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Raised by the ChurchGrowing up in New York City's Catholic Orphanages$
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Edward Rohs

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823240227

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823240227.001.0001

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New York City in the Nineteenth Century

New York City in the Nineteenth Century

(p.13) 2 New York City in the Nineteenth Century
Raised by the Church

Edward Rohs

Judith Estrine

Fordham University Press

In the wake of war, famine, and an influx of impoverished immigrants, in the early 1800s an illiterate army of vagrant children coalesced in New York City. Seldom numbering fewer than ten thousand in any year they were known as “Street Arabs”. Some became newsboys—”newsies”—a prominent part of the urban landscape and victims of some of the worst child labor laws in the country. Very young boys (and occasionally girls) hawked papers for a penny and suffered homelessness, harassment, muggings, long hours, and uncertain weather. In 1899 they struck several NYC newspapers and won a significant, if symbolic, victory. The chapter also describes the indentured child movement. Indentured minors were legally bound to farmers, tradesmen, and artisans until they were legally emancipated at 18; the “orphan trains” that shipped thousands of urban children to rural locations in the Midwest; and the growth of public orphanages, with those being built in New York City acting as the template for institutions built around the country.

Keywords:   Street Arabs, newsies, child labour laws, newsboy strike, Indentured Child Movement, orphan trains, public orphanages, New York City orphanages

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