Pub Date2019
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Crying the News: A History of America’s Newsboys

Vincent DiGirolamo
Oxford University Press

From Benjamin Franklin to Ragged Dick to Jack Kelly, hero of the Disney musical Newsies, newsboys have long intrigued Americans as symbols of struggle and success. But what do we really know about them? Crying the News: A History of America’s Newsboys is the first book to place this idealized occupational group at the center of American history, analyzing their inseparable role as economic actors and cultural symbols over a century of war and peace, prosperity and depression, exploitation and reform. It chronicles their lives from the 1830s to the 1930s in every region of the country, as well as on the railroads that linked them. While focusing mainly on boys, the book also examines the role of girls and grown-ups, blacks and whites, immigrants and natives, the elderly and disabled, arguing that the capitalist press exerted a vital yet overlooked influence on working-class families that is essential to understanding the American experience.