Children, New York City, Tenement Life

HOME - More Old Images of New York City - Tenement Life New York City

My ancestors: Catherine Furst Schwartzmeier Lindemann, her daughters, Minnie Lindemann Goehle, Katherine Lindemann Beyerkohler Van Loo, Peter Goehle, the Walshes and the Langans lived in tenement apartments.

A overwhelming majority of immigrants spent some years in tenements before moving on.

Catherine Furst Schwartzmeier Lindemann - Minnie Goehle - Peter Goehle - Langans in New York City Walshes in New York City

New York City Play Areas for Children of the Tenements

According to Outlook magazine in 1912 the child of the tenement did not have many options for places to play - the average tenement apartment:

..consists, in most cases, of three rooms, the two smaller each seven by ten, the larger about the dimension of a moderate sized rug - ten by twelve feet. Place within this restricted area the beds, stove, washtub, and other furniture necessary for a family of half a dozen or more, with perhaps a boarder or two thrown in, and what room is left for an active and restless child?"

Tenement houses were required by law to have a yard. "Such yards, or courts, vary in size from the ten by twenty-five feet of an older building to the splendid dimensions of thirty by twenty-five feet of the newer houses."*

However, they were "hemmed in"* by the taller buildings that surrounded them. In general they were dark and smelly, cold in the winter and roasting in the summer.

The child of the tenement usually opted out of playing in the yard and instead turned to the street.

The consequences of playing in the streets could be deadly. In 1911 183 children were killed by moving vehicles in the streets of New York. During the same period 381 children were hit but survived. The solution was to prohibit children from playing in the street. "In the process of executing the law during one summer month 415 children were arrested and taken to court for playing ball or other games, for shouting or making noise, in the streets of New York."*

While there were parks in the city they were woefully inadequate for the numbers of children who were in need of a place to play. Another problem was that many of the parks were 10 to 20 blocks away from were the children lived.*

*OUTLOOK, July 27, 1912, CHILDREN OF THE STREETS by Arthur Minturn Chase

An Article by James McGregor in Metropolitan Magazine of June 1900 puts a more positive spin on the subject, claiming that city children had lots of opportunity and places to play. Toys include: tops, hoops, marbles, roller skates, soap box wagons. In the winter there were snow ball fights. In the summer boys swam in the rivers. Games included "House" and "School" as well as "I Spy", "London Bridge", and "Prisoner's Base". McGregor claimed that Tompkins Square park was "one grass-plotted playground" filled with happy well dressed children. He furthered stated: "The tattered child of the tenements exists mainly in art and literature." Children of the wealthy were watched by nurses and nannies, while children of the less fortunate watched each other.


Metropolitan Magazine June 1900, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, 2013

Metropolitan Magazine June 1900, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, 2013

Metropolitan Magazine June 1900, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, 2013

My grandfather, Frank Goehle, born on Sheriff Street on the Lower East Side in 1894 would have been about 6 years old when these pictures were taken.

City Playgrounds by Bertha H Smith

Munsey Magazine 1904.

Playgrounds for the lesser classes in the city were a relatively new idea that only came into vogue around the turn of the century. The first one opened in New York City in 1890. Previous parks, like Central Park, had been conceived as bits of nature brought to the city and were designed for people who had the means and leisure to enjoy them. The new playground parks had less trees and grass and a greater emphasis on involving children in physical activity and games.

Typically the younger children's play areas were co-ed and included baby swings and sand boxes. The children were divided by sex at a young age.

The girls' yard play yards included swings and equipment for less strenuous games. The boys' play yards included gymnastics and athletics equipment.

The new parks also attracted older girls on their "Saturday half day holiday from the factory".

The new playground teachers found the children's range of games was rather limited and that previously amusements consisted in playing "house" and "funeral".

