This section of the bibliography includes books, articles and zines on historic and present-day hobos, tramps and trainriding as well as related moniker culture. Currently there are almost 600 listings, with almost 200 of them in our library. Also included are a few select listings on the "Wobblies" (members of the Industrial Workers of the World, or I.W.W) which directly reference or relate to train riding. A comprehensive bibliography on the IWW can be found here.
Note: Entries that we have in the BBCRC's library housed in our PFE reefer car (physical copies or pdfs) are highlighted. Press Control-F to search for keywords on this page or click on the alphabetical sections (by authors last name) below to jump to that section:
Aaron, Chester. 1986. Lackawanna, New York: Lippincott.
A novel, aimed at the Jr. High level, of a gang of abandoned children living in NYC during the depression. They take to the rails when one of their younger members is kidnapped by a "jocker". Lots of rail riding as they travel from NYC to Chicago and back.
NEW→ Abel, Allen. 2005. The Art of Vandalism, for Saturday Night.
Adams, Charles E. 1902. The Real Hobo: What He Is and How He Lives, Forum, June, pp. 438-49.
Adrian, Lynne Marie. 1984. Organizing the Rootless: American Hobo Subculture, 1893-1932, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Iowa. Advisory Committee of the Municipal Lodging House. 1915. The Men We Lodge: A Report to the Commissioner of Public Charities, New York: New York Advisory Social Service Committee.
---. "Hoboes", in American Masculinities: A Historical Encyclopedia, ed. Bret E. Caroll, 210-211. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA. 2003.
Alexander, Edwin P. 1970. All About the Entity of the Ego Is Taught at the Hobo University, Literary Digest, July 12, 1919, p. 52.
Alger, Horatio Jr. 1910. Driven From Home: Carl Crawfords Experience, Hurst and Company, New York.
Algren, Nelson. 1935. Somebody in Boots, Vanguard Press, New York.
Algren's first book is a dark tale of a rail-riding Texas-based vagabond drifting around during the Great Depression, suffering at times and slowly drifting into the criminal life.
Allen, John. 2004. Homelessness in American Literature: Romanticism, Realism, and Testimony, Routledge, New York.
"Allen offers an analysis and criticism of tramp memoirs, sometimes referred to as "life on the road" stories. Given that approximately forty of these memoirs were published between 1890 and 1940, readers may be surprised to find that Homelessness in American Literature is one of only two books that include literary criticisms of the subgenre". Taken from Fonorow, 2012 — see her paper for a more detailed review of this book and a comparison with another book that reviews tramp/hobo literature (Feied, 1964).
Allen, Victor M. 1904. Hobo Life, paper covers, 64 pages, printed in Genesse, PA.
Allsop, Kenneth. 1993. Hard Travellin': The Story of the Migrant Worker, London: Pimlico.
--- 1967. Hard Travellin': The Hobo and His History, New York: New American Library, 448 pages. Includes eight leaves of plates, illustrations, portraits, bibliography.
American History Illustrated. 1987. Memories of the Road, by Drummond Mansfield, Volume XXI, Number 10, Feb. 1987
Anderson, Edward. 1935. Hungry Men, Doubleday/Doran. NY
A novel in which an unemployed musician travels around America as a hobo until he stops in Chicago and forms a band with other homeless musicians. Other writers of the era, including Tom Kromer, have criticized Hungry Men for a sanitized view of hoboing and for its strong anti-Communist orientation. Has been republished several times including by University of Oklahoma Press in 1993.
Anderson, Nels. 1923. The Hobo: The Sociology of the Homeless Man, reprinted 1967, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 296 pages. Includes illustrations and bibliography.
A study prepared for the Chicago Council of Social Agencies under the direction of the Committee on Homeless Men, published 1923.
--- 1940. Highlights of the Migration Problem Today, Proceedings of the National Conference of Social Work, 67, pp. 109-17.
--- 1940. Men on the Move, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Sociological Series. Reprinted 1974, New York: Da Capo Press, 357 pages. Includes illustrations and bibliography.
Anderson stated in the introduction that one of the failures of The Hobo [see Anderson 1923] was the overlooking of the labor implications. This work is the rectification of that oversight. It focuses on the life of the migrant worker the migrant family, the current problems of migrancy, the plans and programs that attempted to deal with such issues, and the effects of technology and industrialization. Sixty tables containing statistical information are presented throughout the book. Many photographs, predominantly from the Farm Security Administration, are included.
--- 1975. The American Hobo, Leiden, Netherlands: E.J. Brill.
--- 1923. The Juvenile and the Tramp, Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, August 1, pp. 290-312.
--- 1931. The Milk and Honey Route: A Handbook for Hoboes, New York: Vanguard Press.
NEW→ Anderson, Nial. 2005. A Study into Hobo Literature, for a University research paper.
Anderson, Oscar. 2001. Hobo's Ode, Kearney, NE: Morris Publishing, 62 pp.
Anderson, Paul. 1925. Tramping with Yeggs, Atlantic Monthly, December, pp. 747-55.
Anderson, Scott Thomas. 2013. Roseville murder investigation points to dark side of train-hopping, Press-Tribune (Roseville, CA). Sept. 4. Reprinted as "Red Grass Cold Rails" and available at scottthomasanderson.com/redgrass.php.
Andress, Floyd. 1913. My Monks of Vagabondia.
Apichella, Mike. 2018. "Train Whistles Crying in the Night: Discussing life as a 21st Century hobo", Splice Today, Sept. 7. Available at www.splicetoday.com/writing/train-whistles-crying-in-the-night.
A short not too substantive online article.
Arizona Daily Star. 1923. Girl hobo crossing continent three times ends her train in the Old Pueblo: 19 year old wife leaves husband to make her own way by bumming around. Tucson. February 18. Republished online by Slate on January 26, 2019.
Armitage, Susan and Elizabeth Jameson. 1987. The Women's West, Norman, OK and London: The University of Oklahoma Press, 323 pages. Includes illustrations, index and bibliographies.
Asay, E. G. The Overland Limited Kid (circa early 1900s). Beating It on a Wager and Another Story, 34 pages, paper covers, about 5" x 7½". Publisher unknown.
An obscure title with few references available. Asay was known as "The Overland Limited Kid". The two stories in the book are reportedly "Beating it on a Wager - Chicago to Denver in Fifty Three Hours" and "Johnny and the Los Angeles Limited - What Happened to a Runaway Boy and a Famous Fast Train". Note: BBCRC is very interested in getting a copy of this title for our library, please contact us if you know of one available.
Ashleigh, Charles. 1914. The Floater, International Socialist Review, July 15, pp. 34-38.
--- 1930. The Rambling Kid, Faber, London. Republished in 2004 by Charles H. Kerr, Chicago.
This semi-biographical novel provides a first hand account of life with the Wobblies in the 1910s. Ashleigh was deported from the US in 1919. The novel was published in England and only recently became more available in the US.
Aurand, Marin Elizabeth. 2015. The Floating Men: Portland and the Hobo Menace, 1890-1915, Portland State University. Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2400. doi.org/10.15760/etd.2397.
Aynesworth, Hugh. 1989. Old Hobos Gather Around the Fire as Whistle Blows for a Dying Breed, Washington Times, August 14, A/1.
An account of the many hoboes who traveled from all over the country to honor their departed buddies at the Hobo Cemetery and reminisce about the so-called dying tradition of the hobo at the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa.
Bahr, Howard M. 1968. Homelessness and Disaffiliation, New York: Bureau of Applied Social Research, Columbia University, under the direction of Theodore Caplow, 437 leaves.
Based upon the materials collected during Bahr's eight-year program of research conducted at the Bureau of Applied Social Research. The social organization, history, types and characteristics of homeless men and women, public attitudes about homeless men and means of control and rehabilitation are presented.
--- 1970. Disaffiliated Man, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Essays and bibliography on skid row, vagrancy, and outsiders, 428 pages with an annotated bibliography.
--- 1973. Skid Row: An Introduction to Disaffiliation, New York and London: Oxford University Press. Includes notes, name and subject indexes.
Bailey, William. 1973. Bill Bailey Came Home: As a Farm Boy, as a Stow-away at the age of Nine, a Trapper at the Age of Fifteen, and a Hobo at the Age of Sixteen, Logan: Utah State University Press, 183 pages.
Although most of the story related involves growing up on a farm, first in Colorado and then moving at the age of 10 to another farm in the Snake River Basin of southern Idaho, the last part of the book describes the year he spent hoboing in the western US at the age of 16. His early experiences working on a farm stood him in good stead finding work whenever he stopped his rambling and he returned to the family farm with more money than he had left with. The hoboing portion of the book contains some good specific information on the world of the hobo ca. 1910.
Baltimore Red. 2013. Boxcar Sing Along: Songs for Hoboes & Tramps, Bums & Boomers, Wobblies & Wanderers, Riff-Raff & Rabble-Rousers, Weed, CA: Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture.
Barth, Charles P. 1969. Hobo Trail to Nowhere, Philadelphia: Whitmore Publishing Co., 150 pages.
Batchelor, Bronson. 1915. The Hotel de Gink, Independent, January 25, pp. 127-28.
A report on "The Hotel de Gink", established by Jeff Davis and other hoboes on the corner of Center and Worth Streets in New York City. Davis' words make up the majority of this article.
Baxter, Ellen. 1981. Private Lives/Public Spaces: Homeless Adults on the Streets of New York City, New York: Community Service Society of New York, Institute for Social Welfare Research.
NEW→ Beach, Lee. 2003. Last Days on the Tracks, for the Klamath Falls OR Herald & News.
Roger "the Dodger" Bryant finally retires.
NEW→ Beesley, Colin. 2006. The American Hobo, for a University research paper.
Beck, Frank. 1956. Hobohemia, West Rindge, NH: Richard R. Smith, 95 pages. Republished in 2000 by Charles Kerr Publishing Co., Chicago. Includes additional editing and introduction by Franklin Rosemont.
Beck tells of his personal experiences with the people, places and organizations of Chicago's hobohemia. These include Lennie the Limp, a mission stiff; Mr. Porter (rich man turned beggar man-thief due to dope addiction); Emma Goldman the queen of anarchy; Ben Reitman (hobo, whorehouse physician, lecturer, anarchist); Harry Batters, the legendary I.O.Utopian; a college bred soapboxer named Martha; Lucy Parsons, the anarchic literature zealot and widow of convicted Haymarket Riot martyr, Albert W. Parsons; Nina Van Zandt, the society debutante-anarchist; the former Noble Prize winner Jane Adams (1860-1935); Bug House Square; Madison Street; the Chicago Hobo College; and the Dill Pickle Club.
Beddow, Jeff. 1978. From Here to There: Notes on a Journey, Minneapolis Tribune, November 5.
A feature newspaper story in which the author describes his winter trip from Minneapolis to Seattle on the Burlington Northern hi-line.
Beedon, David. 1973. Basic Training: A Pseudo Sophisticated Guide to the Proper Technique of Traveling by Freight Train in the USA Based Mainly on the Experiences of One Person Who Has Hopped Many Freights and Digs It, unpublished manuscript, 33 pages.
Benjamin, Scott. 2016. Hobos, Tramps and Bums: Modern Train-hoppers, I-Heart Radio. February 8. Car Stuff. An online podcast available at www.iheart.com/podcast/carstuff-21122711/episode/hobos-tramps-and-bums-modern-train-hoppers-30229427.
An episode of a more general podcast which describes the world of modern-day train riding, aimed at citizens who know nothing about the topic.
Bennet, Robert. 1985. Bindle Stiff: Autobiography of a Super Hobo. 306 pp. [I am unclear regarding the publisher; there is an address of Box 2529, Orillia, Ont. L3V 6K5, Canada]
This was a pleasant surprise, as it started a bit slowly, but once I got into the narrative it was hard to put down. The author evidently ended up as mayor of a small town in Canada (where he was from) and began the story describing the mayor being accosted by one of his former hobo brethren, but soon describing in detail the four years he spent hoboing and on the bum, mostly on the west coast, with descriptions of other hobos, the jungles, the skid row areas of various cities, and his brushes with the underworld and the law.
One thing that I found of particular interest was his description of a secret society of older hobos, mostly WWI vets, called the Secret Society of Hobo Brethern, although I had not heard of such a fraternity before. There is a lot of detail here for the historian, but it is worth reading just for the story. It is similar to memoirs by Will Thomas, Ramblin' Rudy, Fishbones, Elmer Fox, and Monty Holm. The prose is not highly polished, but the content more than makes up for it.
Benson, Benjamin. 1942. 500,000 Miles Without a Dollar, New York. A version of this appeared as "How To Go To California Without a Dollar" in the February 1937 issue of Hobo News [see Hobo News].
--- 1942. Hoboes of America: Sensational Life Story and Epic of Life on the Road, Hobo News, New York City.
Berendsohn, Roy. 2020. "The Hobo Hieroglyphs: Their Secret Symbols, Explained", Popular Mechanics, Nov. 23, www.popularmechanics.com/technology/a25174860/hobo-code.
An poorly researched article mainly based on one or two interviews, that recycles the discredited myth of the widespread use of a hobo code of symbols supposedly used by old-time hobos.
Berry, Charles A. 1978. Gentleman of the Road, London
Best, Earnest. 1988. Sharecropper's Son (Down in Arkansas), Arkansas: Heritage Press.
Beverly, Brian Douglas. 2019. Hobo, Book-Art Press Solutions. New York.
A short (63 page) fictional tale set in the Great Depression of a man in Virginia who sets off in search of work by riding the rails.
Biermeier, Dan. 2015. The Hobo Kingdom: A Chase of Blood on Steel, Kindle Unlimited e-book. 468p.
A fictional account of riding the rails. To date only available as an e-book unfortunately. Hopefully a print edition will eventually be available.
Birks, Ken. 2014. The Adventures of Space and Hobo, self published. 282 pp.
This is a real disappointment. While I was ready to read an account of someone who lived a hedonistic life and then came to Jesus in the end, Birk's story is repetitious to the point of tedium, with a few attempts at self analysis interdispersed here and there, followed by formulaic statements of repentence: "During those lost years, I abused my mind terribly with all the drugs I took. I am very thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ for saving me and giving me a sober mind that allows me to enjoy everything around me without the aid of mind altering drugs". It does give a first hand account of hitchhiking and freighthopping during the early 70s, but lacks narrative coherence. Don't bother with this one.
Black, Jack. 1926. You Can't Win, New York: Macmillan. Reprinted 1992, Kukukuihaele, HI: Omniun, 346 pages. Reprinted 1988 by Amok Press, New York and then in 2000 by AK Press/Nabat, San Francisco.
A legendary book, bestseller in 1926, and then forgotten for many years. A journey into the hobo underworld, freight hopping around the still Wild West, becoming a highwayman and member of the yegg (criminal) brotherhood, getting hooked on opium, doing stints in jail, or escaping, often with the assistance of crooked cops or judges. Our lost history revived. AK Press/Nabat edition includes a new afterword by Bruno Ruhland, who tells what became of Jack after the book was published, and an essay by Jack Black called "What's Wrong with the Right People", originally published in Harper's. With an introduction by William Burroughs who has described it as his favorite book.
Blatchly, Charles. 1910. State Farm for Tramps and Vagrants, Survey, April 9, pp. 87-89.
Blau, Rapheal. 1955. Magnificent Hobo, Holiday, December, pp. 178-85.
Blum, Peter. The Life of a Tramp and a Trip through Hell, Florida: Warnock, 1894.
Blurr, Buz. 1999. hoohoohobos fortuitous logos, Modern Realism, P.O. Box 410837, San Francisco, CA 94141, $15 ppd.
Boehnlein, James. We Turned Hobo: A Depression Tale Recovered, Columbus: The F.J. Heer Printing Co., 1937.
Bohr, Harry J. 1998. Teenage Hobos, ISBN: 0-932970-87-7, 211p.
Bonosky, Philip. A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt, Mainstream (Jan 1963) 3-22.
Bothwell, Bruce and Ronald Ries Bothwell. 2010. On the Tramp, 367 pp.
