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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Tiny Ferris: 1914

Tiny Ferris: 1914

October 1914. Mobile, Alabama. "Seven-year-old Ferris. Tiny newsie who did not know enough to make change for the investigator. There are still too many of these little ones in the larger cities." View full size. Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Mrs. Carman

Here's the scoop on her, via the New York Times archive.

Mobile Item

If you click on the image of the front page below you can read what's at the top -- the poem "The Conquered Banner" by Abram Joseph Ryan.

Furl that banner! furl it sadly!
Once ten thousands hailed it gladly.
And ten thousands wildly, madly,
        Swore it should forever wave;
Swore that foeman's sword should never
Hearts like theirs entwined dissever,
Till that flag should float forever
        O'er their freedom or their grave!

Etc. etc.


The banner was probably welcoming a convention of the United Confederate Veterans. For a quick Google search I can't say if this was a national meeting (likely note as Mobile had previously hosted the national convention in 1910). This was more likely a meeting of the statewide units.


Ah, for the simple days, when news about Congress consisted entirely of "Congress will adjourn at 6 tonight."

Garrett Dash Nelson

Oct. 22, 1914

Comparing the headlines in this paper to those in other papers, its date must be Oct. 22, 1914. Fifty years earlier, Mobile was still in Confederate hands, although Mobile Bay was not, and they would hold off an occupation until the end of the war. This was likely a reunion of units involved in defending against the siege.

Jimmy Brown

Old Bill Monroe tune:

I sell the morning paper, Sir, my name is Jimmy Brown
Everybody knows that I'm the newsboy of the town
You can hear me yelling "Morning Star" as I run along the street
I've got no hat upon my head, no shoes upon my feet

I sell the morning paper, Sir, my name is Jimmy Brown
Everybody knows that I'm the newsboy of the town
Never mind, Sir, how I look, don't look at me and frown

I sell the morning paper, Sir, my name is Jimmy Brown
I'm awful cold and hungry, Sir, my clothes are mighty thin
I wander 'bout from place to place, my daily bread to win

I sell the morning paper, Sir, my name is Jimmy Brown
Everybody knows that I'm the newsboy of the town
My father was a drunkard, Sir, I've heard my mother say

And I am helping my Mother, Sir, as I journey on my way
My mother always tells me, Sir, I've nothing in the world to lose
I'll get a place in Heaven, Sir, selling the "Gospel News"

I sell the morning paper, Sir, my name is Jimmy Brown
Everybody knows that I'm the newsboy of the town

From now on I will see this kid as Jimmy Brown.


Ferris knew damn well how to make change, but he wasn't going to give that Yankee photographer a plumb cent if he didn't have to!


The paper was the Mobile Item, on the Auburn University Libraries list of newspapers in Mobile County. I find the bit above the headline appears Mobile was gearing up for a Civil War (aka War of Northern Aggression) reunion or something...

It's a different world now

He wasn't going to get lost. In the 1950s as a kid of 7 I ran around everywhere (and so did the rest of the kids) and we were home by dinner. And I was a little girl.


How could a mother send her small baby boy out to work on the street? Can't even make change, not to mention getting lost or God forbid someone hurting him. Times really were hard. But not that hard. Just had to say.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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