Munsey's 1904, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


This park still exists. See New York Department of Parks and Recreation

Munsey's 1904, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Baby Swings in a Public Playground on the East Side of New York


Munsey's 1904, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

A Summer Day in Hamilton Fish Park, New York, showing the Girls' Playground, with the Covered Sand-boxes For the Smaller children in the Rear

Munsey's 1904, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Teeter--- A Pastime that Affords Healthful Exercise for Little Ones of the New York City Tenements

Munsey's 1904, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

A Winter Day in One of the City Playgrounds of New York---Gymnasium Apparatus for the Older Boys

Munsey's 1904, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Little Girls Playing a Game of Ring Toss

The "little" Mother or Father

Among working class families in many countries around the world, children were set in the care of their slightly older siblings. In the censuses of Yorkshire England of the mid to late 1800s I have seen a child's "occupation" listed as "little mother".

Harpers 1898 Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Outlook, 1912 Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

"How can a tree-year-old child trudge ten or twenty blocks to play in the nearest park?"

"Little girls tending babies and carrying them from door-step to door-step are a common sight. The little mothers are famous, but it seems natural of little girls to love babies and be good to them. What is more remarkable, and yet not uncommon on the East Side, is kind and responsible little boys who look after a still smaller children, and drag them around in ramshackle carts or amuse them and keep them out of harm’s way."

Harpers 1898

Harper's Monthly Magazine October 1905 The Free Kindergarden, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Outlook 1912, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

"It was one of the first mild evenings of spring and a large part of Delancy Street was sitting out-of-doors. Mothers were sitting on door-steps gossiping with one another and watching children who ought doubtless to have been abed. There were life, action, and social activity everywhere......

But the East Side children tumble about on the sidewalk and pavement hour after hour, under slight restraint and without any severe amount of oversight, hatless usually, bareheaded and barefooted when the weather suffers it........

Some East Side children are cleaner than outers but as a rule they are pretty dirty."

Harpers 1898

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


page 559, THE EAST SIDE - CHILD-LIFE, Date unknown

The Third Street Recreational Pier

Library of congress - Recreation dock, New York Digital ID: (digital file from intermediary roll film) det 4a09037 Reproduction Number: LC-D401-13644 (b&w film copy neg.) Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

In June 1897 the city opened a recreation pier at Third street and the East River. The pavilion was two storied - 350 long by 60 feet wide. It was opened between 8 in the morning and 11 at night from May to November. It was staffed by policeman, bathroom attendants and a"lifesaver" in a rowboat. Concessionaires sold soft drinks and ice cream, sweets and candies. No liquor was allowed. A band played in the evening between 8 and 10:30. There were several recreational piers on the East River further up down. Most disappeared when the FDR was built.

The Open fire Hydrant

Harper's Weekly undated, collection Maggie Land Blanck, 2013


Converting a Hydrant into a Shower-bath while flushing the Streets with water in the Crowded Tenement-house Districts

Postcard collection Maggie Land Blanck, 2013

Lower East Sid Scene

Children can be seen playing in the spray from the fire hydrant in the lower part of this image.

May Day

May Day was an ancient tradition celebrating the end of winter in much of the Northern Hemisphere. There were May Day baskets, May Poles, and May Day Parades. Over time the holiday became connected with the International Workers Day and it took on a pro Communist and Anti US feeling and so the celebration of May Day, as it once was, has been lost in the US.

Harpers 1898, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Child Labor

Putting your children to work was another evil necessity of the working class family. Again this was true not just in New York but in other places in the US and in many countries of the world.

Among the evils of child labor were:

  • Little time for education, resulting in an ignorant adult population

  • Poor health from lack of fresh air and from noxous particles floating in the factory air.

    Children doing the same work as an adult for less pay consequently depriving adults of needed work

Child labor in Great Britain (where children labored in factories, coal mines and brick yards) was a hugh scandal until laws were enacted to curb it. See Children in Yorkshire

According to an article in Harper's New Monthly dated August 1873 and entitled THE LITTLE LABORER S OF NEW YORK CITY,

"It is estimated on trustworthy grounds that over 100,000 children are at work in the factories of New York and the neighboring districts, while from 15,000 to 20,000 are "floaters" drifting from one factory to another. Of these the envelope factories employ about 800 children, one quarter of whom are under fifteen years of age. The average earning of the little workers are $3 per week. The ventilation in these factories is generally good. The gold-leaf factories employ a large number of children, though the exact statistics of the number can not be given. This occupation requires much skill and delicacy of touch; it is not severe, but demands constant attention. The outside air is carefully excluded from these factories, owing to the fragile nature of the material used. The girls employed are mostly over fifteen years of age. The burnishing of gold, silver and chine-ware is mostly done by girls, some of whom are under thirteen years of age. Singularly enough, it is said that men in this business require to wear breastplates, in order to prevent injury from the steel instruments employed, while the girls who labor at it sit at long tables their undefended breasts pressing against the handles of the frame.

