to give
you a first-class Christmas dinner—”

Not another word could be heard. That quiet, listening bunch of boys
was quickly changed to a turbulent, noisy crowd.

Several policeman came into the alley to see the cause of the noise.
It wasn’t common everyday cheering, but yelling. The invitation was
accepted—it seemed by a thousand voices.

“All right, boys, get your little friends and meet me at the
post-office steps Christmas morning at eleven o’clock.”

“Say, Mister,” said Swipsey, a bootblack, “only sellers and bootblacks
in this deal?”

“Yes, only sellers and bootblacks this time, and I don’t want a good
boy in the crowd. I want only boys who are bad. I want all the gang and
their friends. I want poor boys, but they must all be newsboys. That
is, they must sell papers or shine shoes, and not a boy must come in
dress suit.”


  _See Page 25_


Christmas morning came without a cloud in sight. The sun was warm. It
was an ideal Christmas day. The boys were to meet at eleven o’clock,
but fifty newsies were playing around the corners of the post-office
as early as seven o’clock and at ten o’clock they came in groups of
five and ten from every direction. When the gentleman appeared he
was considerably embarrassed at the noisy reception. The boys formed
in line by twos and as the hundred and fifty marched down the street
yelling at the tops of their voices the good people of the city stood
on the sidewalks wondering what had broken loose. The boys when near
their destination, arriving at the top of a hill, without warning made
a break for the bottom, like a flock of sheep scattering down a hill.
They ran screaming as only boys can. At the door of the building,
where they were to have their Christmas dinner, they were met by six
policemen, who held them at bay, requiring them to go up stairs single

The tables presented a sight that even grown people considered, “one of
the most attractive layouts ever seen in the city.”

Flowers, fruit of all kinds, with “a mountain of turkey” and candy “to
burn,” greeted the boys. In just five minutes after the newsies were
seated there was not an orange, an apple, a banana or a piece of candy
in sight. All disappeared as if by magic. Ice cream and pie were first
to receive attention. Turkey and chicken were later in demand. In half
an hour the tables were cleared of everything that looked good to eat.
Not only were the pockets of the boys filled with oranges and apples
but their shirt-waists and pant-legs were bulged out with the things
that pleased them most. Only six fights were recorded worthy of notice.

An entertainment followed the dinner. It was the kind and character
they could understand and appreciate. Interesting and earnest talks by
newspaper representatives, were sandwiched between acts. The object
of the gathering was well defined by the members of the press. Their
gentleman friend wanted the sellers and bootblacks to start a Newsboys’
Association. This was received with the usual noisy approval. He
wanted an association which the boys themselves would run; make their
own laws, elect from their own numbers the officers, and everything
connected with the running of the association to be under their
supervision. On that Christmas day one hundred and two boys were
enrolled in the new association, and their gentleman friend elected
president, with Jimmy as vice-president.

The president was requested “to get busy,” and, “prepare rules an’ such
things as we can work by.”

After this meeting, Jimmy’s friend was known as “Mr. President.”



A dozen or more newsboys can be seen at almost any hour of the day,
dodging here and there around the corners, down alleys, or playing in
the rear of the circulating offices of the great dailies. In all kinds
of weather they will be found at their posts, prompt in delivering
their papers to subscribers, or upon the streets crying the most
important of the many head lines of the transactions of a day. Would
it be possible to get this noisy, hustling crowd of boys together and
gradually to bring this great power, this great force, into a channel
for doing good? To form an association where the boy would be “de whole
thing” with only the hand of man to guide where it was necessary? To
simply push the button? In short, would it result in doing good among
the class of boys who are neglected in more ways than men and women
imagine? Reflection resulted in adopting a name that would imply


It means work with and among newsboys by the boys themselves.

The Boyville Newsboys’ Association.

It was at once organized, and in its preamble of incorporation was
written the Golden Rule. In the formation of Boyville it must not be
understood that its mission was to draw good boys from good homes; but
rather to give help to bad boys, come from where they may, when they
appear on the streets—away from home influences. Whether they come
from the most palatial residences on the shaded avenues, or from the
crowded hovels of alleys, from poorly kept tenements, or even those who
are compelled to sleep in public stairways, barns, or wherever a boy
can creep under shelter without being noticed.

With one hundred and fifty-two newsboys, sellers and bootblacks,
enrolled as active members for life; with an unwritten constitution and
laws that were made to suit conditions, and that were subject to change
at every meeting; with meeting places in alleys, in vacant store-rooms,
theatres or wherever boys could meet on short notice, Boyville was
started. Trustees were chosen from newspaper representatives, and
leading citizens, but the detail work, the real work among the boys,
was placed in the hands of the president—to make a success or failure
of the project. It was first found necessary that the president should
keep in personal daily touch with every boy, not in bunches but each
boy, sellers and bootblacks. A membership card was issued. This card
simply let the public know the bearer was a member of Boyville,
Newsboys’ Association. For this, and all benefits of the association,
the boy paid nothing in money. No assessments of any kind. Nothing
that would permit even a donation. He was simply required to obey the
rules—not to swear, to steal, to play craps, a game so common among
sellers, or smoke cirgarettes.

DECEMBER 25, 1892.

  _See Page 27_

There were but three officers, the president, vice-president and
secretary. The two latter, newsboys. Jimmy the newsboy, and Johnny the
bootblack, both leaders of gangs. These two boys were told that the
success of the association depended entirely on their work. They had
charge of the one hundred and fifty-two members. Their first orders
were: “that each boy must watch the other boys and correct a fellow
member for doing anything that would disgrace the association. They
must not wait to see an officer to punish a member for stealing,
swearing or playin’ o’craps. They must not depend on what they heard,
but on what they saw. Take the law into their own hands, and punish on
the spot.”

The end of the first month found twenty-eight membership cards taken
from boys who had violated the rule, “you must not steal,” and nine
taken from boys who smoked cigarettes. The fines were from five to
fifteen days. When the fines numbered fifty membership cards, the
president made arrangements with a theatre to admit the members,
permitting no boy to enter unless he showed his membership card. The
boys who were fined, and did not have their cards, were dealt a pretty
heavy blow, for boys. A little banquet was given and again no boy
admitted to the hall without showing his card. This occasional hit had
its effect in reducing the cards in the hands of the president to an
average of about ten a month.


The membership increased so rapidly and the detail work became so
extended, that it was found necessary to increase the number of
officers, from two boys to eleven. The constitution and by-laws
provided a Central Association, which was officered by boys who
had experience upon the streets, as sellers and carriers. The
vice-president gradually became familiar with the objects of the
association, and the work among the boys. He was a typical newsboy, a
good street-seller and his power was felt among the boys, especially
those who were inclined to be bad. A secretary was elected from the
ranks of the carriers. He was a good worker. The treasurer was a boy
who received the unanimous vote of the association. The money he
received was small donations, from benevolently-inclined friends. This
was used for purchasing flowers for sick boys, etc. The real work of
the association depended upon the executive committee of five members.
Like most organizations, the committee-work centered in the chairman.
The chairman of this committee proved to be one of the most active
and faithful boys of the association. He left nothing undone in his
efforts to unravel a difficulty or in correcting and building up a boy
who had done wrong. The four boys on his committee were untiring in
their efforts for the success of the association. This committee was in
constant touch with the president.

The membership committee of three boys looked after old as well as new
members. Each applicant had to be submitted to them for approval.

With these eleven officers, all boys under fourteen, the association
began life. The constitution and by-laws embraced in its power and
force simply one aim, one object, to do good among the boys. To do it
effectively, and make the results lasting. To build up, never pull
down; to encourage honesty, to watch and warn a boy.

The work among the street boys became more interesting as the months
rolled on, and, at the end of a year the membership of Boyville had
increased to two hundred and fifty sellers and bootblacks. This number
not only included boys who sold papers every day, but those who sold
extras, and on Saturdays, and special occasions, and boys who sold
magazines or other periodicals. The association began to grow and
become recognized by the boys generally, and new sellers appeared upon
the streets daily, all anxious to join. The working officers remained
the same—but two boys doing the detail work.

Two years passed under the new officers and rules. The Boyville
Newsboys’ Association began to be felt in the community. Compliments
were frequent concerning the good work. The association had increased
its membership to fifteen hundred and twenty boys. A little army, and
all working harmoniously together for each others good, and in trying
to assist and build up the association. Doubting men and women, and the
world is full of them, were perfectly satisfied of the success of the
boys governing themselves, as was shown almost daily in the work. The
boys solved a problem never thought of being tried by men and women who
had long experience in working among boys.

The success of Boyville increased in proportion to the work done by the
young officers.

People began to look upon a newsboy with some consideration, and as a
necessary adjunct to the growth of a city. His politeness, his honesty,
his general deportment attracted special notice, and the boys received
many kind words and increased attention.

The association began to assume such magnitude that it was found
necessary to divide it into auxiliaries, to get a suitable badge, and a
membership card defining more explicitly certain rules.

Boyville was therefore divided into five auxiliaries—the sellers,
north, south, east and west branches, with the constitution of the
Central. Each auxiliary had eleven officers, making a total of
sixty-six officers—all boys. In the annual election of officers
great interest was taken by the boys, many displaying political “wire
pulling” qualifications that would equal the work done by great
political bodies.

These sixty-six officers were scattered in all parts of the city,
making it almost impossible for a boy whom they wanted for violating a
rule of the association, to escape their notice.

The membership card told the story of what was expected of a member. It
is herewith given for that purpose.



  ——————————is an active member for life of
  The Boyville Newsboys’ Association. He does not approve
  of swearing, lying, stealing, gambling, drinking
  intoxicating liquors, or smoking cigarettes, and is entitled
  to all the benefits of said association, and the respect
  and esteem of the public.

                                Signed by the officers.

With these rules, and simple pledge, if pledge it can be called, in the
hands of each newsboy, the reader can imagine the good that must result.

It does not say the holder is guilty of any of these evils, neither
does it imply that he must not swear, etc., but it does say, and each
boy is strongly impressed with the fact, that he does not approve of
these things, and will not permit a fellow member to violate a single

A boy who says I do not believe in swearing, while he may swear
himself, will take great pleasure in checking some one else, and often
bumps up against a strong proposition when he finds some other boy,
probably of greater strength, watching him, and waiting anxiously for
an opportunity to correct him. If not corrected with a simple warning
it may end in a fight.

A boy makes an application for membership. He is recommended by a
friend. He is approved by the membership committee. In case there is
something wrong with the applicant, particularly if he steals, or
swears, or smokes cigarettes, he is sent with a note to the president,
or as is more frequently done, one of the officers reports in person
giving the president a history of the applicant and the failing he has.

The new member knows nothing of this, in fact he gives expression to
his thoughts and says, after he receives his credentials, “It’s dead
easy.” It is, as far as the business he has with the president, but the
moment he leaves the president’s office, the officers living in his
district are notified of the trouble this boy gives, or bad habit he
delights in keeping up.

Even the boys with whom he associates become familiar, through methods
of their own, with his failings, and go after him with all the
authority of an official.

With all the interest taken by the boys to correct a member for
violating one of the rules, and the severe methods adopted by them to
correct a known evil, it is seldom a boy will appear against one of his
associates as a witness.

[Illustration: A BUNCH OF SELLERS.

  _See Page 38_

A gentleman whose sympathy was with the work, brought a boy to the
president whom he accused of using language, “unbecoming a criminal.”
As witnesses he brought with him four newsboy companions.

Imagine the gentleman’s surprise to hear the boys say: “Mister, you’re
dreaming through a pipe. He didn’t swear.” The boys did not even show
signs of embarrassment but faced the charge with perfect ease. No
argument could get the boys to testify against their friend.

The gentleman left disgusted with newsboys.

“I will let you boys settle this among yourselves,” said the president.

They went upon the street, into the alley. Half an hour later the
newsboy accused of swearing returned. Timidly he approached the
president and said.

“I swore but I will never do it again, and I mean it, I am sorry.”

At the door the president saw four little faces peeping through the
window. They were watching their friend.

“Where is your badge?” asked the president.

“The boys took it from me, they’re out there,” he replied.

They were beckoned to come in.

“Did you do the right thing?” one of the boys asked the accused.

“Yes, didn’t I Mr. President?” he answered, looking for sympathy.

“Yes, boys, he is all right. I understand everything,” said the

The badge was returned to the boy and they left the office talking and


The first public appearance of the boys, aside from auxiliary meetings,
annual Christmas dinners, attending theatres, entertainments, base-ball
games, picnics, etc., and where the boys made a favorable impression
upon the public, was the Sunday afternoon meetings held in suitable
halls, during the winter season. These were carried on successfully and
profitably for several years, until the available halls were too small
to accommodate the increasing membership.

The idea of Sunday afternoon meetings suggested itself from what the
boys said.

“If we had meetings of our own we would not attend Sunday afternoon
theatres.” Three boys, newsboys, were seen coming out of the back door
of a saloon on Sunday afternoon, and to the question asked by the
president, why they spent their time in the saloon, they replied they
had no other place to go to get warm.

“Why not go home?”

“We are not wanted at home.”

At the Sunday afternoon meetings the entertainments were given by
the different Sunday schools of the city, and occasionally by some
society, all kindly volunteering their valuable services. Splendid
music, interesting talkers, little girls and boys in recitations or
songs who always made a hit among the newsies. In time the newsboys
became so interested in the work that many of them concluded that they
could “do a stunt or two,” and the program was divided in two parts.
First, the Sunday-school or society, followed by the newsboys who
introduced their best speakers, singers, etc.

“These Sunday afternoon gatherings,” to copy from an editorial in one
of the daily newspapers, “have improved the tastes, aroused the better
natures, stimulated the ambitions, revealed new and nobler ideals and
altogether, have opened a new world of more sober and serious plans for
future success of the bright little business men.”

One of the most trying incidents that ever came to the attention of
the president was at one of the Sunday afternoon meetings held in a
theatre, when was brought to the rear of the stage two newsboys so
drunk that a policeman had to hold them from falling.

They had a bottle of whiskey between them. In broken sentences they
told where a keeper had sold them the liquor, Sunday morning, and
how the men in the saloon dared them to drink all the whiskey in the
bottle. It wasn’t necessary to drink all, a few swallows made them
dizzy. “We got funny and noisy, an’ the man pitched us out.” They
staggered towards the opera house to attend the newsboys’ meeting, when
a policeman assisted them in the house. Immediately upon their entrance
their friends hustled them out of sight behind the stage. The president
at once called the association officers and turned the two boys over
to them. Quickly the officers removed their badges. It was difficult
to restrain some of them from “giving the boys a thorough thrashing.”
Through the influence of the boy, Jimmy, the sympathy of the newsboys’
turned quickly to the two boys and a determination for revenge on
the saloon keeper followed. The newsboy officers took the two little
fellows to their homes. In a few days they reported to the president
that the boys received such a severe punishment from their parents that
they would be laid up for a month. The saloonman was visited by two
of the oldest experienced officers. They were received with kindness,
and after talking over the matter for some time it was mutually agreed
that the boys were to notify all members that they must keep out of
the saloon, as the proprieter promised not to sell liquor of any kind
to newsboys and to refuse to sell liquor to any of the fathers of the
newsboys—“when he thought they had enough.”

For a month the boys watched that saloon, and if a newsboy entered,
his badge was taken from him. The saloonman took greater interest than
the boys, for he absolutely refused to sell liquor to any one whom he
thought had “all he could carry.”

Today this saloonman is respected by the newsboys and many good deeds
are credited to him.

“He is simply trying to lift up a man instead of pulling him down,”
said an officer.

The good that has been accomplished from the Sunday afternoon meetings,
commonly called “The Popular Sunday School,” cannot be estimated.
Thousands of people attend these meetings. They are pleased because the
newsboys do the entertaining. There isn’t a great deal of preaching,
but there is enough. “The object is not to give so much of that sort
of thing,” says an editorial in one of the great dailies, “but what
preaching they get is wholesome. The boys get a chance to laugh and
clap their hands. They are permitted to be boys on Sunday just as
on week days. There is good music, too. It is apt to be a patriotic
air, or a popular song. A sweet little girl sang ‘The Good Old Summer
Time,’ and the newsies joined in the chorus. It wasn’t classical, but
it was good. Instead of shooting over people’s heads the musicians aim
at their hearts. The preaching isn’t a tiresome string of ‘does’ and
‘don’ts,’ ‘musts’ and ‘mustn’ts’. It is mostly plain talks from plain
people who know they are talking to boys whose veins are bulging with
rich, red human blood. But the boys themselves furnish most of the
program. Boys who sell papers, who shine shoes, on the streets, get
up before big audiences, make speeches, sing songs, ‘recite pieces’
and do other interesting and instructive stunts. And hundreds of
these little newsboys sit in the auditorium, conduct themselves like
gentlemen and thoroughly enjoy the entertainment. An interesting fact
about this association, is that its membership comprises the rich as
well as the poor. If a rich man’s son carries a route he is in the same
boat with the poorest lad that peddles papers on the street. There
are boys who have rich fathers, boys who have poor fathers, boys who
have industrious fathers, boys who have drunken fathers, and boys who
have no fathers at all. There are Protestant boys, Catholic boys,
Hebrew boys, white boys, black boys—and all are full-fledged, honored
members of the same newsboy family, which is run on the principle of
equal rights for all and special privileges for none. Rich boys are
not debarred. There is a desire to save them from wealth’s temptations
and make good citizens of them in spite of their handicap. The poor
boys who sell papers to help keep the family from starvation are
generous and are willing to let the rich in on the ground floor. So
it is a pretty broad and big Sunday-school. And a good one. Every boy
who belongs to it is better for his membership. He is taught to travel
on his own merits and not lean on his papa. He is taught that he must
paddle his own canoe; and that he will be judged by what HE does, not
by his father’s success.”


