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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Hobo King: 1924

Hobo King: 1924

August 1924. Washington, D.C. Jeff Davis, self-styled Hobo King (as well as founder of various Hotels de Gink, a chain of hostels for the homeless), standing next to his jalopy and driver. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Hoboes, Tramps & Bums

Washington Post, February 26, 1915.

“Hobo King” Sees President

Jeff Davis, “king of the hoboes” and founder of the Hotel de Gink, for the unemployed of New York, was received by President Wilson yesterday morning. After his visit to the White House the wanderer visited the Secretaries of State, War, Navy and Interior, in an effort to secure better legislation for the hoboes of the country.

Davis asked the President to set aside some public lands for a “Farm de Gink” for the use of the unemployed. He later discussed his project with other cabinet officers.

“Christopher Columbus was a sea hobo before he was the discoverer of America,” Davis told the President. “The unemployed are divided into three classes—hoboes who are willing to work; tramps who won't work, and bums who can't work. We are doing our best to assist the hoboes who are entitled to help from the government. Any man is apt to become a hobo at some time.” …

Classy is as classy does

He may be the Hobo King, but his car says he's "now traveling Delux." Amen to that.

Custom REO

It appears to be a Reo touring body mounted on a truck chassis (White?). Something easily done "back in the day."


I was so fascinated by this picture that I researched him and the Hotels. I created a Wikipedia article with a few of the sources. Feel free to expand it:


Does that say "WO" on the front? It doesn't look like a Willys Knight insignia, but it also looks like it might be painted on. The headlights are similar to a 1918-ish Willys, but the concave grille is not. Little help?

[It's a REO. -tterrace]


I believe that the out-of-focus building in the background is the U.S. National Conservatory, located immediately adjacent to the Capitol.

[Looks more like the Renwick Gallery at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. -tterrace]

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