Awesome photo of newsboys on Brooklyn Bridge in 1908 at 3 a.m. — Brooklynian

Awesome photo of newsboys on Brooklyn Bridge in 1908 at 3 a.m.


Source: via Brooklynian on Pinterest

3 A.M. Sunday, February 23rd, 1908. Newsboys selling on Brooklyn Bridge.

Harry Ahrenpreiss, 30 Willet Street. (Said was 13 years old). Abe Gramus. 37 Division Street. Witness Fred McMurray.

Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine, 1874-1940. This is a photograph from the National Child Labor Committee collection at the Library of Congress.


  • No photo of NYC newsboys in the 1900s is complete without a mention of the Orphan Trains that left NYC in the 1900s....

    Nearly everyone has seen a movie or television show where a boy is standing on a street corner waving a newspaper and yelling, "Extra! Extra! Read all about it." While that scene was repeated on many street corners around the country, it is a severely romanticized version of the life of the newsboys. As the cities on the eastern seaboard of the United States filled with immigrants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, most of them were packed into crowded tenements. Government social services were almost nonexistent, leading to large numbers of children living on the streets. Many were orphans, but a lot of them were simply abandoned to their fates. A few ran away from a home life that was brutal, largely due to the influence of alcohol. Most of the boys and girls hawking papers were street children that struggled to survive by selling papers and doing whatever else they could to earn money and life's necessities.

    This book sets the background for this group and describes the social safety net that arose through the efforts of many groups of people. The title is derived from the program where groups of the children were collected and then shipped by train to the Midwestern United States where farm families eager to have an extra child took them into their homes. It is often a factual recapitulation of the organizations and people that worked so tirelessly to make something for these poor children, some of which had been abandoned as babies.

    A section is devoted to giving short histories of a few of the children that made the trek westward and there are a number of reprints of newspaper articles of the time that describe the plight of the children and what was being done to aid them. Several shelters were formed by organizations that took in the children and gave them a place to stay and something to eat. Not all the shelters were free; some charged a daily fee of 10 cents a day that included room and board. Most of the street children were able to earn that amount although some were forced to sleep in any place that would give them some shelter.

    The children also formed a mutual support group, raising collections when one died and they even went on strike against the mighty newspaper companies when they felt that they were not being treated fairly. Life was hard for nearly everyone back then, but none had it harder than the street children of the major cities. This is not a novel or a detailed description of the lives of these children; it bounces around without a logical consistency. Yet it tells a coherent story of how good people did a lot to help a large number of societies most vulnerable members, the abandoned children of recent immigrants.

  • I'm wondering where on the Brooklyn Bridge you would have been able to buy Coffee and Cake at a Lunchroom. But the Library of Congress doesn't lie.

  • I suspect this is taken on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge, maybe around Chambers St as the boys in the pic are definitely standing on a sidewalk made of cement or concrete which is not found on the bridge. So, whoever captioned the photo took a little license with it.

  • Terrific photo.

    Guys, PLEASE post more photos. Post a few dozen nostalgia photos EVERY day if at all possible!

    I would especially love it if you can find old photos of cricket being played in the 1800s. Brooklyn, especially East New York, was a hot bed of cricket and I would like to see old pics along with the approximate addresses of the venues for those matches.

    Also, please post pics of trolleys.

  • Good ideas; thanks. I had no idea about the cricket history. Interesting snippets of 1800s Brooklyn cricket on

    September 20, 1838: English expatriates from Sheffield and Nottingham faced off at the Brooklyn’s Ferry House Tavern. The wager was $100.

    October 22, 1838: English expatriates, some of whom had played a month earlier, now realigned themselves into teams called “New York” and :”Long Island” – this time for $400 wager.

    This New York cricket club was founded by the trio of William Jupe (an iron merchant who is referred to as Henry Jessup by Tom Melville), John Taylor (dealt with wool) and Robert Bage (who sold insurance). However, it drew more of its men from the city’s literary, artistic, and theatrical circles than from its mercantile community. These intellectual cricketers included William Ranney and James Higham. Tom Melville feels that this reliance on mercantile and literary classes was a deliberate attempt to dissociate the club from the working class immigrants who played cricket in Brooklyn.

    More here:

  • This thread reminds me how excited I am to be seeing Newsies on Broadway in a few days!!

  • Brook,

    Thanx for that wonderful blurb on cricket.

    The Brooklyn Public Library has a link to the Brooklyn Eagle:

    This has several articles about cricket in East New York and other parts of God's Country. However, there is very little info which makes me wonder why since ENY won the national championship in 1895 or thereabouts. How I wish someone would go into the Brooklyn Historical Society and compile a large book with many photos on this subject.

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