  _See Page 53_


So great became the interest in the success of the Boyville Newsboys’
Association that many additions were made to add to its prosperity,
through which the association became favorably known throughout the
United States.

A newsboys’ band of thirty-eight pieces was organized, the sellers
being in the majority. The expense of the band was borne entirely by
one of the enterprising dailies. The musical talent, discovered by
an efficient leader, in the newsboys, was remarkable. In less than a
year they were able to play some of the most difficult pieces, and the
general deportment of the boys surprised all who saw them.

The organization of the South-end Cadets was an event which proved to
be one of the most successful additions to the association. Their fine
personal appearance, their remarkable drilling, their good behavior
at all times and on all occasions, with the band, made Boyville
extensively and favorably known as the home of the best newsboys in the

Nothing in the history of the work among the newsboys was as important
as the interest taken by the various churches, regardless of sect,
through their ministers, in holding special Sunday evening meetings for
the members of the association. All through the city the auxiliaries
were invited, and particular pains taken in the preparation of a
program suitable to all. When the boys were first invited, the
expression was frequently heard: “Gee wiz, we gets front rows.”
The illustration shows the boys marching to one of these evening

The value of these meetings cannot be estimated. The good attendance,
the close attention, the good behavior of the boys made them many
friends, and people began to look more kindly upon the newsboy.

With these improvements in the street-boy and the success of the
association naturally, the president received many letters from men and
women all over the land seeking information about the detail work of
the association.

With the view that this work may eventually be extended throughout the
country, the president conceived the idea that a convention of newsboys
and their friends might be held and a National association organized
through which much good could be accomplished. He therefore opened
correspondence with the managers of the World’s Fair, St. Louis, Mo.,
with a view of getting their consent and approval to set apart a day to
be known as Newsboys’ Day. This met with prompt reply and a most hearty
endorsement of the officials, and newspaper representatives generally
throughout the United States, and resulted in selecting Tuesday, August
16, 1904, as Newsboys’ Day.

That the convention might prove a success, particularly among men who
are familiar with work among newsboys, the aid of the circulating
managers of the newspapers was asked. At the annual convention of the
National Association of Managers of Newspaper Circulation, held at the
World’s Fair June 12, 1904, the president of “Boyville” appeared and
explained the methods adopted in this association. He satisfied them
that, not only did the association accomplish much good, through its
efforts to influence boy’s work, but it also proved to be a great aid
to the newspapers in increasing circulation. He therefore asked for
endorsement and support of the members of this organization in forming
a National Newsboys’ Association.

In recognition of this a resolution was unanimously passed endorsing
the movement; and a committee was appointed to co-operate with the
trustees of the Boyville association with the view of not only making
Newsboys’ Day a success but in organizing a National Newsboys’


On the afternoon, of Tuesday, August 16, 1904, in the magnificent
Festival Hall, at the World’s Fair, where were present hundreds of
newsboys, representing nearly every State in the Union; and newspaper
representatives from the leading papers of the country, there was
organized The National Newsboys’ Association; officers were elected and
instructions were given them to perfect the organization and adopt the
plan so successfully carried on by the Boyville Newsboys’ Association,
and having for its object the extension of the work in every town and
city in the land that there may be established fraternal relations
among newsboys everywhere in making them an important part in the
business world, honored and treated with respect by all good citizens.

While the details of the organization were being worked out, the
officers were instructed, by the trustees, to issue membership cards
and badges and to organize auxiliaries in cities and towns wherever

A year has passed since the organization of the National Newsboys’
Association, and the officers have established auxiliaries in many
cities and towns in the United States with inquiries from foreign

In the discussion regarding the formation of the constitution etc., it
was agreed that an organized association of newsboys with an enrollment
of twenty-five boys would be received into the National Association
as an auxiliary, and, in towns where there were a less number than
twenty-five newsboys, each boy could become members under the trustees
of the National Association.

No recognition of the work accomplished by the National and Boyville
Associations was so important and no greater good can be accomplished
than the official approval and endorsement by the officers of the
greatest railroads in America.

It is an undisputed fact, railroad detectives as authority, that a
majority of the young men arrested for stealing merchandise from
freight cars were once boys who sold or waited for newspapers at the
stations of our railroads.

The officers of the Boyville Association have on file congratulatory
letters from prominent railroad detectives heartily approving of the
work accomplished in trying to teach the boys who sell or wait for
papers at the stations, honesty. One detective wrote: “You are saving
the railroads thousands of dollars worth of property and a million
dollars worth of trouble.”

The railroads who have approved of the work have permitted the officers
of the National Association to issue circular letters to their agents
instructing them to allow no newsboy to sell or wait for newspapers at
the stations unless he is a member of the association and wears, while
on duty, the official badge. This simply means that newsboys to sell
or wait for papers at railroad stations must not swear, steal, lie,
smoke cigarettes or gamble. The trustees, feeling that the good work
accomplished among the newsboys would be still further advanced by
bringing the National Association to public notice, decided that the
expense of sending the newsboys’ band and cadets to Washington, to take
part in the inaugural parade of President Theodore Roosevelt on March
4, 1905, would be justified.

Correspondence with the inaugural committee proved one of the pleasant
experiences, for the recognition by the chief marshall and other
officials of the civic grand division was quickly and heartily
given. The work of completing the detail arrangements, necessarily
irksome, was so cordially conducted that the trustees felt more than
ever justified in sending the newsboys’ band and cadets, and the
vice-presidents of the various auxiliaries, in order that Boyville
could be officially represented.

“Sixty-five newsboys let loose in the city of Washington during the
inaugural ceremonies would cause the men in charge more trouble and
unhappiness, and disgrace to the city represented than the honor
gained,” was the public declaration of men who were not familiar with
what could be done by newsboys.

Satisfactory arrangements were made in all details.

To show the activity and self-responsibility of a newsboy, while the
boys were en route they stopped at Cleveland. Two hours were given them
to go where they pleased. In less than an hour the sellers said:

“We have done the town, been all through the public buildings and we’re
ready to go. We were treated like reporters.”

In Washington thirty minutes after their arrival at headquarters, the
president called a dozen boys to him and tried to tell them how to find
their hotel(?) from a given point.


  _See Page 55_

“Aw, what you trying to give us. We ain’t asleep. We’ve been round the
square, and say, president, we found a first-class eating place. It’s
out o’ sight.”

Two hours after the boys were settled, a majority of them had been
through and around nearly all of the public buildings, and were ready
“to do the White House.” When requested to report at a stated hour and
place, every boy was there on time and to the minute.

One of the greatest lessons the president learned from the trip, from
these newsboys, was the perfect control they have of themselves.

They were always happy. Always contented and satisfied with conditions.
Never complaining or borrowing trouble showing that worry is a thing
unknown to newsboys. The loss of a hat, of a piece of baggage, an
order changing contemplated plans, all were received with the same
wonderful patience and good cheer, which seem part of the nature of a
newsboy. The boy without a cent in his pocket was happier than the boy
whose parents supplied him with more money than he needed. Wherever
these boys appeared on the streets of Washington they were little
gentlemen, an honor to the city who sent them, an honor to themselves
and, an honor to the great country they represent. On the train en
route Governor Myron T. Herrick, in his address to the boys said: “I
consider it a very great honor to the state of Ohio to send from its
commonwealth such a bright lot of boys, and boys who represent our
little street merchants, boys who are destined to be the good men of
the future.”


Newsboys are students. From the necessity of knowing the special
happenings of the day, as soon as they receive their papers they
quickly read the head lines. First, they can be seen to slowly spell
each word, but in a very short time they read without assistance. It is
one of the advantages to boys selling papers, it is an educator. To be
successful, they must become familiar with the news of the day and be
able to cry it to induce men to purchase.

After the inaugural parade, when most people were tired, the newsboys,
at their headquarters, “chipped in” and raised enough money to send
one of the boys “down town to purchase a copy of every paper sold in
the city.” The boy returned with New York, Philadelphia and Washington
dailies and a dozen sellers were seated on the cots, each earnestly
reading, and commenting on leading articles. One little seller said:

“Say, look here, fellers, Teddy has started to work, he made an
appointment. I guess he means business.”

Is there another organization whose members, when attending a
convention, are so interested in the news of the day as to send one
of their number—“down the avenue to purchase a copy of each of the
dailies the town takes?”

From the highest officers in the land; from the committee in charge
of the various divisions; from the foreign as well as the Washington
newspapers, praise and compliments were given these newsboys for the
almost perfect marching, in the parade.

They said:

“The newsboys’ band and cadets made the hit of the day, in the parade,
and made thousands of friends throughout the United States * * *
President Roosevelt was immensely pleased with the newsboys and could
not say enough of the remarkable appearance they made. The Newsboys’
Band and Cadets, sixty-five in all, which led the third brigade of
the civic grand division, are the first newsboys in America to be
recognized in an inaugural parade. The band thirty-eight pieces, is
uniformed in red with black trimmings; the cadets, twenty, with red and
white trimmings. The cadets march under the leadership of Drum-Major
Francis McGarry, the youngest drum-major in the world, and a little
fellow who has to take a hitch-step every other step in order to keep
up with the procession. The general appearance and manly conduct of the
young gentlemen elicited many favorable comments. They were an object
lesson of a very remarkable character, which is calculated to arouse in
them a higher degree of patriotism and love for their country.”




  _See Page 68_


The reader will observe that when Boyville was well organized no
boys were admitted to membership except those who sold newspapers or
shined shoes. But later, after many years of work, incident after
incident came to the president of the wrong-doings of the carriers who
occasionally sold extras. Those boys came from the best families and
much was expected from them by the sellers. But some of them proved to
be very bad boys. The following is one of a number of incidents that
induced the president to include the carriers in the association.

A very kind lady, living in the heart of the city, and who was a
subscriber to one of the dailies, reported to the president; “a boy
who carried my paper and whom I owed eighteen cents, has skipped with
a dollar. He did not have the change and asked permission to cross the
street to get it. I saw him run down the street as fast as his little
legs would carry him. I knew he was running away and would not return.
It is not so much on account of the money, that I call your attention
to this, as it is to correct the boy, and save him from future wrong

She was asked to describe the boy. As it was dark this was difficult.

“But I did notice,” she said, “that he had on a very bright pink

This was the first instance she knew of the boy being dishonest. He had
always delivered the paper promptly, never missing a day.

“But, a big new dollar was too much for him.”

Immediately upon the receipt of this information the president called
his best officer and repeated the story.

“A pink necktie,” he said. “Let me see, there is a pretty lively little
fellow that comes down town occasionally and poses on the corners. I
know him. He always wears that necktie.”

Inquiry among the sellers soon gave the officer all the information
necessary as to where the boy lived. He was not a member of the
association. He was a carrier. He was supposed to be good. A dozen boys
knew the pink necktie carrier.

Following is the official report of the officer who went after the boy.

“I found he lived over a mile from the place where he delivered the
paper. It was a swell part of the city. When I went there I asked for
the boy. He was in bed. I told his mother I wanted to see him on some
very particular personal business. He was tucked up in a nice warm
bed, and I hated to disturb him. When I asked him if he had received a
dollar from a lady for papers, he covered his head with the clothes.
I knew I was right. I told him to get out of bed, and go with me to
see the lady, return her money, and beg her pardon. I had him dead
to rights for he didn’t want his mother to know what he had done. I
went down stairs and told his mother I had some very important things
we boys wanted him to do. She hesitated a little and finally let him
go. He dressed, and when on the way I told him he must get down on
his knees and beg the lady’s pardon; he cried and said, ‘I will go
home before I’ll do that.’ All right, I said, if you want your mother
to know what a little rascal you are, how you steal money, we’ll go
back, but if you want to be a little man, and make things right, with
my help, well and good. When we reached the house, we had to go up a
stairway, and the boy threw himself on the steps and said, ‘Oh, I can’t
do this,’ but I said you could steal all right, so come on. Up the
stairs we went, and I knocked at the door. I thought that boy would
faint. ‘Oh, I can’t do it,’ he cried, when the door opened and the
lady stood before him. She understood the situation. She lifted him to
his feet. I pulled him back, and said, ‘No, my lady, he must get down
on his knees, return you the dollar, and beg your pardon.’ It was a
tough job for that kid, but he did it; and after it was all over he
said, ‘My! but I feel better, I’m glad this is over.’ On the way he
told me he had spent forty cents and had but sixty cents left to pay
the lady, so I gave him the money to make the dollar, and he is to pay
me five cents a week until all is paid up. On the way home he was the
happiest lad I ever saw. The lady said it was the slickest piece of
detective work she ever heard of, and wished to thank you and the boys
for starting the association.”

A few days after this little incident, the boy was brought to the
president, by the officer, requesting that he become a member of
Boyville. His name was signed to an application and when the officer
asked him how he felt after returning the dollar, he looked a little
ashamed, but quickly said: “You bet, I’ll never do any thing like that
again. It isn’t safe in this city, the kids find a fellow out when they
are bad. I’m glad we fixed it up all right.”

He gradually paid back the money the officer advanced. Two years have
passed since that eventful night, and today the boy is one of the most
efficient officers in the Boyville association.

The following editorial is taken from one of the city dailies relative
to the pink necktie story. It reads:

“The story explains how well the officer did his work. There is a
lesson for boys and men, too, in this little story. It shows that
policemen and jails are not necessary when boys and men know how to
do right. No policeman, judge or jury was needed to straighten out
this difficulty. Newsboy government did the work. It got the woman her
money, and taught the boy with the pink necktie a lesson he will never
forget. He didn’t have to be arrested or go to jail. The public will
never know who he is. He will not be further disgraced. Now, why do
these boys, officers of this association, do this? simply because they
are proud of the reputation of their association. They have learned
that the association’s reputation is made up of the reputations of
its members. They have learned that one dishonest act by one newsboy
reflects on all newsboys and on the organization. So they insist that
all members must be honest and protect the association’s good name. It
isn’t fear of the policemen or jails that makes these boys honest. It
is the fear of their own conscience and the opinion of their comrades.
They want to be able to walk along the street with their heads up, and
to look every honest man squarely in the eye. They know they are as
good as the richest man in town if they are honest. They are learning
that it pays to do right, and not because of what may happen to them
as a result of dishonesty. If men would follow the same plan the world
wouldn’t need its thousands of jails, reformatories and penitentiaries.
If men would only feel that each one of them is a member of the human
society, association or organization, and that wrong committed by one
is a reflection on all, it would save heartaches and trouble in this


Do you believe a boy that is good at home, one who is cared for and
loved as we often see an only child, could possibly do anything bad on
the streets, away from home influence?

A neatly dressed boy, a carrier, whose parents “wanted him to learn the
trade of the street, to give him self-reliance and business tact, and
all that the street teaches without much effort,” when through with his
little route of carrying papers insisted upon going, “to the heart of
the city and selling papers on special occasions, extras.”

Before Boyville was fully organized the president’s attention was
called to this little fellow—as being “a perfect nuisance. He was
impudent, frequently used profane language and was one of the worst
boys on the street.” At that time the association had but one (boy)
officer. He was told to watch this boy. See that he was corrected.
“And, above everything not to lose him because he was bad.” Within a
month the officer reported “the boy’s parents were among the best in
the city, good Christian people, attending church every Sunday, and
the boy a regular prize-winner for perfect attendance at Sunday-school.
When this boy was away from home, out of sight of his parents—he was a
little terror.”

“Well, what did you do with him?” was asked the officer.

“I takes his papers, an’ shows him as how to sell ’em. How to say thank
you when he sells to a gemmen or a ladies. And how’s not to be the
whole thing when on the street working. He cut out swearing de furst
thing. He was easy doing, all he wanted wus guidin.”

“What did he say to your work?”

“When I puts twenty cents in his hand, an’ says this is yourn, he gets
wise, he gets next to a good thing and is now working on de square. He
is de boss seller on de street an’ no boy kin sell on de corners and
swear, or steal. He fights ’em. He does.”

That same little boy, who was given a warning by a fellow companion
with a little authority, today receives a salary of eight hundred
dollars a year in an important commercial position.

In every city of our land there are hundreds of boys like this “good
boy at home,” who on the street surprises their most intimate friends
by their wickedness.

[Illustration: “TROW DE CIGARETTE AWAY.”

  _See Page 74_

The newsboy cannot gain admission to many of the boys clubs, debating
clubs, athletic clubs, and is often debarred from many of our greatest
christian associations, because he is a being within himself, he stands
alone in his class, a creation of his own acts and deeds, and goes upon
the street at that age when environment molds his future, and generally
molds it bad.

A question is often asked, what would become of a boy if he were left
to himself, with no training, no guidance, no education. A boy of the
street, who is dead to home influences, or worse, who is driven out
to make a living for himself by heartless parents or guardians, or
unfortunate conditions of life, and there are hundreds of them in every
city, becomes a power in himself. For evil, first. “For the heart of
the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” If left alone the
evil will get the upper hand. The street teaches irregular habits and

The following incident will show how diligent were the boys, not
officers, in watching their companions.

Two little boys, ages nine and twelve, saw a fellow member standing
in an alley, behind a pile of store boxes and enjoying a cigarette to
his great delight. He was afraid to appear on the street as the boys
were watching for such cases. He was a boy about fifteen years of age,
rather stout and independent, but a staunch member of the association.
He might have used his strength to great advantage in arguing with the
two boys who attacked him as soon as discovered.

“Say, Mike, youse knows it’s agin the rule to smoke dem cig’rettes.”

