Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Boy and Girl Tramps of America

Working in reserves at the library has its perks: sometimes I'll come across a fascinating book or article while I'm processing a professor's list that I probably never would have otherwise encountered.

Today's find was Boy and Girl Tramps of America. Thomas Minehan, a journalist and sociologist, obtained a firsthand view of the life of homeless, transient children during the early 1930s. He set out to write a sociological study, but soon realized "[t]o describe their life in statistical terms was not only inadequate, it was untrue. Such a description omitted the most important phases of their lives, their strife against cold, their battle for bread, their struggle to obtain and repair clothing, their hates, their humors, and their loves. . ."

Unfortunately, this one is long out-of-print and there are only a couple copies available at Amazon--cheapest one at $49.95 is still too steep for me.

I'm attempting to read through the whole book this evening; I'll have to give the book back to the professor tomorrow after I complete her list.

Good thing there's always ILL. . .


  1. This sounds fascinating. I recently saw a documentary about the kids who were on the road/hopping freights during the Depression, and became really interested in this topic. I haven't heard of this book, so thanks -- I've just requested it from my library!

  2. I'm glad you found a copy. I'd never heard of kids hopping freight trains before this book. I wonder how much of the documentary was based on this book. You'll have to let me know!


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