This self-published book of hobo memoirs was a pleasant surprise. While it could be improved with some copy editing and layout, the stories of the elder Bothwell more than make up for any shortcomings in their presentation. Ronald kept a journal of his hitchhiking and train riding experiences beginning in May 1924 and lasting until the end of 1933. His attempts at introspection are coherent and blend into the larger narrative. His travels range from Iowa to Utah, Utah to Montana, on to Spokane, Seattle and Portland, some time spent in California and at the Grand Canyon and Phoenix, picking apples in the Yakima Valley, working on farms in the Umpqua Valley of Oregon, with numerous detailed descriptions of his work, travel, panhandling, and then dealing with members of his far flung family when he was not on the road.
Brackett, Jeffrey. 1936. The Transportation Problem in American Social Work, New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Brad, Jacoba Boothman. 1960. Homestead on the Kootenai, The Caxton Printers, Ltd., Caldwell, ID.
Chapter titled "Tramps" (pp. 119-126).
Bragg, Roy. 1993. Lars & Lizbeth, Houston Chronicle, November 21, TM/8.
Bragg discussed author Lars Eighner's book "Travels With Lizbeth", an autobiographical saga of a modern-day hobo (hitchhiking, walking), Lars, and his dog, Lizbeth.
Brakeshoe. 2020. Speaking of Trains. 5th Edition. Microcosm Press, Portland.
An illustrated glossary of modern day train rider slang with quite a few general railroad and rail worker slang and terms thrown in as well. Begun as a photocopied zine 2003, later editions, with expanded content, were published and distributed by The Gloo Factory in Tucson. The 5th Edition is the first to be published by Microcosm. Available at microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/zines/4581.
NEW→ Brand, Alex. 2005. The Hobo Is Dead — Long Live the Hobo, for a University research paper.
Brewer, W. H. 1878. What Shall We Do With Tramps?, New Englander, p. 521.
Brissendon, Paul F. and Emil Frankel. 1920. The Mobility of Industrial Labor, Political Science Quarterly, December, pp. 566-94.
Broderick, Richard. 1994. The Hobo Camp, Prairie Schooner, Fall, p. 135.
Brodie, Mike. 2013. A Period of Juvenile Prosperity, Santa Fe: Twin Palms Publishing.
A book of striking color photographs of young trainriders. The release of the book in early 2013 resulted in an unprecedented amount of media attention for a trainriding oriented publication.
--- 2015. Tones of Dirt and Bone, Santa Fe: Twin Palms Publishing.
A follow-up companion to his 2011 coffee table photo book. This one has relatively little on freighthopping and includes a variety of subjects — all taken with Polaroids. It is still mainly focused on the punk and traveling communities.
Bronwin, Latimer with photos by Daniel Rodrigues. 2016. Hot Free and Dangerous: A Train Ride in Mauritania, The Washington Post, February 12.
A photo story of riding the "Iron Train", a mile and a half long unit train of iron ore, across the Sahara Desert in Mauritania. Riding up top is free. Amazing black and white photos, including of people bringing their donkeys along for the ride!
Brooks, Oscar Dexter. 1991 Legs: An Authentic Story of Life on the Road, John Deyell Co. Toronto.
Brown, Dee. 1977. Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow, Holt, New York.
History of the building of the transcontinental railroads, starting in 1854 and proceeding in detail until the 1890s, then hurriedly summarizes until the 1970s. And Brown shows, repeatedly and at length, how the railroad builders screwed and continue to screw the American public and workers time and time again.
Brown, Edwin A. 1913. "Broke": The Man Without The Dime, Chicago: Browne & Howell Company. Availabile online at "archive.org/details/brokemanwithout00browgoog".
Bruere, Robert. 1918. The Industrial Workers of the World, Harper's Monthly Magazine, July, pp. 250-57.
Bruns, Kenneth. Hobo — For America Knights of the Road, The Good old days are Gone forever, American History Illustrated 16, no.9 (1982).
Bruns, Roger. 1980. Knights of the Road: A Hobo History, New York: Methuen, 214 pages. Includes illustrations, hobo dictionary and selected bibliography.
A comprehensive historical examination of the American hobo phenomenon with focus on hoboes and subtypes (e.g., jockers, moochers, thieves) of the Great Depression era. Topics also include Chicago, the work of Dr. Ben L Reitman, Nels Anderson, the I.W.W., life on the road. Convincing argument on why hoboes are not bums is provided in chapter five.
--- 1987. The Damndest Radical : The Life and World of Ben Reitman, Chicago's Celebrated Social Reformer, Hobo King, and Whorehouse Physician, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 332 pages. Includes 18 pages of plates, illustrations, index, and bibliography.
Compare with Reitman 1937,
Buck, Solon. 1914. Travel and Description, 1765-1865, Together with a List of County Histories, Atlases, and Biographical Collections and a List of Territorial and State Laws, Springfield, IL: The Trustees of the Illinois State Historical Library, Collection of the Illinois State Historical Library Series, vol. IX., Bibliographical series, vol. II., 514 pages. Includes portraits, and facsimiles.
--- 1913. The Granger Movement: A Study of Agricultural Organization and it's Political, Economic, and Social Manifestations 1870-1880, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Reprinted, 1963, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 384 pages. Includes illustrations and bibliography.
Bull, William. 1886. Trampery: Its Causes, Present Aspects, and Some Suggested Remedies, Boston: G.H. Ellis.
Bunce, Frank. 1933. I've Got To Take a Chance, Forum, February, pp. 108-12.
Burkhardt, Jesse D.C. 2001. Freight Weather: The Art of Stalking Trains, Rolling Dreams Press. White Salmon, WA., 120 pages.
Highly recommended compilation of photography and writing about freight trains, including some riding stories.
--- 2007. Travelogue from an Unruly Youth, Rolling Dreams Press, White Salmon, WA., 176 pages.
Thirty years after spending a summer riding freight trains around the country, Burkhardt goes back and writes up this travelogue of his experiences.
--- 2009. The Crowbar Hotel: by Freight Train Across Canada, Rolling Dreams Press, White Salmon, WA., 208 pages.
I started riding freight trains in 1969, the summer I turned 16, and from there I couldn't turn the switch to "stop".
--- 1997. Rolling Dreams: Portraits of the Northwest's Railroad Heritage, Rolling Dreams Press, White Salmon, WA., 88 pages.
Burns, Matthew. 2005. We Were Here: Marks, Monikers, and the Boxcar Art Tradition, Lehigh University, Pennsylvania. Available online at "preserve.lehigh.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1882&context=etd".
Burns, Stella E. 1997. The Lonesome Whistle's Call, Kingston Press, West Kingston, RI, 195 pp.
This is a true story told by the hobo's wife based on his accounts of his travels, and is written in the third person. The writing is adequate and there are a lot of details of the difficulties the young hobo had during his travels in the early 1930s, but it certainly isn't the most entertaining account of hoboing you can find. There are some rather poor illustrations as well. This book is probably available as a print on demand book.
Buryn, Ed. 1973. Vagabonding in Europe and North Africa, Berkeley: The Books Works.
Butler, George. 1921. "Impressions of a Hobo", Pacific Review, pp. 197-210.
A well written first hand account of hoboing in the Pacific Northwest from Yakima to Butte and environs and back, published in a literary journal.
Campbell, Bart. 2010. The Door Is Open, Anvil Press
Cannon, James Patrick. 1971. The I.W.W., New York: Merit Publishers.
NEW→ Caplan, Sam. 1997. Train Tags, for a University research paper.
NEW→ Captain Cloud, Grand Duke of Hoboes. 2005. A Return to Britt — What a Mistake!
Carden, Mary. The Hobo as National Hero: Models for American Manhood in "Steam Train" Maury Graham's Autobiography, A/b: Autobiography Studies, 93-108.
Carlin, Peter. 1979. Social Outcasts: The Tramp in American Society 1873-1910, paper delivered at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, New York, December 28.
Carlinsky, Dan. 1972. America on $0 a Day: the Private World of a Compulsive Hobo, New York Times Oct. 22. 10, 1 & 15.
Carlson-Wee, Kai. 2018. Rail, New Poets of America Series, No. 41. Boa Editions, Rochester, NY.
A contemporary book of poems about riding the rails.
Carnagey, Dale. 1914. The World's Best Known Hobo, American Magazine, October, pp. 58-59.
Carpenter, Thomas Phelps. Rescue Missions in the Hobohemia areas of Chicago and their work with homeless men, M.A. Thesis, 1928.
Carswell, Sean. 2008. Train Wreck Girl, San Francisco: Manic D. Press.
Casey, Patrick and Terence. 1921. The Gay-Cat: The Story of a Road-Kid and His Dog, H.K. Fly, New York.
A vagabond boy rides the rails with his dog, deep in the hobo world, experiencing brutality and criminality. Glossary of Flash Language, hobo slang, at book's end.
Cassady, Neal. 1971. The First Third, San Francisco: City Lights Books, 225 pages.
Chandler, Henry "Hobo". 2012. Autobiography of a Hobo, OM Development ISBN: 1475154119. 227pp.
A good story with lots of historical stuff. The author, who is occasionally liable to doing the less than honest or ethical things, nevertheless shows himself to be a man of compassion by the time his hobo days are finally behind him. He begins his journey in the City Point area of south Boston, dropping out of school and hitting the road as a teenager, finding the going rough at first. He must have had something on the ball however, as he soon became an experienced hobo. He describes the tradition of the "shacks" (RR workers) demanding payment to ride the freights and how it was a game of cat and mouse to ride without paying. He also relates his personal experiences playing semi pro baseball and encounters with prize fighters such as Jack Johnson and John L. Sullivan, running a poker game in Calgary, shipping on cruise ships and freighters, spending time as a beach bum in Hawaii, and more. The time period where he is traveling by freight train is from the 1890s through the 1930s.
Chaplin, Ralph. 1948. Wobbly: The Rough-and-Tumble Story of an American Radical, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 435 pages with portraits. An autobiography.
Chazin, Suzanne. 1991. Long Journey Home, Reader's Digest November, pp. 83-6. Includes illustrations.
Chazin recalled her father's days as a hobo during the Great Depression and how his experiences gave her the freedom to travel but also to return home.
Chelemedos, Peter. 1980. Peter, the Odyssey of a Merchant Mariner, Seattle, WA: Peanut Butter Publishing, 188 pages.
Chicago: Hobo Capitol of America, Survey, June 1,1923. pp. 303-5.
NEW→ Chiles, James R. 1998. Hallelujah, I'm a Bum, for the Smithsonian.
Historical article about hobo history from the late 1800s up until World War II.
Cole, Peter. 2007. Ben Fletcher: The Life and Times of a Black Wobbly (Including Fellow Worker Fletcher's Writings & Speeches), Charles H. Kerr Publishing, Chicago.
Comerford, Mike. 1990. Hobo Heaven, Chicago Tribune, August 17, 5/1.
Comerford commented on the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa, and the traditions that surround it including the annual election of a King and Queen of the Hoboes.
NEW→ Connor, Mike. 2003. Dude, Where's My Train?, for Metro Santa Cruz.
A review of Sarah George's film "Catching Out".
Conover, Ted. A Morning with Pops, Amherst, Winter, 1981.
--- Busted in Boomtown, Denver Magazine, Nov, 1981.
--- 1984. Rolling Nowhere: A Young Man's Adventures Riding the Rails with America's Hoboes, New York, NY: Viking Press, 274 pages. Includes two pages of plates and a journey map.
Conover, an anthropology student, gives his account of riding sixty-five freight trains over 12,000 miles in fifteen states.
Cooper, Harry and Page Cooper. Footloose Fiddler, New York: Whittlesey House, 1945.
NEW→ Cooper, Patricia. 2003. Living on the Edge, for the Charlottesville VA Cavalier Daily.
NEW→ Cotton, Eddy Joe. 2003. Hobo Chronicles, for the San Francisco Chronicle magazine.
Cotton, Eddy Joe. (Zebu Recchia). 2005. Hobo Lexicon, Buk America, Los Angeles. 32 p.
This is a reprinting of the Hobo Glossary that was featured in the last section of Cotton's book Hobo. It repeats the same mistakes (for instance, making the bizarre claim that 48s are named that, not because they hold 48' shipping containers, but because they go 48 miles per hour. What happens when a 53' and a 48' are on the same train?)
--- 2002. Hobo: A young man's thoughts on trains and tramping in America, New York, NY: Harmony Books, ISBN 0-609-60738-3.
A poorly written account of hoboing in the 1990s that has received more attention than it deserved. Contains a long "hobo glossary" full of errors.
Crampton, Frank. 1956. Deep Enough: A Working Stiff in the Western Miners' Camp, Denver: Sage Books.
Cray, Ed. 2006. Ramblin' Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie, WW Norton, New York.
The first full-blown biography of Guthrie in two decades, since Joe Klein's well known book. It relies on a great deal of previously untouched material in the Woody Guthrie Archives, in the papers of Richard Reuss housed at the University of Indiana, and in private collections as well as new interviews.
Cresswell, Tim. 2001. The Tramp in America, London: Reaktion Books.
Cronon, William with George Miles and Jay Gitlin editors. 1992. Under an Open Sky: Rethinking America's Western Past, New York, NY : W.W. Norton, 354 pages. Includes illustrations, index, and bibliographical references.
--- 1991. Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West, New York, and London: W.W. Norton, 530 pages. Includes 30 pages of plates, illustrations, maps, index, bibliographical references.
Crouse, Joan M. 1986. The Homeless Transient in the Great Depression: New York State 1929-1941, State University of New York Press, Albany. 1986.
Crouse elucidates the distinction between hoboes, tramps, and bums; however, she provides one additional distinction, which is particularly well-suited to the era she writes about. Hobos want to work only long enough to save money to have a little fun and move to the next place — their work underwrites their traveling lifestyle. Transients, in contrast, want to settle down someplace with permanent work. This explanation of vocabulary allows her to write much more clearly about her subject. Crouse paints a balanced picture of life on the rails — neither romanticized nor moralized — and provides a sufficient overview of the subculture (Fonorow, 2012).
NEW→ Crowley, Carolyn Hughes. 2001. Urban Explorers, Crawling and Climbing Into the Past, for the Washington Post.
Culberston, Ely. The Strange Lives of One Man, Philadelphia: Winston, 1940.
Culver, Benjamin. Transient Unemployed Men, Sociology and Social Research (17) 1933: 519-34.
Cutler, Ian. 2020. The Lives and Extraordinary Adventures of Fifteen Tramp Writers from the Golden Age of Vagabondage, Feral House 400pp. Available online at indiebound.org/book/9781627310840.
The combined events of the end of the American Civil War in 1865, the first transcontinental railroad opening in 1869, and the financial crash of 1873, found large numbers - including thousands of former soldiers well used to an outdoor life and tramping - thrown into a transient life and forced to roam the continent, surviving on whatever resources came to hand. For most, the life of the hobo was born out of necessity. For a few it became a lifestyle choice. Some of the latter group committed their adventures to print, both autobiographical and fictional, and together with their British and Irish counterparts, whose wanderlust was fueled by an altogether different genesis, they account for the fifteen tramp writers whose stories and ideas are the subject of this book.
Dactyl, Aaron. 2014-2020. Railroad Semantics #1 to #7, Microcosm Publishing, Portland, OR.
The first four issues were self-published before Microcosm began printing and distributing them around 2014. Microcosm now publishes all seven issues. Lots of in-depth travel stories and art work focusing on freight trains, grafittii/monikers, and related aspects of railroad culture.
Dahlberg, Edward. 1930. Bottom Dogs, Simon and Schuster, New York.
A novel that has been described as an attempt at a "fictional equivalent of Black and Tully's memoirs". Introduction by DH Lawrence.
Daniel, Bill. 2012. Mostly True, Microcosm Publishing, Portland, OR. 168 pages.