“Dat’s all right. If I wants to smoke, I smoke, see? No one sees me in
the alley. I don’t smoke when I sells me papers.”

“Aw! comes off, youse knows de rules. Cut it out. Trow it away. Youse
knows our president don’t wants youse ter smoke ’em. Cut it out. Trow
it away.”

This persuasive talk or “bluff” as the smoker declared, had but little
effect until the two boys began to take off their coats. When donned
for the prize ring, the boys walked to the violator, presenting a bold
front and again demanded that the cigarette be thrown away, and promise
made that he would never smoke again.

“What youse goin’ to do?” he said, backing up closer to the building.
“We will trow you down, take your badge frum youse an’ take it to the

The big boy stood quiet for some moments, in the mean time about thirty
newsies had gathered around him, each yelling—“trow it away.”

“I haint lookin’ fur no trouble,” he finally said, and threw the
cigarette in the alley.

“We’s only doin’ you a good turn,” said the nine-year-old newsy.

“It’s all right. I was only tryin’ to see if you would stop me. I’ll
cut it all out. I will never smoke again.”

That boy did not have to be watched. He was good and kind to his little
friends, and proved to be one of the best boys on the street. Two years
later, when he graduated from the junior grade, in one of the ward
schools, he came to the president, saying that his mother was poor and
sickly and he had to go to work. He was sent to a wholesale house where
was wanted a good honest boy.

The first question asked Mike was:

“Do you smoke cigarettes?” The president will never forget the manly,
prompt reply. He was given a good position, and that boy today is
traveling for a firm in Cleveland, Ohio, at a big salary. The increased
interest in the detail work taken by the boys themselves encouraged
the president to believe that he was still on the right road to build
these little street-boys up for good, not only for themselves but for
doing good for others. Another case of interest in an unusual way of
“doin’ a good turn.” A bright-eyed, red-faced boy, ten years old,
came running into the president’s office, one evening, almost out of
breath, and after clearing the way through a long room, he stood before
the officer, eyes sparkling with interest. He had something important
to say. His elbows were bare, his pants torn, his cap merely a piece
of cloth, with a rim strong enough to hold it in place. His name was
Bluster, receiving it from the boys on account of his blustering manner
of doing things.

“Say, pres.,” yelled Bluster. “I want authority to lick a kid.”

That was a strange request. While the president was thinking what to
say he added.

“I must have permission fur de gang’s after me. Dey’re on me track.”
Not desiring the gang to enter the office and create a scene, consent
was given for Bluster to use force, if necessary to defend himself. A
smile of satisfaction came over Bluster’s face. A smile that indicated
that he had taken advantage of the president, and was now about to
glory in it. After a moments thought he said.

“Say, pres., I already licked him.”

“Who and what for?” was asked with considerable surprise.

“Fur swearin.”

Before he could explain the details of the case, in rushed eight or ten
boys, all talking at once. Bluster never smiled when the boys declared
he wasn’t an officer and had no business to “take the law into his own

“That’s all right,” put in Bluster, “ain’t we supposed to work fur
each others good? Well, an’ wasn’t I ’tendin’ to my own business on de
corner. I wus standin’ there crying all about de big fire, when a man
frum de other side of the street calls fur me to come over. I starts
an’ so does Swipsey, I beats Swipsey, an’ sells de man a paper, an’
what does Swipsey do? Does he go about his business? No, he told the
man to go to hell and used other swear words an’ I saw our association
wus receiving a black eye. It’s no use to preach to Swipsey, de only
way to bring him to his thinking is to lick him. He knows as well as
youses that its agin de rules to swear. So I punched him. I turned him
an’ rolled him over until he cried enuf, an’ promised he would not
swear again. Then de gang came after me an’ I runned to you.”

The boys still declared he had no right to punish Swipsey without
permission from the president. Quick as flash Bluster said:

“Say, pres., didn’t I have permission?”

The president could do nothing but back Bluster up. He had given him
full authority. At this juncture, Swipsey made his appearance. His hair
disheveled, face and hands dirty, and clothes in a terrible condition.
Swipsey listened to Bluster’s story with a great deal of patience. He
looked guilty.

“All we want to know,” said the leader of the gang, “is whether we can
punish a boy for violating the rules, even if we are not officers.”
That was a leading question, and experience had taught the president
that it was a very wise thing to have any boy punish a member, and in
his own way. The only provision made was that no badge must be taken
away from a boy by a non-officer. Where a boy cannot be corrected by a
fellow member, he must submit the case to an officer. This was agreed
to and the boys were satisfied with the method used by Bluster. The two
boys were made a little present, and they all left in their usual happy


The more experience the president had with the street-boys, boys who
spent most of their time in selling papers or shining shoes, the
greater his desire to keep in close personal touch with each boy. He
had learned that it was not wise to censure a bad boy, to punish a
boy who had violated any of the rules. That belonged entirely to the

Some of the best suggestions for gaining the most good came from the
boys, and boys whom the general public would ignore, pay no attention
to. The boys were working out their own salvation. Solving the boy
problem themselves.

The strongest argument for self-government, among boys, was solved
by the boys, the sellers. This was when they began to bring to the
president money and valuable articles they found on the streets, and
the sincere, earnest request, in every case, “to please find the
owner—it doesn’t belong to me.”


  _See Page 77_

It was through the honesty of one of the hustling sellers that this new
work was started, which became part of the great work and was carried
on so successfully, and to such an extent that hundreds of valuable
articles, from fifty cents in pennies to a diamond necklace, were found
and returned to the owners. The following incident was the starting

A stranger gave a little seller, what he supposed was a new bright
penny, for an evening paper, and passed on. The boy renewed his work,
and a few moments later another gentleman purchased a paper, giving
the boy a dime. In counting out nine cents, as change, the seller
handed the man the new penny he had just received from a stranger. The
customer said:

“My dear son, this is not a penny; it is a five dollar goldpiece.”

“I didn’t know it, sir”, replied the boy. “If you will please to hold
my papers I will run after the man and try to find him—this isn’t

Around the corner the lad went at full speed. Up and down the street he
looked but failed to see his man. He returned very much disappointed.

“He’s gone,” he said, “here’s your change—nine cents.”

During this little talk a dozen or more newsboys gathered around the
man and when they learned what had happened several of the boys said:

“Harry, what you goin’ to do with the mon.?”

“Our president will tell us what to do, come on,” replied the little

Off the crowd started down the street, around the corner and a noisier
lot of boys never entered the president’s office.

Each of the twenty boys present wanted to explain what he knew about
the transaction.

All the details of how the seller received the money, and how hard he
had tried to find the real owner were gone over several times.

The president complimented not only the boy who received the gold, but
the boys who were so deeply interested in trying to find the owner. An
appreciative present was given to the boy, and it was understood that
every effort possible would be made to find the owner. When it was
first advertised a generous clothier, a lover of newsboys, presented
the boy with a suit of clothes. After advertising thirty days and no
owner claiming the five dollars, it was given to the boy. Nothing ever
happened in the neighborhood where the newsboy lived that created such
an excitement. The newsie posed as an honest boy, and was complimented
by men and women, as well as being a hero among the boys and girls. Its
effect was far-reaching, and did good not only to the boys, but it had
a most desirable effect upon the people.

More particularly from this incident than any other did the newsboys
“get next” and begin bringing to the president everything they found.
Among the articles brought to him with instructions to find the owners,
were diamonds, watches, money, in amounts ranging from fifty cents to
eighty dollars; rings, robes, hats, gloves, valuable papers, badges of
all kinds, handkerchiefs, money-saving banks, hundreds of addressed
stamped letters, pictures, pocket-books of all kinds, keys, etc.

Among the live things the boys brought to the office was a dog. One
afternoon, late in the autumn, four newsies walked into the president’s
office, talking and laughing, as they always do, and one of the boys,
being “soaking wet,” led a little woolly dog who seemed to enjoy the
fun as well as the boys.

“My! how did you get so wet?” asked the president. “And what have we

“A man trowed de dog into the river. He tried to drown him. I jumped
into de water and saved him.”

“Yes, president,” said the hero, “I thought it would please you to save
the dog’s life.”

Of course it pleased the president, and the boys agreed it was a very
brave act. This little incident had its effect upon the boy, and they
always looked upon him as a great fellow, and it wasn’t long until they
elected him to an important office.

It is a noticeable fact that newsboys have a peculiarly natural way of
drawing, what they call, tramp dogs to them. Many a newsboy has been
seen caring for a poor dog, who had either lost its owner or was hurt.

Sympathy is aroused very quickly. Often a poor, worthless dog has
been taken into a seller’s favorite lunch-room and given a square
meal. From a boy who jumped into fifteen feet of water to save a
little dog, something might be expected. He was watched. At one of
the regular meetings of an auxiliary he showed the metal he was made
of by introducing the following preamble and resolution, and spoke so
strongly in its favor that it was passed unanimously.

 “WHEREAS, It has come to our notice that boys throughout the city, and
 boys, too, from our swell families, are killing the song birds in the
 little patches of groves within the city limits, by the use of the
 Flobert rifle; therefore be it

 _Resolved_, That the members of the Boyville Newsboys’ Association
 bitterly disapprove of this wanton slaughter of our song birds, and
 we, therefore, pledge ourselves to do everything in our power to stop
 boys, whether members of this association or not, from killing, in any
 manner, these birds.”

In his closing remarks he said: “If we expects people to show us
kindness we must also do something what’s right. And what can we do
better’n protect the dumb animals. Let us show, what we are trying to
get, kindness, justice and mercy.”

A short time after the adoption of the above resolution one of the
trustees attention was called to a member, a boy eleven years of age,
who was very much worked up over the acts of some of his associates,
not members of the association. The boys had made a trap and were
trying to catch the robins that made their summer homes in the yards
along the street.

The little boy always told his mother his troubles and in this case
went to her for advice. She told him she would pray that God would tell
the birds not to go near the trap. He seemed satisfied, but went away
deeply buried in thought.

A few days later he was sitting on the fence, at his home, when the
trustee passed. Knowing of the incident he asked the boy about the trap.

“Well, the trap was set all right,” he said, “and my mother prayed
hard, asking God to strengthen the instinct of the birds so they would
keep out of danger—not go near the trap.”

“Did God answer your mother’s prayer?” asked the gentleman.

“Sure thing He did,” the newsy quickly answered.

“Why were you so certain?”

“Because when it got dark I went to the barnyard and busted the trap
all to pieces. There wasn’t enough wood left to make a tooth pick.”

The trustee slowly walked away saying to himself:

“Action was needed with prayer.”


The individual interest in the monthly auxiliary meetings developed
into schools of instructions. The boys began to learn how to debate,
how to make a motion, to discuss any subject.

The vice-presidents of each auxiliary took personal interest in the
details of the work, and kept the various committees busy.

The reports at each meeting showed how well the boys had the affairs
of the association under control. In the meetings, the entertainment
features were very interesting, from the fact that the boys themselves
prepared the program. If it was necessary to secure talent, the
executive committee required each boy, beginning with the officers,
and then taking the names as the boys were registered in alphabetical
order to show what he could do. First a boy, a bashful newsie, was
required to “step forward and make a bow,” and after several pretty
rough introductions of this nature, it was always found that the victim
began at once to prepare something for the next meeting. First, he
would commit a very short piece, perhaps two lines, always selecting
something of a comical nature. Then later, of his own composition.
After a few efforts he became master of the platform, and was generally
over anxious to do something.

It was surprising the different talents unearthed by this method.
Musical turns, good, sweet singers, short and long recitations,
original dialogues, and many “new stunts,” as termed by the boys, when
surprised at what someone produced.

The trustees always took advantage of this work, and did everything
to encourage it. The talent thus discovered, and trained, in the
auxiliaries, was used in the Sunday afternoon meetings to great
advantage and honor to the boys.

At one of the Sunday meetings a very serious carrier asked the
president: “How can a boy avoid being bad if he don’t know what bad is?”

“How do you know bad money?” asked the president.

“I don’t know bad money, I know good money.”

A newsboy is never at a loss for a reply to any question, and knows
something about any subject discussed in our daily papers. This boy
further surprised the president by saying: “Those who are thoroughly
skilled in navigation are as well acquainted with the coasts of the
ocean, with the sands, the shallow places, and the rocks as the secure
depths in the safest channels, and good boys must as well know the bad
that they may avoid it as the good that they may embrace it.”


[Illustration: “DIS HERE IS DE DOG.”

  _See Page 83_

This boy occupied a front row for many months in all entertainments,
and when a speaker interested him he paid very close attention. One
time a very good minister was talking over the heads of the boys,
preaching a sermon they could not understand. This little fellow, with
his ever serious look, cried out:

“Say, mister, can’t you cut some of that out?”

It had its effect, much to the embarrassment of the good divine.

It is one of the most difficult things in the oratorical world for any
one to entertain newsboys. A speaker must not talk over them. He must
become as a child and talk as a child, and he will be surprised to see
what a good effect it has upon the boys. One time a very nervous boy, a
seller from the avenue, became quite noisy and restless in the seat he
generally occupied. The president observing this asked him if he would
like a seat in the front row.

“Sure thing, I’ll ’tend every Sunday if you give me this seat,”
pointing to a chair next to a post, where the president imagined he
wanted to rest his head.

“It doesn’t make any difference what boy occupies this seat,” said the
president to “Front Row Art,” as he is called, “I want you to get the
seat. I don’t care what we are doing on the platform.”

One Sunday when the house was crowded to the doors, Art’s seat was
occupied by a boy about fourteen years of age, and much stronger than
Art. While the speaker, a minister, was praying, the president saw Art
at the door. He saw him push his way through the crowd and when at the
platform, he took the boy, who occupied his chair, by the back of his
neck and gave him such a shove along the seats that the young man was
glad to reach the other end of the row. Art sat down, folded his arms,
put his feet upon the platform, and eyed the speaker as if he had been
there all the time.

Art was always ready with a smart answer to any question put to the
boys. Even if his attention was directed to another part of the house,
his little fingers were snapping, indicating his readiness to answer.
His replies, while not always pertinent, gave the speaker a fair
warning not to be too familiar in asking questions.

Art had a companion who was known as “Splinter,” on account of his
being rather slim, but no boy of his age, twelve years, ever had so
many new movements as Splinter. He was never quiet, not so noisy, but
continually annoying the boy who sat next to him. To take a companion’s
hat and throw it across the room, while some good minister was praying,
was of frequent occurrence. He would answer questions without raising
his hand, and would give the boy sitting next to him a knock of some
kind before he stood up. With all this restlessness he was one of the
best-hearted boys among the sellers. There was something in him that
the president concluded he could not afford to lose sight of—just what
that was did not develop enough to encourage.

At one of the Sunday meetings there was a speaker who knew how to
hold the boys when asking questions. He had them perfectly quiet and
recognized no answer unless the boy raised his hand.

He asked a question which required as an answer a verse in the Bible.
To the president’s embarrassment, “Splinter’s” hand was high above
the others and he kept a continual snapping of his fingers. He was
determined to be recognized. The president was in hopes the speaker
would pay no attention to him, fearing the reply would spoil the effect
of the speaker’s talk. However “Splinter” managed to be heard.

“That tall boy may answer,” said the minister.

The sweat rolled down the president’s forehead as he tried to get back
into his chair.

“Splinter” arose, not a smile on his face. He looked serious, and
without a quiver in his voice repeated, word for word, one of the
longest verses in the Bible, and which gave an appropriate answer.

The speaker looked as surprised as the president, and the compliment he
gave the boy was appreciated by all.

“Splinter’s” education, after that, was looked after.


An interesting case came to the president showing how one family can
disgrace an entire neighborhood; can give a bad name to a whole street.
On one of the small narrow streets within the two-mile circle, lived a
family, man woman and five boys. One of the boys, a young man, served a
term in the penitentiary for robbery. The names of two of them appeared
on the police station blotter about three times a year for drunkenness.
It was on account of these boys that the neighborhood gained such a bad
reputation. The other two boys, John and Tom, ages nine and twelve,
were newsboys. Boys who were driven from home, by the parents, “to get
something to eat elsewhere.” They frequently slept in stairways, old
buildings, cellar-ways or any place where they could find shelter from
the storms, or where they thought they would not be disturbed. These
two newsboys were doing more to ruin boys on the street than the entire
membership of the association, and when they came into the president’s
office seeking admission, the president concluded that if these boys
could be saved, and their bad acts turned into good, Boyville would
be a success. It wasn’t necessary to ask them if they were eligible to
membership, if they sold papers, if they were newsboys. Every word,
every act told all that was required. With all the rags, and dirt, and
slang talk, these boys were up-to-date in everything. All the leading
topics of the day were discussed by them. Every base-ball player they
knew by name, and it was discovered that all newsies followed them when
they wanted to get into a ball-ground free, or into a circus. They had
their own way, and without money. They feared nothing. They worked for
themselves only. The little sympathy they had for any one was drowned
in their eagerness to move on. They gave no thought for the morrow.
There was no hesitancy by the officers in giving these boys membership
cards, and when they received them, to the question, “Well, now boys,
what does this mean?” they answered:

“We mean to lick any one as doesn’t do right.”

The vice-president, a smart young man with the courage of a lion, went
to the boys’ home to make an investigation of how they lived, and why
they were so bad when on the streets. Here is what he discovered:

They lived in a small cottage and with a man and woman who were not
their parents. Their own father had died leaving several valuable
pieces of property to his wife, who was again married within a year,
and to a man who soon lost all the property, having spent the money for
liquor. The mother died, and her husband again married in less than a
month, and to a woman who drank as much as he did. This was the home of
the two newsboys.

