•  The Hobo News ~ A Street Newspaper  •
Vol.7
~ No.1 ~ December 31, 1946 ~ “A Ripple of Laughter is Worth a Flood of Tears”
A generous gift from Warren Stabler, OHNS-RM848.
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.

Not exactly a “Hobo” subject... but this topical concern really grabbed me and I wanted to share it with all y'all.
( There were MANY “Hobo” subject cartoons published! )
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.
A Little Fun to Match the Sorrow” ~ 31 Dec 1946 Click to access locally archived copy of 1937 Time articles.
Published February1937-April 20,1948, by Patrick “The Roaming Dreamer” Mulkern and Benjamin “The Coast Kid” Benson. Featured articles, poems, cartoons, and occasionally songs about politics, law enforcement, employment, and hobo life that catered to hobo culture... including hobo-sympathizers and hobo-intellectuals. It maintained and promoted a strongly pro-American viewpoint and also served as a political advocate on the behalf of hoboes.
This street newspaper is often confused with an earlier publication circa 1915-1929... “James Eads How, an heir to a St. Louis fortune, chose to live his life as a hobo, riding the rails, sleeping in flophouses and wearing old clothes. Fueled by the Social Gospel Movement that adhered to helping relieve the suffering of the poor, Mr. How founded the International Brotherhood Welfare Association and a publication known as the Hoboes Jungle Scout in 1913. That newspaper evolved into the Hobo News in 1915 which became a monthly and lasted until at least 1929. Hobo News in turn evolved into the Hobo World newspaper. The only existing copies of the monthly publication indicate it was mix of job news, poems, sentimental short stories and lore about the life of hoboes.” −Trying to Write a History of the Role of Street Newspapers in the Social Movement to Alleviate Poverty and Homelessness −by Norma Fay Green ~ July 23, 1999 Click to access locally archived copy of 1937 Time articles.

Cover of 1937 Time Newsmagazine containing Benjamin Benson article
( NOT Mr. Benson on the cover. )
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.
This is a Bona Fide Newspaper” ~ 17 May 1937
The Press ~ “For Hoboes: Hobo News”
To the vast surprise of a Manhattan police court last week, a mussy little prisoner informed the judge that the issue at stake in his case was not whether he had been caught peddling in Times Square without a license, but whether or not the U. S. people were to enjoy the rights and privileges of a free press.
With all the vigor of a Roy Howard or Robert McCormick, Associate Editor Benjamin (“The Coast Kid”) Benson of the Hobo News indignantly declared that things had come to a pretty pass when a journalist could not sell his own paper on the sidewalks of New York. Ready to back his editor to the limit of his resources, the News's Publisher Patrick Bernard (“The Roaming Dreamer”) Mulkern and his associates furnished $10 bail when the judge refused to see the case in its broader aspects, issued a ringing statement:
“As a newspaper with a large circulation, containing all the features of a regular newspaper, we cannot understand how the judge's verdict can be upheld by a higher court. . . . We intend to take our case to the highest court if necessary to uphold the Freedom of the Press. It seems to us the judge did not give the Hobo News a square deal.”
The journal which was thus defended is like no other paper on earth. It is a peach and saffron tabloid full of hand-me-down line drawings and photographs of celebrated sundowners, sentimental verse, advertisements of rabbits' feet and “surprise novelties.” personalities and good advice. Founded last winter as a quarterly, the Hobo News was soon converted to a monthly. It is distributed in Manhattan by its editors, elsewhere by itinerants at 5 a copy 10 “if we can get it.” Current edition: 50,000 copies. In an effort to avoid just such an embarrassing situation as Editor Benson found himself in last week, on the back cover appears the legend: NOTICE TO POLICE桾his is a Bona Fide Newspaper.
Bona fide news in the current News warns the fraternity to stay out of the South now that chain gangs are out on the roads; felicitates Chicago's Billy Whiskers on his release from a Florida work camp; recounts that Smokehouse Eddie is vacationing in Pittsburgh; records that Big Baby Bum has now set his initials on the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Queen Mary and the late Hindenburg. Features include the running autobiography of Editor Benson; an itinerary of the best free rail route from Manhattan to the West Coast (Pennsylvania, Chicago & Alton, Missouri Pacific, Union Pacific, Denver & Rio Grande, Western Pacific) ; some fatherly counsel from Dean Danny O'Brien of the intermittent New York Hobo College to incipient boes : “It is dangerous when bumming a lump [begging a handout] to tease or provoke the dog. . . . When through with cans, pans, etc. in jungles [hobo camps] always leave them clean. . . . Don't mix too much with tramps or bums,* or you'll be demoralized. ...”
Next to the editors of the New Yorker, publisher and staff of the Hobo News are probably the most picturesque group of journalists in the U. S. Editorial offices梐nd living quarters for some contributors梐re in a cluttered cellar on Manhattan's noisy 17th street. Here Publisher Mulkern is surrounded by an editorial board which includes “Crown Prince Bozo,” Dean O'Brien and Otis O. (“The Boomer Poet”) Rodgers. Press, linotype and paper, bought on credit by the Roaming Dreamer in 1935, are paid for out of profits on the installment plan. Over all sounds the shrill chatter of “Shorty,” the office marmoset. With the founding of the Hobo News, Mulkern & Co. stepped on the toes of “King” Jeff Davis of Cincinnati, head of the Hoboes of America, Inc. (TIME, April 26) ...this article about Jeff Davis is directly below... whose Hobo News Review formerly had the field to itself.