Paper collar factories are a very important branch of child labor. Fully 8,000 girls from twelve to sixteen years of age are employed in ti. A girl can count and box 18,000 collars in a day of ten hours.

Paper-box factories, embracing all sorts and sizes, from a match to a work book, employ at least 10,000 children. These become very expert, and often invent new patterns. The material being cheap, the children are permitted to take home enough to do extra work, and are thus, in fact, excluded from night school

The article continues to list the various types of factories including:
  • Artificial flowers - estimated 10,00 to 12,00 children - nearly 8,000 under the age of twelve. "Many are only five and seven years old. The latter are employed preparing and cutting feathers for coloring."

  • Tobacco - 10,00 children of whom at least 5,000 are under fifteen. However there was a four year old tobacco stripper who earned $1 per week

  • Twine factories - This was very dangerous work with many children loosing fingers or limbs (or even their lives) - The air was ladened with fibers from the cotton and flax
Italics are mine.

Other children put up insect powder, drove wagons, tended oyster saloons, were blacksmiths helpers, tinsmiths helpers, paper boys, errand boys, tended stands, shoe shine boys, peddled, and helped painters and carpenters.

Some other appalling facts:

  • Children were paid a lower wage for the same work as adults.

  • Their only option for an education was a night schools run by such organizations as the Children's Aid Society. So after 10 hours in the factory those anxious to improve themselves took classes. However, it is not clear to me if the classes did not abet the problem. Some of those classes listed were running machinery and in a "training school for servants".

  • Many people continued to work in these factories until they were in their eighties.

Child labor was still an issue at the time of the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911. The company employed mainly young immigrant women, many as young as twelve who worked a 12 hour shift and a 60 to 72 hour week for a salary of $6 to $7 a week. 146 workers died in the fire, 62 of them jumping to their death when they realized there was no way to escape. There is a lot of info on this incident on the Internet.

Harper's New Monthly Magazine, August 1873, THE LITTLE LABORERS OF NEW YORK CITY, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Little Tobacco Strippers

Harper's New Monthly Magazine, August 1873, THE LITTLE LABORERS OF NEW YORK CITY, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Envelope workers

Harper's New Monthly Magazine, August 1873, THE LITTLE LABORERS OF NEW YORK CITY, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Gold leaf workers

Harper's New Monthly Magazine, August 1873, THE LITTLE LABORERS OF NEW YORK CITY, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Making paper collars

Harper's New Monthly Magazine, August 1873, THE LITTLE LABORERS OF NEW YORK CITY, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Making paper boxes

Harper's New Monthly Magazine, August 1873, THE LITTLE LABORERS OF NEW YORK CITY, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The little burnishers

Harper's New Monthly Magazine, August 1873, THE LITTLE LABORERS OF NEW YORK CITY, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Twine Makers

Outlook 1912, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Hapers Bazar May 10, 1873, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


