Working Boys

Wm. Gross, Newsboy, 15 years of age. Selling papers 5 years. Wilmington, Delaware.

Life is hard for boys employed as messengers in the early 1910s. Many of them started working even before they were teens. Working 8 to 8, what a way to make a livin’! This collection is from the National Child Labor Committee via Library of Congress. Photographs by Lewis Wickes Hines.

Fifteen year old delivery boy for Linders Drug Store. He works from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. Dallas, Texas.

One of the youngest and one of the older messenger boys in Mobile. The small boy is Emmet Brewster. 11 years old; been working there 7 months. Mobile, Alabama.

Willie Cheatham, Western Union messenger #1. Says he is 16 years now; been messenger for 6 years. Late Sunday night, October 4th, I talked with him, still on duty, until 10 P.M. “You bet I know every crooked house in town. Went to school with one of those girls when she was straight. He[r] mother died and she went bad. Some young girls were there too. I go out to Red Light some with messages and packages, and if I want to, I bust right in and sit down.” Hard face. Montgomery, Alabama.