This is a revised and expanded edition of the book originally published in 2008. "Daniel has crafted a remarkable book to go with his twenty-years-in-the-making 'Who Is Bozo Texino?' — a documentary about modern day hobos, rail workers and a forgotten outsider subculture. It's full of obscure railroad nostalgia — the result of a 25 year obsession with hobo and railworker folklore. Freight riding stories, interviews with hobos and boxcar artists, historical oddities, and tons of photos of modern day boxcar tags are all presented in the guise of a vintage rail fanzine". Available through Microcosm Publishing.
d'Autremont, Hugh. 1989. Rails North, Vantage Press.
Davenport, Paula. 1989. Retired Hobo Eager to Hit the Road Again, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 7, 1989.
A feature about Rudy Phillips, the National 1986 King of the Hobos, and his Hobo Museum in Shawneetown, IL.
Davidson, Dale L. 2006. Dead Man's Clothes: The Bum Camp of Tolt, Washington, Hancock House Publishers, Blaine, WA, 144 pp.
A personal memoir of growing up on a small farm in the Snoqualmie Valley near the "bum camp" where chronic inebriates from Seattle's streets were housed during the 1930s. Although this is more about the kid's perspective, it does have some information about the nearby facility located next to his farm and some of the home guard who spent time there "drying out". There was also a small hobo jungle near the tracks where 'bos would catch out on the fly, but there is little about these hobos in the book.
Davies, Peter. 1930. The Tramp's Anthology
Davies, William Henry. 1908. The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp, A.C. Fifield. London. Preface by George Bernard Shaw. First US edition 1917 by A.A. Knoff, New York. Many subsequent editions including Parthian, 2013. The 1917 edition is available for download at archive.org/details/autobiographyofs00davi.
--- The Adventures of Johnny Walker, Tramp, London: J. Cape. Reprinted 1970, London: A.C. Fitfield, 256 pages.
Another hard to find account of hoboing and tramping during the late 1800s. Davies describes losing a foot while attempting to catch out on the fly in an earlier book (published in 1897) and does not mention any such impediment to his tramping in England in this one, so presumably these adventures predate 1897. In Johnny Walker, he describes the tramp in America as looking down on the hobo, as the true tramp always begged for his sustenance and avoided work whenever possible. Most of this book however describes the tramp in England (where all transportation was by foot unless paid for by money begged) where the true tramps also scorned those who survived by means other than begging. Davies includes some examples of tramp argot as well as very detailed examples of tramp and non-tramp interactions to back up his analysis of what motivated this class of vagabond.
Davis, Ed. 2022. The Last Professional, Artemesia Publishing LLC. Albuquerque, NM.
A fictional tale that includes train hopping.
Davis, Jeff. 1962. Devil on Wheels, Vol 1, string bound, 98 pages.
Davis, Kingsley. 1935. Youth in the Depression, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Davis, Marc. 1995. On the Road Again: College Professor Cliff Oats Williams is at Home with Hobos and Homeless, Chicago Tribune, Sunday, March 12.
Davis, Maxine. 1932. 200,000 Vagabond Children, Ladies Home Journal, Sept. 8-9, 46-48.
DeCaux, Len. 1970. Labor Radical: From the Wobblies to CIO, Boston, MA: Beacon Press/Unitarian Universalist Association.
Dees, James Walter. 1948. Flophouse, New Hampshire: Mother Jones
Delaney, Kelly. 1970. The World through a Hobo's Eyes, View Publications, Doylestown, PA
Dell, Floyd. 1926. Intellectual Vagabondage: An Apology for the Intelligentsia, New York: George H. Doran Company
DeLorenzo, Fran. 2007. The American Hoboes - Riders of the Rails - A Brief History of the American Hoboes, self-published book. 62 pages.
Delucchi, Tony. 2012. "Get Outta the Yards!", Createspace.com.
This is a journal from 1931 self-published by the author's daughter in 2012. In the middle of the worsening Great Depression, two young men from Stockton, CA hit the rails, not for work but to go to a football game in South Bend, Indiana.
NEW→ Demko, Paul. 2000. St. Paul hosts the alternative hobo convention, for the Twin Cities' City Pages.
Dennis, Jeff. 2012. King of the Hobos, Nightbird Press, Norcross, GA.
A fictional account of a vigilante millionaire model railroader who takes to the rails in search of the murderer of his wife and daughter. The tale takes many convoluted turns in a US experiencing a second Great Depression following a Wall Street crash with hobo jungles having sprung up everywhere.
Depastino, Todd. 2003. Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America, University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 325 pages with an index.
Derrick, Matt. 2017. The Anarchist's Guide to Travel: A Manual for Future Hitchhikers, Hobos and Other Misfit Wanderers, 234 pages.
A beginner's guide to underground/alternative travel, written by the founder of the Squat the Planet website. Topics include punk traveling culture and living on the cheap, hitching, train hopping, rubber tramping, and related stuff. Self-published and available through the Squat the Planet website.
Devine, Dave. 2006. Train Talk, Tucson Weekly March 16. www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/train-talk/Content?oid=1083547
A short article on railroad culture and lingo focused on Tucson and Dwight Metzer, the publisher of Speaking of Trains and Something About a Train,
Dewhurst, H.S. 1955. The Railroad Police, Springfield, IL.
Digit. 1924. Confessions of a 20th Century Hobo, Herbert Jenkins Ltd., London.
Sort of in the same genre as those hobo memoirs written by "A#1", amusing, picaresque, but little of real interest. A bit of racism, the story of a Brit on the bum in '20s America.
Dill, Tom. 1996. Southern Pacific's Colorful Shasta Route, Four Ways West Publications. La Mirada, CA
Dixon, Winifred Hawkbridge. The Disappearing Tramp, 1907. The Nation, January 3.
A commentary about types of hoboes and their respective profiles with particular comparison between "yeggs" and "tramps".
--- 1922. Westward Hoboes, NY: Scribner. Available online at "archive.org/details/westwardhoboes00dixo".
NEW→ Dohrn, Holly. 2005. Riders of the Rails, for a College research paper.
NEW→ Donner, Blake. 2005. interview with buZ blurr, for the Fifth Goal, a zine about Boxcar Art.
--- 2015. The Fifth Goal 1998 - 2003: Trancendental Graffiti Magazine. Division Leap and Hierophant, Portland and Salt Lake City. (Travis Low, Adam Davis, Kate Davis, Greg Bennick and Laura Hamblin are editors and contributors to this compilation).
The Fifth Goal was an influential zine on freight train monikers and graffiti put together by Blake Donner, who died while exploring a cave in Utah in 2005. In 2015, a group of friends assembled a limited edition collection of all eight issues of the zine and added some essays and background material. The first few issues of The Fifth Goal focus on Krishna consciousness along with some graffiti and are of marginal interest. However, the later issues (4-8), after Donner abandoned Krishna spirituality, are all very focused on monikers and include an "All-Herby" issue (#7). The high contrast photos have stood the test of time and are a great resource for serious moniker enthusiasts.
Dos Passos, John. 1930. The 42nd Parallel: Volume One of the U.S.A. Trilogy, Houghton Mifflin, New York.
Note that the other volumes in this fictional trilogy may also include some hobo/transient references, particularly the last one published in 1937.
Douglass, William O. 1974. Go East, Young Man, New York: Dell Publishing Company.
A memoir of a supreme court justice, who grew up poor, hopped trains, and never forgot what poverty means. Douglas was responsible for Supreme Court decisions declaring anti-vagrancy laws unconstitutional.
Downing, Mortimer. Drawbacks of Being a Knight of the Road, Literary Digest, November 11, 1916, pp. 1281-86.
---. 1913. The Case of the Hop Pickers, International Socialist Review, October, pp. 210-213.
NEW→ Drake, Laura. 2008. Hobby Hobos, for The Ottawa Citizen.
Drew, Bettina. The Texas Stories of Nelson Algren
Driscoll, Bill J. 2002. Diary of a Hobo, Xlibris Corp.
Dubofsky, Melvyn. 1968. We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, also 1986. Reprinted 1969, Chicago and New York: Quadrangle.
--- 1987. "Big Bill" Haywood [1869-1928], New York: St. Martin's Press, 184 pages. Includes index and bibliography.
Duda, John (editor). Wanted: Men to Fill the Jails of Spokane! Fighting for Free Speech with the Hobo Agitators of the I.W.W., Charles H. Kerr, Chicago 2009.
John Duda has edited and written a forward to this collection of articles and writings about the IWW's free speech fight in Spokane, Washington in 1909, published on its 100th anniversary. It includes articles from the Industrial Worker, International Socialist Review, and other sources.
Duffy, Bruce. 1989. Catching a Westbound Freight, Harper's Magazine, June, pp. 49-61.
Novelist Duffy recounted his first experience hopping a freight train with veteran hoboes Beargrease and Seattle Slim. The National Hobo Convention in Britt, IA is mentioned.
Duis, Perry R. 1983. The Saloon: Public Drinking in Chicago and Boston, Urbana and Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 380 pages with an index.
Duke, Donald. 1967-8. The Railroad Tramp, American Railroad Journal, 2, pp.32-45.
Duncan, Dayton and Ken Burns. 1997. Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery, New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
--- 1988. Out West: American Journey Along the Lewis and Clark Trail, New York: Penguin Books.
Duncanson, Jon. 1979. The Romance and the Pain: The Price of a Long Free Journey, Minnesota Daily, January 10.
A feature article in the University of Minnesota newspaper about the author's September, 1978 trip from Minneapolis over the Burlington Northern, ex-Northern Pacific, low-line through North Dakota and Montana to Spokane. And then, instead of Seattle, accidentally back to Montana!
NEW→ Dunn, Katia. 2000. Trainspotting, for the Portland OR Mercury, Vol. 1 No 7.
NEW→ Dunn, Leslie. 2004. The Wander Years, for the Monterey County CA Herald.
Dunn, Martha. 1906. Philosophy and the Tramps, Atlantic Monthly, June, pp. 776-83.
Eberhardt, David and Xavier Tavera. 2012. Home Free, Minnesota Center for Media Arts. Photo Book Press.
A book of photographs based on art shows hosted by the Minnesota Center for Media Arts in St. Paul, MN in 2012. Eberhardt's photo collection is called "By Rail" and features shots of tramps in the western US, mainly in the 1990s. Many of the charactors portrayed will be familiar to viewers of the movie "Long Gone". Xavier Tavera's photos document squatting and squatters and complement the rail photos quite well.
NEW→ Eberhart, John Mark. 2004. Scenery Junkies, for the Kansas City MO Star.
A review of Lucius Shepard's book "Two Trains Running".
Economist, The. 1999. "Irving Stevens, America's king of the hobos, died on May 4th, aged 88", May 13. www.economist.com/obituary/1999/05/13/irving-stevens. (by subscription and can be viewed at tinyurl.com/y9nzzczh).
An obituary of Irving Stevens, aka "Fishbones" the 1988 "King of the Hobos" and author of an autobiography of his hoboing in the 1930s titled "Fishbones".
Edge, William. 1927. The Main Stem, New York: Vanguard Press.
A memoir of the WWI years, probably hard to find, but worth finding and reading.
Edwards, Duval. Short Horn Hobo: Son of the Great Depression, Authorhouse, Bloomington, IN
This is a memoir of a teenager's struggle to survive in Lousiana and Texas in the '30s, fairly well written and thus a good read. The copy I got also included his later life in parts 2 and 3, which include accounts of becoming a lawyer in San Antonio and later intelligence work with the US Army during WWII. It reminds me of Monty Holm's story of his life. I would recommend this, although it does not have a great deal about traveling by freight train.
--- 1992. The Great Depression And a Teenager's Fight To Survive. New York: Red Appel Publishing
Edwards, Phil. 2015. The Best Strategies for Jumping on a Train from 1900s Hobos, Vox (online magazine). June 9. www.vox.com/2015/6/9/8753339/hobo-train-riders.
A short article seemingly all based on secondary sources available elsewhere so not really adding any unique or new information that can't be found elsewhere.
NEW→ Ehrenreich, Ben. 2002. The Hobohemians, for the LA Weekly, Vol. 24, No. 8 July 26-August 1, 2002, Los Angeles.
An account of traveling to and from the 2002 Dunsmuir, CA hobo gathering and interviewing participants. Photos by Virginia Lee Hunter.
Ehrman, Mark. 1991. A Tradition Rides "the Westbound", Los Angeles Times, August 27, E/1.
A feature about the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa.
Eichenlaub, G.E. Hobo's Traverse
Eighner, Lars. 1993. Travels with Lizbeth, New York: St. Martin's Press.
Eighner's personal account of his travels with his dog Lizbeth (predominantly hitchhiking and walking). It provides insight into the aspects of homeless life, temporary living arrangements, unemployment, canine companionship, male homosexuality, dumpster diving, alcohol, drugs, insanity, and writing as a profession. [see Bragg 1993].
Eisley, Loren. 1975. All the Strange Hours: The Excavation of Life, New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 273 pages: illustrations.
A memoir of the 1930s by a later rather famous scientist and writer.
Elam, Samuel Milton. 1930. Lady Hoboes, New Republic, January 1, pp. 164-69.
In this narrative with dialogue, Elam tells of his personal acquaintance and experiences with five ladies of the road: (1) an unidentified woman on the Southern Pacific, (2-3) Daisy and Moll, two once-were reform school girls turned hobo with the help of Ding Lewis, (4) a woman named Mary, approximately fifty years of age, with a knack for soliciting and receiving hand-outs, and (5) Sal Harper, as told by Frisco Pete.
Emmet, Herman LeRay. 1989. Fruit Tramps. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.
A photographic documentary which follows a migratory fruit picker and his family over the course of seven years. Good black and white photography and some text. No train riding, they are "rubber-tramping".
Etulain, Richard, editor. 1977. Jack London on the Road: The Tramp Diary and other Hobo Writings, Logan: Utah State University Press, 209 pages. Includes two leaves of plates, illustrations, and bibliographical references.
Facciolo, Jay. 1977. The Wobs and the Bos: The IWW and the Hobo, unpublished masters thesis, Hunter College of the City University of New York.
Feied, Frederick. 1964. No Pie in the Sky: The Hobo as American Cultural Hero, Michigan State University/Citadel Press, New York.
Fendelman, Helaine. 1975. Tramp Art: An Itinerant's Folk Art, E.P. Dutton. New York.
Ferguson, Sarah. 1994. "Meet the Crusties", Esquire, January, pp. 68-75.
One of the first mainstream media descriptions of the emerging early 1990s breed of crusty punk/anarchist train riders. The article focuses on Dumpy, an influential personality of this era. Based on their pre-CCG travels in the summer of 1993. See also (Powers 1994). Available online.
Ferrall, Jeff. 2018. Drift: Illicit Mobility and Uncertain Knowledge. University of California Press, Oakland. 280 pages.
An academic book in which a sociology professor rides the rails with the 'Krew, and "highlights a distinctly North American form of drift — that of the train-hopping hobo — by tracing the hobo's legal and political history and by detailing his own immersion in the world of contemporary train-hoppers. Along the way, Ferrell sheds light on the ephemeral intensity of drifting communities and explores the contested politics of drift: the strategies that legal authorities employ to control drifters in the interest of economic development, the social and spatial dislocations that these strategies ironically exacerbate, and the ways in which drifters create their own slippery forms of resistance".
Fletcher, Ben. 2006. The Life and Times of a Black Wobbly, Charles H. Kerr, Chicago
A collection of writings by a well-known African-American Wobbly organizer, Benjamin Fletcher (1890-1949), edited by Peter Cole and including some biographical notes on Fletcher. Published for the first time in 2006 by Charles Kerr.
Flynt, Josiah. (??) The Little Brother, 1902, The Century Co., New York. 254 pp.
This novel is a bit Victorian in style, with the treacle a bit thick in places, but it does have some fairly specific descriptions of the east coast and Midwestern tramp/hobo subculture, particularly regarding the institution of Jockers and Prushins and how young boys would be lured onto the road, eventually to be "emancipated" to become full fledged tramps. I would recommend this only for the truly dedicated scholar of hobohemia.
---. How Men Become Tramps, The Century, volume 50, issue 6, Oct 1895.
---. The Railroads and the Tramp, The Century, volume 58, issue 2, June 1899.
---. Tramping with Tramps, The Century Co. 1899.
