A young man makes an excited expression as he looks at a table with a Christmas feast

Photo courtesy University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections

Thanks to the annual Newsboys’ Christmas Dinner in San Antonio, newsboy Gregorio Cortez was able to delight in a slice of pumpkin pie at the Alamo City’s Gunter Hotel on Dec. 25, 1938. San Antonio’s tradition of hosting a Christmas dinner for newsboys, or those tasked with distributing newspapers, began in 1906 when German-Jewish businessman Nat M. Washer invited a small group of “newsies” to a hamburger feast at the Washer Brothers clothing store. The dinner grew over time into an elaborate affair, hosting as many as 600 boys at places like the Maverick and St. Anthony hotels. The 1925 celebration welcomed 500 newsboys at the Gunter Hotel. “With shouts of glee they seated themselves before tables on which was spread an ideal Christmas dinner, turkey, cranberry sauce ’n everything,” the San Antonio Light reported. A program of music and speeches by various dignitaries followed. After Washer died in 1935, the hosting duties were passed to Pioneer Flour Mills president Erhard Guenther, and then to Harry Jersig, former president of Lone Star Brewing. President Eisenhower, a former newsboy himself, sent special greetings in 1955.


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From the December 2023 issue

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