“They both went to bed, nearly every night, with their clothes on,”
said the officer, “and what the boys had to eat wasn’t fit for a dog.”

The case was left entirely in the hands of the young officers with
instructions to report within a month. In less than the appointed time
a report was made. The two newsboys were brought into the president’s
office, each having on a nice suit of clothes, their faces and hands
clean, and their general appearance and deportment remarkably improved.

“What did you do?” was asked the officer.

“We went to the house and demanded that the boys receive care and
attention for what they were doing—they were bringing into the house
from fifty to sixty cents a day earned by selling papers. And instead
of the drunken man and woman spending this for whiskey, we made them
buy good things to eat. A retail clothier gave us the suits of clothes,
and the boys are simply good, and are working their way on the streets.”

While the boys were working on this case the president reported to the
humane officer the condition of things at this home, and in a very
short time the family was quite respectable and the boys attending
school. To the president, remarkable as seemed the turning of two bad
boys into good, honest little sellers, the work of the two officers of
the association with the parents was even more so.

Self-governing boys. Boys whom we think can do nothing, and seldom
trust, for fear of failing, and yet they brought in line two of the
worst cases Boyville had experienced.

As the weeks passed the two boys became favorites among their little

One afternoon about six or eight months after the two boys became
members, one of them, the younger, came running into the president’s
office, holding a roll of bills in his hand. Everybody had to get
out of the way. He was followed by the “gang,” some twenty boys, all
looking at the little fellow with wonderment.

[Illustration: ROLL OF HONOR.



  _See Page 48_

“See, here, pres., what I found,” he said, laying fifteen dollars on
the desk. “I found this at the post-office.”

“And what do you want me to do with this?” asked the president. “I
wants you to find the owner. That’s what.”

“Well, why didn’t you blow it in? My! what a fortune you have.”

“Blow it in? Would that be honest? No, sir, as soon as I found de dough
I broughts it to you to tell us what we must do wid it, see?”

“That’s all right,” said the president, “and you are teaching us all
a good lesson. How often we say; ‘it is just like finding it.’ and
even grown people wish they could find money, and would they turn it
over to someone, and ask him to please find the owner? Not that they
would think they were doing anything wrong by keeping what they found;
they simply never thought of trying to find the owner. You have done a
great thing, and here is a bright, new dollar, for your honesty. I will
advertise this in the daily papers for thirty days, and if I can’t find
the owner, it shall all go to you.”

Proudly they walked out of the office, all trying to get closer to the
happy finder, the honest boy.

The money was advertised, and in a few days the rightful owner was
found. He wanted to see the newsboy. For his honesty he presented him
with five dollars, adding: “In six months I want to see you in this
hotel. In one year if you are reported all right by the officers of the
association I want you to write me at this address.” And he handed him
his card, which gave Indianapolis, Indiana, as his home. Six months
passed. The boy met him in the hotel. The officers reported that he was
one of the finest and best boys on the street. A year passed, and one
day he received a letter requesting him to “take the next train for
Indianapolis, provided the president of Boyville says you do not swear,
steal, lie or smoke cigarettes.”

The president could truthfully vouch for all these, and the boy was
sent to his new home. Seven years have passed, and that boy today is
foreman of one of the largest manufacturing institutions in the state
of Indiana.

What effect did the good work of these two boys have upon the family?
It caused them to stand on the street posing as relatives to two honest

Does it pay to take an interest in a bad boy?

A boy of eleven years of age made application to become a member.
He was approved by the proper officers. A sealed note accompanied
the application. It read: “He is accused of giving wrong change to
customers, and runs away with money.”

As soon as he received his membership card, and badge, and left the
president’s office two officers were on his track. They watched him
sell papers. Three days passed when he “stumbled against something.” A
gentleman in the post-office gave him twenty-five cents for a morning
paper. He had no change, but excused himself to “step across the way
to get it.” Instead of going into the store the little boy started in
a run around the building and was lost from sight. The gentleman made
this remark to a friend: “I might of expected it.” This was overheard
by two newsboys. One said: “Oh, no mister, your money is not lost.
We’ll have it for you in ten minutes. Don’t you be uneasy. You stand
right where you are for a few minutes.”

Out ran the boys, one going to the right, the other to the left, and a
third joined them who took to the alley. In less than ten minutes the
boy was brought to bay, and appeared before the gentleman.

An apology was given, the money returned.

“Don’t you say anything to him,” said one of the newsboys, “we won’t
do a thing to him, oh, no.” The man soon forgot the incident, and will
never know the severe punishment that boy had to bear. They took him in
the alley, bumped his head against the wall of the building, rolled him
in the mud, took his badge from him and with a parting word of advice
left him. The badge was turned over to the president with instructions
to return it to the boy at the expiration of fifteen days. What for?
The president did not know and only learned the particulars a month
later from one of the officers. The boy called for his badge, and it
was given to him without a word.

The books show that this same boy, after leaving the junior grade in
school procured a good position and the proprietor particularly called
attention to him for a peculiar trait. He said: “The boy applied for
work, office work. We gave him a job. He asked particularly how many
hours he must work. When he began and when he stopped. This given, we
were surprised to see that he was at the office every morning two hours
before his time, and pegging away at a typewriter. His wages have been
increased three times. He’ll be one of the firm before we’re through
with him.

“The only recommendation he had was that he was a member of The
Boyville Newsboys’ Association—and this we took. In fact, it proved a
better recommendation than that offered by his mother, who called to
get part of his wages to purchase whiskey.”




It was just before Christmas; the streets and stores were crowded with
people purchasing presents.

An old lady was standing on the corner waiting for a street car. In her
hand she held a small package, a Christmas present for someone. A boy,
about fourteen years of age, darted out from a door-way, grabbed the
package, hastened down the street and dodged into an alley. A newsboy
who saw the act started after the thief, and as he ran several other
newsboys joined in the chase. While they were gone another newsboy went
to the lady expressing regret at her loss, but assuring her the boy who
stole the package would be caught.

With tears in her eyes the old lady told the boy that the box contained
a number of presents for a little girl who was confined to the house on
account of being a cripple for life. That the purchase was the result
of many weeks’ hard work, sewing for some of her neighbors, that she
might earn the money to get a present for the little girl.

“Now, my lady,” said the newsboy, “don’t you worry for a minute, one of
our officers started in a dead run after him and I know he will catch
him. We don’t allow anything like that to happen. That boy don’t belong
to the association.”

The lady was escorted to a drug store where people wait for cars, and
advised to remain there until the newsboys returned. She did not have
to wait long, for, in a short time, the officer returned with a dozen
newsies all trying to push the “grafter” ahead of them. When in front
of the lady, he was made to hand her the package, and get down upon
his knees and ask her forgiveness. The old lady was placed upon a
street-car, and the officers took charge of the boy. They brought him
to the president’s office.

“Mr. President,” said a member of the executive committee, “we have
here a new boy. He was pretending to sell papers on the streets, but he
proved to be a ‘grafter,’ for we caught him stealing a package from an
old lady who worked all summer to save money to buy a Christmas present
for a little girl who is a cripple. We run him down.” The boy hung his
head. He was under no obligations to any of the boys, and could have
been independant over his capture but when he was told the package
belonged to a little cripple, it had a strange effect upon him. He lost
sight of everything but the wrong done to the little girl.

“I didn’t know it belonged to a cripple or I wouldn’t have taken it.
You see, we at home don’t think nothing of taking things as we can get,
we believe in helping ourselves to anything we wants when no body is
looking. I am sorry I took the present.”

The boy lived in a bad neighborhood. His father was dead, his mother
had no influence over him, he roamed the streets at will, and spent the
majority of his nights sleeping in freight-cars. He was just the kind
of a boy who grows up along the docks of our lake cities, and takes
advantage of every opportunity to steal anything he can use or care for
without being detected, from freight depots or cars. This is the class
of young men the association has been aiming to reach for a long time.
The selling of papers being only a subterfuge for stealing. He was
fifteen years old and admitted having done many bad things.

“It is boys like you,” said the president, “who disgrace any
association, and while no one seems to look after you, or want you, we
will take you into the association and the officers will have you under
their charge; what do you say to that?”

“Well, I guess you have me down pretty fine, and if I wants to ever get
a job I must start my life over again.”

“The boys will forget this little package act, and blot out all your
bad deeds, if you will begin a new life, and I will guarantee that in
six months, by the time warm weather comes, we will get you a nice

“If I would have known that package belonged to a little girl do you
suppose I would have swiped it?” he added.

“It isn’t that alone we object to. Every time you steal something
someone suffers, and the only way to avoid injuring any one is not to
steal at all,” said the president.

“Aw! tell him to cut it out, cut it out, he kin do it just the same as
we do,” put in a little bootblack.

“Yes, but you don’t have to go out on the street and takes what ever
you kin carry home, like I do,” he replied.

“Well, if your mother makes you do that we won’t do a thing to her,”
said a seller, who claimed to own four corners.

The conversation ended by the president giving the new boy a membership
card with instructions that he must report in thirty days.

Soon after he left the office, three members of the executive committee
hastened to his home. The mother was warned that “this sending your boy
out to steal must stop, and stop quick.” They listened to no arguments,
simply gave advice and orders, what must be done, and left.

A month passes and the day named for the new applicant to receive his
badge, found him at the president’s office, as is usual with boys, an
hour before office hours.

“Gee, but I have lots of good friends. Some of the boys took me to see
a show, some let me sell papers on their corners, but I had to cut out

The numbered badge was given him.

A member of the executive committee who had him in charge reported:

“He was hard to bring down to our way of doin’ things. It was natural
for him to steal as to eat, and he wanted to give the wrong change two
or three times. We licked him three times. He was game. Give him his
badge, he’s all right.”

Six months later this boy was given a position in a wholesale house. He
began on the top floor to work his way up in the business.

His eagerness to learn, his willingness to do things not exactly as
part of his duties caused his employers to notice him and he was
advanced, in less than two years, to shipping clerk in one of the

Here was a boy whose home life was degrading. His neighbors paying no
attention to him or his family, except to say: “That boy ought to be
turned over to the police.” The newsboys, the boys we often look upon
as being bad and useless, changed the life of this young man.

He is now slowly becoming one of the reliable business men of the


The president was about to board a street-car for home one evening,
when a dozen newsboys came running towards him, calling him to “come

“Bundle found fifty-six dollars,” was heard from a bunch of sellers.
The president, of course had to return to his office.

Bundle was a little round, red-faced boy, who always wore a large scarf
around his neck, and in most any kind of weather. The sellers were not
surprised at any of their number finding money but, said a bootblack:

“What’s going to happen when slow-pokey Bundle finds something?” But he
did, and at the enterance of one of the largest buildings in the city.

“There it was,” said Bundle, “all wide open before my eyes, I stumbled
over it and the money scattered. Didn’t it Sam?”

There was nothing in the roll to indicate its owner. Some one
accustomed to carrying money in his vest pocket had lost it. As soon as
Bundle picked it up, he called to the boys across the street and on
the corners. A dozen boys answered him, and they all marched towards
the president’s office. Each boy had something to say.

“Say, pres., we come near losing you, didn’t we?” said Bundle, “but
if you did go home I would have stayed up all night holding the dough
until you come to your office.”

Bundle was rewarded, his companions were as delighted as he was. A
happier lot of boys never walked the streets than these sellers.

The next morning, Bundle, with five other boys came into the office,
their faces were long; Bundle looked sad.

“Bundle got a licking,” said one of the boys looking sympathetically at
Bundle. The president looked surprised.

“Got a licking, and what for?”

“His mother licked him because he brought the money to you. She said it
belonged to her and she could spend it as she liked.”

It was a fact that Bundle was severely punished.

“All the boys on the street saw me get a whipping,” said Bundle, “and I
don’t like it.”

The boys were assured that all would come out right in the end. “You
just wait until we hear from the advertisement we put in the papers,”
said the president.

[Illustration: “FIRE-TOP.”

  _See Page 117_

The boys were soon playing upon the street.

A prominent clothier saw the notice of the boy finding the money and
his desire to seek the owner. He wrote the president: “If you will send
that honest boy to me I will present him with the best suit of clothes
in my store.”

The mother accompanied Bundle to the store and not only did he receive
a new suit of clothes but an overcoat as well.

Within forty-eight hours after the find was advertised the rightful
owner appeared, received the money, and presented the boy with a five
dollar bill and a good watch.

“Keep this watch to remind you that if you will follow up your honest
beginning, you will not only be a rich man, but a good one.”

The object of relating this incident is the sequel.

The big head-line compliments in the newspapers; the many little
presents and congratulations Bundle received had a surprising effect
upon his mother. She was proud of being the boy’s mother. Her sons and
daughters posed on the corners and pointed with pride to their brother.

Not only did this act have a good effect on the boy and the family,
but upon the entire street, as the remark is often heard, “this is the
street that has the honest newsboy.”


There are many interesting cases coming to the attention of persons
interested in newsboys, and they all have a tendency to awaken sympathy.

Two little boys, ages nine and ten, were brought to the president
one morning by an officer of the association. They were accused of
fighting, “almost to a finish.”

Between sobs and tears they both tried to tell why they were fighting.
While telling their story, a boy about fourteen years of age entered
the office. He was also crying, but more seriously. The president
turned to him and sympathetically asked, “what is the matter?” With his
hands rubbing his eyes he answered: “One of the newsies run out of the
alley and throwed my papers into the gutter and they’re all spoiled.”

“Where did the boy go?”

“He runned away and left me alone.”

“How many papers had you?”

“I had four.”

The two boys that were crying, forgot their troubles and became
interested in the other boy. Calling the two boys, the president asked
them if they would run out and try to find the bad boy who threw the
papers in the street. Of course they were delighted to go. Taking the
crying fourteen-year-old newsboy by the hand, the little fellows left
the office.

After waiting an hour, and no signs of the boys returning, the
president went upon the street and to his surprise saw the two little
boys, who were to hunt down the villain, playing together.

“Well, what was done with the boy who ruined Joe’s stock of papers; did
you find them?”

“You see, we went to the alley, we looked ebery place fur the kid as
what threw de papers into de gutter, but he had skipped. So me an’
Skinny talked it over quickly an’ we just gave Joe eight cents an’ told
him to go home, to fade away, to forget it. As de case wus settled we
thought it no use ter bother you wid dis trouble, an’ we resumed our

Certainly a new way of settling troubles.

There is a small boy who has the reputation of being a little boss in
the territory in which he sells, owing to his desire to settle all
disputes in his own way. He goes upon the idea that it is absolutely
necessary to resort to pretty severe punishment to gain a point.

One evening a boy about fifteen years of age came into the office,
crying as a boy only can; the tears found considerable trouble in
working their way down his cheeks, making his face look as if furrows
were established for a time at least. On the left side of his forehead
were several clear spots, round in shape, which he pointed to with
considerable feeling. The president’s sympathy was aroused, and to the
question, how he was hurt, he replied:

“Firetop—licked—me. He—hit—me—with—his—fist.”

Firetop was not over nine years of age, and the president knew of his
fighting qualities, but somehow no one ever presented any charges
worthy of investigation. His name, the boys said, “came to him on
account of his red hair.” His reputation for honesty was never
questioned. He was simply a fighter. He was one of the most successful
sellers on the street. Because he was a “pusher, he went every place,
and asked every person he met to buy a paper.” While the boy was
telling his story, three other members dropped into the office. They
stood for sometime looking at the poor boy.

“Do you boys know Firetop?” asked the president.

“Certainly, we all know him.”

“Well, you go out and try to find him and tell him I want him to come
here immediately.”

Out the boys went and when on the sidewalk started in different
directions to find Firetop. Ten minutes passed when Firetop came
running into the office. The boys had found him but he was too fleet of
foot for them.

“Pres., they tell me you wants me, what fur?”

“Look at that boy’s face,” said the president, pointing to the injured
lad who began to cry in earnest.

“I see it. I did it. But say, kid” turning to the boy, “what did I do
it fur. Look up at me; say, what did I do it fur?”

“For nothin’,” came a faint reply.

“Come off, I hain’t going ’round doin’ things fur nothin’. Answer me,
you kin talk, what did I do it fur?”

No reply.

“Didn’t I punch you fur swearing at a lady?”

It was some moments before the boy answered, and he drawled out, “yes.”

Firetop then told the story. The boy was selling papers on the street,
he asked a lady to buy a paper, and because she refused he swore at
her, using language seldom seen in print.

“I heard it, an’ I told him it was against the rules, an’ if he
didn’t cut it out I would punk him. What did he do but swore at me.
He violated the rules before my face. I punked, gently at first, an’
then I punked him again. He ran into the alley, I followed him, an’ de
boys come from the street, I told them he was my game, an’ I punked him
again. I told all the boys I would punk de gang ef they came to help
him. Say, pres., wasn’t I right in punking him?” The boy acknowledged
he swore and Firetop kept at him until he promised he would never do
it again. This was accomplished with very little trouble. The boy’s
face was washed and as there was no traces of a wound the matter was
amicably settled. The boys left the office, good friends.


This incident recalls another case of swearing, and the peculiar method
adopted to correct a boy, as well as to influence a family to train
their son in the right path. One reason why so many boys swear is
because they constantly hear men swear on the streets. At Sunday-school
the boy learns that he is violating one of the commandments. But men
pay no attention to it, then why should boys? Boys are imitative. They
want to do what men do. It is seldom that we hear of a mother approving
of her boy swearing and encouraging him in this, certainly vulgar
habit. This method used by the president in curing a boy of swearing,
may not meet the approval of many of our Sunday-school teachers, and it
is given with some reluctance. It is given, however, to show what can
be done in extreme cases.