---. "Homosexuality among tramps" in Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. 2, by Havelock Ellis. University Press. 1900.
For Hoboes: Hobo News, 1937, Time, May 17, pp. 67-69.
Short account of Ben Benson's almost-incarceration by the New York City Police department for selling the Hobo News — a magazine the police thought to be a hoax and a money making scam. Brief description about the Hobo News is provided.
---. 1997. The Great Labor Uprising of 1877, New York: Pathfinder Press.
Outlines the Railroad Strike of 1877 and how this first generalized strike of U.S. workers spread across the entire country.
Foner, Phillip. 1947. Jack London: American Rebel, New York: Citadel Press. Reprinted 1964, 155 pages with bibliography.
Fonorow, Amanda. 2012. Hobohemia: Discovering the American Hobo Sub-culture, An Introduction and Annotated Bibliography, LIS 620. University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Available online.
This was a paper written for a graduate level course in library studies. The author provides a good introduction to existing literature about hobos, helpfully organized into various eras and genres. The annotations of various publications — books and newspapers as well as some music — are particularly useful (and a good supplement to those provided in this bibliography). The paper is weakest in documenting modern-era hoboing publications, with an over-emphasis on those published by Crimethink.
Forbes, James. 1903. Jockers and the Schools They Keep, Charities, November 7, pp. 432-36.
---. 1911. John the Yeggman, Outlook, August 12, pp. 823-828.
Forbes provides insight into the practices, methods, tools and behavioral characteristics of yeggs (safe-cracking criminals and/or criminals who ride the rails and rob others). John Yegg is a term, not a specific person. However, many real-life yeggs are discussed (e.g., Topeka Joe, Fatty Ghee, Buck Bullard).
---. 1911. The Tramp; or Caste in the Jungle, Outlook, August 19, pp. 869-75.
The editors of the Outlook noted that Forbes — as the Secretary of the National Association for the Prevention of Mendicancy — was the leading authority of the country on underworld having studied those sections of criminal and diligent classes [p.869]. Forbes discussed the distinctions and background of the members of the various hobo strata (classes): tramps, hoboes, gaycats, transient workmen, jockers, kids, nixey winger (person without arms due to train accident), and mush faks. Specific cases and people are used to illustrate various points (e.g., Ohio Slim, Susquehanna Red, Spider Kid). Modes of communication (e.g., the water tower bulletin board), hobo fatalities, drinking, terminology, are discussed and lyrics to a few songs are provided.
Forster, Victor Wadham. 1934. Vancouver Through the Eyes of a Hobo, paper covers.
Foster, Harry L. 1922. The Adventures of a Tropical Tramp, Dodd Meade & Co. Availabile online at "hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.$b144998".
Foster, William Z. 1939. Pages from a Worker's Life, New York: International Publishers Co.
Fotografia Magazine. 2016. These are the faces of America's Train Riders, Interview with Michael Joseph and photos from his photo collection Lost and Found, Posted March 16, 2016. Available online at "fotografiamagazine.com/lost-and-found-train-riders-michael-joseph/".
Lost and Found is a collection of black and white portraits of young trainriders. The photographer has never hopped trains and doesn't portray train riding, just riders.
Fox, Charles Elmer. 1989. Tales of an American Hobo, Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 226 pages. Reprint (?) at 265 pages. Preface by Albert A. Stone, introduction by Lynne M. Adrian [see Adrian]. Includes bibliographic references.
Reefer Charlie rode the rails from 1928-1939 and from 1939 to 1965 he hitchhiked and traveled by foot.
Fox, R.M. 1930. Rolling Stones, Nineteenth Century, June, pp. 846-54.
Fox, Terry. 1985. Hobo Signs: A Compilation of Hobo Signs for Those Who May One Day Find Them Useful, Munchen, Germany: Kunstraum Munchen, 112 pages with bibliographical references.
A collection of hobo signs illustrated in freehand with definitions with a brief history.
Free, John. 2021. End of the Line: Railroad Tramps of the Los Angeles Freight Yards. Available Light Press, Los Angeles.
An excellent book of black and white photographs, with text, from the mid-1970s in and around Southern Pacific's Taylor Yard in Los Angeles. With a chapter on the history of Taylor Yard by Kevin Keefe, former editor of Trains Magazine.
Freed, Dolly. 1978. Possum Living: How to live well without a job and with (almost) no money, Tin House Books, Portland, OR.
First published by Universe Books in 1978, reissued by Tin House in 2010. This new edition includes some retrospective notes by the author in which she expresses regret for some of the advice she gave in the original edition. No train riding involved but it is an interesting view on life by a teen-age girl living with her dad in rural Pennsylvania, trying to get by without much money.
Fried, Frederick. 1964. No Pie in the Sky; The Hobo as American Cultural Hero in the works of Jack London (1876-1916), John Dos Passos (1896-1970), and Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), New York: Citadel Press, 95 pages with a bibliography.
Gaignault, Fabrice. 2005. La Vie aux Trousses, Marie Claire (French edition) January.
A French language article. The author attends a hobo gathering in Dunsmuir, California and then travels around the West with a group of young women train-riders. Photos by Jack Cahill.
NEW→ Gallivan, Joseph. 2002. Beamsplitters, for the Portland OR Tribune.
Garahan, Melbourne. 1924. Stiffs, New York: T. Seltzer, 311 pages.
Garland, Hamlin. 1917. A Son of the Middle Border, New York, NY: The Macmillan Company. Reprinted 1927, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 467 pages. Available online at "archive.org/details/asonofmiddle00garlrich".
---. 1926a. Trail-Makers of the Middle Border, New York, NY: The Macmillan Company, 426 pages. Includes illustrations and plates.
---. 1926b. A Daughter of the Middle Border, New York, NY: Grosset & Dunlap, 405 pages.
Garon, Paul and G. Tomko. 2006. What's the Use of Walking if There's a Freight Train Going Your Way? Black Hoboes and their Songs, Chicago, Charles Kerr Publishing. 288 pages with index and bibliography.
Garrad, G.A. (??) Gentle Art of Hoboing As Practiced by an Artist, Literary Digest, July 16, 1921, pp. 40-43.
---. 1896. Boy Tramps and Reform Schools; A Reply to Mr. Flynt, Century, April, p. 955.
Gastman, Roger, D. Rowland and I. Sattler. 2006. Freight Train Graffiti, New York: Abrams, Inc. 352 pages with index.
While this well-illustrated book is mainly about aerosol graffiti, Chapter 8, "Monikers", features 32 pages of hobo and railworker graffiti.
NEW→ George, Jason. 2005. Part of Americana? the rail-riding hobos, for the Des Moines IA Register.
Gilmore, Harlan. The Beggar, New York: University of North Carolina Press, 1940.
NEW→ Glave, James. 1995. Club Wired: Abdul Rahimov for Club Wired.
NEW→ Gneiser, Jonathan. 2003. Tramps found riding the rails, for the Marshfield MN News-Herald.
NEW→ Goffard, Christopher. 2009. On the run from everything but each other, for the Los Angeles Times.
Gojack, John. A Long Way From Hungary.
Goldman, Emma. 1910. Anarchism, and Other Essays with Biographic Sketch by Hippolyte Havel, Reprinted 1969, Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 277 pages with portraits.
---. 1931. Living My Life, New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted 1970, New York, NY: Da Capo Press, 2 volumes, includes illustrations, portraits; and 1982, Salt Lake City: G.M. Smith, 993 pages with portraits.
Goodkind, Bill (aka "Windy Bill"). 1907. An American Hobo in Europe: A True Narrative of the Adventures of a Poor American At Home and in the Old Country, Calkins Publishing House, San Francisco. Available to read read online.
Goodwin, David W. 2014. The Six-Year-Old Hobo, Xlibris LLC.
A fictional story about an "almost seven-year-old boy who gets fed up with his workaholic and technology obsessed parents and decides to hop a freight train in the middle of the night from his small town in New Mexico (Belen I believe). He is immediately befriended by two hobos and goes on a life-changing journey".
Gordon, John. 1927. Tramp Printer, The Gordon Press, Brewer, Maine
Gowan, Teresa. 2010. Hobos, Hustlers and Backsliders: Homeless in San Francisco, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.
A portrait of homeless life in San Francisco in the early 2000s. Despite the title, there is little or no train riding referenced.
Gracey, Everett L. 1999. From a 13 Year Old Hobo to an Entrepeneur, published by E.L. Gracey, Box 6000, Reno NV 89513-6000. 80pp.
This guy had a pretty rough time of it, but not nearly as well written. More for the reader who reads everything they can find on the hobo experience.
NEW→ Graham, James D. 2003. Rail culture: the language of freight-hoppers, for the Charlottesville VA Hook.
Graham, Maury "Steam Train" and Robert J. Hemming. 1985. A History of Hoboes, Tramps, and other Vagabonds, Toledo, OH: Graham.
A discussion of the definitions and distinctions of hoboes, tramps, transients, hitchhikers, bums, boomers, gypsies, winos, and rubber vagabonds. This also contains another of Graham's books, Patches.
---. 1985. Patches: About Britt, Iowa and its Hoboes, Toledo, OH: Graham.
---. 1990. Tales of the Iron Road: My Life as King of the Hobos, New York: Paragon House, 222 pages.
NEW→ Graham, Rodney. 2005. The Wanderers, for the Winnipeg, Manitoba Street Sheet Canada.
NEW→ ---. 2015. In Search of the Wanderers, for the Winnipeg, Manitoba Street Sheet Canada.
NEW→ ---. 2015. The Wanderers: Ten Years After, for the Winnipeg, Manitoba Street Sheet Canada.
NEW→ ---. 2005. Train Hopping the Fraser Canyon, for the Winnipeg, Manitoba Street Sheet Canada.
NEW→ ---. 2006. Train Hopping Canada's West, for the Winnipeg, Manitoba Street Sheet Canada.
NEW→ ---. 2006. Train Hopping Across Canada - part 1, for the Winnipeg, Manitoba Street Sheet Canada.
NEW→ ---. 2006. Train Hopping Across Canada - part 2, for the Winnipeg, Manitoba Street Sheet Canada.
NEW→ ---. 2006. Train Hopping Across Canada - part 3, for the Winnipeg, Manitoba Street Sheet Canada.
Grajek, Dan. 2016. The Last Hobo, Roundbarn Media LLC.
A long, 346 page self-published, "mostly true" memoir about a 19 year old guy and his buddy who leave the Detroit area to travel around the country in the late 1970s. Mostly involves hitch hiking but he eventually starts riding the rails. Lots of pop culture references to the music, politics and culture of that era. A free chapter can be downloaded from the book's website.
Granade, Andrew S. 2014. Harry Partch, Hobo Composer, Eastman Studies in Music, Vol. 120. October 1. (See also Partch, Harry. 1991).
Grant, Richard. 2003. Ghost Riders: Travels with American Nomads, Little, Brown. 288 pages.
Describes his travels over 15 years meeting a variety of nomadic types. Only peripherally about hoboing. A hardcover version is titled "American Nomads".
Grayson, David. 1925. Adventures of David Grayson: Adventures in Contentment, Adventures in Friendship, The Friendly Road, New York: Doubleday.
Green, Howard. 1979. A Devil With a Lot of Questions: Reverend John McCook and His 1891 Tramp Survey, paper presented at the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians, New Orleans, LA, April
Greenhalgh, Cy. W. 2000. Rogues, Hoboes, and Entrepreneurs, a good memoir of the 30's hobo experience, with other experiences before and after. 218 pp.
Gregory, Ted. 1995. Weekend Hobos Romance of the Rails Lures Some Unlikely Vagabonds, Chicago Tribune, July 3.
An article about the "Loco Motives", a group of hobo enthusiasts who gather to share hobo stories in Chicago. The truths about rail life, its lure, and Chicago are discussed. A hobo glossary is included.
Grienbrier, J.J. 1977. Railroadin, Etc.
A very unusual fictionalized account of poverty and rail riding in the south in the 1930s. Appears to be based on the author's experiences.
Grosfield, Byron. 1981. Buckaroos and Boxcars, Big Timber, Montana: Pioneer Publishing Co.
Grossardt, Ted. 1996. Harvest(ing) Hoboes: The Production of Labor Organization through the Wheat Harvest, Agricultural History 2, pgs 283-302.
Guitar Solo to the Luring Freight Car, 1923. Chicago Literary Times, June 15.
Gurule, Jo Ann. 2009. Life for the American Hobo, PublishAmerica, Baltimore (I think this is a print on demand book).
A turkey, this book is poorly written, mainly a rehash of information easily found in a number of other, more well known histories of hobo life.
Guthrie, Woody. 1943. Bound for Glory, New York, NY: E.P. Dutton. Reprinted 1983, New York: New American Library, 320 pages with illustrations.
Gutman, Herbert. 1973. Work, Culture, and Society in America, 1815-1919, American Historical Review, June.
Gypsy Moon. 1996. Done & Been: Steel Rail Chronicles of American Hobos, Indiana University Press, 216 pages with 22 photos. Includes recipes and interviews with contemporary riders and erstwhile riders.
Haardt, Sara. 1928. Jim Tully, American Mercury, May, pp. 82-89.
Hacha, Barbara. 2011. Line by Line, MediaMix Productions LLC.
A self-published novel, set in the Great Depression about a young woman who flees her central Ohio town and starts riding freight trains. The book has had several favorable reviews and awards.
---. 2013. Mulligan Stew: Stories and Traditions of American Hobos, MediaMix Productions LLC. In library.
Mainly based on the author's visit to the Britt, Iowa National Hobo Convention in 2011, this book consists of a series of anecdotes and interviews with convention attendees combined with a certain amount of secondary historical research. It ends up coming across as narrow and superficial in its perspective and includes a lot of recycled information similar to what can be found in other books that base their perspective of the hobo world on Britt and its traditions.
Hader, John, J. 1928. Honk Honk Hobo, The Survey, August 1, pp. 453-455.
An early article about rubber-tramping. The context is mostly a comparison between rubber-tramps and freight tramps. Interesting photos.
Haggard, Merle with Peggy Russell. with Tom Carter. 1999. My House of Memories, Cliff Street Books.
Another Haggard memoir with descriptions of his train riding days.
Haggard, Merle with Peggy Russell. 1981. Sing Me Back Home, Times Books 287 pages.
A memoir with freighthopping involved.
Hahn, Jessica Erica. 1997. Transient Ways, Passing Through Publications.
Hall, J. N. 1892. How the Tramp Travels, Harper's Weekly, March 12, pp. 255-56.
Hallet, Richard Mathews. This Rolling World.
Hallman, Tom Jr. 1995. Rail Police Have Hard Life on Tracks, Oregonian, Monday, April 17, B/6.
An article about the trivialities, dangers, and difficulties of railroad police work with excerpts of interviews with Tom Morrison, supervising agent in Portland, OR and special agent Bob Spinks of the Union Pacific Railroad.
Hammeke, Joe. 2017. Brad Westcott Rides the Rails, Thrasher Magazine, February.
Article about Brad Westcott, a Arizona-based skater who also rides trains. The online version includes more of Brad's good photos.
Hanson, George. God bless you Big Joe, The Evening Sun, Baltimore, May 18 1983, A12.
Hapgood, Hutchins. 1910. Types From City Streets, New York: Garrett Press. Reprinted 1970, The Social History of Poverty: The Urban Experience Series, 379 pages with illustrations.
Happe, Marguerite. 2018. Riding the Rails, Artful Living: The Magazine of the North. Minneapolis. Winter edition. Jan. 2.
Article with photos by Lee Snyder and others focused on the Britt Hobo Convention in 2017 and a community of Minneapolis-based attendees of that convention.
Harlow, Alvin Fay. 1931. Old Bowery Days: The Chronicles of A Famous Street, New York and London: D. Appleton, 564 pages. Includes illustrations and bibliography.
Harper, Douglas A. 1976. The Homeless Man: An Ethnography of Work, Trains, and Booze, Ph.D. dissertation, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Microfilms.
