The Dead End Kids of St. Louis
Homeless Boys and the People Who Tried to Save Them
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Missouri Press
List of Illustrations
There are lots of reasons why writers choose the topics of their books. Most of them are personal. The reason I wrote this book is personal: because my own father could easily have been a “dead end kid,” a ...
I owe a debt of gratitude to the Friends of the Missouri State Archives for awarding me a William E. Foley Research Fellowship in support of this project. Mike Everman, Pat Barge, and Sharon Kenny ...
From the 1930s through the 1950s, a group of fictional young toughs known as “the Dead End Kids” captivated audiences on Broadway and in the movies. Sidney Kingsley’s melodramatic play, ...
Chapter One - The City Streets
Mark Twain came to St. Louis as an ambitious boy, dreaming of becoming a pilot on the Mississippi River. In the 1850s, he prowled the riverfront, boarding the steamboats that were ...
Chapter Two - Orphans and Orphanages
In the 1850s, a Harvard-trained minister named Charles Loring Brace came to the conclusion that cities were dangerous to the moral development of boys and girls. To put his ideas into practice, ...
Chapter Three - Drifters in the City Streets
Tattered bands of wandering boys haunted the streets of industrializing cities, where they sometimes strayed into lives of crime. British historian E. Royston Pike observed that, although there have
Chapter Four - Games, Gangs, Hideouts, and Caves
In the late nineteenth century, street boys coalesced into tribes or clans, the precursors of mid-twentieth-century gangs. Rebels and runaways gathered in groups for safety and companionship. In many cases, ...
Chapter Five - Juvenile Delinquents and the House of Refuge
As early as 1820, reformers in eastern cities took action to rescue wayward children from the life of the streets. During that decade, urban dwellers began using the term juvenile delinquents for ...
Chapter Six - Child Savers and St. Louis Newsboys
At the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, progressive reformers aimed to get children out of the workplace, off the streets, and into well-organized educational and ...
Chapter Seven - City on the Skids
Despite the efforts of Progressive Era reformers, the problem of footloose and lawless men and boys continued, and in some ways intensified, in the first three decades of the twentieth century. ...
Chapter Eight - Young Men and Criminal Gangs
The criminal gangs of the 1920s were mostly adult organizations, but they attracted boys as hangers-on, hero worshippers, messengers, and new blood. Young admirers of flamboyant outlaws sometimes ...
Chapter Nine - A New Deal for Homeless Youth
The Great Depress ion drew sharper attention to social outcasts, including the boys who traveled the nation’s railroads, highways, and streets searching for work or shelter. St. Louis’s Bureau ...
Chapter Ten - Youth and the Changing City Streets
According to historian Michael Bennett , postwar prosperity and the GI Bill brought about a “relandscaping of America.” With college educations and good jobs, many veterans moved their ...
St. Louis, like other industrial cities, acted as a magnet, drawing young male adventurers into its vibrant and often violent center. Their noisy, messy, and unpredictable presence made the city more ...
On Mother’s Day, 2005, I was trapped in an East St. Louis club called Popp’s. I say “trapped” because I had a stamp on my wrist that glowed under ultraviolet light, and the doorkeeper told me and my ...
Appendix: Glossary of Names
Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 18, 4 tables
Publication Year: 2010
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