“Are you the president of the Newsboys’ association?” asked a boy with
a very pretty face.

“Yes, and what can I do for you?”

“I want to join the association.”


  _See Page 118_

The usual questions were asked and answered. He proved to be a carrier
and had twenty-eight customers. A membership card was given the boy
with instructions to call in thirty days and get the badge.

The boy left the office perfectly happy. In about a week he returned,
walked to the desk and laid his membership card down, saying: “My
mother says I can swear all I want to, and you have nothing to do with
it. You must not tell me to stop swearing.”

The president turned around, looked at the boy for a moment, discovered
he was unusually bright, and back behind his black eyes he showed the
right kind of spirit indicating that if he made up his mind to do a
thing he would do it.

“So your mother wants you to swear. Well, well, and she don’t want you
to belong to any association unless we all swear. Well, you shall not
be made unhappy. If your mother wants you to swear you shall have that
pleasure. Does she swear?”

“Yes, sir, we all swear to beat the band,” he replied, and in a tone
indicating that it was one of the pleasures of his home life.

“And don’t any of you think it wrong to swear?”

“Oh, no, father says he can swear and it gives force to his arguments.
Mother says if I want to swear I can do it.”

“This association compels no one to stop swearing—the rule adopted by
the boys simply says we don’t believe in it. And the officers wouldn’t
for the world have you do anything to displease your parents.

“How many swear words do you know?”

He thought for a moment counting on his fingers, then said:

“I know seven.”

“Seven big swear words, well, well, and can you name them to me?”

“Yes, sir, all of them and I may know another.”

“All right. Try it. One, two, three, four, five, six; my! that’s an
awful bad one, and—and—seven. There they are.”

In repeating the words, his manner showed he was familiar with their
use. Not a blush rose to his cheeks.

“Do you want to be a member of this association?”

“Yes, sir, all my friends are members and they want me to join.”

“I will pin your card before me, on the desk. See?”

“Yes, sir, I see it.”

“Well, I will let it remain there until you call for it, either to
tell me to tear it up or you take it. Now, here is what I want you to
do. And this not unless you want to. You go home, and every time your
mother wants you to do something use one of those seven swear words,
and say it loud enough so she can hear it. Keep this up until she tells
you to stop that swearing.”

“I will do it, but suppose she licks me, then what?”

“Oh, that would hardly be in keeping with her teachings, she wants you
to swear, doesn’t she?”

“Sure thing, she never licks me for swearing.”

“Do you want to stop it and become a member of the association? Well,
you try this plan, and if you can, throw the entire lot at her, the
seven words, all at once.”

“Well, I’ll try it. It looks easy.”

The boy left the office with a hearty “goodby.”

The following Saturday he returned. He stood smiling at the desk.

“You can give me the membership card,” he said laughing.

Recognizing him the president shook him by the hand.

“Well, I have been wondering what luck you had in swearing.”

“Oh, I had luck. Only got licked seven times.”

“Got licked, and by whom?”

“Well, you would think the whole house fell on top of me. Father said,
send that boy down to you at once, but mother licked me until I saw
stars. I’ll never swear again in our home. She stopped it. She said she
never heard such terrible swearing and when I said I learned it of her,
I got the seventh licking. Gee, but I was sore for a week. Mother told
me the first thing this morning to come after that card.”

“What did you do when you first went home?”

“Oh, I threw those seven swear words right at her, and, from the very
beginning. She looked at me several times. I backed up, and when she
asked me a question, I let fly the worst word, then I had to run.”

“What did your father say?”

“He only said, ‘didn’t I tell you that some day that boy would
disgrace us, now it’s up to you to straighten it out,’ and when they
knew I told you why the card was sent back, that changed everything.
I’ve been down here four times, father made me go.”

His name was placed upon the books, a badge was given him, “with a
lucky number,” and he left the office.

A month later the president met him at one of the auxiliary meetings,
and to the question, “How about the seven swear words,” he said:

“We busted up swearing at our house. Everybody had to stop it.”

No better worker on the street can be found than this boy. His whole
soul is in the work for doing good among his associates.


[Illustration: CARRIERS.]

[Illustration: CARRIERS.]


There is no subject that has received so much attention and has worried
so many good people as the liquor question. Saloons and drinking never
cease to be problems for our well-meaning temperance people. Why man
created saloons, no one undertakes to answer. The strongest man is
never too strong in a saloon, and the weak is to be pitied. The saloon
is an evil that has been with us a long time and seems to be here
to stay in one form or another. While we cannot eradicate the evil,
especially by extreme methods, can we not modify its influence? We
have tried the probation method, and failed. We have tried the open
saloon, the clubs, the no-treating, the open reform saloon, the wet
and dry division—but the saloons are still with us, and this because
of the fact that the state, the city, property owners, recognize the
saloon legally, through the assessment of heavy licenses and taxes, and
good well-meaning people ask and receive money from the ever-willing
giver, the saloonman, and use it for charitable as well as church
purposes. The world today is heartless in its mad rush for money
getting, and the “graft” is in the minds of thousands of well-meaning,
but over-anxious to get-rich-quick men; among them the saloonman. Let
us suggest to our saloonmen how they can stop a great deal of misery
in the world. We have in mind a saloon that was “made good” by five
newsboys. “A real live saloon, where politicians congregated to lay
plans for work, and whose owner had an eye to making money, and saw
nothing else, even to the ruining of boys and men.”

“Say, pres.,” said a newsboy from the saloon district, and an officer
of an auxiliary, “Jimmy Smith is drunk and laying in the alley at the
saloon where politicians hold their meetin’s. The bar-tender throwed
him out.”

The books showed Jimmy Smith’s father was a “ward politician,” a good
fellow who was often taken home drunk by his son, a newsboy. Jimmy was
eleven years old, very bright and intelligent for his age. He learned
to drink liquor through his father and mother sending him to the saloon
for beer, and “dropping in the alley on the way home and tasting the
beer, until he began to like it.”

To the question, “did you ever see Jimmy drink in the saloon?” the boys
answered that it was a common thing; “but today when the bar-tender
took Jimmy’s nickel, and he was full, he throwed him out. He said he
didn’t want the kid to disgrace his place.”

Three of the best officers were called, they went to the alley, and
took Jimmy home. Three of the five boys who were assigned this case,
belonged to a gang and were familiar with all the inside workings of
a saloon, they were never slow in showing their appreciation of a
saloonman who defended them, and who turned them down for entering
the saloon. The method adopted by the boys was their work. They knew
the proprietor of the saloon, and knew him to be a very kind-hearted
man. No person ever asked him in vain for a donation to any cause. His
own boys were model young men, stood high in school, and associated
with the best of church members. Strange to say the two sons of the
saloonman were regular at Sunday-school. It is a fact that when any
society, church or other organization desired aid, this saloonman was
sought after by a dozen persons. They knew he was easy. This man in
his home, on the street, in the lodge room (and he belonged to many
societies), in any public gathering, was recognized as an honest man;
but behind the bar he saw nothing but money.

He never thought he was doing a wrong by taking the last cent from
a drunken man; it was business, and that was why he was there. When
reminded of it he simply replied that, “I might as well have it as any
one else, for someone will get it.” Often he said: “He is bound to
drink and the best way is to let him drink up all his money and that is
an end of it.”

When the newsboys called upon him to plead for their friend, Jimmy,
they were received with, “the utmost attention and kindness.” The
following is what the chairman reported:

“We said to the boss, we come to see you about Jimmy Smith and his
father. You see Jimmy has been in bad company, the bad company was
at his home, his father an’ mother. He learned the habit of drinking
by tasting beer he was sent after by his father, and he said when he
learned to drink that your clerk gave him a glass of beer every time he
came after it. So the other day your bar-tender threw him out of the
saloon. He had gradually taught the boy to drink, and when he began to
get so that it annoyed him, he didn’t want him. We come to see if you
won’t please stop giving Jimmy any more drink and tell your man to
throw him out of the saloon before he drinks. We’ll stand for that, but
we won’t stand for his pitching him in the alley when he’s got all of
Jimmy’s money and is drunk. As to his father, we don’t want you to sell
him anything when you see he has enough. Don’t take the last cent he
has when you know he is full already. Send him home. His family needs
every cent. And don’t sell Jimmy any beer if he comes with the bucket.”

The boys were treated with great kindness by the owner of the saloon
who promised to do more than they asked of him. His bar-tenders were
instructed, under penalty of dismissal, not to permit a newsboy in the

“I realize the wrong being done to the boys,” he said to the president,
“and it is through thoughtlessness that we permit the boys to come here
at all. I’ll tell you what I’ll do. One of my relatives has an interest
in a commercial college. I’ll buy this boy, Jimmy, a scholarship if
he’ll go to school.”

Jimmy was only too glad to accept.

Two years pass, and Jimmy is about to graduate from the college. The
manager said: “I have four men after this boy. He has the right kind
of push in him to make a splendid business man.”

Four years later Jimmy received a monthly salary of $100, and during
that time has assisted in helping many a street boy.


At one of the auxiliary meetings the vice-president of the association,
who was always practical in his talks to the boys, gave a little advice
to the sellers.

It is worth remembering.

“Boys,” he said, “rain or shine be at your post, at your corner. Never
be out of papers, and never be out of change. Many a good boy who needs
money loses a sale for want of having change. Keep your eye peeled. If
a man wants a paper, you should see it, though he is a square away. I
know of one little boy, smaller than those who were selling with him,
who always saw a customer a block away, and when the evening’s work
was over he generally had ten to twenty cents to the clear more than
others. Be polite and always cheerful. Keep your face and hands clean,
and you will get many an extra nickel. If you are polite and civil you
will get a regular line of customers who will always wait for you.
Thank everyone who buys a paper. Tip your hat to the ladies and they
will speak well of you when they get home. Any little favor you can do
for a man or woman on the street (and not look as though you expect
something), will always bring you business. The wind blew off the hat
of a gentleman one day, and a little seller saw it. Quick as a flash
he ran after it, took his own cap to wipe the dirt off the gentleman’s
hat, and handed it to him. The gentleman said: ‘How many papers you
got?’ ‘Twenty-four, sir,’ said the boy. ‘Give them all to me.’”

On the membership card it reads: “He does not approve of swearing, etc.”

A probation member, a boy who received his membership card, and had
thirty days to wait for his badge, brought an old member to the
president, one evening, with this plea.

“President, this boy swears like hell. I heard him on the corner.”

“Aw, what you given us, you swear yourself.” replied the accused.

“Yes that’s all right. Tell me something; how would I know what
swearing was if I didn’t know something about it,” proudly answered the
new member.

“Well, you have no right to bring me here and accuse me of doing what
you yourself do. Read your card, kid, read your card.”

[Illustration: FIRST SALE OF THE DAY.]

Without showing any signs of worry, the little fellow said.

“President what can you expect of a bationist. When I get my badge
things will be different. I cuts swearing out then.”

“Yes, but you better wait instead of buttin in before you are a live
member,” said the carrier.

They talked some time about the matter between themselves and finally
they locked arms, slowly walked out of the office saying:

“Guess we better cut out swearing all around.”

The following story illustrates a good method of treating boys who
disobey their parents. It may not meet the approval of many fathers and
mothers, but the sequel has in it the success of the work among the
street-boys. We regret that we cannot give due credit to the author for
the suggestions embodied in the story.

A young boy was left alone in the yard to play. Everybody had gone
and left the house in his care. He was given the key and told not to
enter the house until the family returned. After a while he became
tired of the birds, the flowers, the the trees, the sunshine. The
spirit of disobedience entered into him and slowly he took his way
to the house. He unlocked the door. The first thing met his eye was
his father’s razor. He had always been forbidden to touch it. But the
spirit of license ran riot in his veins, and in using it he cut his
face until the blood trickled down. Next he made his way to a matchbox.
He had always been told to let it alone. He first built fences with
matches on the floor, then fires under the lace curtains. A hole in
the carpet, ruined curtains and his fingers blistered was the result.
Suffering with pain and ashamed of his disobedience he steals out under
the trees, and like Adam in the garden, he thought he could hide his
sins by hiding himself. So he stole away and crawled under some bushes.
When his father came home, discovered the ruined articles, he thought,
what can be done to restore and mend that which his boy had broken, had
ruined? His razor was broken, but he could buy a new one. His matches
were consumed, but he could buy more. The curtains and carpet were
defaced by fire, but they could be replaced and repaired. Wealth could
repair the damage done to the house and make all as before. Skill and
nature could repair the wrong done to the hand and the face, and make
them as they were before.

But where were the riches and where was the teacher that could make the
boy’s heart as it was before his disobedience? None could be found.
Let me tell you what happened. The father came not to upbraid, but to
entreat; not to chastise, but to weep; The child’s hand was burned, the
father’s heart was broken. The boy cried for shame, the father cried
for sorrow. The father put his arms about the boy and with his head
upon his breast together they sobbed out their sorrow. One part of it
was the boy’s confession, and the other part of it was the father’s
pain. Together they made a new resolution and hand to hand, and heart
to heart, and love to love, they began together to repair the ruin that
had been wrought.

During the early stages of a boy’s membership he is constantly reminded
that some day he will leave the street, he will seek employment
elsewhere, and his start in a business life depends upon his street
work. To illustrate this teaching, a boy found a small child’s savings
bank. It was filled with money, small coin; and it was heavy. It was
picked up on the street over a mile from the president’s office. As
soon as found, the boy started on a run, as they always do, for the
office. It was delivered with the usual instruction “to please find the
owner.” To try the newsie the president called him aside and said, in a
confidential whisper: “Why didn’t you sneak around the corner, into an
alley, any place where no one could see you, and take a stone break the
old bank all to pieces, take the money, and, my, what a good time you
could have had.”

The boy quickly replied: “No, sir, Mr. President, suppose I wanted a
job, and stood in line to be questioned by the man, and he would ask,
have you always been honest? What would I say? Why! my face would show
I did something wrong—I took a little bank from some poor boy, and he
would say, I don’t want a boy I would have to be afraid of; no that
don’t belong to me.”

This plainly shows what can be successfully impressed upon the minds of
these hustling, seemingly thoughtless, street-boys. And when the owner
of that bank proved to be a little girl—and how happy she was when it
was found and returned to her, the boy said: “I would rather have the
girl’s smiles than all the money the bank contained.”



From the very beginning of the Boyville association there has scarcely
been a day without something of importance transpiring among the boys.
It has been gradually building up, incidents and noble acts showing the
willingness of these boys not only to do right themselves but to assist

The work so humbly begun in 1892, with one hundred or more members,
mostly the poorest boys of the streets, little outcasts, as they are
often called, developed so rapidly under the self-governing plan,
that in the early part of the year 1905 the books of the Boyville
Newsboys’ Association showed a membership of over three thousand boys
under fourteen years of age. This enrollment includes two hundred and
fifty boys who started with the association as sellers and shiners of
shoes, but who today have graduated from the street. The majority of
this number are engaged in some business, lawyers, doctors, commercial
travelers, clerks or working in some trade, and all ambitious not
only to earn a living for themselves but also to lend a helping hand
to those who are in need, ever having in mind the teachings of the
association. The following will show how well some of the principles
have been remembered and how long they remained intact.

Early in January of 1905, a young man brought to the president an old
pocket-book containing twenty-two dollars and sixty cents ($22.60),
together with some letters, the contents of which revealed the fact
that the owner was a poor woman and had been visiting her relatives to
secure assistance in raising money to pay taxes, long since due, on her
home. Names were given, but no residence.

The president said to the young man: “You know we advertise what the
boys find in the daily papers and do everything we can to seek the
owner and—”

“Yes, sir,” replied the young man, “I know all this and have been
through it many years ago. That is just what I want you to do, please
try to find the rightful owner. I want no compensation, and I don’t
want my name mentioned in any way.”


As it was necessary to know who the finder was, so that after the
expiration of thirty days the money could be returned to him, he
finally gave his name and address. When he had left the office,
something about his eyes reminded the president that he had seen him,
somewhere many years ago. Bringing out the Newsboys’ book he found
among the first names recorded eleven years ago, this young man’s.
Following the name was: “Seller, and shiner, age eleven, poor parents,
smart boy,” and on leaving the street, as a seller, became a graduate
member. So, he was a newsboy eleven years ago, and still retained the
desire to do something for others.

About a week after the money was advertised, a very aged lady called.
She minutely described the contents of the pocket-book; she said: “I
was returning from a visit to my son, where I went to get $22.60 to pay
taxes on my home. This amount included some back taxes. The property
was already advertised for sale. What to do when I lost that money I
did not know. My mental suffering was most intense. I walked from the
depot towards the court house and did not miss my pocket-book until I
crossed the bridge. Yes, this is mine.”

During the recital of her story her eyes were filled with tears,
and she showed the mental strain under which she was laboring. When
the pocket-book and the money were handed to her, the change in her
demeanor was beautiful to behold. When the young man was told to whom
the money belonged and the great good it did, he said:

“No money reward could pay me for this. I am only too glad we found the
owner, especially as it belonged to so poor a woman.”

Does it pay to be a life-member of The Boyville Newsboys’ Association?


The finding of valuable articles and turning them over to the
president, with a request to find the owner, is not a rule of the

All these little acts have a tendency to cultivate a desire to assist
others and many times violations of the rules are corrected by members
who are not officers.

