Aurelius O. Revenaugh
American, 1840 ‑ 1908
Newsboy, about 1900
Oil on canvas
43 3/16 × 27 3/16 × 1 1/8 in. (109.7 × 69.1 × 2.9 cm.)
Gift of Mrs. Silas Starr
Painting and frame conservation funded by The Courier‑Journal / Gannett Foundation  1939.22.7

What’s the Backstory?
Why would Aurelius Revenaugh choose to paint this sympathetic depiction of a newsboy selling his papers in the snow? His motivations surely ran deeper than seeing such boys outside the Courier-Journal building where he operated his studio. More likely, Revenaugh was addressing a social problem that plagued Louisville and other urban centers at the turn of the century. Scores of orphans and runaways roamed the city streets, eking out a living buying and reselling newspapers. Popular songs raised public sympathy, and in Louisville hundreds of articles about newsboys appeared in local papers. In 1895 the Society for the Protection of Newsboys and Waifs founded the Newsboy’s Home to offer shelter and a supportive and structured upbringing for the boys