American Newsboys: Clothing

Figure 1.-- Here is a fascinating photo of a group of newspaper boys taken in Trinidad, Colorado during 1914, the year World War I broke out in Europe. You can see here why flat caps were called newsboy caps. The boys mostly appear to wear above-the-knee-knicker suits with the traditional long black stockings. They seem to be between 12 and 16 years of age. Notice the peaked caps. They hold a newspaper in front, presumably to mark a particular local event. Unfortunately, I can't make out the headlines. I'm wondering whether the news has something to do with the war. A few adult men with Homburg hats, the boys' employers or seniors at the paper presumably, stand at the back.

The boys clothing varied over time. There may have also been regional differences. Perhaps the garment most associated with newsies is the flt cap, some times called a newsboy cap. Most newsies in the early 20th century wore knee pants and knicker suits with black long stockings. Suits were very commonly worn at the time by boys of all classes. Some of the older boys wore long pants. One image of New York newsboys at the Brooklyn Bridge early in the morning before delivering their papers in the city. They wear typical newsboy clothes: outer jackets, knee pants, long black stockings, and flat caps. Note the adult on the left with a cigarette, probably one of the men supervising the boys. They seem to be between 12 and 14 years old. Another photograph of Chicago newsboys in 1904 shows boys wearing flost vaps and long pants suits. We wonder if the long pants was in part influenced by the fact that Chicago was a mid-western city rather than one of the more fashionable north-eastern cities. Much more common at the time are images like the one here with the boys wearing knickers with black long stockings. A Colorado photograph in 1914 shows almost all of the boys wearing knicker suits with long stockings.


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Created: 7:57 PM 11/24/2006
Last updated: 7:57 PM 11/24/2006