"The scene depicted by the illustration on our first page will be unpleasantly familiar to all of our readers who are accustomed to depend for locomotion on the street cars of this or most other cities. It is no fancy sketch, but one most faithfully drawn from nature. Day after day these cars go up and down with their seats on each side crowded with well dressed gentlemen and ladies wedged helplessly among drunken and dirty men, women and children, baskets and bundles, while the middle of the car is filled with a dense mass of human beings clinging to greasy straps or vainly attempting to poise themselves by leaning against their neighbors. All these elements the artist has reproduced in the sketch, the fair-faced girl struggling t make her way to the door against the ragged market-baskets, children's muddy boots, and clamorous newsboys that bar her path. Truly our people are a much-enduring race, or such pictures would be impossible among us."
The situation of the young boy hawking papers seems of little concern to the reporter. There were "public school" in the city as early as the 1860s. However, few children attended. In fact, in 1873 when this young newsboy was depicted on the street car, there was no compulsory education in New York City. A state law was passed in 1874 which required children to go to school 70 days a year but there was little ability to enforce that law. It wasn't until 1894 that a stronger law was passed which required children 8 to 12 years old to go to school 130 days a year and "employed" children ages 13-16 years to attend school at least 80 days a year. Attendance days were increased to 160 in 1898 and 180 in 1913. Official age at leaving was increased to age 15 in 1916 and 16 in 1936. The 1894 law required truant offices to enforce the mandator attendance laws.

In contrast:

  • England had compulsory education by 1876 when all children ages 5 to 10 were required to attend school full time
  • By 1872 there were good schools throughout Ireland. The 1901 census in Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo, shows that the majority of people between 5 and 50 could read and write. Indicating that literacy came to the area in full force by at least 1850.
  • Many parts of what is now Germany had compulsory education for children ages 5 to 13 as early as 1763

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Harper's Weekly, February 9, 1895


  1. A Family of Sewing-machine Sweaters who Work in a Room 9 Feet long by 8 Feet wide

  2. A "Sweaters" Working and Sleeping Apartment

  3. One of the larger Sweat Shops

  4. A Four-year-old Child tending a Baby while the Parents are at Work

  5. A Family of "Home-workers" making Children's Clothes at 11:30 P. M.: the Rent of this Room is $7.50 a Month


Reformers like Charles Loring Brace and Jacob Riis worked hard to point out the issues of life in the tenements - especially the situation of the children. Important progress was made in regulating the tenement buildings, in providing bath houses and better education for children.

Outlook 1912, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


In 1912 there was no mandatory schooling for children under six years of age. However, largely in response to the response of civic minded reformers, by September 1911 New York city maintained 846 kindergartens caring for 36,000 children and there were an estimated 12,00 children in kindergartens run by private and charitable originations. However, according to the 1910 census, there were "150,000 other children between the ages of three and six for whom no kindergarden exist".

Information from OUTLOOK, July 27, 1912, CHILDREN OF THE STREETS by Arthur Minturn Chase

Note: ARTHUR MINTURN CHASE: publisher; married Myra Olive Chase, Columbus, Ga., June 29, 1907; children, Arthur Minturn, Jr., Aug. 25, 1909 (died June 14, 1928); Louise Weld, Feb. 26, 1913; diversions, fishing, golf, and gardening; member of Harvard Club, Dutch Treat Club, New York, N. Y.; Carmel Country

See Kindergarden for more information on Kindergardens.

In an effort to help children who were orphaned and living on the streets charitable organizations like the Children's Aid Society and other organizations instituted programs of education and adoption.

The Children's Aid Society 19 East 4th Street - For the elevation of the poor by gathering children who attend no schools into the Industrial School, caring and providing for them in lodging-houses and procuring homes for them in the rural districts. Supports the following lodging-houses: Newsboys Lodging-House, corner of Chambers and Duane Street, Girls Lodging-House 27 St Marks pl, Eighteenth Street Lodging House, 211 18th st. Eleventh Street Lodging House, 709 11th st. Rivington Lodging House, 327 Rivington Street, East Thirty-fifth Street Lodging House, 314 E 35th st. summer home, Bath L. I. Open during the warm weather.

Appletons' Dictionary of New York and Its Vicinity , 1883

Fifth Ward School 141 Hudson Street, Eleventh Ward School, 11th Street, Lord School 207 Greenwich Street, Girl's Lodging House 27 St. Marks Place, Newsboys Lodging House 49 Park Place, Rivington Street Lodging House 327 Rivington Street, 709 East Eleventh Street not named, 211 West 18th Street not named — According to the 1898 Harper's article these lodging houses together sheltering about 12,000 children.

The lodging houses charged about 5 cents a night and 4 cents for meals.

The 1888 annual report of the Children's Aid Society noted that expenses at Tompkins Square Lodging House totaled $7,368.68. $4,591.59 in fees were received from the boys who stayed there.

