New in the collection: newsboy badge

Metal oblong item with the words "Newsboy, Registered by State Child Welfare Commission, North Carolina."

“Among the most determined opponents of the child labor amendment [to the Constitution] are the newspaper publishers. The newspapers have always enjoyed a cheap circulation system, based on child labor. The publishers successfully resisted amendments to their code strengthening the provisions regulating child labor in the sale and delivery of papers. These additions to the code would have set a 14-year minimum for newsboys, an 18-year minimum for girls, with, an exemption in favor of boys of 12 already employed. They would have forbidden work before 6 a.m. and late in the evening for boys under 16; and required badges issued by a public agency under the U. S. Department of Labor for children in the newspaper trade.

“At a code hearing circulation managers testified that boys were ‘no good’ for newspaper distribution after the age of 14 because they ‘became interested in girls.’ Under questioning, that was repeatedly broken down into an admission that the older boys were not attracted by the low rates of pay.”

— From “Children Wanted” by Beulah Amidon, in Survey Graphic, (January 1937)

The child labor amendment was passed by the House and Senate but never ratified by the required three-fourths of states. North Carolina was a quick no.

I’ve been frustrated in finding details on North Carolina’s regulation of newsboys, but they did wear this sturdy badge.

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