* A hobo will work a tramp won't work a bum can't work.
Click here to read Time's complete article about Benjamin Benson... Click to read this article. Click to access locally archived copy of 1937 Time articles.
Copyright 2005 Time Inc. All rights reserved.

Cover of 1937 Time Newsmagazine containing Jeff Davis article
( NOT Mr. Davis on the cover. )
Click to view an enlargement of this photograph.
Perpetual King Jeff Davis” ~ 26 April 1937
Miscellany ~ “Convention”
In St. Louis, Perpetual King Jeff Davis opened the 29th annual “greatest and best” convention of the Hoboes of America. In a grimy hall in the flophouse district, 100 delegates heard greetings from Ohio's Representative Herbert S. (“Brother Bo”) Bigelow, New York's Senator Royal S. Copeland, Warden Lewis E. Lawes of Sing Sing who sent a $10 contribution, President William Green of the American Federation of Labor. Unanimously the hoboes voted to lobby for benches and cots in railroad boxcars and a special 1¢-a-mile hobo rail rate, applauded King Davis when he thumped for enforcement of the 14th Amendment “so that a hobo can go anywhere in this country without being pinched for being broke.”
Keynoted he: “We're not spittoon philosophers.... We got 815,000 American members now.... Half have got jobs and are making dough. A hobo isn't a stemmer; he begs only when he has to. He don't hit the smoke like floaters do, and when he drinks he drinks good liquor. Columbus was a water hobo. He said to Isabella: 'Queeny, old gal, you'll have to stake me with a handout....'” Picked as convention city for 1938: Altoona, Pa.

Click here to read Time's complete article about Jeff Davis... Click to read this article. Click to access locally archived copy of 1937 Time articles.
Copyright 2005 Time Inc. All rights reserved.
•  Interesting Reading  •
Self-Sufficiency Is Measure Of Chicago Newspaper's Success −by James L. Tyson ~ April 11, 1996 Click to access locally archived copy of 1937 Time articles.
The American Hobo −by Colin Beesley ~ 1998 Click to access locally archived copy of 1937 Time articles.
Trying to Write a History of the Role of Street Newspapers in the Social Movement to Alleviate Poverty and Homelessness −by Norma Fay Green ~ July 23, 1999 Click to access locally archived copy of 1937 Time articles.
Read all about it: street papers flourish across the US −by Danna Harman ~ November 17, 2003
Click to access locally archived copy of 1937 Time articles.
Webpage last updated:   Friday, June 24, 2005