This is a great one for "Faces of Yesterday" ... this group of young boys worked as Dime Messenger Service boys, with their headquarters at 1228 H St. NW
. Lewis Hine
, the American sociologist and photographer took this photo in the spring 1912.
The baby-faced boy in the middle is Eddie Tahoory (14 years old) and he recently started working there. The boy with the spectacles on the left is Earle Griffith (15 years old). He lived with his mother -- who eloped with a boarder -- at 107 15th St. NW
(odd, because this is now the Ellipse ... maybe it's supposed to be 107 15th St. NE
). Eddie lived at 108 4th St. NE
, and surely spent a number of afternoons running around Stanton Park
with his friends.
Lewis asked the boys several questions while taking their photograph. They said they never know when they would get home each night as they usually worked one or more nights each week and often worked well past midnight. The previous Christmas, the office has a 9-year-old boy running errands for them, and he made a lot of money from tips (child labor laws were quite different back then). Each week they would pull in about $7 for their work. Evidently, the office policy was to not send the young boys into the tougher neighborhoods like Swampoodle
, Murder Bay, or the red light district, but the boys would go when a call sent them in, which was not very often.