The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update


December 21, 2013

Jacob Schuster and the Anderson newsboys' Christmas dinner


A tradition begins

Anderson’s newsboys sold or delivered The Anderson Herald and the Anderson Daily Bulletin six days a week in all weathers. At that time, the papers were rivals and the boys would hawk them on the courthouse square and throughout downtown. As a local businessman, Schuster was dependent on the newspapers for his advertising, so in a way the newsboys were hawking his wares as well.

On Dec. 18, an article appeared in the Anderson newspapers inviting all local newsboys to dinner on Christmas day at the Anderson Hotel. Tickets for the dinner were distributed by the newspapers and by the local newsstands. Dinner was the standard Christmas fare: turkey and dressing, sweet and mashed potatoes, celery, cranberry sauce, bread and butter and ice cream and cake. Entertainment was promised.

About 75 newsboys came to that first dinner. Most of them left families at home to come to hotel for dinner instead. The master of ceremonies was John L. Forkner, the former mayor of Anderson. He introduced Jacob Schuster (who was still relatively new to Anderson) to the boys and started the afternoon off with amusing remarks. Among the other speakers were the mayor-elect and a senator.

Interestingly enough, there were two future mayors at the dinner that day: Frank Foster, the mayor-elect, and Harry Baldwin, who would be mayor in the 1940s, but who was then just a 12-year-old newsie. It probably wasn’t the sort of entertainment that would appeal to modern adolescents, but the food was good and plentiful and the boys, who ranged in age from 11 to 17, probably enjoyed being treated like adults for the afternoon. A good time was had by all.

The newsboys’ Christmas dinner became a long-standing Christmas tradition. The dinner was later moved to the Romany Grill of the Stilwell Hotel. Despite the exotic sounding name of the restaurant, the meal was still a traditional Christmas feast.

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