Hobo News

Hobo News
Cover of the "Hobo" News in the late 1910s

Hobo News was an early 20th century newspaper for homeless migrant workers (hobos). It was published in St. Louis, Missouri, and Cincinnati, Ohio,[1][2] by the International Brotherhood Welfare Association (IBWA) and its founder James Eads How. Hobo News was important for legitimatizing the hobo identity[3] and has been credited as a predecessor to the modern street newspaper movement.[4][5]

Original newspaper

Hobo News was published monthly with 16 pages and no advertisements,[1] and was distributed by street sellers for five cents[3][6] in bohemian areas. A subscription was 50 cents annually.[6] In 1919 it was raised to ten cents per issue or one dollar per year.[7][8] At its height, Hobo News reached a circulation of 20,000.

The newspaper's slogan was "Of the hoboes, by the hoboes and for the hoboes," and reader submissions formed a significant part of the paper.[7] Content included poems, essays, travelogues, and articles about the life and lore of hoboes, as well as news about labor organizing and unemployment.[1][2][4][6] Recurring writers included John X. Kelly, Nicholas Klein and William Schweitzer. More famous were Nina van Zandt Spies (widow of August Spies), Voltairine de Cleyre and Eugene Debs.[7] It was mostly read by the hobos themselves, but sometimes sold to the public as a way for the homeless to make money without begging, much like a modern street paper.[6]

Hobo News went by several names over the years. It was founded in 1913 as Hoboes Jungle Scout, and adopted the name Hobo News from 1915 to at least 1929.[7] After World War I and the U.S. government attacks on the radical Industrial Workers of the World many IWW supporters (Wobblies) joined the IBWA, and Hobo News became more radical and socialist. This caused trouble with the government and the paper lost its second-class mailing privileges. There was an internal rift, and eventually Hobo World was started as a radical competitor.[3][6] Accounts of the relations between the two vary, describing Hobo World as either a "competitor" to Hobo News,[3] a different name for the same paper,[7] or a replacement for it.[6]

Much of Hobo News was never archived. The New York Public Library has 19 issues ending in 1923. The St. Louis Public Library has 63 issues, starting with volume I, number I (April 1915).[7] It is unclear what became of the newspaper after How died in 1930.[4][7]

Second newspaper

Masthead for the second The Hobo News, 1936–1948

There was also a second paper named Hobo News published from 1936 to 1948 in New York City;[9] it is uncertain whether this was related to the original Hobo News.[4] The highest circulation was 50,000, and was published by Ben "Coast Kid" (Hobo) Benson and under the direction of Pat "The Roaming Dreamer" Mulkern.[10] It contained advice for hobos, opinion pieces, cartoons, etc., and was sold for ten cents on street corners. When it went under in 1948 it was replaced by Bowery News (named after the Bowery area in Manhattan), but that paper was short-lived.[4][5]


