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Gamers: 1910

Gamers: 1910

February 1910. "A crap game in the paper alley. Rochester, New York." Newsies gotta have some fun, right? Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.


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Future movie star?

Do wonder what there future was. The young man looking at the camera who seems to be holding the dice was handsome enough for a movie or stage career.

Four papers into two

Once a prosperous city, Rochester was not a big one. (I was a paperboy for the evening TU, btw.) But at one time it had at least the Democrat, the Chronicle, the Times and the Union. I do believe the Hearst chain had an Examiner there too, at least until the Great Depression.

"Vanderbilt Secrets"

Likely refers to the troubles of Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt. In 1908, his wife filed for divorce, and in 1909, his alleged mistress committed suicide.

He died in 1915 when the Lusitania was sunk.

Old newsboys' low-stakes gambling

Detroit had the old newsboys. In the 1930s they brought me a book, underwear and a toy. My sister, who died three months ago at age 98, got her businessman husband to start the Old Newsboys in Spartanburg, S.C. This was written up in her obituary.

Low stakes. My older brother played poker in the 1930s with matchsticks, 10 for a penny.

Ah, Rochester Newspapers

I remember the Democrat & Chronicle and the now defunct Times Union...the evening paper if I recall correctly. I had a few buddies that were paperboys. When we had sleepovers I hated waking up at like 4 a.m. to help them with their routes.

Old Newsboys

When I was a boy in Rochester some 45 years ago I recall there was a yearly fund drive called something like "Old-time Newsboys" when businessmen in their 50s and 60s sold papers downtown to benefit some local charity. By then there were only two papers in town, both owned by Gannett, which probably sponsored the event.

Maybe they had crap games too.

Did other cities have similar charity drives?

Making a contribution, too!

They may not have had the opportunity for much of an education (and the conditions at home may not have valued it anyway); they may have frittered away some of the pittance they earned, but, by golly, they were out there making their way the best they knew how - and they understood the realities of the labor world they lived in: no one was giving them much of anything.

Good Sport

Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I happen to think low-stakes gambling is a fine pastime for our youth. Notice that none of these youngsters are shooting each other, or wearing pants that hang off their butt, or selling drugs, or defacing buildings with graffiti. I think today's urban youth could take a few pointers.

Headline News

So, what about those "Vanderbilt secrets"?

Playing to the camera

They are not at all put off by the cameraman. Makes you wonder if it was always this much fun, or if it sometimes got scrappy and ended with a few black eyes and bloody noses. I'm betting it did!

A Prayer

Come seven,
Come eleven;
O our Father
Who art in heaven.

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