There are numerous contemporary articles on line that mention the Children's Aid Society and the lodging houses. These articles indicate that at many of the gatherings at these lodging houses there were services that involved singing and prayers. This is reminiscent of the protestant missions in Ireland who offered food and lodging to poor Catholic children. Many converted and were know as soupers. Frequently, when they got back on their feet, they reverted to Catholicism.

Concerning the Children's Aid Society's program of sending orphans to work on farms in the Midwest:

They at once recognized the fact, and resolved to make use in their plans of the endless demand for children's labor in the Western country. The housekeeping life of a Western farmer is somewhat peculiar. The servants of the household must be members of the family, and be treated more or less as equals. It is not convenient nor agreeable for a Western matron to have a rude European peasant at the same table and in the same room with the family. She prefers a child who she can train up in her own way. A child's labor is needed for a thousand things on a Western farm.......

.....Western agents are employed who travel through remote faming districts, and discover where there is an especial call for children's labor. An arrangement is then made with the leading citizens of the village to receive a little detachment of these homeless children of the great city.

On a given day in New York the ragged and dirty little ones are gathered to a central office from the streets and lanes, from the industrial schools and lodging-houses of the society, are cleaned and dressed, and sent away, under charge of an experienced agent to seek "a new home in the West."

Harpers 1898

Italics mine.

In this was some 25,000 children were placed in new homes in the West in a twenty year period leading up to the 1898 article.

From 1854 to 1929 somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 children where placed through the orphan trains.

In 1904 an orphan train carrying 40 orphans age two to six who were in the care of the New York Foundling Hospital run by the sisters of Charity arrived in Morenci Arizona, a mining town. Since the children were "Catholic', they were to be place with Catholic families who in this instance were Mexican. When the train arrived in the station and some local Anglos saw the blond blue-eyed children going off with the Latinos they caused an uproar that went all the way to the Supreme Court. The story is told in The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction by Linda Gordon, Harvard University Press 1999, 480 pages —a fascinating book.

Harper's New Monthley Magazine August 1873, THE LITTLE LABORERS OF NEW YORK CITY, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Unfortunately, over enthusiasm for reform resulted in catastrophes like the "Orphan Trains".

This series of images portrays the "Orphan Train" concept as a worthy endeavor whereby the orphaned, poverty stricken, child finds a new, brighter, healthier, life on the farm.

While praised by many, the orphan trains did, in fact, take children who were not orphans - but had one or more living parents and sent them to live with rural families where many of them were little better than farm laborers. See Orphans Trains

There is a ton of other stuff available on the Internet if you search "Orphan Train".

Harper's Weekly, February 6, 1875 Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Harper's Weekly, February 6, 1875 Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Harper's Monthly Magazine October 1905 The Free Kindergarden, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Life of the Streets

Harper's Monthly Magazine October 1905 The Free Kindergarden, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

A Visit From "Teacher"

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Cigar Stump Collectors, Harper's Weekly July 30, 1881

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Little Scavengers, Harper's Weekly July 30, 1881

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Pool For Drinks, Harper's Weekly July 30, 1881

Harper's Weekly May 23, 1872, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


These three panels illustrate the the pit falls of life on the streets — "an ignorant, neglected street boy" — "idleness through vice" — "a felon's cell"


Century September 1894, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Harper's New Monthly Magazine, August 1873, THE LITTLE LABORERS OF NEW YORK CITY, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Night School

Century September 1894, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Plan of the Chrystie Street School and Neighborhood.

The shaded areas represent the buildings and the light areas denote the open space. Notice that there is almost no open space connected with the school. In other words, no playground of any sort.

This school was in the 10th Ward.

In 1895 Superintendent Snyder in a Health Board Inquiry into the needs of the public schools in New York City reported that Grammar School 20 at 160 Chrystie Street was overcrowded. 230 children were not able to "obtain admittance". Gas lights were burned all day making the air unhealthy and the inquiry advised changing to electric lighting. A new building was recommended.