---. 1979. Life on the Road, in John Wagner, ed., Images of Information: Still Photography in Social Sciences, Sage Focus Editions, Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 311 pages. Includes preface by Howard S. Becker and bibliography.
---. 1982. Good Company, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
The dialogue between Harper (a sociologist), his riding partner Carl (a hobo) and the various hoboes encountered during Harper's month-long field work riding the rails. It is presented according to the sequence of events. Harper's concerns were primarily work-related issues and the majority of the dialogue presented is about these topics along with alcohol, drugs, women and law.
Harring, Sidney. 1977. Class Conflict and the Suppression of Tramps in Buffalo, 1892-1894, Law and Society Review, Summer.
Harris, Leo. 1878. The Man Who Tramps, Indianapolis.
Harris, Sara. 1956. Skid Row, U.S.A., Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 285 pages.
Harris attempted to debunk "common misconceptions" about those who belong to the Skid Row class. Chapter Seven "Hobohemia U.S.A", is a conversation between Harris and hoboes "Schloime the Troime", "Cussin Cassidy", "Rickety Stan", and "Big Belly Bob Johnson". The I.W.W. is a large portion of the discussion.
Harvey, Barbara. 2015. Rail Riders: Inside the Invisible World of Train Hopping, May 4. The American River Current. American River College. Sacramento. www.arcurrent.com/magazine-dam/2015/05/04/rail-riders-inside-the-invisible-culture-of-train-hopping.
An article in a Sacramento community college student paper about some of the violence in train hopping culture, focused on the nearby tramp hub of Roseville.
Hayes, Nick. 2016. Woody Guthrie and the Dust Bowl Ballads, Abrams Comic Arts: New York.
A full-length hardcover graphic novel based on the life and legacy of the famous musician, including portrayals of his rambling hobo days.
Haywood, Bill. 1929. Bill Haywood's Book: The Autobiography of William D. Haywood, New York: International Publishers.
---. 1969. The I.W.W. Trial: The Case of the United States Versus William D. Haywood and Others, Held at the United States District Court at Chicago, 1918, New York: Arno Press, Mass Violence America Series, 208 pages.
Healy, T.F. 1926. Hobo Hits the Highroad, American Mercury, July, pp. 334-38.
Hedin, Robert (editor). 1996. The Great Machines: Poems and Songs of the American Railroad. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.
Heller, H.J. Hoboes Boxcar Rides a Journey into Life, Pittsburg Press, Dec 23, 1979.
Hennessy, D. On the Bum, Five Blue Books.
NEW→ Henry, Bonnie. 2007. Riding the Rails, for the Tucson Arizona Daily Star.
Hermida, Arianne. 2016. Wobbly Wheels: The IWW's Boxcar Strategy, IWW History Project. University of Washington. Available online at "depts.washington.edu/iww/wobbly_trains.html".
Herrick, William. 2001. Jumping the Line, AK Press, Oakland, 279 pages.
An autobiographical account of "the adventures and misadventures of an American radical". Herrick was at various times a farm worker, member of the IWW, hobo, fighter in the Spanish Civil War, and novelist.
NEW→ Hertoghs, Jan. 1996. On the Rail Again, for the Belgian magazine Humo, in 4 parts, July 23, July 30, Aug. 6, Aug. 13.
NEW→ ---. 1997. Hard travellin', for the London Independant.
Hibberd, James. 1998. Trainhopping, Austin American-Statesman, Jan. 15
NEW→ Hibberd, James. 1998. Trainhopping, for the Austin TX American-Statesman.
Hicks, John Edward. 1950. Adventures of a Tramp Printer, 1880-1890, Midamericana Press, Kansas City, 285 pp.
Higbie, Frank Tobias. 2003. Indispensable Outcasts: Hobo Workers and Community in the American Midwest 1880-1930, University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago.
Hillogrates, Aristotle Flavius (pseud) 1901. The Conglomerate de Omniferia; Or, The Meditations of a Hobo (A.F. Hildebrand).
Hinkle, Ray. 1991. Polk County Vagabond: A Hobo Autobiography
Historic Graffiti Society. 2020. Wandering Women, Salt Lake City.
A well-done compilation of newspaper articles, from the 1870s to the 1940s about women riding the rails. The editor acknowledges that many of these articles were likely sensationalized or exaggerated by the newspapers of the day as the public loved stories about women gone bad, who joined the ranks of hobos.
---. 2020. Wandering Women, Volume 2, Salt Lake City.
A follow-up to the original Wandering Women zine, with an introduction by Connecticut Shorty. A compilation of more old newspaper articles about women hobos and tramps.
---. 2020. If You Don't Know What Tramps' Signs Mean, Read This Article It Explains the Bo's Hieroglyphics (Hobo Signs), Salt Lake City. 32p.
"Beginning in the 1870s, newspaper reporters wrote incendiary stories of organized tramp armies, equipped with secret signs and symbols that enabled their train hopping, begging, and stealing. One hundred and fifty years later, modern Americans are convinced that hobo signs are authentic history. We're not so sure-this zine presents original newspaper articles from the 1870s through the 1930s, and a summary of our own opinions..." A high quality booklet that raises the question of whether the widespread belief in hobo signs is in fact based in reality.
---. 2020. Please Return, Salt Lake City. 28p.
Ruminations and ephemera about Iowa Blackie and the Britt Hobo Convention, with several bonuses.
Hix, Lisa. 2015. Don't Call Them Bums: The Unsung History of America's Hard-Working Hoboes, Collectors Weekly, April 16. www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/dont-call-them-bums-the-unsung-history-of-americas-hard-working-hoboes.
An online overview of American hobo history, taken almost entirely from hobo history books and an interview with curator of the Hobo Museum in Britt, IA. Good illustrations/historical photos. The early history is relatively well done, more modern hobo history suffers from being viewed through the Britt lens, lacks depth and insight into more recent train rider culture and perpetuates myths that lack historical validity. No past or current train riders appear to have been directly interviewed.
Hoboes' Union, Journal of Switchman's Union of North America, 1914, pp. 20-22.
Hoboes of America, Inc. 1938/1939 Year Book, Encyclopedia, and Reference Manual, Printed by the Executive Board, Milwaukee.
Hobo Hegemony: Convention to Decide Among Rival Kings of Road Knights, Literary Digest, April 10, 1937, pp. 10-12. Originally appeared in Hobo News. Reprinted by National Hobo Foundation, Britt, Iowa.
Hobo Lee/Hobos From Hell. 1992-2004. There's Something About a Train, Issues 1 - 7. Issues #3-7 reprinted by Microcosm Publishing, 2020. Portland, OR.
Something About a Train was a classic 1990s self-published freighthopping zine which describes an era in which train riding exploded within the punk, anarchist, and eco-activist communities, starting in the early 1990s. Hobo Lee, operating from the "Hobos from Hell" treehouse squat high in a redwood tree in Santa Cruz, compiled stories from others, some taken from other early 1990s zines and, increasingly in later issues, submitted by others. Issues #1 and #2 were very short, mainly "how-to" guides that were more or less incorporated into Issue #3. Later issues were very large, over 100 pages in some cases, featuring stories, photos, artwork and, in some issues, "Hoboerotica".
Hobo Lee. 2005. EuroHobo (and I'm a Hobo!): A How-to zine about tramping freight train hopping and free riding passenger trains in Europe. Originally a self-published zine, reprinted and distributed in 2020 by Microcosm Publishing, Portland, OR.
A well-done large zine of stories and guidance for free traveling by rail in Europe based on a couple summers of figuring out how to ride freight trains in Europe. At this point it is more of an inspiring historical read rather than a practical guide to getting around Europe these days.
Hobo News, 1913-1929 and 1937-1948.
A monthly newspaper, founded by James Eads How and originally published by the International Brotherhood Welfare Association (originally a less radical hobo organization than the IWW), first as the Hoboes Jungle Scout and from 1915 on as the Hobo News. It was aimed at hobos but they could also get bulk orders and sell them to the public to make money and as such was the original inspiration for the modern street paper. After crackdowns on the IWW after World War I, many Wobblies joined the IBWA, radicalizing it. This led to a split and a new more radical publication, Hobo World, emerged as a competitor to the Hobo Times. The Hobo Times ceased publication shortly before How's death in 1930. Few copies appear to exist, the largest collection is at the St. Louis Public Library. In 2020 a project to digitize their collection was initiated, in cooperation with the Alabama Digital Humanities Center. For some of these issues see cdm17210.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/hobonews. BBCRC is slowly assembling a collection of these issues in pdf format, which we will have available to read in our library and which could be sent to interested parties upon request.
Another newspaper by the same name began publishing in 1936, also featuring news for hobos, opinions, etc. It was run by Ben "Coast Kid" (Hobo) Benson and Pat "The Roaming Dreamer" Mulkern. In 1948 it was succeeded by the short-lived Bowery News.
Hobo Times: American's Journal of Wanderlust. 1987-1999.
This magazine was published 3-5 times a year by the National Hobo Association (NHA) and distributed to its members. Based in Los Angeles (199x-199x) and then Bemidji, Minnesota, when it was edited by Buzz Potter and gained a full-color cover. Included photos, articles, poetry and news oriented at recreational trainriders.
NEW→ Hodson, Mark. 1998. Hobo activities, for the London Sunday Times.
Hofer, E. 1893-94. The Tramp Problem, Overland Monthly, 23, p. 628.
Hoffman, Victor F. 1953. The American Tramp, 1870-1900, Masters thesis, University of Chicago.
Hoffmeister, Peter. 2015. The Freedom and Danger of Freight-Hopping Across America, Vice Magazine. February 12. Available online at "www.vice.com/read/the-illegal-freight-train-life-stolen-pizzas-and-hobo-handjobs-212".
An interview with Mike Ranta, one of a number of a photographers who are enjoying commercial success/career advancement through photographing and documenting train riders and modern hobo culture.
Hofvendahl, Russ. 1995. A Land So Fair and Bright, published by the author. Contact: Russ Hofvendahl, P.O. Box 5458, San Jose, CA 95150-5458.
A memoir of a trip in 1938 through western Canada and around the US. Well written, makes the 1930s come alive.
NEW→ Holden, Stephen. 2005. Hopping Freight Trains in the Twilight of Hobo Tradition, for the New York Times.
A review of Sarah George's film "Catching Out".
Holm, Monte. 1999. Once a Hobo: The Autobiography of Monte Holm with Dennis Clay, Michigan: Proctor Publications, LLC.
The book can also be purchased from "The House of Poverty Museum" and Moses Lake Iron & Metal, P.O. Box 448, Moses Lake, WA 98837 (509) 765-6342.
Holmburg, Mark. 2016. Admitted train-hopping serial killer is proud, looking forward to "retirement" in Virginia prison, WTVR, Richmond, VA, March 3. wtvr.com/2016/03/03/admitted-train-hopping-serial-killer-is-proud-looking-forward-to-retirement-in-virginia-prison.
Holter, Darryl and William Deverall. 2016. Woody Guthrie and Skid Row in Los Angeles 1937-1941, Angel City Press. Los Angeles, CA.
As the Depression deepened and the dark dust storms ravaged the towns of the Southwest, Woody Guthrie learned to ride the rails and interact with migrant workers, the homeless, and hoboes. He arrived in Los Angeles in 1937 penniless and without a job or a place to live. As Woody wrote in 1939, "Skid Row is generally where you land when you first hit Los Angeles on a freight train a'blowin' out of the Dustbowl". During his years in Los Angeles from 1937 to 1941 Woody spent a lot of time on L.A.'s Skid Row. He often worked there, frequently performing his songs for tips and drinks in the bars, coffee shops, and street corners...
Homeless Youth Alliance. n.d. Through Our Eyes. San Francisco.
Hoover, Erin. 1996. Police Question Suspect in Boxcar Slayings, The Oregonian, March 7, B/1.
A report on the investigation of Robert Joseph Silveria (aka "Sidetrack"), suspected of killing two men found in boxcars in Oregon. His involvement in homicides in Arizona, California, Kansas, Montana, Texas and Utah is also mentioned.
Hopkins, Bobb "Santa Fe 'Bo". 1988. Hobo Travel Guide, Los Angeles: National Hobo Association.
An introduction to freight hopping and the National Hobo Association.
How Baltimore Banished Tramps, Forum, pp. 497-504. An early article on the tramp problem and the in-vogue remedies of the day.
How to Tell a Hobo from a Mission Stiff, Survey, March, 21, 1914, p. 781.
NEW→ Houlgrave, Bryon S. 2004. Life on the Open Rails, for the Charles City IA Press.
NEW→ Howe, Ken. 1996. American Nomads, for the San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 14.
Hubbard, Elbert. 1893. Rights of Tramps, Arena, pp. 593-600.
NEW→ Hultkrans, Andrew. 2005. Photo Bill's search for Bozo Texino, for Stim.
Hultkrans, Andrew. 1998. Photo Bill's search for Bozo Texino, from the StimWebsite
Hungry Wolf, Adolf and Okan. 1985. Canadian Railway Stories: 100 Years of History and Lore, Skookumchuck, B.C.: Good Medicine Books.
Hunt, Max. 2016. Off the beaten track: Freight trains, freedom and the traveling culture, Mountain Xpress Weekly Newspaper. Asheville, NC. Pubished July 7, 2016. Available online at "mountainx.com/news/off-the-beaten-track-freight-trains-freedom-and-the-traveling-culture".
Local weekly newspaper in Asheville, North Carolina interviews Brody Hunt and others about modern train riding culture, has some local references. It is a relatively in-depth and thoughtful article for a newspaper.
Hurd, Thacher. 1980. Hobo Dog, Scholastic Book Services. New York.
A kid's color illustrated book about the adventures of a dog named Hobo who loves junkyards and riding freight trains! Nice drawings, highly recommended. There are at least two other later books in the Hobo Dog series, I don't know if there is as much train riding in those books as in this original one though.
Hurt, R. Douglas. 1981. The Dust Bowl: An Agricultural and Social History, Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 214 pages. Includes 16 leaves of plates, illustrations, maps, index, and bibliography.
NEW→ Huston, Johnny Ray. 2005. Man of Many Marks, for the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
Hutchinson, James Lee. 2016. On Leatherwood Creek, Authorhouse.
A self-published memoir of life during the Great Depression and up to World War II. A wide ranging book with I'm guessing just a few secondhand accounts of hoboing.
Hyde, James. 1983. Memoirs of a Teenage Hobo in the Thirties, Rev edition, Carlton Press.
International Welfare Brotherhood Association. circa 1927-29. The Hobo in Song and Poetry: The most complete Hobo Song Book every issued. Containing all the old favorites, IWBA, Cincinnati. 24 pages.
Printed on newsprint, this book was published by the IWBA, James Ead How's organization which at the time was also publishing the original "Hobo News" and running "Hobo Colleges" in some cities. Undated but it references reprinting a 1926 song and the IWBA folded, more or less, in 1930 so it must date from the late 1920s. Note: In 2021 the BBCRC received the donation of an original copy of this now extremely rare publication once owned by Utah Phillips. Hard copies will be in the library and pdfs available on request.
Industrial Workers of the World. 1909. Songs of the IWW (to fan the flames of discontent) (aka the "Little Red Songbook"). IWW, Chicago. 38th edition updated and reprinted by the IWW in May, 2010.
NEW→ Irvine, Martha. 1999. Hobos hurt over serial-killer image, for the Associated Press.
NEW→ Irwin, Dave. 1999. Loco Motives, for the Phoenix AZ New Times.
Irwin, Dave. 1999. Loco Motives, Phoenix New Times, January 14.
An in-depth look at the annual New Year's gathering of the "Combat Railfans" at their trackside Sonoran Desert campsite during a period when the Phoenix based group was attracting a large and diverse group of people from the hobo community. Available online.
NEW→ Irwin, Dave. 1998. Train Gang, for the Tucson AZ Weekly.
Irwin, Godfrey. 1930. The American Tramp and Underworld Slang, New York: Sears Publishing Company Co. Reprinted in 1931 as American Tramp and Underworld Slang; Words and Phrases used by Hoboes, Tramps, Migratory Workers and Those on the Fringes of Society, With Their Uses and Origins, with a Number of Tramp Songs, Edited, with Essays on the Slang and the Songs, by Godfrey Irwin. With a Terminal Essay on American slang in its Relation to English Thieves' Slang, by Eric Partridge, London: E. Partridge, Ltd. at the Scholartis Press, 263 pages.
