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Advertising Art, New York, Performing Arts, Theatrical, A Boy of the Streets, Ashcan, Antique Poster, 1903 (Sold)

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A Boy of the Streets
H.C. Miner Litho. Co., New York: 1903
39 x 26.5 inches, overall

Full color poster of a street scene for A Boy of the Streets, a four-act melodrama by Charles T. Vincent (1859-1935) billed as “A Play that Appeals to All.” It depicts the dramatic scene of “Jimmy’s Escape” from “Climax, 3rd Act.” The apparently accurate rendition of the Lower East Side or similar neighborhood of New York City at the turn of the century shows the boy hanging onto a clothesline strung between two tenements, four stories above an alley, as shocked neighbors look on and policemen rush into the alley from the foreground and background. As such it is a fascinating urban view of the crowded back alleys and daily lives of every day people in old New York. In this way, it relates to the Ashcan art movement of the period.

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A Boy of the Streets was apparently a touring production, as listings appear in numerous newspapers in Pennsylvania, New York State, Ohio, Delaware, and New Hampshire for performances of the play in 1903, starring a child actor named Joseph Santley. The New York Times included it in their listings for the week of March 8, at the Metropolis Theatre in the Southwest Bronx, an elegant venue seating 1,600 people. Presumably the poster advertised the show at the theaters on the tour. The play was adapted into a 1927 silent film of the same title by its author, Charles T. Vincent, starring matinee idol Johnnie Walker and child actor Mickey Bennett in the role of Jimmy.

The H.C. Miner Litho Company was a New York lithography printing firm founded in 1896 and operated by H.C. Miner and his son H.C. Miner, Jr. until 1908. The company produced dozens of performing arts posters during this period, 82 of which are in the collection of the Library of Congress. In 1908, Hugo Zigfield took over as president of the company, and they produced movie posters for United Artists and Fox.

Charles T. Vincent, author of A Boy of the Streets, was an American playwright, actor, theater manager, and antiquarian, based in Glen Cove on Long Island. Born in England, he spent his childhood in Australia and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 17. After making his acting debut in San Francisco, he was brought to New York. In 1900 he purchased the Glen Cove Opera House and established his own stock company there. Of the 23 plays he published, his best remembered today are The Man from Mexico  and two plays he wrote for former heavyweight champion James J. Corbett: Gentleman Jack, and A Navy Cadet. His play A Boy of the Streets was made into a silent film starring matinee idol Johnnie Walker and child actor Mickey Bennett as Jimmy. Vincent was also an avid collector of rare books, antique maps, and hunting prints, and later in life opened an antiques store, the Vincent Book and Curio Shop, in Glen Cove.


“A Boy of the Streets.” IMDb. (8 February 2018).

“Charles T. Vincent.” IMDb. (8 February 2018).

“Few Changes in Bills at the New York Theatres: At Other Houses.” New York Times. 8 March 1903.

“H.C. Miner Litho. Company” Learn About Movie Posters. 2018. (8 February 2018).

“H.C. Miner Litho. Co.” Library of Congress. (8 February 2018).

“Metropolis Theatre (Bronx, New York).” Wikipedia. 29 July 2017.,_New_York)