At almost any time of the day can be seen a man with a two-wheeled
cart, slowly circulating around newspaper offices, especially about
the time the dailies are out. The newsies purchase a penny’s worth
of ice cream, or cheap candies, and often these old men become quite
confidential friends of certain boys—particularly the shiners, who are
on the street almost constantly. One time a new member, a bootblack,
a boy about fourteen years of age, before he understood the secret
workings of the association, had a dispute with a vendor of ice cream
and peanuts, about the loss of several sacks of peanuts. The boy was
accused of stealing the peanuts. “Yes, you didn’t see me steal ’em,”
said the shiner, “an if you don’t catch a feller, how youse goin’ to
prove it?”

The boy was about to leave the wagon, when several sellers came to him.

“Say, Muddy Water,” cried one of the boys, “we seed you steal the
peanuts. You must settle wid de ole man.”

The boy came back, but pleaded that he did not have any money.

“All right, we’ll chip in an’ pay de debt.”

The money was raised, and the boy was required to pay for the stolen
peanuts and make an apology.

“I’m sorry, but I didn’t know it was again’ the rules of the
association,” he said.

“Of course it’s again the rules, an’ it’s our business to give all new
members warning when they do things like that. Don’t do it any more.”

This was a warning well heeded as after events proved.

One of the greatest benefits gained by the newsboys in belonging to the
association is the securing of suitable positions; for boys, as they
grow older, naturally leave the street work.

Wholesale as well as retail men, frequently ask for good, honest boys.
During the twelve years existence of Boyville it has been the delight
of the president to secure some two hundred places for newsboys. With
all this great number it is a pleasure to state that not one in fifty
proved unworthy of the positions, or unfitted for the kind of work. The
majority of boys for whom positions were secured were from very poor
parents, mostly widowed mothers, needing their assistance.

Unless a person is familiar with street boys, no conception can be
formed of their energy and determination in following up anything they

A young man, who had outgrown newsboy’s work called upon the president
and wanted a position as brakeman on one of the railroads.

He was kindly informed by the president that he knew the superintendent
of the road he wished to work for had already over five hundred
applications from young men wanting to be brakemen. Instead of asking
the president to see the superintendent, as is generally done, he said:

“Please give me the name of the man who does the employing of brakemen.
I want to see him. I think I can show him he wants me.”

“I am afraid it won’t be of any use, but I like your pluck. Here is a
note to him.”

This note simply said the bearer was an honest young man.

A few days later the young man called.

“Well, I got a job. I’m brakeman on one of the fast trains.”

This he secured through his own tact, for this certainly was necessary.
His street experience taught him to hustle for himself, and it became
part of his nature as he grew older. He did not sit down and wait for
something to come his way, for something to turn up. He turned up
something for himself.

His frank and honorable method of working the superintendent, his
earnest but manly appeal, his push, his politeness, his tact, secured
for him what five hundred young men were “waiting to receive by
letter.” When the matter was referred to the superintendent he said:
“His every action showed he was a willing worker and not afraid to work
overtime if necessary. He works as though he owned the entire road.”


Commercial men, some of our best merchants, sometimes, in their
eagerness to make money, forget the first principles of honesty, and
often make assertions that upon second thought they would not make.
Sometimes in their advertising they will say things which they would
never think of saying under other circumstances, though lying in
business matters is equally as dishonorable as in private life. The
relations between the public and the merchant, as well as between
master and servant, must rest on mutual respect and confidence. Here is
an illustration, by a close observer, a boy fourteen years of age.

Walking along one of the principal streets, a newsboy noticed the
following sign, in large type, in a show window and attached to some
article for sale. It read: “Regular price, one hundred dollars. Our
price, twenty-nine dollars.”

“Say, president,” said the boy, “is that man telling the truth when he
says a twenty-nine dollar article is worth one hundred dollars?”

It was a question that required a wise answer, but put it in any
business way possible, nothing could satisfy the boy that it was
strictly honest.

“When I go into business,” said the seller, “you bet I’ll not fool the
public; when I say a thing is worth so much it will be worth that much.”

What time would develop, what changes come over this young man, no one
could tell, but the right principle had a good hold of the boy, and it
meant success and a clear conscience during his manhood.

That the success of the association does not depend upon the efforts of
the officers entirely, will be seen by the following:

Three newsboys called upon the president; two of them were leading a
ragged little fellow with a shining-box thrown over his shoulder.

“Say, president,” said one of them, “here’s a boy shining shoes on the
market an’ the way he swears is puttin’ men out o’ business.”

The accused bootblack was a sight. To the question where he lived he
replied: “I have no home. My father’s dead an’ my mother, she’s no
good. There’s no room fur me in the house.”


  _See Page 152_

By further questioning it was learned that the clothes he had on were
given to him some two months ago and had not been taken off since he
put them on. This may seem strange, but it is only one of the dozen of
cases where parents do not require the removal of their boy’s clothes
when they go to bed.

The peculiar odor coming from boys who are treated in this shameful
manner will prove this. This boy walked from a neighboring city, or
stole a ride on some freight-train. He had been shining shoes around
the market-space for a month or more, and declared that to be in the
push, to be recognized by men, and to secure business, it was necessary
to swear and be tough.

“I wouldn’t be a bootblack,” he said, “if I couldn’t swear, the men
wouldn’t shine if I didn’t.”

The newsboys who frequented the market were very much put out by this
boy’s swearing and general tough appearance, so when opportunity
favored they began their missionary work, with the result of persuading
the shiner to accompany them to the president’s office.

The boy had a very attractive face. He was worth saving.

“So, you come to see me about joining the association,” said the

The boy replied: “The boys say I can make more money if I cut out
swearin’ an’ belong to the association.”

“They tell me you swear and sometimes don’t know how to give correct
change to your customers. If that’s so you are just the kind of a boy
we want. You little hustling fellows make our best young men. You don’t
wait until someone comes to you for a shine. I have seen you follow a
man who had red shoes a whole square. You will make a good business
man, and these little boys, friends of yours, are just the kind of boys
who will help you, will bring you business, will tell you where to get
something good to eat, and I think we can throw away your old ragged
clothes and get a new suit, how would you like that?”

His face had a surprised look. He didn’t expect some one to offer
anything of interest to him, he expected to get lectured, to be “talked
goodygood to,” as he afterwards said.

“Well, you see, mister,” said the boy with some familiarity, “we can’t
do business on the street unless we do as men do. They swear at us an’
we must swear at them or we lose the shine.”

“How often do men swear at you?”

“How often? I can’t count ’em. Every other word.”

“Well, it doesn’t sound nice, does it?”

“No, an’ I could cut it out.”

“Sure thing he can cut it out, an’ we’ll be right behind to see that he
forgets it,” put in one of the newsies.

“Well, I’ll start you in the association,” said the president, “but I
don’t want you to be too good to start with. Sometimes you may forget
what the card means, and you will swear before you know it, but don’t
let that worry you, the next time you will do better and forget it.
But when you get the badge, in thirty days, then you mustn’t swear at
all, for if you do the officers will be right after you and your name
will be on a list that means something when you get older and want a
position in some big store.”

The membership card was given to him, a new suit of clothes was
furnished by a kind hearted clothier, and the boys—including the
chairman of the executive committee—took the boy home. When his mother
discovered some one took an interest in him, she began to think he
amounted to something, and from that time on, he received attention.
At the expiration of thirty days the numbered badge was given to him
and he started on his new life.

In the fall of the same year this bootblack was unanimously elected as
an officer of Boyville, and is one of the best boys on the street. Two
months later he brought to the president a gold watch, worth forty-two
dollars and fifty cents. The owner was found, and insisted upon seeing
the young man. He was sent, with the watch, to him. The wealthy lawyer
handed him ten cents, and gave him some good advice. The boy returned
the money saying:

“No, Mister, you keep this, you need it more than I do.”


Among the great number of boys who called at the office, none cast such
a ray of sunshine about him as a little seller known as Sunny Willie,
on account of the smile he always seemed to have. But with all his good
nature and kindness of heart, he, at times, became very serious.

One evening after the boys had sold their papers and were enroute to
their homes, Sunny Willie, as was often his habit, called upon the
president to say good night. Just as he was leaving the office, two
boys walked in and the loud talking between them indicated trouble.
Willie concluded to remain. Leaning against the desk he became a very
attentive listener. The smile had left him. He looked thoughtful.

“I know you’re wrong,” said one of the boys, “you’re talking to hear
yourself talk. You are looking fur trouble. That’s what you are. I ken
prove it. I ken show you I wasn’t on the corner fur a week.” “That’s
right,” replied the other boy, “why wasn’t you there fur a week,
because you stole the papers from the poor old woman and was ashamed
to sell ’round the corner. Now, come off, you took de papers.”

At the corner of the post-office is a small stand kept by a woman, who
has been engaged in selling papers for a number of years. One morning,
some papers were missing from a bundle lying upon the sidewalk. The boy
accused usually sold papers on the corner and his absence for several
mornings gave rise to the suspicion that he either took the papers or
knew something about them.

“As I said before,” continued the accused boy, “I did not steal the
papers, an’ you got no proof to show I did.”

There was silence for some moments when Sunny Willie, said, in a
whisper, to the president:

“I saw de kid take the papers. Shall I butt in?”

“Yes, you arbitrate the case—settle it,” replied the president.

The usual smile was still missing when Willie said, quietly:

“Sand the track, you’re slipping.”

“What do you mean?” asked the boy, his face becoming very red.

“You know the rule of the association is to warn a boy when he’s
slipping; when he’s doin’ something wrong. When I say, sand the track,
I mean you can’t go forward, you go backward, and some one must help
you or you slide back, see? I’m the fellow who’s ready to stop you from
sliding. I saw you take the papers.”

The accused was surprised. He could not talk. Sunny Willie again came
to his rescue.

“I’ll give you these pennies,” he said, and the smile returned to his
pretty face. In his little hand he held ten new pennies.

“Now, didn’t you take the papers?”

“Yes, but I intended to return the money for them, or make it all right
with the old woman.”

“Come,” he continued addressing Willie, “I’ll go with you and we’ll
make it all right.”

Out the three boys went and they were soon talking with the old woman.
Shortly, Sunny Willie returned to the office.

“If I hadn’t a put sand on his track he would have slipped way back,”
he said to the president, “Everything’s all right. He will never steal
papers again.”

Another little seller, a favorite on the street among business men, one
of whom the president often purchases a paper to please the newsboy,
came running into the office one evening and throwing his bundle upon
the lap of the president said:

“Here, pres., hold these papers until I go into the hotel to get a
drink of water.”

The act was done so quickly the president found the big bundle on
his lap before he really understood the wishes of the newsie, but he
quickly returned, took the papers, and said, as he hastened out:

“Thank you, Mr. President.”

The confidence this boy had in the president was appreciated, not only
by him but by those who witnessed the act.

It has always been a source of great pleasure, to the president and
his associates, to see how deeply interested the officers of the
association become, as the following will show.

Three officers were walking on one of the principal streets casually
looking in the show-windows when they heard music; looking ahead they
saw a newsboy, a seller, walking along, playing a mouth-organ. Coming
to him, it was noticed the instrument was an unusually fine one, and a
new one.

“That mouth-organ is too expensive for that boy, there’s something
wrong,” said one of the officers.

[Illustration: DIVIDING THE PAPERS.]

“Where did you get that organ,” was asked the newsie.

“I buyed it at Smith’s store, down yonder,” was the reply.

“Well, I guess, not. You never had so much money. Come on with us and
show us where you bought it.”

They walked to the corner when the boy said:

“I didn’t buy it there, I bought it down on Monroe street,” giving the
correct name of a store on that street.

“All, right, come along, we’ll go down there.”

Around the corner they started and when within a block of the street
the boy again changed the place of purchase.

“I buyed it of Mr. Jones, way out on this street.”

That was five blocks away.

“Now this is the last time,” said one of the officers, “if you change
the place again, look out.”

But when they had walked four squares the boy again made an effort to

“No, you don’t my chappy,” said one of the officers, “We know you stole
it. We knew it from the first. Now you own to the truth or we will
take you to the president, and then what?”

The boy squirmed considerable, but every movement gave evidence that he
stole it.

“Now, where did you get it?” was bluntly asked, as the boy was backed
up against a building.

This was too much for him. He owned he “hooked it.” Naming a prominent
department store as the place he took it.

“You must go with us, hand it to the proprietor and beg his pardon,”
said the officers.

This at first seemed a most difficult task, but when they promised to
accompany him to the store he agreed.

When at the door of the great store he asked the officers to step aside.

“If I do this you will not tell the president, will you?”

“Of course not, he shall never know anything about it.”

He walked in, took an elevator and soon stood before the manager of the

He told how he saw it on the counter and “hooked it when the girls were
not looking, but I will never do anything like this again.”

The manager thanked the boy for his determination to do better and
told him he would forgive him for the theft, and promised to give him
a position in the store if the officers of the association would bring
him there when he was through school.

The president learned of this incident a month later but never knew the
name of the newsboy.


As has been said, the boys are continually suggesting by their acts and
words, something new, something whereby the officers can build upon
their ideas.

The membership cards were given first, to show the boys some of the
written rules; and, second, that the boys might have something official
to show in case they lost their badges; but a new idea suggested
itself to one of the graduating sellers, who was about to engage in
business other than selling papers. A prominent churchman advertised,
“a boy wanted in his manufacturing concern.” This young man saw the
advertisement and became an applicant for the position. He was received
very kindly and naturally so because he had an honest face, and was a
willing worker. The gentleman asked if the boy could give any reference.

The newsboy took from his pocket a membership card of the Boyville
Newsboys’ Association.

“Do you know any thing about the association of newsboys?” asked the

“Yes, sir, I know all about them.”

“This is my reference,” the boy replied handing him the card on which
the man read—“He does not approve of swearing, stealing, lying etc.”

To the boy’s surprise and disgust, the gentleman took the card crumpled
it in his hand, and threw it upon the floor, remarking: “that’s no
reference—that’s no good in business.”

The boy picked it up, and, to use his own language, said:

“I waited until my temper cooled down and I asked him, ‘can you say
you never swore, never stole any thing, never gambled, never cheated
any one? I can, sir, and that’s what that card means. I wouldn’t work
for you.’ Oh, I hit him hard. As I was leaving he called me back, but
I said, ‘if you would give me five thousand dollars a year I wouldn’t
work for you. You have not only insulted me but the association.’”


Before Boyville was thought of, a personal investigation into the
home-life of over a hundred boys was made, and this covered a period
of three years. Of the one hundred who were graduating from the street
work as newsboys not more than thirty were engaged in a business that
would lead them to fortune or fame. Seventy were satisfied with making
a living by earnings of vice and petty crimes. It was learned that a
boy who was permitted to go on in his own way would have no useful
training for later work. The seventy boys followed the rule of men in
wrong-doing. “No man is guilty until caught,” is the general rule of
men who make it a business of stealing.

The progress of any humanitarian legislation is gradual.

No one ever stopped to make inquiry about a newsboy. He lived in a
business, and social circle, all by himself. He was left to shift for
himself and in a most unequal battle.

When investigation revealed the deplorable fact that seventy per cent.
of our newsboys were being educated and trained with their faces
towards jails and penitentiaries, the question arose, how can we
reduce this number, how can we turn their faces towards a better life,
a happier condition, a delightful ending? How make them honorable
citizens, good men, loved by all who know them, an honor to themselves,
to their parents, their friends, the State and city in which they live?

The problem solved itself in personal experiences, convincing us
that we must try to catch the candidates for prison before they have
been debased and to keep them decent. “It is the Christian, decent,
brotherly way for one thing, and it is the cheapest way in dollars and
cents for another.”

It is a rule, rather than an exception, that people have always
considered a newsboy bad, and he is therefore treated accordingly.

Everybody knows or can soon learn to know, that the street is the great
school of crime. Betting and gambling are typical of the combination of
work and play of man and boy that street work produces.

One of the greatest evils of the street was that of begging; of boys
working on the sympathies of the public by taking advantage of men and
women on street-cars or in public places.

Some boys made a business of begging, the majority not from their own
choice, but by compulsion of their parents.

One boy in particular was doing more to injure the success of the
association’s work on the street than hundreds of others who were bad
in other lines.

The father of this boy would wait until the theatres were out, at
night, and instruct the boy to “work the car,” by begging, and if that
failed by forcing papers upon young men who were compelled to purchase
what they did not want.

It took some time, almost a year, to stop this kind of business, and
then the president had to call upon the efficient Humane officer to
stop it. As every case of begging was traced to the fault of parents
the Humane Society had to deal directly with them.

The Boyville association gradually stamped this evil entirely out.

[Illustration: TWO NEW MEMBERS.]

To stop begging, stealing, swearing and gambling, four leading street
evils among the newsboys and in guiding the footsteps of these little
wanderers, for this they are when seen upon the streets of our great
cities, that Boyville came into existence, and it is to co-operate,
when it is possible or desirable, with the parents and the home in
reclaiming boys who have gone astray or are likely to follow paths that
lead to ruin.

There is no greater, stronger sign of love to young or old than when a
friend gives a warning in the right spirit.

The children of Israel had no better friend than Moses, and when they
obeyed his warning they never went astray. We may be wrong in our
liberal methods of giving to charity; we may be wrong in dropping
pennies into the hats of the street beggars—the blind—the lame—the
crippled who stand or sit on our public streets pleading in a tone of
experience; and we may be satisfying an ever-warning conscience; but
there is one thing certain, we can never make a mistake by warning a
newsboy from doing anything wrong—from stealing, lying, swearing, or
gambling, and it is always wise and safe to give a boy the right start
in life.