Irwin, Will. 1914. The Floating Laborer, Saturday Evening Post, May 9.
Iverson, Wayne. 2010. Hobo Sapien, Robert D. Reed, Publishers, Bandon, OR.
About 120 pp., this is a series of parables, or short hobo stories with a moral at the end of each. Iverson dropped out of college and spent a number of years bumming around as well as becoming a disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda and spending seven years in a monastery. The hoboing stories are short and sometimes interesting, and you can easily skip the homilies as they are all at the end of each story. There were a few details mentioned that I hadn't known about, and no glaring mistakes or misinformation. He does begin the book with a warning "DO NOT HOP FREIGHT TRAINS", which seems just a little hypocritical since he seems to enjoy it so much himself.
NEW→ Jackson, Daniel. 2004. Young hobos said to be seeking escape, for the Scripps Howard News Service.
Jackson, Jason. 1957. Overland Slim the Maverick; The Seven Ages of the Eventful Life of a Genuine American Hobo, New York: Greenwich Book Publishers, 99 pages.
Jacobsen, Kurt. 1994. Hail the Noble Movie Savage, The Guardian, June 9, p. 9.
Jacobsen discussed the depiction of homeless people in modern films, with historical emphasis, citing the origins of this phenomenon as Charlie Chaplin's tramp and the vicious hobo in Jean Renoir's film "Boudu Saved from Drowning".
Jacobson, G.D. 1995. Four on a Flatcar, Print Shop at Bend in the River, Everett WA.
A nice memoir of riding in the late 40s, a period not well documented.
James, Joseph. 2002. In the Path of a Hobo, Xlibris Corporation.
Jefferson, David J. 1992. Weekend Hobos Try to Recapture a Romantic Past, Wall Street Journal, January 28, A/1.
A feature about the "Beverly Hills 'Bos" who live in and around Beverly Hills, CA. Some members ride the rails in their spare time, while others gather to hear and share stories about hobo life. [See Madigan1992; it is a response to this article. Madigan was the safety inspector for the Federal Railroad Administration].
Jenkins, Leo. 2016. First Train Out of Denver, Blackside Publishing
Novel with some train riding.
Jodrey, Bill. 2002. Diary of a Hobo, Xlibris Corporation.
Johanningsmeier, Edward P. 1994. Forging American Communism: the Life of William Z. Foster.
Jones, David. 1993. Let the Hobo Myth Die: Debunking a Popular Image, Trains Magazine, 53/3: 72.
Jones, a college professor and historic railroad hobbyist, discouraged the glorification of hobo life because it serves as an incorrect role model which youths could emulate. Secondly, the popular image does not consider the harsh reality of the hobo way of life.
Jones, G.C. 1985. Growing up Hard in Harlan County, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky.
Jury, Mark. 1979. The Last American Romantic, Ambassador, March, pp. 46-52.
Kaldheim, Peter. 2019. "Personal Story: The Day I Hopped a Freight Train", The New Statesman, August 14. www.newstatesman.com/world/north-america/2019/08/personal-story-day-i-hopped-freight-train.
A short story in a British journal of how a first freight train trip was a part of the author's journey of rebuilding his life.
Kaplan, Steve. 1988. Hallelujah, I'm a Bum, Travel Holiday, November, p. 96.
Karr, Larisa and Roan Farb. 2015(?). "When you see bum trash and tags everywhere, that's where you sit and wait for the train: A look inside the eternal American train kids culture". Asheville Grit. Asheville, NC. Undated. Online at ashevillegrit.com/when-you-see-bum-trash-and-tags-everywhere-%E2%80%99s-where-you-sit-and-wait-train%E2%80%9D-look-inside-eternal.
The events of the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa are discussed: the Hobo King and Queen Elections, parade, art fairs, carnival rides, games, races, music, poetry and story-telling, flea markets, and more. Historical facts about attendance and the hoboes' sleeping accommodations are also mentioned (empty boxcars on the outskirts of town).
Kazarian, John. 1933. The Starvation Army, The Nation, April 12-26.
Keeley, Bo. Executive Hobo: Riding the American Dream.
---. 2015. Hobo Moments: 30 Years of Pictures. Service Press.
A self-published memoir of train hopping adventures and various memorabilia including a hobo glossary and bibliography. Some cool shots of gringo riding in Mexico before it became popular.
Keeley, Steve, ed. 1986. Hobo Life in America: Training Manual, Lansing, MI: Lansing Community College. An instructional text on the tradition of riding freight trains.
Kelly, Edmond. The Elimination of the Tramp.
Kelly, Jessie. 1912. The Tramps Convention: An Entertainment in One Scene, Boston.
Kemp, Harry. 1911. The Lure of the Tramp, Independent, June 8, pp. 1270-71.
---. 1914. The Cry of Youth, New York: Mitchell, Kennerly. Available online at "archive.org/details/cryyouth00kempgoog".
---. 1920. Chanteys and Ballads, New York: Brentano's.
---. 1922. Tramping on Life, New York: Boni and Liveright. Reprinted 1927, Garden City, NY: Garden City Publishing Co. Availabile online at "archive.org/details/trampingonlifea01kempgoog".
---. 1923. The Hobo, New Republic, August 22, pp. 365-66.
Kennedy, Bart. 1908. A Tramp's Philosophy, John Long, 317 pp.
Kenny, Raymond. 1911. The Hobo Convention, Survey, September, 23, pp. 862-864.
A report on The Hobo Convention (officially The Convention of the Unemployed" organized by James Eads How held in Washington, D.C. September 1-6, 1911, and the fifty or so hoboes that attended.
Kerouac, Jack. 1958. The Dharma Bums, New York: Viking Press.
---. 1955. On the Road, New York: The Viking Press.
---. 1960. The Vanishing American Hobo, Holiday, March, p.60.
---. 1960. Lonesome Traveler, New York: McGraw-Hill. Reprinted 1989, New Evergreen edition, New York: Grove Press, copyright 1988, 183 pages.
Kerr, James Lennox. 1930. Backdoor Guest, Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., New York, Arno Press, 1974.
A hard-to-find account of an Scottish visitor to the US, tramping around in the late 1920s, hitchhiking, riding freight trains, working on a Great Lakes steamer and camping out with other hobos.
Kershaw, Alex. 2013. Riding the Rails, self-published blog, posted August 13, 2013. However it appears to have been written in the late 1990s and may have been published elsewhere at that time. Available at alexkershawauthor.com/?p=182.
Ketcham, Christopher. 2002. Hoboes from Hell, Stuff, July edition.
Klein, Joe. 1980. Woody Guthrie: A Life, New York, Random House. 512 pages.
Klein, Nicholas. 1926. Hobo Lingo, American Speech, September, pp. 650-53.
A brief discussion of the origins of the word hobo (advocating the hoe-boy theory) with a listing of over two hundred hobo terms and phrases.
Knibbs, Henry. 1914. Songs of the Outlands: Ballads of the Hoboes and Other Verses, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
---. 1930. Songs of the Lost Frontier, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Kornbluh, Joyce L., editor. 1964. Rebel Voices: An I. W. W. Anthology, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Reprinted 1968, Ann Arbor Paperback Series, 419 pages. Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company, Chicago. 1998.
Includes illustrations, cartoons, photographs, lyrics, notes, and a glossary of terms and phrases of the migratory worker, (including hobo, lumberjack and miner terms), and bibliography. Korbluh, the former executive secretary of the AFL-CIO Joint Minimum Wage Committee, has provided a comprehensive history of the I.W.W. as told by the Wobblies themselves. It is a story of their strikes, free-speech fights, trials, and riots, of militancy and martyrdom, of sacrifices and suppression, of epic struggles for One Big Union and a Cooperative Commonwealth which would be free class and nationality distinctions [preface]. Kornbluh has accomplished this by presenting a collection of articles, stories, cartoons, lyrics, and photographs from the Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan Library. Chapter Three, "Riding the Rails: I.W.W. Itinerants", devotes particular attention to hoboes [pages 65-93].
NEW→ Kotler, Steven. 1999. Damn Track, for Maxim.
Kotler, Steven. 1999. Damn Track, Maxim, June edition
Krakauer, Jon. 1996. Into the Wild, New York: Anchor Books.
Krist, Gary. 2007. The White Cascade — the Great Northern Railway Disaster and America's Deadliest Avalanche, Henry Holt & Co., N.Y., 315 pp.
Kromer, Tom. 1986. Waiting for Nothing and Other Writings, edited by Casciato, Arthur, Athens: The University of Georgia Press.
---. 1935. Waiting for Nothing, New York: Hill & Wang. Reprinted 1968, American Century Series AC89, 187 pages.
Kuhn, M. 1915. The Hobo Problem and an Immediate Practical Solution, St. Louis.
This was a pamphlet referenced in Nel Anderson's "The Hobo" and also advertised in the Hobo News (May, 2015). From the pamphet: "The hobo is a seasonal, transient, migratory worker of either sex. Being a seasonal worker he is necessarily idle much of the time; being transient, he is necessarily homeless. He is detached from the soil and the fireside. By the nature of his work and not by his own will, he is precluded from establishing a home and rearing a family. Sex, poverty, habits and degree of skill have nothing whatever to do with classifying individuals as hobos; the character of his work does that. There are individuals not hobos who pose as such. They are enabled to do this for two reasons; first, hobos have no organization by which they can expose the impostor; second, the frauds are encouraged and made possible by organized and private charity. The hobo class, therefore, is unable to rid itself of this extremely undesirable element. With organization it can and will be done even if charity, which is strongly opposed by the hobo class, is not abolished."
Kusmer, Kenneth. 2002. Down and Out, On the Road: The Homeless in American History, New York: Oxford University Press, 332 pp.
Although containing a lot more than most people would ever want to know, I particularly like his analysis of how the historical changes in American industry from the colonial era into the 19th century affected the way tramps and hobos were "created" and perceived by both urban and rural Americans. Changes in the attitudes of railroad workers towards hobos were also significant as the working conditions and experiences of panics (economic depressions) became part of the historical memory. There is a lot of content discussing hobo jungles, skid row areas of cities, and related sociological data that is less than riveting reading, but the author quotes extensively from many very interesting sources.
Kussmaul, Allen. 2009. Life on the Bum in the Early 30s.
Ladies of the Road, Literary Digest, August 13, 1932, p. 33.
Lafot, E. 1950. Hobo Travels and Hitchhiking in 1885-1886.
Lane, Tim. 2008. Abandoned Cars, Fantagraphics Press. Seattle.
A collection of comics which includes a nice section featuring a guy catching out of Minneapolis' Northtown yard. It has a lot of other stuff in it, mostly the seedy underbelly of America with a very depressing noir tone, but I liked the freight hopping section.
Larsen, Nancy Carol. 1999. The Rail Riter, Pasco, WA. 101 pages.
NEW→ Larson, Frederic. 2005. Riding the Cyber-Rails, for 24 Hours in Cyberspace.
Latham, Frank. 1971. The Panic of 1893, School & Library Binding.
Laubach, Charles. 1916. Why there are Vagrants, New York: Columbia University Press.
Laurent, Camille Pierre. The Schoolboys and the Hobo: Black American Culture Between Orality and Literacy.
Laws, Wallace. 1910. Life of a Tramp, Chicago: MA Donohue.
Lawson, Archie. 1980. Freight Trains West, Sacramento: Lucas Publishers.
Leavitt, Samuel. 1886. The Tramps and the Law, Forum, pp. 190-200.
LeCroy, Walter. 2015. Undercover Hobo, Recondite Press, Ralls, TX.
A fictional tale of an former Border Patrol agent, now a private investigator, riding the rails in search of a runaway teenager. Poorly written and the author infuses the book with his anti-immigrant far-right wing views making for a rather unpleasant read.
NEW→ LeDuff, Charlie. 2002. Under the Bridge, a Man of Means by No Means, for the New York Times.
Leeflang, Gerard. 1984. American Travels of a Dutch Hobo, 1923-1926, Ames: Iowa State University Press, 162 pages.
A memoir, illustrated by the author with interesting pen and ink line drawings. It only mentions one trip by freight, but has some interesting accounts of driving a taxi in Chicago during prohibition.
Leen, Daniel. 1979. The Freighthopper's Manual for North America: Hoboing in the 1980s, Santa Barbara: Capra Press.
A compact and useful book, in the 1980s, before the Basic Guide, this was the only comprehensive written guide on train riding available and was influential for those who began riding during this period. Lots of photos and anecdotes.
---. 2012. The Rolling of the Earth: The Letters of Steve Hoyt, Ecodesigns Northwest Publishers, Seattle, 224 pp.
A portrait of a young man, whose life was cut short at an early age, getting the education of the open road: hitch hiking and riding freight trains across America, fishing in Alaska, working on local farms, climbing mountains in Washington's rugged North Cascades, and sailing the waters of Puget Sound. A personal history of a pivotal period in America, as told through his letters and the memories of his friends.
---. 1992. The Freight Hopper's Manual for North America: Hoboing In The 21st Century, Seattle: Ecodesigns Northwest Publishers, 112 pages.
A revised edition for the 21st Century. Leen stated "Because the original Freighthopper's Manual deals with concepts, I have left the body of the original text unchanged, merely adding some philosophical musings and technical updates in this afterward (p.95). [see Welty 1994].
Lennon, John. 2014. Boxcar Politics: The Hobo in U.S. Culture and Literature, 1869-1956, University of Massachusetts Press. Amherst, MA. 232p. Available online at "www.umass.edu/umpress/title/boxcar-politics".
---. 2004. Ridin' the Rails: The Place of the Passenger and the Space of the Hobo, Journal of American Popular Culture, Vol. 3, Issue 2
Lescohier, Don. 1920. Harvest Labor Problems in the Wheat Belt, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bulletin No. 1020, Washington D.C., Government Printing Office.
---. 1923. Harvesters and Hoboes in the Wheat Fields, Survey, August 1, pp. 482-487.
Lever, Charles (the Tilbury Tramp). 1845. Tales of the Trains, W.S. Orr, London.
Levinson, David & Ross, M., Eds. 2007. Homelessness Handbook, Berkshire Publishing Group, Massachusetts.
"Briefly covers hobo literature, songs and writings from the Progressive Era through the Great Depression, particularly on sidebars on pages 12 through 21. These sidebars provide brief glimpses into hobo culture and will certainly entice readers to continue their research". (Fonorow, 2012). Includes short bibliography.
Levy, Dan. 1991. Hoboes Meet to Trade Tales of Riding the Rails, San Francisco Chronicle, January 17, A/2.
Lewarne, Charles P. 1973. "On the Wobbly Train to Fresno", Labor History, Vol. 14, No. 2. Spring.
An account of the 1911 journey by freight train of 150 IWW members from Portland south, intending to join a IWW free-speech fight in Fresno, California. On the way they have various adventures, encountering support from many townspeople and a mixed reaction from the police and some railroad officials.
Lewis, Orlando, F. 1907. Vagrancy in the United States, Conference of Charities and Corrections, National Proceedings, pp. 52-77.
---. 1907. Vagrants and the Railroad, North American, July, 19, pp. 603-13.
---. 1908. The American Tramp, Atlantic Monthly, June, pp. 744-53.
---. 1909. Concerning Vagrancy, Charities, January 23, pp. 713-17
---. 1909. Railway Vagrancy, Charities, January 23, pp. 713-717.
L'Hostis, Jiem. 2011. Outside the Box: Boxcar Art in North America (L'Art Des Hobos Et Des Cheminots En Amerique Du Nord), Montreal.
An exploration of boxcar art and monikers by Boxcar Jiem, a French photographer who traveled around the US and Canada in 2010 and then published this zine-style but very substantial book of color photographs. Text/captions are in both French and English. A well done publication but was done as a very limited edition making it difficult to find. A possible contact for the author should you want to track one down is "email@example.com".
