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Crying the NewsA History of America's Newsboys$
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Vincent DiGirolamo

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780195320251

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195320251.001.0001

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Riding the Wanderlust Express

Riding the Wanderlust Express

(p.207) 6 Riding the Wanderlust Express
Crying the News

Vincent DiGirolamo

Oxford University Press

Railroads reigned supreme in industrial America. They were the engines that drove the postbellum economy, stimulated western expansion, and imposed their corporate time zones on the nation. Local, state, and transcontinental railways employed thousands of men, carried millions of passengers, and brought a cornucopia of goods—including newspapers—to distant markets. Three types of newsboys emerged from this transportation network: salaried news agency hands who regularly met trains to ship and receive local and out-of-town papers, uniformed “news butchers” who plied passengers with reading material and sundry items, and footloose “tramp newsboys” who hitched rides on freight or passenger cars in search of work, adventure, or family. Each of these types occupied a separate niche in the distribution process and a different rung on the social ladder, but they shared a dependence on railroads and newspapers for their daily bread. Their experiences offer a crucial bottom-up perspective on the circulation of newspapers and the role of children and railroads in the development of print capitalism.

Keywords:   railroads, train boys, news butchers, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, American News Company, newsboy problem, tramps, prushuns, jockers

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