In every city, with a population of one hundred thousand or more,
thirty per cent. of the newsboys, the sellers, have no homes or their
homes are worse than none at all. If men and women would stop to
think, to investigate, listen to the stories as told by these street
boys; of the wants, miseries and degradation in the sad conditions that
surround many of them; these dirty, ragged boys would receive a more
Christian-like attention and care. If your nature to mingle with the
meek and lowly is forced, if your mission for doing good in this world
is cast in other fields, where better results may be reached, you can
take a personal interest in seeing that those who are familiar with
work among street boys, and who delight in trying to aid them, are
given proper encouragement and assistance so that their work may be
carried on successfully.


A few months’ experience with boys who spend most of their lives upon
the street, and pride themselves on being tough, will teach one a great
lesson. You will learn you cannot reach a boy unless you get near
him, are of his kind; and the most lasting and truest friendship, and
through which you can gain the best results, is where you place a boy
under personal obligations to you, through kindness. You may buy him
for money, but he does not look upon you with the same interest and
confidence as when you gain his love through personal attention. The
boy must be understood. No two boys are alike. Though many are endowed
with similar characteristics, each has his own individuality. The trees
are not all of one kind. Even the leaves on the same tree differ in
size and contour. One tree in the writer’s yard, one of the choicest
of plums; a long branch sprouted out every spring and grew so rapidly
that before the leaves in the fall began to show signs of decay, it
became strong and reached several feet beyond any other branch. It made
the tree look awkward, unnatural, but when trimmed down, even with
the others, it produced more and better fruit than any other portion
of the tree. The boys are like the birds who are unlike in plumage and
song; the flowers in color and fragrance, and yet nature would not be
perfect were it not for these different lines of beauty, strength, and

In the cultivation of plants the gardner considers the nature and needs
of different stages of growth, furnishing the nourishment and care
that will be most helpful just at that time. So in boyhood we observe
various stages of development, whose natures and needs must be studied
that we may properly provide for them.

It has been said: “That the home, the church, the school with their
natural and uplifting influences have been responsible in the past, and
must continue to be in the future, for the manhood and womanhood of
this nation.” It is a well-known fact that the home sometimes fails, or
there is no home, or one which the church and the school do not reach.
There are times when even these have no power over a boy’s acts. A boy
who violates the laws of the land is answerable not to the home, the
church or the school, but to the State.

Crime among boys, in America, is greatly on the increase. The reports,
official and unofficial, that are made public, of the per cent. of the
criminals serving time in our jails, workhouses, reform schools, and
even our penitentiaries, are astounding, and almost beyond belief.

How to check this is a problem of the greatest importance, and it
cannot be solved without the hearty co-operation of every person.

Among the first things to be done must be the recognition of the power
of home and our neighbors. We cannot live without our neighbor. Each
home depends upon some other home; and when the boy leaves his home
to go upon the street, he is at once overcome by the stronger power
and influence of a boy of some other home, and, perhaps where the
rearing and training was not good. The boy is a result more or less,
of all influences and environment of the lives of his companions.
Every good mother recalls the pang that came over her heart when for
the first time she led her boy to school, knowing that her influence
must be shared with that of the teacher. It is not long until the
boy quotes his teacher, and sometimes in defiance, when he says: “My
teacher says so an’ so.” And how many times we hear this from the boy
when away from home, more frequently than the sayings of his mother.
The boy’s school life soon begins to develop self-reliance, full of
possibilities, of curiosity and questionings, the period of formation
of thoughts, feelings and desires. And when a boy reaches that stage in
his life when he is permitted to go down town alone—he at once begins
a new life. And there is not a mother in our country but who makes this
pleading request to her son as he is about to start: “Don’t go into bad

It is on this line that the Newsboys’ Association, with all its varied
interests and objects, through its many channels of work, backed
with that true spirit of Christianity characteristic of everything
that means good, with the aid of its president and its many working
officers, in the name of God and humanity, aims to make the bad boy of
the streets of our cities and towns good, so that the mother will not
find it necessary to say: “Now, my dear son, don’t go into bad company.”

Let us all hope, and pray, and work for the time to come when there
will be no “bad company” on the streets.


At one of the auxiliary meetings the question was asked a carrier,
why the association “kicked against drinking whiskey when my father
drinks four times a day.” In a talk at the meeting the vice-president
said: “Your father may have been a respected citizen. He was all right
when he started out, but today he is a physical wreck, I know him.
He drinks too much. He paid no attention to warning. Perhaps he had
no one to tell him. He trembles now, and I have seen him fall to the
ground, helpless. Some day he will fall and get up no more. Every boy
has in his mind a real desire to do good, but if you start in life
as a whiskey drinker, if you stand around and see your friends drink
without giving them a warning, some day you will regret it, something
will come up in your life to remind you of your carelessness, your lost
opportunity to help a fellow being, and his ruin means more to you than
you think it does.

“There was a man once rowing in a small boat above Niagara Falls,
where the water was quiet. He got funny and ventured down stream too
far until he got into the current and not having strength enough to
pull out of it, he was going faster and every second he saw certain
destruction ahead of him. It was too late for him to think and act. The
thinking should have been done up the river on peaceful waters. So you
boys better do your thinking now if you don’t want to follow that kind
of people over the brink. No, boys, don’t drink intoxicating liquors,
don’t start it, cut it out, forget it.

“We do not believe that temperance is really promoted by compulsion,
but this we do know, that the boy who will let whiskey and all spirits
alone is very fortunate, and has a bright, happy future. He is the boy
who will succeed; he is the young man that is wanted; he will be the
man to be trusted.”



  _See Page 178_


The problem of the boy is a great one, and the more we have to do with
his life upon the street the greater the task of solution becomes. It
is said that two great factors make the sum of human life—heredity
and environment. We are told that if you will gather up soil from the
arctic regions and carry it on a steamer southward, you will soon see
it covered with vegetation. If the soil of the tropics is taken to the
frozen regions of Franz Joseph Land, it will become barren. The soil
of both regions is full of heredity, but the difference of environment
greatly modifies the result. There are in all of us hereditary
tendencies to both vice and virtue, and under favorable surroundings,
these tendencies will be either dormant or developed.

A thief may come from a morally healthy family, a happy prosperous
home, but he is an unhealthy exception not the rule. It is the
offense of our day that the tendency of life is toward destruction
of character. The crowding of population to the cities, is gradually
destroying the home feeling. This rapidly increasing rush from the
country and small towns to the centres of individual energy, brings a
dependent class of boys, and the official reports show a significant
increase in the number of juvenile criminals, from small towns, and
also that they are much younger than formerly. This does not mean
that the energetic young man of the country should stay away from the
cities, or should not seek employment or business in a city; it simply
means that christian people should take a greater personal interest in
trying to make the boy good before he leaves his home, and that the
city people should make city life purer.

So long as our best reputed citizens, the first men of many of our
churches, own the dilapidated tenement houses, receiving from such
occupants a rental sufficient to pay taxes, and without caring who
occupies the premises or for what purposes, the criminal tendency must

For a time charitably-inclined people may check and partially correct
an evil, but the tendency will remain, sure to assert itself in one
form or another. If the present cheap-John tenements should be wiped
out, and it were made possible for the proper classes to secure homes
in the country, modest as necessarily they would be, it would go a
long way towards correcting one of the greatest evils of the day.

“The prison returns of one of our great States show that fifty per
cent. of all young criminals come from bad homes, from tenement houses
owned by rich men, and only nine per cent. from good homes.”

Since the Humane societies are so well organized, and doing such
magnificent work, much may be expected for the better in the condition
of the houses of the poor. There are many streets in our great cities
where people shudder when compelled to walk, on account of their bad

The tenants may be bad, but are they worse than the owners of the
property? Have you ever stopped to think who owns a building under
whose roof lives a dozen bad characters?

One Sunday morning, a gentleman in the city was walking down an avenue
of considerable importance when he was surprised to see two young
newsboys coming out of the rear door of a saloon, each trying to keep
the other from falling to the ground.

The building was old and rickety. On the second floor were not a half
dozen whole panes of glass in eight window frames.

Astonished at this, a question was asked, of a passer-by who owned the
saloon property?

“Mr.—— owns all the property on that side of the street. He is now
teaching a Sunday-school class while boys are in his building drinking.
This thing’s repeated every Sunday. It’s headquarters for young men.”

When our leading men of business, our wealthy citizens, men of
influence, men who stand high in the commercial world, are renting
their property to persons who, for the money they make, are ruining
hundreds of young lives, what can we expect?

We need an era of enforcement of law, less of pretense, more of
purpose. Whether the laws be good or bad, is not a question. If they
are good, they should be enforced for the welfare of the community and
the vindication of the State. If they are bad, they should be enforced
so that their injustice may prove sufficiently oppressive to lead to
their appeal.

The saloons will always be with us, and so long as the State, and the
city receive the price for their existence, and grant them recognition
and endorsement, they should be protected in accordance with the laws
governing their business, but beyond all this, there is a law, a moral
law, a law of decency, of respect, for the welfare and happiness of
mankind, that should appeal to every man engaged in the selling of

Five men, of our acquaintance, engaged in the saloon business, have for
many years mutually agreed to do certain things. They do not open their
places of business on Sunday. They do not admit a minor into their
saloons for any cause. They will not sell liquor to a man who shows the
least sign of being intoxicated.

If every man engaged in the saloon business would follow to the letter
these few simple rules, thousands of good wives, and innocent children
would be happy, and the influence for good could not be estimated. Our
Sunday-closing laws should be enforced.

The lives of a majority of men, hard-working men, are dreary enough for
six days of the week without having all of the desolation compressed
into the seventh and drilled into them through the avarice of selfish
men who aim to take advantage of a man under the influence of liquor,
and take from him his last cent and then throw him into the street.

We are learning to regard the majority of youthful offenders,
especially in our large cities, as the victims of environment,
sufferers from lack of opportunity for good. In nine cases out of
ten, boys who are found in saloons come from well-to-do families, and
are permitted to be there through neglect and carelessness of their


A question is often asked, why young men do not more frequently attend
church services. May not one of these reasons be traced to neglect and
carelessness on the part of the parents? Nothing in the religious world
can be more important than the proper training of young men. It is said
that the only place where real religion can be taught is in the home.
By this it is not meant religious forms, but real religion. To go to
church every Sunday and sing religious hymns and listen to eloquent
sermons is not all there is to religion. The formation of character,
the stimulus of the moral sentiments must be done largely outside of
the doors of the church. To assist in building up the boy who roams our
streets at will, and to take an interest in and to encourage the boy
to live up to and follow the instructions he receives at his home, is,
indeed, to practice real religion.

It is a well-known fact, often repeated by the guards at our
penitentiaries, that no man ever entered these institutions but what at
sometime or other declared that, if he had followed the admonition and
religious instructions of his father and mother, his life would have
been different. If father and mother do not practice in their daily
lives this real religion, and if the boy is not brought up to believe
that some people are to be avoided, and held in contempt, all the
churches in the world cannot correct such mistakes, because they have
but few hours one day in a week to accomplish what six days can undo.

It will be seen, then, how important it is that the boy on the street,
whether he comes from a good religious home or a bad home, should be
watched and carefully guided and taught.

Our work in the garden is not to pull out onions, radishes, tomato
plants, but carefully to destroy the weeds, and not only those weeds
that are crowding the tender plants, but all weeds. Get the wild
sprouts out, pull up the weeds by the roots and throw them away. This a
good gardener will do, and he will carefully pull the soft, rich earth
around the plants to brace them up.



If the same interest is taken in our newsboys, to pull out the weeds
so that the boy can grow, it will be doing what the preacher often
says: “A good man’s goodness lies not hid in himself alone; but when he
endeavors to strengthen his weaker brother.”


Men often lose great opportunities to assist their fellow-men through
neglect, through carelessness and indifference. It is so easy to say,
“you have my sympathy, you are doing a noble work,” when many times the
speaker may be better adapted for the same kind of work and be far more
successful. And so an opportunity is allowed to slip by all for the
lack of taking advantage of it.

The influence a man or a woman teacher has over a boy is wonderful. In
the eyes of a boy, a teacher stands for a model of perfection and is
supposed to be in reality, in daily life and actions, what he seems to
be when he shows his best side to the pupils.

From the school, from the teacher, from a trusted friend, the boy
carries the influence back to the family, into his daily life upon the
streets, and many of the teachings follow him through life. The boy at
school is taught to be kind, to be generous, and to remember his little
friends whenever opportunity favors. Heartfelt sympathy in a newsboy,
comes like a flash of lightning, and he is ever ready to fall in line
when the boys want to remember a friend. The president was taken by
surprise one day when the street sellers, the poorest of our newsboys,
through one of their hustlers, presented him with a gold badge. The
money to purchase it was raised by subscriptions from the boys, in
amounts ranging from two cents to twenty-five. A few days after the
presentation the president was walking on one of the main streets when
he was accosted by a little seller, from the opposite side of the

“Say, president, come over here.”

A boy never called the president to go where he wanted him to go but he
complied at once, and cheerfully. The little ragged fellow stepped in
front of him and said:

“Pres., have youse got de gold badge we gives you?”

“Yes, here it is,” and the badge was taken from the coat and handed to
the boy. Looking at it closely, and calling several companions to him,
he said:

“Pres., youse see that diamond in the center?” pointing a dirty finger
to it.

“Yes, sir, we all see it, and it’s a beauty.”

“Well, you see,” he said straightening up above his natural height,
“I subscribed four cents to this here badge, and all the boys put up
the dough. When I went home and thought it over, I says to myself, we
ought to have a bigger badge than this fur our president. So when I
comes down town I see de boys and we concluded to have a diamond put
in the center. It met wid de kids ’proval, and it was done. You see de

“Yes,” replied a dozen voices.

“Well, I blowed eleven cents in it,” he proudly replied. Adding, “Ain’t
it a bird?”

Happy youth.


How many prayers have been offered for the salvation of the slums; how
many sighs and expressions of regret and sympathy have been given, by
well-meaning people, for the “poor and unhealthy boys of the slums.”

Those who are familiar, and it is to be regretted that they are so few,
with the real conditions of these, supposed, unhealthy and certainly
unpleasant districts, will substantiate the declaration that the boys
who live there, in these ill-favored spots, and who have followed
the vocation of selling papers or shining shoes, until they arrived
at that age when it was necessary to seek other and more lucrative
employment, are ninety per cent. healthier and stronger and better able
to fight disease than boys raised in the most sanitary districts and in
wealthy families. The slums of Whitechapel and Westminster, in London,
inhabitated by a squalid and criminal population, as well as the slums
in New York and other American cities, maintain a healthier condition
among the inhabitants.

In a period of six years, with an enrollment of two hundred and
fifty newsboys, who belonged to the sellers auxiliary; a majority of
them living in what is called “the worst part of the city, the most
unhealthy; the most degraded; the most undesirable,” and boys who from
necessity were compelled to sell papers or shine shoes, thus requiring
an almost daily appearance upon the streets in all kinds of weather,
there were but three cases of sickness, and but one death, and this
death was caused by an explosion at a Fourth of July celebration.

Little Barney Frank, one of the brightest and most promising members
of the association died January 28, 1903, having been injured by a toy

The president attended the funeral of this little boy and being asked
to say something touching the life of his friend, he said:

“Barney was an exceptionally bright and happy boy, loved by his
companions, and almost worshiped by his heart-broken parents. His happy
disposition, his smiles and great interest in his fellow newsboys will
live forever in the hearts of those who knew him. It is often asked why
are the young and innocent taken from us? Some of us believe that the
road to heaven opens wide to welcome little boys.

“One of the most pleasing remembrances of Barney’s life was shown in
the following incident. It was a cold November evening, with a heavy
fall of rain and sleet. I was standing in the street looking for a car
to take me home, when little Barney came running to me and said: ‘You
go in the store, in a dry place, I’ll watch for the car and I’ll call
you,’ and in spite of protestations, he stood in the rain until the car
passed. So it was always with Barney, ever looking after the happiness
of his friends.”

They took the remains to another town, and buried him in a village
graveyard. There he rests in peace. In summer the grass grows green and
the daisies and violets keep watch; and in a tree, whose branches shade
the unmarked grave, there comes a robin red-breast, and every morning
at the rising of the sun, and every evening just as the sun is sinking
behind the hills, he sings his song of love.

Who knows but that it is an angel who comes to the grave of that little




After more than fifteen years’ experience among the newsboys we can
say with considerable force, that the only way to give substantial
assistance to the poor boy is to give him a start in life, helping him
to work his own way through a hundred little temptations that would
easily lead him wrong. Today Boyville Association boasts that it has
driven from the streets of a great city all kinds of begging, gambling,
swearing, smoking cigarettes, and instead of insulting, impudent
newsboys, we have the finest lot of gentlemanly young business men in
the world.

How to carry on successfully work of this kind, with results as
previously stated, is the desire and wish of thousands of people in
our country today. A person must bring himself in touch with the boy,
he must learn his ways, his habits, by so doing he learns the best way
to approach him and gain his confidence. This done, the rest is easy,
because the boy works with you and you simply guide.

Education cannot be given, it must be achieved, and the value of an
education lies not only in the possession, but also in the struggle to
secure it.

Everybody knows that the infallible receipt for happiness, is to do
good, and under the right conditions it is as natural for character
to become beautiful as for a flower. In scores of instances it has
been seen that the principles early established in the minds of the
street-boys, especially where they are watched by their companions, and
warned when they do something wrong, leave a lasting impression that
time cannot efface.