Library of Congress, Music Division, Archive of Folk Song. 1983. A Selected Bibliography on Hoboes and Their Folklore With Library of Congress Call Numbers, Washington, D.C.: The Archive, 3 pages.
Limey Pete. 2008. The Black Book of Freight Train Riding.
Lindsay, Vachel, N. 1912. Rules of the Road, American Magazine, May, pp.54-59.
---. 1916. A Handy Guide for Beggars, Especially Those of The Poetic Fraternity; Being Sundry Explorations, Made While Afoot and Penniless in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. These Adventures Convey and Illustrate the Rules of Beggary for Poets and Some Others, New York and Boston: The Macmillan Company, 205 pages. Availabile online at "archive.org/details/handyguideforbeg017659mbp".
Linkletter, Art. 1980. I Didn't Do It Alone, Ottawa, Ill.: Caroline House Publishers.
Linnemeir, John. 2008. How an Average Man Lived an Adventurous Life, Authorhouse: Bloomington, IN. 324p.
Only one of the many vignettes is about riding trains, with a long series of little blurbs here and there. Most are about hitchhiking across the Sahara (repeatedly) or boats in India or hiking in the Himalayas or opium dens in Laos after being drafted. It's very fantastical, entertaining and charming.
Lipton, Dean. 1991. Memoirs of a Bindle Stiff, San Francisco Chronicle, August 7, A/15.
Littlejohn, Duffy. 1993. Hopping Freight Trains in America, Los Osos, CA: Sand River Press, 354 pages. Includes 70 photos, index, and bibliography.
---. 2002. Lonesome Whistle, Zephyr Rhoades Press, Silver City, NM.
Livingston, Leon Ray (aka "A No. 1")
Note: "A No. 1", aka Leon Ray Livingston, was a famous hobo/tramp in the early 1900s who self-published 12 books on tramp life (listed below) between 1910 and 1921. By one account, his books "brought attention not only to the state of the homeless in America, but also to the excitement and benefits of travelling the country for amusement". He was been recognized as an early "King of the Hobos" whose motto, reprinted on his book covers, states, "The Famous Tramp Who Traveled 500,000 miles for $$7.61". Some of his fame relates to his abilities at self-promotion but he certainly did ride extensively, including with Jack London. Many of his books were promoted as exposing the downfalls of tramp life and as meant to dissuade young people from hitting the rails. However, much as the film Wild Boys of the Road was later to do, the effect was often the opposite.
He has been credited with popularizing (or originating) the notion that hobos communicate by a system of hobo signs left in towns through which they travel (little evidence exists that this ever became a widespread practice). Some hobo historians have derided Livingston for sensationalizing hobo life for the sake of book sales. His books sanitize hobo life (they were marketed as "moral" and as not including anything that would be offensive to women or children). Still, they are widely considered to be classics and represent a vast trove of unique material and are engaging reads. Original editions are highly sought after to this day and include many unique illustrations. In order of publication, the books are listed below. At this point we have no reviews of individual books but are open to including those in the future.
---. 1910. Life and Adventures of A-No. 1: America's Most Celebrated Tramp, A-No. 1 Publishing Company, Erie, PA. Available online.
---. 1911. Hobo Camp Fire Tales, Erie, PA: A-No. 1 Publishing Co. Erie, PA.
---. 1912. The Curse of Tramp Life, A-No. 1 Publishing Company, Erie, PA. Available online.
---. 1913. The Trail of the Tramp, A-No. 1 Publishing Company, Cambridge Springs, PA.
---. 1914. The Adventures of a Female Tramp, A-No. 1 Publishing Co. Erie, PA.
---. 1914. The Ways of the Hobo, A-No. 1 Publishing Co., Erie, PA.
---. 1916. The Snare of the Road, A-No. 1 Publishing Co. Erie, PA.
---. 1917. From Coast to Coast with Jack London, A-No. 1 Publishing Co. Erie, PA. Reprinted 1969, Grand Rapids, MI: Black Letter Press. Available online.
The year after the death of author Jack London, Livingston published a memoir in which he described their cross-country adventures together during the late 19th century. According to Livingston, the "keen and penetrating" 18-year-old London had tracked him down and was "faithfully acting the role of the dog who adopted his master". The book became the basis for the 1973 movie Emperor of the North.
---. 1918. Mother Delcassee of the hobos: And other stories, A-No. 1 Publishing Co. Erie, PA.
---. 1919. The Wife I Won, A-No. 1 Publishing Co. Erie, PA.
---. 1920. Traveling with Tramps, A-No. 1 Publishing Co., Erie, PA.
---. 1921. Here and There with A-No. 1, America's Most Famous Tramp, A-No. 1 Publishing Co. Erie, PA. Available online.
Loane, M. 1991. A Woman Supertramp, Living Age, January, 28, pp. 253-255.
Logan, Bob. 1994. More Hungry Boys, Commonwealth, February 25, p. 31.
Logan recalled his leaving home at the age of 16 in 1933 and leading the life of a hobo for 8 months before deciding to return home.
Lomax, Alan. 1960. The Folk Songs of North America In the English Language, Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company Incorporated, 623 pages with illustrations. Reprinted in 1975 by Dolphin Books.
Includes many hobo and railroad songs
London, Jack. 1916. Rods and Gunnels, Bookman, October, pp. 176-79.
---. 1916. 1905. War of the Classes, New York: Macmillan. Reprinted 1970, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Literature House, 278 pages. Available online at "london.sonoma.edu/writings/WarOfTheClasses/".
---. 1916. 1907. Hoboes That Pass in the Nights, The Cosmopolitan, December, pp. 190-97.
---. 1916. 1907. The Road, New York: The MacMillan Company. Available online at "london.sonoma.edu/Writings/TheRoad/".
---. 1916. 1908. Adventures With the Police, The Cosmopolitan, March, pp. 417-23.
---. 1916. 1979. Jack London on the Road: The Tramp Diary and Other Hobo Writings, edited by Richard W. Etulain, Utah State University Press.
NEW→ Longley, K.J. 2003. Down the Track, for the North Little Rock AR Times.
Lovald, Keith Arthur. 1963. From Hobohemia to Skid Row: The Changing Community of the Homeless Man, Ph.D dissertation, University of Minnesota.
Love, Edmund. 1957. Subways Are for Sleeping, New York: Harcourt, Brace, 186 pages.
Lummis, Charles Fletcher. 1892. A Tramp Across the Continent, New York: C. Scribner. Reprinted 1906, C. Scribner's Sons, 270 pages. Available online at "archive.org/details/contitrampacross00lummrich".
NEW→ Lynch, John. 2003. Train hoppers' adventure ends in arrest, for the Longview TX News-Journal.
Lynn, Ethel. 1917. The Adventures of a Woman Hobo, New York: George H. Doran Company, 296 pages. Available online at "archive.org/details/adventuresawoma00lynngoog".
An autobiographical account of the experience of the author and her husband in traveling by bicycle from Chicago to California.
MacGregor, Jeff. 2019. The Last of the Great American Hobos, Smithsonian, Vol. 50, No. 2. May.
A feature article with color photographs based on the author's visit to the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa in 2018.
Mack, Josh. 2011. The Hobo Handbook: A Field Guide to Living by Your Own Rules, Adams Media, Avon, MA.
Not particularly rail-oriented, it has a lot of general information on subjects such as camping out, edible wild plants, first aid, etc. (much of which that can be found elsewhere in more detail). Still, it has a lot of good advice for the novice who wants to hit the road, and is probably the only such handbook in print. Some of the information includes historical sidebars about figures such as James Michener, Robert Mitchum, Merle Haggard, and Jack Dempsey, interesting but not terribly useful except as inspirational stories. The bibliography is pretty lame, including Eddy Joe Cotton's book next to Jack Black's You Can't Win. I got the impression that this guy hasn't got a lot of miles under his belt.
Mackensie, Kenneth. 1939. Living Rough, Johnathan Cape, 288 pp.
Madigan, Susan. 1992. Throw the Bums Out. Don't Romanticize 'Em, Wall Street Journal, February 24, A/15.
As the railroad safety inspector for the Federal Railroad Administration, Madigan responded to the January 28, 1992 article written by David Jefferson [see Jefferson 1992] wherein the life and exploits of hoboes were glorified. She condemned the article for complicating efforts to promote and maintain railroad safety.
Maggart, Gerald. Hobohemia During the Depression, University of Missouri Dissertation, 1932.
Maharidge, Dale. 1985. Journey to Nowhere: the Saga of the New Underclass, Garden City, N.Y.: Dial Press, 192 pages. Includes illustrations, and photographs by Michael Williamson.
---. 1993. "The Last of the Old-Time Hoboes", The Nation, August 9/16, pp. 165-168.
The views of seventy-six year old Depression-era hobo Montana Blackie on hobo culture, steam vs. diesel locomotion, and mainstream society are provided.
---. 1993. The Last Great American Hobo, Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 278 pages. Includes illustrations, photographs by Michael Williamson, and index.
---. 2012. Someplace Like America: Tales From the New Great Depression, University of California Press, Berkeley, 256p. Photographs by Michael Williamson.
Thirty years later this book revisits some of the same people highlighted in the authors' The Last Great American Hobo, drawing parallels and links between the recession of the early 1980s and the Great Recession that began in 2008.
Mainer, M. L. and M.E. Mann. Me and Hobo Bill, (memoir)
Mallery, James Lynn. 1999. From a dangerous to a dependent and defective group of men: Social policy, urban space, and the masculinity of hoboes in San Francisco, 1849-1917, Dissertation: General University Microfilms.
Mansfield, Drummond. 1987. Memories of the Road, American History Illustrated, February, p. 34-41.
Mansfield described his experiences as a hobo during the Great Depression. Information is given about how hoboes traveled (riding on the tops of boxcars or inside empty ones) and where and how they camped (in jungles at the edges of railroad town). Distinctions of different types of hoboes are provided: some were migrant workers and were sometimes preyed upon by yeggs (hobo criminals who typically raided migrant camps around payroll time), and the hoboes that spent most of their lives on the rails and took to walking when they got too old to catch trains ("old airedales"). Mansfiled discussed the dangers and hardships of hobo life and the reasons why many paid this price for the freedom to roam.
NEW→ Marley, Patrick. 2001. The Other Side of This Life, for the Alternative Press Review, Volume 6, Number 1, Spring.
Eight page magazine article describing the lives of young punk train-riders.
Marrin, Albert. 2009. Years of Dust: The Story of the Dust Bowl, Penguin Group, New York.
An award-winning recounting of the depression-era dust bowl, the Okie refugees and their exodus to California. Includes lots of photos, including some good ones that have also been published elsewhere by Dorothea Lange. Some description of migrants, hoboing, and Woody Guthrie.
Marsh, Benjamin. 1903-4. Causes of Vagrancy and Methods of Eradication, Annals of the American Academy of Political Science, pp. 445-46.
Marshall, Virginia. 2017. "How Hobo Nostalgia Inspired the 'Boxcar Children' Book Series", Atlas Obscura, June 16. www.atlasobscura.com/articles/boxcar-children-hobo-culture.
www.atlasobscura.com/categories/childrens-literature-week A short article describing how the author of "The Boxcar Children" series was influenced by 1920s hobo culture. And, interestingly, how the later 1942 version of the first book in the series is a sanitized simpler version of the original 1924 edition — which had included a drunk father and, apparently, more references to unseemly tramp behavior.
Martinez, Al. 1991. King of the Road, Los Angeles Times, March 14, B/2.
Martinez commented on his experience at the monthly meeting of the Los Angeles-based National Hobo Association at the Roadhouse Restaurant in Beverly Hills CA.
Martinez, Oscar. 2013. The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail, Verso, London 224p.
Martinez, a writer from El Salvador, spent two years riding the rails in Mexico with Central American migrants documenting their travels north towards the US border and their run-ins with Mexican drug cartel members — the narcotraficantes.
Massillon Museum. 2018. Moniker — Identity Lost and Found. Massillon, Ohio.
Formally a "catalogue" of the 2018 moniker art show of the same name, this is a hard cover 144 page book with many color and black and white photographs. A well done celebration of historical and modern-day moniker and railroad culture.
Mathers, Michael. 1973. Riding the Rails, Boston: Gambit, 136 pages with illustrations.
The works of Kerouac and London inspired Mathers to take to riding the rails and ultimately the publication of this photographic essay about contemporary hobo life. Mathers presents the words of various hoboes with brief contextualization. The photographs were all taken in the field when the respective dialogue took place.
Maxwell, Cliff. 1929. Lady Vagabonds, Scribner's Magazine, March, pp. 88-92.
---. 1939. Daughters of the Road, Railroad Magazine, September, pp. 49-51.
Mayer, Cynthia. 1993. New Breed of Hobo Rides for Sheer Joy and Excitement, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Thursday, May 13, D/13; also published as Today's Hobos Ride in Style, Chicago Tribune, Monday May 17, p.8; and Yuppies Hitch Ride as Weekend Hobos with Credit Cards Aboard, Atlanta Constitution, Sunday, May 23, D/10.
Maynard, Lawrence, et al. 1929. Stories of Tramp Life, Haldeman-Julius Co., Girard, Kansas, (#1412 in the little blue book series)
McCook, John. A Tramp Consensus and its Revelations, Forum 15 1893: 753-61.
---. Leaves from the Diary of a Tramp III, The Independent 1902: 3009-13.
---. Leaves from the Diary of a Tramp IV, The Independent LIV, no. 2770 1902: 23-8.
---. Leaves from the Diary of a Tramp VI, The Independent LIV, no.2775 1902: 332-7.
---. Some New Phases of The Tramp Problem, The Charities Review, Vol 1 no.8 355-364.
McGuckin, Henry E. 1987. Memoirs of a Wobbly, Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company. Chicago.
McIntyre, Iain. 2018. On the Fly!: Hobo Literature and Songs, 1879-1941
The first anthology of its kind, On The Fly! collects dozens of stories, poems, songs, stories, and articles produced by hoboes to create an insider history of the subculture's rise and fall. Adrenaline-charged tales of train hopping, scams, and political agitation are combined with humorous and satirical songs, razor sharp reportage and unique insights into the lives of the women and men who crisscrossed America in search of survival and adventure. With little of the original memoirs, literature, and verse remaining in print, this collection, aided by a glossary of hobo vernacular and numerous illustrations and photos, provides a comprehensive and entertaining guide to the life and times of a uniquely American icon.
McLean, Gordon. Riding on Top: Memoirs of a Modest Master Hobo, 168 pp. and available from Trafford Publishing ("firstname.lastname@example.org") or (888) 232-4444.
Some descriptions of the Kettle Valley line, now abandoned, and other scenic routes in W. Canada. Some good stories about outsmarting the bulls, too.
McMurry, Donald. 1929. Coxey's Army, Seattle: University of Washington Press, reprinted in 1968.
McPherson, James and Miller Williams editors. 1976. Railroad: Trains and Train People in American Culture, New York: Random House.
McWilliams, Carey. 1969. Farmers in the Field, Hamden, CT: Archon.
McWilliams, Gary. 2012. Wanderlusting: Pathways to Paradox, Bellingham: Great Story Book Publishing..
Meader-McCausland, Heather and Adam Le Belle. Flowers in the Sidewalk.
Means, E. The Youngest Hobo: a Story of Survival.
Meckfessel, Shon. 2006. Suffled How It Gush: A North American Anarchist in the Balkans, Portland: Eberhardt Press.
Mellin, Bob. 1996. Railbike: Cycling on Abandoned Railroads, San Anselmno, CA: Balboa Press.
Melone, J. Nature: Human and Real, Chicago, IL: privately published.
Meredith, Mamie. 1932. Waddies and Hoboes of the Old West, American Speech, April, pp. 257-60.
Meriwether, Lee. 1889. The Tramp at Home, New York: Harper & Brothers, 296 pages. Available online at "archive.org/details/athometramp00meririch".
NEW→ Metz, Craig. 2004. Jumping Someone Else's Train, for Metro Santa Cruz.