In a medical report of 1903, 137 students out of 1,439 examined at School 35 at 160 Chrystie Street had a contagious eye disease.

In 1916 and 1920 the school was listed as P. S. 35.

There is now a park at this address.

Century September 1894, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Located at 203 Rivington Street Grammar School No. 4 was in the 13th Ward.

See 88 Sheriff Street

Century September 1894, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

In the Wooster Street School — The Boy's Playground

According to a New York Time article of March 28, 1897 many of the students at the Wooster Street School were Italian immigrants.

As far as I can determine this school was located below Bleeker Street. In 1878 it was known as School No. 10. The "playground" was "a gloomy little well between the school and a big factory building. The classrooms were just as dark as the play yard. It was necessary to keep the gas light buring even on the brightest days.

Century September 1894, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Hall Their Playground &mdash Essex Market School


Much has been written and illustrated about the hardships suffered by the children of the ghetto. However, it doesn't take much to find examples of children having fun, even if there are disapproving onlookers.

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

STREET ARABS TAKING A FOOT BATH Harper's Weekly August 3, 1782

Publication and date unknown. Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Harper's Young People August 2, 1887

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Chatterbox, date unknown

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Harpers Young People July 17, 1883


New York Library ID 834125


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


The Aldine, New York February 1873

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Broadway Magazine, May 1907, Childhood in New York

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Broadway Magazine, May 1907, Childhood in New York

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Broadway Magazine, May 1907, Childhood in New York

Hokey-Pokey was a term used for ice cream sold by street venders or Hokey-Pokey men.

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Broadway Magazine, May 1907, Childhood in New York

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Broadway Magazine, May 1907, Childhood in New York

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Broadway Magazine, May 1907, Childhood in New York

James Dabney McCabe Jr 1842-1883, Lights and Shadows of New York, Sights and Sensations of the Great City, 1872


In spite of the labors of the Missions and the Reformatory Institutions, there are ten thousand children living on the streets of New York, gaining their bread by blacking boots, by selling newspapers, watches, pins, etc., and by stealing. Some are thrust into the streets by dissolute parents, some are orphans, some are voluntary outcasts, and others drift here from the surrounding country. Wherever they may come from, or however they may get here, they are here, and they are nearly all leading a vagrant life which will ripen into crime or pauperism.

The newsboys constitute an important division of this army of homeless children. You see them everywhere, in all parts of the city, but they are most numerous in and about Printing House Square, near the offices of the great dailies. They rend the air and deafen you with their shrill cries. They surround you on the sidewalk, and almost force you to buy their papers. They climb up the steps of the stage, thrust their grim little faces into the windows, and bring nervous passengers to their feet with their shrill yells; or, scrambling into a street car, at the risk of being kicked into the street by a brutal conductor, they will offer you their papers in such an earnest, appealing way, that, nine times out of ten, you buy from sheer pity for the child.

The boys who sell the morning papers are very few in number. The newspaper stands seem to have the whole monopoly of this branch of the trade, and the efforts of the newsboys are confined to the afternoon journals--especially the cheap ones--some of which, however, are dear bargains at a penny. They swarm around the City Hall, and in the eastern section of the city, below Canal street; and in the former locality, half a dozen will sometimes surround a luckless pedestrian, thrusting their wares in his face, and literally forcing him to buy one to get rid of them. The moment he shows the least disposition to yield, they commence fighting among themselves for the "honor" of serving him. They are ragged and dirty. Some have no coats, no shoes, and no hat. Some are simply stupid, others are bright, intelligent little fellows, who would make good and useful men if they could have a chance.

The majority of these boys live at home, but many of them are wanderers in the streets, selling papers at times, and begging at others. Some pay their earnings, which rarely amount to more than thirty cents per day, to their mothers--others spend them in tobacco, strong drink, and in visiting the low-class theatres and concert halls.

Formerly, these little fellows suffered very much from exposure and hunger. In the cold nights of winter, they slept on the stairways of the newspaper offices, in old boxes or barrels, under door steps, and sometimes sought a "warm bed" on the street gratings of the printing offices, where the warm steam from the vaults below could pass over them.

