When monkeys replaced children

From an 1854 report of the New York Children’s Aid Society on an Italian school:

There is going on a certain change for the better among this low class of strangers. On visiting them, I have remarked a considerable reduction of organs and monkeys in their apartments, usually filled with such instruments and beasts. The vile traffic of hireling children is also almost extinct, for the organ-grinder can not any more afford to pay for them, as it is becoming day by day a poor business; and in fact, while in former years a boy was invariably attached to an organ-grinder, now never, or very seldom, is one seen in that trade. A girl may be seen now and then, but generally the grinder travels alone.

No plans to employ children or monkeys, and gorillas are out:

A bit of Swedish totty had however crossed my mind–more anon.

In New York the whole business came to an end 80 years later, thanks to mayor LaGuardia says Wikipedia:

Street organs were banned in New York City in 1936 by Fiorello LaGuardia. An unfortunate consequence was the destruction of hundreds of organs. This was unfortunate because the barrels in these organ contained a record of the popular music of the day. Before the invention of the cylinder record player, this was the only permanent recording of these tunes. The law that banned barrel organ in New York was repealed in 1976 but that mode of musical performance had become obsolete by then. However, organ grinders did return to New York on the 9th of April 2006, when the first organ rally in the area was held on Coney Island.

Similar posts


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *