Showing posts with label The Hobo News January 22 1946 - George says he's saving on cards and stamps this Christmas -. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Hobo News January 22 1946 - George says he's saving on cards and stamps this Christmas -. Show all posts

5/14/22

The Hobo News January 22 1946 - George says he's saving on cards and stamps this Christmas -


Published from February 1937 to April 20,1948, The Hobo News was one of the most unusual newspapers of the first half of the 20th century in America. It printed poems, jokes, cartoons, pin-ups, and articles and news items about politics, law enforcement, and employment that were useful to that unique class of men who rode the rails and frequented flop-houses - the American hobo.The paper was run by hobos, for hobos. It was published by Patrick ("Pat") "The Roaming Dreamer" Mulkern (1903 - 1948), who served as editor and Benjamin ("Ben")  "The Coast Kid" Benson, associate editor and business manager. Printed proudly across the awnings of their assorted offices were the paper's motto "  A Little Cheer To Match The Sorrow."Copies were also sometimes sold on street corners for 10 cents as a way for the homeless to make money without begging. Associate editor Benson made national headlines in 1937 when he was hauled into a Manhattan court for peddling copies of the paper in Times Square without a license. Benson (a diminutive man who only weighed 90 pounds and was known as "the smallest professional hobo in the business") indignantly argued to the judge that The Hobo News was a legitimate newspaper and that freedom of the press was being violated - but the judge ruled against him. Mulkern recognized that no self-respecting litigator would ever stoop to sue a newspaper with such a pathetic name, and so the paper was voluntarily in constant violation of U.S. copyright law by habitually reprinting the articles they most admired that had earlier appeared in Collier'sThe New Yorker and The Saturday Evening Post. Unlike the paper's intended readership, The Hobo News made small achievements every day, which allowed them to hire additional staff and operate in bigger up-town offices; at the peak of their performance, Mulkern and his crew were able to boast of a circulation that numbered 123,000. In light of the fact that The Hobo News had an entirely unorthodox hiring policy and refused to print advertisements in order to support itself, the paper had a surprisingly long life. It received additional national attention when "An Informal History Of The Hobo News," a reminiscence of the paper's origins, was written for the October 6, 1945 issue of Collier's (who apparently bore no grudge for the pirating of their articles by The Hobo News) by Jack Harris, himself a former hobo (and, as he said, "apt to be one again any minute"). When The Hobo News went under in 1948, following Mulkern's death,  it was replaced by Bowery News (named after the Bowery area in Manhattan), but that paper was short-lived. As you can imagine, copies of this publication are today quite rare.