The Bootblacks rank next to the newsboys. They are generally older; being from ten to sixteen years of age. Some are both newsboys and bootblacks, carrying on these pursuits at different hours of the day.

They provide themselves with the usual bootblack's "kit," of box and brushes. They are sharp, quick-witted boys, with any number of bad habits, and are always ready to fall into criminal practices when enticed into them by older hands. Burglars make constant use of them to enter dwellings and stores and open the doors from the inside. Sometimes these little fellows undertake burglaries on their own account, but they are generally caught by the police.

The bootblacks are said to form a regular confraternity, with fixed laws. They are said to have a "captain," who is the chief of the order, and to pay an initiation fee of from two dollars downwards. This money is said to find its way to the pockets of the captain, whose duty it is to "punch the head" of any member violating the rules of the society. The society fixes the price of blacking a pair of boots or shoes at ten cents, and severely punishes those who work for a less sum. They are at liberty, however, to receive any sum that may be given them in excess of this price. They surround their calling with a great deal of mystery, and those who profess to be members of the society flatly refuse to communicate anything concerning its place of meeting, or its transactions.

A large part of the earnings of the bootblacks is spent for tobacco and liquors. These children are regular patrons of the Bowery Theatre and the low-class concert halls. Their course of life leads to miserable results. Upon reaching the age of seventeen or eighteen the bootblack generally abandons his calling, and as he is unfit for any other employment by reason of his laziness and want of skill, be becomes a loafer, a bummer, or a criminal.

For the purpose of helping these and other outcasts, the Children's Aid Society was organized nineteen years ago. Since then it has labored actively among them, and has saved many from their wretched lives, and has enabled them to become respectable and useful members of society.

The Children's Aid Society extends its labors to every class of poor and needy children that can be reached, but makes the street children the especial objects of its care. It conducts five lodging houses, in which shelter and food are furnished at nominal prices to boys and girls, and carries on nineteen day and eleven evening Industrial Schools in various parts of the city. The success of the society is greatly, if not chiefly, due to the labors and management of Charles Loring Brace, its secretary, who has been the good genius of the New York street children for nearly twenty years.

The best known, and one of the most interesting establishments of the Children's Aid Society, is the _Newsboys' Lodging House_, in Park Place, near Broadway. It was organized in March, 1854, and, after many hard struggles, has now reached a position of assured success. It is not a charity in any sense that could offend the self-respect and independence of its inmates. Indeed, it relies for its success mainly in cultivating these qualities in them. It is in charge of Mr. Charles O'Connor, who is assisted in its management by his wife. Its hospitality is not confined to newsboys. Bootblacks, street venders, and juvenile vagrants of all kinds are welcomed, and every effort is made to induce them to come regularly that they may profit by the influences and instruction of the house. Boys pay five cents for supper (and they get an excellent meal), five cents for lodging, and five cents for breakfast. Those who are found unable to pay are given shelter and food without charge, and if they are willing to work for themselves are assisted in doing so.

The boys come in toward nightfall, in time for supper, which is served between six and seven o'clock. Many, however, do not come until after the theatres close. If they are strangers, their names and a description of them are recorded in the register. "Boys have come in," says Mr. Brace, "who did not know their own names. They are generally known to one another by slang names, such as the following: 'Mickety,' 'Round Hearts,' 'Horace Greeley,' 'Wandering Jew,' 'Fat Jack,' 'Pickle Nose,' 'Cranky Jim,' 'Dodge-me-John,' 'Tickle-me-foot,' 'Know-Nothing Mike,' 'O'Neill the Great,' 'Professor,' and innumerable others. They have also a slang dialect."

Upon being registered, the boy deposits his cap, overcoat, if he has one, comforter, boots, "kit," or other impedimenta, in a closet, of which there are a number, for safe keeping. He passes then to the bath tub, where he receives a good scrubbing. His hair is combed, and if he is in need of clothing, he receives it from a stock of second hand garments given by charitable individuals for the use of the society. Supper is then served, after which the boys assemble in the class room, which is also the chapel. Here they engage in study, or are entertained by lectures or addresses from visitors. They also sing hymns and familiar songs, and the sitting usually terminates about nine o'clock with the recitation of the Lord's Prayer and the singing of the Doxology. After this they may go to bed, or play dominoes for an hour or two longer, or repair to the gymnasium.