  1. ^ a b c Anderson, Nels; Rauty, Raffaele (1998). "8. How and the Hobos: Character sketch of J. E. How, "Millionaire Hobo"". On Hobos and Homelessness. University of Chicago Press. pp. 90-. ISBN 0226019667. http://books.google.com/?id=aqmAc2fFsAUC&pg=PA90. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  2. ^ a b Dodge, Chris (08 1999). "Words on the Street: Homeless People's Newspapers". American Libraries: p. 60–62. Archived from the original on 2009-03-17. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Cafe/7423/streetpapers.html&date=2009-03-17+09:45:51. 
  3. ^ a b c d DePastino, Todd (2003). Citizen hobo: how a century of homelessness shaped America. University of Chicago Press. pp. 103-. ISBN 0226143783. http://books.google.com/?id=6RFcUQKNm08C&pg=PA103. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Howley, Kevin (2005). Community Media: People, Places, and Communication Technologies. Cambridge University Press. pp. 62–4. ISBN 0521792282. http://books.google.com/?id=MslR_FE5SI4C&printsec=frontcover#PPA62,M1. 
  5. ^ a b Heinz, Teresa L.; Levinson, David (2004). Encyclopedia of Homelessness (illustrated ed.). SAGE. pp. 34,534,736. ISBN 0761927514. http://books.google.com/?id=q-PgHH8TJi8C&pg=RA1-PA736. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Green, Norma Fay (23 July 1999). "Trying to write a history of the role of street newspapers in the social movement to alleviate poverty and homelessness". 4th conference of North American Street Newspaper Association. Street Paper Focus Group. http://depts.washington.edu/stnews/green.html. Retrieved 13 March 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Danky, James Philip; Wiegand, Wayne A. (1998). Print Culture in a Diverse America (illustrated ed.). University of Illinois Press. pp. 102-. ISBN 0252066995. http://books.google.com/?id=Vqtgo0Zi0jEC&pg=PA102. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  8. ^ Anderson, Nels (2005). "XIII. The Intellectual Life of the Hobo". In Piers Beirne. The hobo: the sociology of the homeless man. The Chicago School of Criminology 1914-1945. Taylor & Francis. pp. 192–3. ISBN 0415383552. http://books.google.com/?id=9MrAX5o4BpQC&pg=PA192. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  9. ^ "The Hobo News ~ A Street Newspaper". Hobo Nickel Society. 11 July 2008. http://hobonickels.org/thenews.htm. Retrieved 16 March 2009. [unreliable source?]
  10. ^ "For Hoboes". Time Magazine. 1937-05-17. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,757855-1,00.html. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hobo — is a term that refers to a subculture of wandering homeless people, [cite web | authorlink = Answers.com | title = hobo. | work = The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition | publisher = Houghton Mifflin Company |… …   Wikipedia

  • Hobo spider — Taxobox name = Hobo spider image width = 250px image caption = Hobo spider regnum = Animalia phylum = Arthropoda classis = Arachnida ordo = Araneae familia = Agelenidae genus = Tegenaria species = T. agrestis binomial = Tegenaria agrestis… …   Wikipedia

  • Hobo nickel — The hobo nickel is a sculptural art form involving the creative modification of small denomination coins, essentially resulting in miniature bas reliefs. The nickel, because of its size, thickness, and relative softness, was a favored coin for… …   Wikipedia

  • The Littlest Hobo — The First Season DVD cover Genre Family Children s Melodrama …   Wikipedia

  • National Hobo Convention — The National Hobo Convention is held on the second weekend of every August[1] in the town of Britt, Iowa, organized by the local Chamber of Commerce, and known throughout the town as the annual Hobo Days celebration. The National Hobo Convention… …   Wikipedia

  • hobby hobo — n. A part time hobo; a person who engages in hobo like behaviour (e.g., hopping freight trains) while on vacation from their full time job. Example Citations: When he decides to hit the rails in search of an authentic American experience,… …   New words

  • The Skeleton News — The Skeleton is a free independent monthly newspaper published in Chicago, Illinois. The compact newspaper released its first issue, #00, on October 27th, 2006. It was started by Chicago underground writer Liam Warfield [… …   Wikipedia

  • James Eads How — (center right) speaking to unemployed in Chicago, 1921 James Eads How (1874 1930[1][2]) was an American organizer of the hobo c …   Wikipedia

  • John Severin — Infobox Comics creator imagesize = caption = birthname = John Powers Severin birthdate = birth date and age|1921|12|26 location = deathdate = deathplace = nationality = American area = Penciler, Inker alias = notable works = EC war comics, Marvel …   Wikipedia

  • John Buscema — Infobox Comics creator imagesize = 120px caption = Buscema in 1975 Marvel publicity photo birthname = Giovanni Natale Buscema birthdate = December 11, 1927 location = Brooklyn, New York deathdate = death date and age|2002|1|10|1927|12|11… …   Wikipedia