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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • PAN AMERICAN TO GUATEMALA, 1938

Skeeter's Branch: 1910

Skeeter's Branch: 1910

St. Louis, Missouri. "11 a.m. Monday May 9, 1910. Newsies at Skeeter's Branch, Jefferson near Franklin. They were all smoking." Our third visit with this memorable group. Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

 

You're Right

When I did my route in Rotterdam, hell, I smoked like a oceanliner!!!

Successful newsie

In the foreword to his account of WWII experiences, James M. Gavin wrote:

"I had just passed my tenth birthday when the United States entered World War I. I was living in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, where I sold morning and evening newspapers. My favorite corner was at Third and Oak Streets, which was the Main intersection of our small town." (On to Berlin)

This newsie, who may have looked just like these boys, was born in 1907, placed in a Brooklyn orphanage at age 2, adopted at 9 by a coal miner and his wife, had a hard childhood, and left home at 17 to join the army where he applied himself and graduated from West Point. He became the wartime Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division, retired as a lieutenant general, and became Ambassador to France, plus a career in business.

Skeeter's Branch

This is Joe Manning, of the Lewis Hine Project. Earlier this year, I got the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to publish this photo and an article about my project. I got a call from a man who claims he was distantly related to several of the boys, who were brothers. He gave me their names and even sent me a photo of one of the boys when he was 19 years old. He looked just like him. The man said he knew very little other information, but he gave me the name and phone number of that boy's granddaughter. I called her, and she said that she didn't think the boys were related to her, and she didn't want to talk about it. I am convinced that the man was correct, and that the granddaughter just didn't want the publicity. Too bad.

Smoking

Back in 1956, when I was about the same age as these guys, I took up smoking, along with some friends. Not very long after that I was smoking three packs a day. In 2003 I quit cold turkey -- not at all easy. I wonder how many of the kids in this picture were hooked for decades or never did quit.

That's not Fagin...

It's the Artful Codger.

The Fagan of Skeeters Branch...

I'm with Lord-Velveeta--Dickensian, indeed! My very first thought was, "Oh, that must be their version of Fagan over there on the right!"

A little older, a little aloof, a LOT more wicked...and standing just far enough away to claim he wasn't involved in any of the other boys' mischief.

[He would seem to be the Skeeter of Skeeter's Branch. - Dave]

Well behaved schoolchildren

The children sitting in St. Louis classrooms were all well behaved because those that weren't, well, they were out smoking and selling papers.
Every one of them looks to be 12 going on 50.

I wonder, if this photo was published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch today, would anybody recognize a relative?

Gotta be George

Edward VII died three days earlier, so I imagine George V would be front-page news on the 9th.

What does sign mean?

I see the sign sticking out from the storefront says "St. Louis Times - Just White, and Read"

What does that mean, that it's not yellow journalism?

[The sign says "St. Louis Times tells the truth: Not yellow, just white and read." Something like the old riddle "what's black and white, and read all over." So yes, it means it's not yellow journalism. - Dave]

That's it

That's it. I'm canceling my son's paper route.

Just be calm

Bet the kid on the far right was sent to buy a paper from these thugs; and not sure he will make it home.

[The guy on the right is probably Skeeter. "Branches" were paper drops. - Dave]

Resemblances

Actually, the guy on the right is a dead ringer for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. And the Bearded guy in the paper looks like George V, who came to the British throne that year.

Dickens anyone?

They look like a bunch of young pickpockets from a Charles Dickens novel.

But Ollie

Looks like a young Stan Laurel on the right. Can anyone read the headline?

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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