Life is full of opportunities for the young man to do good, and if in
his early career he begins to do right it soon becomes part of his
life. The street-boys who first join the association are so gradually
led into the good fellowship of their own making that the toughest
natures thaw out, they are subjugated, submit cheerfully to the
controlling powers of truth and honesty. Their manners soften, their
words become more gentle and their actions show a willingness to be
little gentlemen. The good that is in them is brought out by their own
unselfish acts, and the hidden sleeping humanity bursts into a fuller

Today it takes a high order of men to succeed.

With the world as a competitor, where profits are figured by fractions,
it requires young men of brains, combined with hard common sense, men
of good moral characters, and a willingness to work.

For a young man to reach a rich inheritance he must work; he must
remember that the root qualities of character are sobriety, industry,
unselfish economy, and he must be honest in all that the word implies.
Swearing, stealing, grafting inclinations, expecting something for
nothing, smoking cigarettes or drinking intoxicating liquors will
prevent securing good positions.

Already some of our great railroad systems will not employ a young man
who drinks intoxicating liquors, or smokes cigarettes; and some go so
far as to forbid swearing while on duty.

To gain this rich inheritance, to build up the boy who has no chance
in life, who, in many cities, is regarded as a sort of a pest,
something to be kicked and cuffed out of the way, is the great aim
of the Boyville Newsboys’ Association. It is a kindergarten in the
great school of business and citizenship, and many years experience
proves conclusively not only that the boy of the street is capable of
conquering himself, and of mastering his own will-power, but also that
he can assist his companions, to be honest, patriotic, and self-reliant.

Many a boy goes astray simply because home lacks sunshine. If home
is the place where faces are sour and words harsh, and the boy is
continually hampered with don’ts and censures, he will spend as many
hours as possible elsewhere. A personal investigation of twenty homes
of boys who were upon the streets a greater portion of their time,
especially at meal hours or after nine o’clock at night, revealed the
fact that nine boys were away from their homes on account of there
being no restriction on the part of the parents. These nine families
did not know, did not care, at what hour their sons returned at night,
or whether they were at home at meal hours or not.

Home should keep in sympathy with a boy. His little troubles, his
sorrows are made much easier and lighter through attention and
sympathy, and if the boy can’t get this at home he will go elsewhere;
and he will often find it in society he would otherwise shun. No boy
ever grows too old for love. And should the boy seek companionship
in our crowded streets and discover some one in whom he can place
confidence, his whole life is wrapped up in that love.


In the Boyville Association it has always been the rule that, no
matter how great a wrong committed by a boy, and the fine or sentence
be what it may, if the boy looks forward to doing better, to putting
his whole soul into trying to do right, if he hates and despises the
act committed, that boy has a right to be honorably reinstated, and is
heartily welcomed back to his friends.

“Often” says a thoughtful writer, “men and women mourn over past
wrong-doings with which their present identity has no connection.”

A good preacher once asked a despondent soul, whose life was shadowed
by a wrong committed in early years: “Would you do the same thing

“Do it again?” answered the man, “No, a thousand times, no.”

“Then,” said the preacher, “You have outgrown the conditions that
caused the wrong-doing, and you are no longer responsible for it.”

The best way to correct wrong-doing is to prevent it, to warn a boy
against the evil vices that tend to his ruin in later years. And one
way to prevent crime is to reward virtue.

[Illustration: “HE WAS FISHING IN THE LAKE.”

  _See Page 205_

Hon. Ben. B. Lindsey, of Denver, Colorado, Judge of the County and
Juvenile Court of Denver, after many years of hard work, intermingled
with the kind of experience that brings good results, declares that in
the work of the Juvenile Court he has found a way to make our boys of
today, who are inclined to be bad, follow paths of virtue and honesty
that will lead them to good and honorable citizenship, and his success
has been along the same self-governing plan of the Boyville Association.

We do not think there has been a more interesting official report nor
one of so great a value to the thinking people as the publication of
“The Problem of the Children and How the State of Colorado Cares for
them,” by Hon. Ben. B. Lindsey.

“Power under any law,” writes Judge Lindsey, “may be abused. Mistakes
under any law may be made. No system is perfect. If any conceives
the idea that the Juvenile Court was created for the purpose of
correcting or reforming every disorderly child, they are, of course,
mistaken. Jails and criminal courts never did that. On the contrary,
criminality among the youth of this country has been amazingly on the
increase. Over half of the inmates of jails, reformatories and prisons
combined are under twenty-four years of age. They are there largely
because of uncorrected delinquency in childhood. While the Juvenile
Court and probation system will not, and cannot, entirely overcome
delinquency and waywardness, it will do a great deal better than the
jail and criminal court ever did. The Juvenile Court generally deals
with cases in which there has been a failure in the home, the school,
and often the church. These three institutions are the places through
their various influences to form the character of the child. The
Juvenile Court is rather an aid to the home and the school in the moral
training of the child. If these two latter fail, the court, through its
officers, can supply the deficiency. In the Denver Juvenile Court none
are convicted of crime or subjected to the contamination of the jail.

“The Juvenile Court does not tolerate the idea of the child being a
criminal. It does not consider the question of punishment the important
thing. If the child cannot be corrected at home, for its own good and
for the good of society at large, it is simply sent to a State public
school, where discipline is superior to that of the home, and where
it is intended to correct waywardness and to serve as an example to
prevent waywardness in others. The purpose is, in delinquent cases, to
inspire and receive obedience, to improve and strengthen character.
We never release a boy upon probation until he is impressed with the
idea that he must obey. It is explained what the consequences will
be if he does not obey and keep his word. It is kindly, but firmly
impressed why all this is so, and why, after all, he is the one we
are most interested in and that it is for him we are working and not
against him. We want him to work with us and not against us. He must,
to do this, obey in the home, in the school, and of course, he must
obey the laws of the land and respect the rights of others. We must
know that he obeys. We know this by reports from the school, signed by
the teacher, every two weeks; by reports from the neighborhood, when
necessary to investigate, and frequently, by reports from the home,
and, in exceptional cases, visits to the home. And more important than
all this is the trust and confidence we impose upon the boy himself
through the administrative work of the Court. We arouse his sense
of responsibility. We understand him as best we can, and we make him
understand us as best we can.”

Nothing could be said or written of the history of Boyville and the
intention of its workers that could explain the great object in view
better than the above report.


There is a city ordinance in Chicago which prohibits fishing in the
lakes of the city parks, and persons caught doing so are treated as
trespassers. No one would blame a boy for wanting to fish.

A boy, ten years old, left home with line and hook for one of these
artificial lakes. After securing a pole from the drift-wood near-by, he
sought an inviting spot to fish; and amid the green bushes, the songs
of the birds and the breeze that brought sunshine to his young heart,
he cast his line into the peaceful uninhabitated waters.

A protector of the peace, a defender of the law, saw this little boy
fishing in public waters. While earnestly waiting for a bite the boy
was arrested. He was taken, by the policeman, to the station. He did
not have any friends to give bond for him, so they locked him up and
left him there all night in a cell alongside of men who were in there
swearing and cursing, using the vilest of language. He was placed with
hardened people whose association could not be anything but injurious
to a ten-year-old boy. Next day he was brought into Police Court,
accused of fishing in the lake, sentenced for violating this great and
important law of the city of Chicago, and sent to the work-house, to
serve a time in the city prison.

This was twenty years ago, and, just such incidents as this, caused
good honest-thinking people to try to introduce something that would
protect and care for similar cases. Now, the boy who violates a law is
not arrested and placed in jail or even a Police Station, but under the
splendid Juvenile Court system the boy is brought into the presence of
a judge who has an opportunity of showing what he would like to do in
other courts, by extending an encouraging hand to the wayfaring boy.

The boy is greeted kindly and the strange feeling, which even men
and women have under similar circumstances, is removed. Instead of
the judge looking sternly at the criminal, as has been too often the
custom, thinking, perhaps justly, the dignity of the law requires it,
he kindly explains to the boy where he has made a mistake, where he
has violated some law; and after gaining the friendship and confidence
of the little offender, he is placed in charge of a kind-hearted
Probation Officer, who personally looks after the interests and
welfare of the accused. The Juvenile Court has power to require the
boy to go to school, and the boy is impressed with the fact that it
is for his benefit. Truant boys are looked after by this method, and
the Probation Officer goes so far as to visit the homes of the boys to
learn their surroundings. This has been the means of influencing many
families to take better care of their homes and to keep things in a
neat and tidy condition. This has never been accomplished before by any
methods of a legal nature.

With the valuable work of the Juvenile Court and the Humane societies,
together with the self-governing plan of the Newsboys associations,
all working harmoniously, what must naturally be expected of the boy?
The home is the natural environment in which to develop a boy in the
direction of true, self-sustaining manhood; and it should furnish the
conditions most likely to bring about the happiest results, not only to
the individual and the family, but also to the State. When this fails,
as it often does, the Juvenile Court steps in and the results are


Boyville has made itself known to all classes of citizens, and has
attracted intelligent attention throughout the country. The newsboys
have learned to work together harmoniously, and this is one of the
valuable secrets of human society that all must learn in order to be
successful and happy. In the auxiliary monthly meetings the newsboys
conduct the business with more decorum and intelligence than the
average political conventions. So much for the self-governing plan.

The following interesting talk on “The Evils of Cigarette Smoking” was
part of an address delivered at one of the Sunday afternoon meetings,
and is well worth the time spent in reading:

“Smoking cigarettes causes both insanity and the degeneracy that
ends in crime. The cigarette slave is always enfeebled in body, in
mind, or in moral sense, and generally in all three. Whatever be the
cause—whether it is opium and other drugs mixed with tobacco, or oil
created in the paper by burning, or the immediate absorption of the
nicotine from the lungs by the blood, to be lodged in every nerve and
brain-cell in the system—the fact remains beyond dispute that the
cigarette is a deadly poison.


“It not only deprives the blood of the proper quantity of oxygen and
thus prevents its purification, but it also loads it with filth, so
that the heart becomes clogged and the delicate convolutions of the
brain, upon which the mind’s attitude toward intellectual concepts
and moral principles depends, are paralyzed. Cigarette smoking also
creates a perpetual irritation, like unquenchable thirst, in the
nervous system. It sets up a continual discomfort, a kind of a gnawing
in the nerves, which makes the victim eternally uneasy except while
he is inhaling the poison into his lungs. The result of all this
is, that he lives in a constant state of nervous excitement, which
reacts upon his poisoned brain and makes him incapable of serious and
consecutive thought. His body is weary all the time, except when it
is being stimulated by the alcohol which cigarette slaves inevitably
seek and find, and at last cannot do without. It is a fact that crime
and cigarettes nearly always go together. Prison records show that
criminals, almost without exception, are cigarette slaves. Such is the
history of the cigarette slave, and while, if he is a natural man of
good family history, education, intelligence and ample means, he may
avoid crime, yet he is in eternal danger. Boys, newsboys, for your own
interest and welfare, for the love you have for your parents, if you
are cigarette smokers, stop it at once. If not—do not begin.”


The question is often asked: “Do you want us to go out upon the streets
and bring those ragged, dirty boys with us into our churches, and have
them sit in the same pew with us?”

No, indeed, no. Both you and the boys would be unhappy.

The idea is for you to take an interest in preparing them for your
church. To shove them out of your way, into the gutter, and say, “they
are only newsboys,” will never bring these boys to you or into your
churches. They are the strayed sheep.

When upon the street you meet these “dirty brats,” instead of avoiding
them, of paying no attention to them, say pleasantly, “Good morning,”
and say it in a tone that means you are sincere and really wish them a
very good morning. That would be easy and a thousand times better than
to throw them money, as you, perhaps, have often done, to get rid of
them, or thinking you have done them a great act of charity. All this
costs you nothing.

Instead of having in your heart the desire to destroy; encourage the
desire to rescue, to uplift. Instead of hating, cultivate love. “Go
forth into the world and seek for light and light is yours.”

If you would learn the secret of real happiness, mingle with the
children. They are messengers which come to bless.

But you must understand them. They will teach you things you never knew
or dreamed of.

A speaker at one of the auxiliary meetings asked a boy to give him an
illustration of, “who is my neighbor?”

He answered: “This morning I shoveled off the snow from the sidewalks
in front of our house. After I got through I went across the street and
cleaned the snow from the sidewalks of a widow lady. A friend passing
asked me ‘why I did it,’ I replied ‘why, she’s our neighbor’.”

We often hear it said that time is wasted in trying to save these
newsboys, not perhaps because of the boy himself, but because of that
which makes him what he is. It is argued that his environment, the
influences which surround him from the day of his birth, will make him
a criminal in spite of all we can do.

The Bible holds man responsible.

If you kind reader, believe in God, believe in the Bible, you will
find the divine law (Ezekiel XXXIII.) determines your personal
responsibility. “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto
the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth. If
thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked _man_
shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thy hand.
Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he
do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast
delivered thy soul.”

Following down the ages the same responsibility is required of
Christians (James IV-17): “To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it
not, to him it is a sin.”

The man who fails to rise above the level of his own selfish interests
is the man to whom these apply.

The church, at large, today, is like what Napoleon once said: “The army
that remains in its entrenchments is beaten.” The church remains mostly
in its own entrenchments of conventional practices and indifference
to the unsaved young men. There is but one remedy for this present
indifferent condition, and that is to be found in an awakening of
consciousness of personal responsibility for the salvation of the boy.

We need a new doctrine, not a new law, that will bring people back to
the Simple Life that demands some self-sacrifice.

If we follow these teachings what shall be our reward?

Do you remember what Pharaoh’s daughter said when, winning that strange
prize from the bulrushes, on the Nile; she called to the woman whose
child might have perished?

Pharaoh’s daughter said to the mother: “Take this child away, and nurse
it for me, and I will give thee thy wages,” and that message is given
as the crown of all motherhood on whom the divine mercy falls today.
There comes this same message: “Take this child and nurse it for me,
and I will pay the thy wages.”

The good that you have done you shall know, “not here, but hereafter.”

We should never forget that the best and truest lives are those who
strew all the years with the sweet aroma of loving and self-sacrificing
deeds. Did you ever go, in summer, to the great marshes of our
fresh-water lakes, and in the little bayous, where the muck and
grasses are so thick it is difficult to even row a boat? If not, it
will pay you to go. You find the white water lilies, dotted here and
there all over this forsaken waste. They take root and grow silently
amid the slime and mud in the quiet waters, until, in mid-summer,
they open their creamy beauty to the persuasion of the sunshine, the
glory and idealization of all flowers. So amid the lowest and poorest
of humanity, among its shadows and mists, we can sow, day by day, our
small seeds of gentle and generous deeds, not knowing when they take
root, or expecting to ever behold their unfolding into the blossoms on
the great river of time.

To have a perfect government we must have a perfect people, and that
cannot be accomplished unless we educate, unless we train, our boys in
the right direction. If we do our share in this generation it will be
easier for those who follow.

The more you mingle among newsboys the easier it is to learn how to
influence and guide them in the right path.

They will open out to you a world you have never found, a world full
of sunshine. If you are inclined to serve these boys, and are willing
to try to teach them how to live right, you will build for yourself a
crown of happiness in this world that all the wealth of a nation cannot

[Illustration: PASTIME—THE FINISH.]


It is hoped that the preceding pages have given the reader some idea
of the workings of Boyville, of the self-governing plan carried on
successfully for many years. It has demonstrated the fact, to the
president and his faithful associates, the trustees, and the officers
of the auxiliaries, that boys can govern themselves, that they can
build up and carry on the work that has usually been done by older
persons. Corporal punishment is not necessary and no arbitrary
authority is needed. There is nothing compulsory about the entire work
of the association. The simplest methods are always adopted, keeping
in view the wishes of the boy. Not by advanced theories that reach
beyond the comprehension of the boy, but by gradually introducing good
principles that have a tendency to uplift the boy, and following as
nearly as possible the lines he is interested in.

Through the ever-willing assistance of the Humane officers, and later,
the splendid work of the Juvenile Court, the association has been able
to get behind the cause of much of the wrong-doing of the newsboys, by
reaching their parents. Any good physician, to cure a disease, will
make every effort possible to discover and cure the cause. There is an
old saying: “A stitch in time saves nine.” This is certainly true and
applicable to work among newsboys. We agree with the many good things
said and written by the late Samuel M. Jones, and this in particular:
“The only way to help people is to give them an opportunity to help

Our cities are full of boys growing up to manhood without advice,
without help. They are turned aside to do the best they can, to battle
with life with everything against them. The question to thinking men
today is, shall we permit these boys to continue on the certain road
to ruin, or shall we turn a few steps out of our way to lend a helping
hand? Shall we wait until they become confirmed criminals and are
serving sentences in prisons before we try to help them?

It is much easier to save a soul in a healthy and satisfied,
comfortable-feeling body, than in a body wasted by want and with a mind
diseased by injustice, cruelty and wrong.

The good accomplished by the members of The Boyville Newsboys’
Association, we hope, will go on forever, and that this generation may
prove the best and our people continue to be the most prosperous, and
our boys grow up to be God-fearing, honest men, is the prayer of every
man and woman of our land. But prayers will never be answered if we sit
with our hands folded waiting for someone to do the work.

In these hurrying days, when life is becoming complicated in so many
ways; when the love of money is greater than the love of mankind, you
wonder where can real happiness be found.

Let us kindly suggest a new work, a new field of labor; a field that
may test human goodness and human ability, but where you will reap more
than riches, more than fame.

Begin today, go out upon the streets, work among the newsboys, reach
down to those below, and offer a hand to lift them up. Throw around
them the proper protection and influence. In your own city, your own
town, at your own doors, are acres of diamonds only waiting for you to
help in the work of polishing.


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES:

—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.

—A Table of Contents for Chapters was not in the original work; one
has been produced and added by Transcriber.

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