On Sunday evening divine service is held in the chapel. Says Mr. Brace: "There is something unspeakably solemn and affecting in the crowded and attentive meetings of these boys, of a Sunday evening, and in the thought that you speak for a few minutes on the high themes of eternity to a young audience who to-morrow will be battling with misery, temptation, and sin in every shape and form, and to whom your words may be the last they ever hear of either friendly sympathy or warning."

"The effect on the boys," he adds, "of this constant, patient, religious instruction, we know to have been most happy. Some have acknowledged it, living, and have shown better lives. Others have spoken of it in the hospitals and on their death-beds, or have written their gratitude from the battle field."

The officers of the Lodging House use their influence to induce the boys, who are the most notoriously improvident creatures in the city, to save their earnings. They have met with considerable success. There is now a Newsboys' Savings Bank, which began in this way: A former superintendent, Mr. Tracy, caused a large table to be provided and placed in the Lodging House. This table contained "a drawer divided into separate compartments, each with a slit in the lid, into which the boys dropped their pennies, each box being numbered and reserved for a depositor. The drawer was carefully locked, and, after an experience of one or two forays on it from petty thieves who crept in with the others, it was fastened to the floor, and the under part lined with tin. The Superintendent called the lads together, told them the object of the Bank, which was to make them save their money, and put it to vote how long it should be kept locked. They voted for two months, and thus, for all this time, the depositors could not get at their savings. Some repented, and wanted their money, but the rule was rigid. At the end of the period, the Bank was opened in the presence of all the lodgers, with much ceremony, and the separate deposits were made known, amid an immense deal of 'chaffing' from one another. The depositors were amazed at the amount of their savings; the increase seemed to awaken in them the instinct of property, and they at once determined to deposit the amounts in the city savings banks, or to buy clothes with them. Very little was spent foolishly. This simple contrivance has done more to break up the gambling and extravagant habits of the class than any other one influence. The Superintendent now pays a large interest on deposits, and the Trustees have offered prizes to the lads who save the most." The deposits of the boys now foot up an aggregate of about $1800.

The boys are assisted to earn their own support. Says Mr. Brace, writing in 1870:

"Through the liberality of one of our warmest friends, and generous trustee, B. J. Howland, Esq., a fund, which we call the 'Howland Fund,' was established. He contributed $10, to which other patrons added their contributions subsequently. The object of this fund is to aid poor and needy boys, and supply them with the means to start in business. We have loaned from this fund during the year $155.66, on which the borrowers have realized a profit of $381.42. It will be seen that they made a profit of 246 per cent. We loan it in sums of 5 cents and upward; in many cases it has been returned in a few hours. At the date of our last report there was due and outstanding of this fund $11.05, of which $5 has since been paid, leaving $6.05 unpaid."

The work of the Lodging House for seventeen years is thus summed up by the same authority:

"The Lodging House has existed seventeen years. During that time we have lodged 82,519 different boys, restored 6178 lost and missing boys to their friends, provided 6008 with homes and employment, furnished 523,488 lodgings, and 373,366 meals. The expense of all this has been $109,325.26, of which amount the boys have contributed $28,956.67, leaving actual expenses over and above the receipts from the boys $80,368.59, being about $1 to each boy."

The other institutions of the Children's Aid Society are conducted with similar liberality and success. We have not the space to devote to them here, and pass them by with regret.

It is not claimed that the Society has revolutionized the character of the street children of New York. It will never do that. But it has saved many of them from sin and vagrancy, and has put them in paths of respectability and virtue. It has done a great work among them, and it deserves to be encouraged by all. It is sadly in need of funds during the present winter, and will at all times make the best use of moneys contributed towards its support.

It employs an agent to conduct its children to homes in other parts of the country, principally in the West, as soon as it is deemed expedient to send them away from its institutions. It takes care that all so placed in homes are also placed under proper Christian influences.

James Dabney McCabe Jr 1842-1883

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