Metzger, Wendell. 1994. Hobo Story, Manhattan Beach, CA: Softspin Press, 108 pages. Contact: Softspin Press, Box 277, Manhattan Beach, CA 90267-0277.
A fictionalized account of a trip around the US in 1940.
Michell, Jim. 1990. A Nickel for Bread, Prairie Grove Books
Milburn, George. The Hobo's Hornbook: A Repertory for a Gutter Jongleur, New York: Ives Washburn.
---. 1930a. Hobos and Harlots.
---. 1930b. Poesy in the Jungles, American Mercury, May, pp.80-86.
Miles, Dione. 1986. Something in Common — An IWW Bibliography, Detroit: Wayne State University Press.
The definitive bibliography about the I.W.W.
NEW→ Miller, Ellen. 1994. Ax Attack in Freight Car Kills Hobo, Injures Two, Police Say, for the Denver CO Post, April 19, B/4.
A report about how a hobo was killed and two others were injured when they were attacked with an ax by their traveling companions and thrown off the freight train near Parachute, Colorado on April 16.
Miller, Henry. 1991. On the Fringe: The Dispossessed in America, Lexington: Lexington Books, DC Heath & Co. 198 pages.
An historical account of outcasts, misfits, loners, drifters from pre-depression times up though the time the book was written.
Millionaire Hobo is Dead, Christian Century, August 20, 1930, p. 1020.
Minehan, Thomas. 1934. Boy and Girl Tramps of America, New York: Farrar and Rinehart.
---. 1941. Lonesome Road: The Way of Life of a Hobo, Evanston, IL: Row, Peterson & Co.
Mitchell, Jim. 1990. ...a Nickel for Bread, Minnesotta, Prairie Groove Books.
Monkkonen, Eric H. ed. 1984. Walking to Work: Tramps in America 1790-1935, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Mooty, Kyle. 1998. "Keeping Active is Chenowith's Game", Dothan Eagle, March 30. Available at dothaneagle.com/eufaula_tribune/news/keeping-active-is-chenoweth-s-game/article_75099fa0-345a-11e8-8bca-9f24aecc4ece.html.
A short Alabama newspaper article about the life and adventures of a 99-year-old local man, Lee Chenowith, who, among other things, in 1937, hopped on board a freight train to visit a classmate in Chicago, almost 300 miles from home. Hiding behind the coal car and dodging steam all the way, Lee made it to Chicago. From there, he boarded another train to Minneapolis. He would make it to Yellowstone National Park by "bumming" a ride on a bread truck.
Morton, Danelle. 2013. "A World on Fire: Life and Death in a New Orleans Squat", Boston Review, January 1, 2012. Available online at "www.bostonreview.net/danelle-morton-new-orleans-squat-fire".
The story of the December, 2010 warehouse squat fire in New Orleans in which eight punk squatters/train riders (aged 18 to 29) died. The author is the mother of a young woman who was in the scene and knew some of those who died in the fire. A well-written, in-depth, and heartfelt account of the lives of those involved and the events leading up to the fire. BPS.
NEW→ Mosedale, Mike. 2004. The Real Grand Excursion, for the Twin Cities' City Pages.
Mosier, Logan. 2008. The Hobo Diet: East Less, Walk More, and Try Not to Die, Author House. Bloomington, IN.
This is a story of a college grad who flies from his home in Phoenix to Las Vegas with the specific purpose of living on the streets, homeless and without using any savings, for six weeks. The "slumming it" aspect is a bit obnoxious but the author still comes up with some useful insights about the difficulties of surviving on mean urban streets. No train riding involved, some would argue the "hobo" title is thus inaccurate.
Mullen, Jay Cartlon. n.d. Wobbly Walk Through the Siskiyous.
Mullin, Glen Hawthorne. 1923. "Adventures of a Scholar-Tramp", Century Magazine, February/March, pp. 507-15; 735-59.
This is a shorter magazine article that preceded the book by the same name published two years later.
---. 1925. Adventures of a Scholar-Tramp, The Century Company, New York and London. 312 pp.
This is a fine example of a fairly literate writer describing a season of the tramp's life, with a little work at the end in order to return to his hometown of Chicago with some money in his pocket. Mullen spends the first half of his journey with his mentor Frisco, tramping from Chicago to the east coast, and then eventually returns to his starting point in a more roundabout way by himself. The author makes a clear distinction between tramps (who scorn work and strive for excellence in begging their way) and hobos (who work and pay their own way - except when traveling by train).
Mulvey, Deb (editor). 1992. We Had Everything But Money, Greendale, WI: Reiman Publications.
Murphy, Tim. 2015. The Amazing, Possibly True Adventures of Catman Keeley and His Corporate Hoboes, Mother Jones, January 5.
A poorly written account of the antics of Steven Bo Keeley and his controversial business of taking corporate executives out on casual freight train rides. Everyone associated with the article — the writer, the subject Keeley and, most of all, the "clients" come off as shallow self-absorbed yuppies exploiting train riding for their own personal gain. It would be a great misfortune to share a boxcar with any of them. BPS
Nappi, Rebecca. 2011. "Modern train cars have made hobo lifestyle a thing of the past", Spokane Spokesman-Review, August 23
A newspaper article in which the reporter interviews several people, mostly retired rail workers in the Spokane area and cites some old articles on hoboing which appeared in the same paper decades earlier. Of some interest but anyone who has rode the rails in the 21st Century will quickly see her central conclusion — that modern railcar designs now make it impossible for people to ride — is completely off-base.
Nazario, Sonia. 2006. Enrique's Journey. The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with his Mother, New York, Random House, 292 pages.
Nelson, Eugene. 1993. Break Their Haughty Power: Joe Murphy in the Heyday of the Wobblies, ISM Press. San Francisco.
Newhouse, Edward. 1934. You Can't Sleep Here, McCauley Company, New York.
A Depression-era novel in which a newspaper reporter loses his job and soon finds himself evicted, living in "Hoovervilles" and riding freight trains. Very rare but can be read online at babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.$b244096.
Nichols, Larry O. 2011. A Hobo Odyssey, Warren Publishing. Dallas.
A fictional "depression-era tale of two men who take up the hobo life in search of adventure and what happens when these two men's path crosses with that of a schizophrenic serial killer, who is murdering hoboes on the very same route".
Noble, C. W. 1896-7. The Borderland of Trampdom, Popular Science Monthly, pp. 252-58.
Norfolk & Western Magazine, May 15, 1981. Boxcar Artist: The Truth Comes Out, originally by Sally Bixby Defty of the Saint Louis Post Dispatch.
Article about Herbert A. Mayer, who draws the "Herby" moniker.
Norris, Lowell. 1933. America's Homeless Army, Scribner's Magazine, pp. 316-18.
Northwest Tracks. 2008.
Nylander, Towne. 1924. The Migratory Population of the United States, American Journal of Sociology, September, pp. 129-53.
Nylander, Towne. 1925. Tramps and Hoboes, Forum, August, pp. 227-37.
O., Jesse. 1996. American Railroad Hobo: The Travels of Wade Hampton Fullbright, Anderson, NC: Ballington Books.
NEW→ O'Connell, Pamela LiCalzi. 1998. A Different Breed of Freighthoppers, for the New York Times, Aug. 20
O'Donnell, John. 1938. Hobo Lore, New York: WPA, unpublished document in Library of Congress, Washington D.C. Archive of Folk Song.
NEW→ O'Kasick, Jeremy. 2003. Long Gone, for the Twin Cities City Pages.
A review of David Eberhardt and Jack Cahill's film "Long Gone".
Off the Map. 2013. Olympia: CrimethInc. Letters.
Ogburn, Charlton. 1977. Railroads: The Great American Adventure. National Geographic Society, Washington DC. With photographs by James A. Sugar.
A book about many aspects of railroading with lots of the excellent photographs you would expect of a National Geographic publication. Unlike many general railroad photo books, this one includes several pages of photos and text focusing on hobos.
Olds, Elizabeth. 1948. Riding the Rails, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Otten, Allen. 1976. End of the Line, Wall Street Journal, December 26.
Outland, George. 1939. Boy Transiency in America, California: Santa Barbara State College Press.
Overbeck, Charles. 2017. The Tramp Printers, Eberhardt Press, Portland, OR, 2017
History of the profession of tramp printers. It seems evenhanded and pretty comprehensive, though, and brings attention to some people who don't get that much attention in hobo literature, including a chapter specifically on women. Focuses a lot on the politics of the profession.
A collection of articles about boy transients of the 1930s.
Page, Thomas. 1884. Bohemian Life or the Autobiography of a Tramp. Available online at "archive.org/details/bohemianlifeorau00page".
Pager, George. 1949. The Hobo News, New York Folkore Quarterly, Autumn, pp. 228-230.
Paine, Samuel. 1917. Ditching the Hobo, Railroad Man's Magazine, April, pp. 529-45.
Parker, Carlton H. 1915. The California Casual and His Revolt, Quarterly Journal of Economics, November, pp. 110-26.
---. 1920. The Casual Laborer and Other Essays, New York: Harcourt, Brace & Howe, 199 pages. Available online at "archive.org/details/casuallaboreroth00parkiala".
Partch, Harry. 1991. Bitter Music: Collected Journals.
Paul, Louis. 1936. Horse in Arizona, Doubleday Doran and Co., New York.
A novel of the travels of two friends after returning from World War 1. It has been described as, "Perhaps less of a hobo book than a book of many unsuccessful attempts to be hobos".
Paul, Rodman, W. 1988. The Far West and Great Plains in Transition, 1859-1900, New York: Harper and Row.
NEW→ Paulsen, David. 2003. Art or vandalism, railcar graffiti roll across land, for the Wausau WI Daily Herald.
Payne, Roger. 1918. The Hobo Philosopher or The Philosophy of the Natural Life, Fellowship Farm, Puente, CA: published by the author. Available online (read only) at "babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=dul1.ark:/13960/t8ff57k0x;view=1up;seq=1".
---. 1939. Why Work? or, The Coming Age of Leisure and Plenty: Why Work Six Days a Week, When You Can Make Your Living by Working One?, Boston: Meador Publishing Company, 404 pages. Includes portraits and references.
Written in response to requests for fuller facts and figures supporting the authors earlier pamphlet The Hobo Philosopher.
Pease, Howard. 1953. Road Kid: Teen Agers on the Prowl (Originally published as The Dark Adventure). Bantam Books.
Paperback, small section of book is on freight hopping.
Peele, John R. 1907. From North Carolina to Southern California Without a Ticket, and How I Did It, Giving My Exciting Experiences as a Hobo, Tarboro?, NC: Edwards & Broughton Printing Company, 134 pages. Includes illustrations and portraits. Available online at "archive.org/details/fromnorthcarolin00peelrich".
The account includes a lot of historical details of great interest to the hobo historian, and the guy seems to be quite human, although his racist attitudes which were typical of the time crop up on occasion.
Peery, Nelson. 1994. Black Fire: The Making of an American Revolutionary, New Press.
A first hand account of a black hobo in the 1930s and later experiences during WWII.
Phelps, Richard. 1983. Songs of the American Hobo, Journal of Popular Culture, Fall, pp. 1-21.
A well-informed article on the subject — hobo and I.W.W. songs.
Phillips, Rudy Ramblin. 1994. Hobo King Ramblin Rudy, 265 pages.
True stories of experiences of hoboing in from 1925 to 1932. He was elected Hobo King at Britt in 1986.
---. 1979. A Hobo Lives Again. Self-published.
Phillips, Susan. 2019. The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti, Yale University Press. New Haven. Available online at yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300246032/city-beneath.
Among the many genres of urban graffiti covered in this excellent volume are chapters on hobos, railroad workers and punks. Phillips discovered some amazing old hobo monikers up under bridges along the LA River in the course of her research.
---. 2019. "Following the Moniker Trail: Hobo Graffiti and the Strange Tale of Jack London, Skysail and A-No. 1", Boom California, October 17. Available online at boomcalifornia.com/2019/10/17/following-the-moniker-trail-hobo-graffiti-and-the-strange-tale-of-jack-london-skysail-and-a-no-1.
Phillips, U. Utah. 1974. Starlight on the Rails, 96 pp.
Pinkerton, Allan. 1878. Strikers, Communists, Tramps and Detectives, New York: Trows; G. W. Carlton & Co.; Arno Press; and The New York Times. Available online at "archive.org/details/strikerscommunis00pinkuoft".
Platinum Mike. 2016. The Hobo Who Couldn't Catch a Train, with photos by Matt Shulte.
Pointer, Larry. 1977. In Search of Butch Cassidy, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
Pool, Bob. 1990. It's a Jungle Out There, Los Angeles Times, January 24, B/3.
A report on a developer's plans to erect on office building on the restaurant site where The National Hobo Association held its meetings. The effects of this and some member profiles were given.
Poplak, Lorna. 2021. No Fixed Address: The History of Hoboes in Ontario, TVO (a Toronto public broadcaster). August 17. Available online at www.tvo.org/article/no-fixed-address-the-history-of-hoboes-in-ontario.
A short online about the history of hobos in Canada, all likely done through secondary online research but interesting mainly because of the local (Ontario and Toronto) focus.
Porrazzo-Ray, Julianna. 2021. Wisdom and Nonsense: My Adventures as a Train Rider and Hobo Queen, Media Mix Productions.
An auto-biographical account by "Minneapolis Jewel", a friend to many a hobo and long-time key figure at the Britt Hobo Convention. In this book she shares many stores of her train riding, relationships (good and bad) with members of the hobo community, and other aspects of her adventurous life.
Potter, Ed C. (Buzz). 1987. Northern Pacific University: An Anthology of Railroad Hobo Poetry, Nisswa, MN: Bluewater Publishing.
NEW→ Power, Matthew. 2000. Trainhopping, for Blue: The Adventure Lifestyle.
Powers, William F. 1994. The Crusty Life, The Washington Post, January 2, E/2.
Powers discussed the articles in the January 1994 issues of Esquire [see Ferguson 1994] and Texas Monthly, which discussed modern hobo life and life in Mexico City respectively.
Propes, C.B. and S.C. n.d. (2011?). The Hobo Diaries, no publisher, printed in Lexington, KY (a print on demand book).
Poorly written, poorly organized, and all in all a poor excuse for a book, but it does have a few first hand descriptions of panhandling and jails from the 1930s that would be of interest to some readers.
Quinn, Carrot. 2021. The Sunset Route: Freight Trains, Forgiveness and Freedom on the Rails in the American West. Dial Press/Random House, New York (Note: Some of the material in here was originally self-published in "10,000 Miles by Freight Train" which was only available in a Kindle version and has now been withdrawn).
While there are lots of zines and short stories produced by the generation of punk train riders who came of age in the 1990s/early 2000s, there hasn't actually been much in the way of published autobiographical full-on books so far. Whether because most people who were part of that community have put that behind them and lost interest, or perhaps just aren't very good writers, I don't know. But Carrot Quinn is an exception — she's a good writer and followed through on this project over several years. The story alternates between her earlier problematic upbringing, alienation, getting the hell out, drifting around and getting hooked into the punk/anarchist scene, landing in a punk house in Portland and soon getting drawn into the world of freight train riding. While hoboing around is a key recurring theme, this isn't a book primarily about trains. The trains, and the path to freedom they provide, are a big part of a larger journey. She puts a lot of herself out there, more than a lot of writers are probably willing or able to do, which is a big part of what makes this a compelling read.
This looks like it could be an interesting book. Unfortunataely, it is so far only available as an e-book (Kindle).
Quist, Wayne. 2010. God's Angry Man, The Incredible Journey of Private Joe Haan, Dallas: Brown Books Publishing Group, 403 pp.
This one is a biography describing the life of a man who had a very difficult time in childhood, being essentially orphaned at the age of five and indentured into unpaid work on a farm in Minnesota during the 1930s. He left there to bum around the country for a few years, which are described and illustrated with quotations from other people's memoirs and the stories he had related to his family, mostly via letters. He later spent about 18 months at a CCC camp in the north woods before enlisting in the Army after Pearl Harbor, and his combat experiences are also recounted in Europe. After the war he ended up working on the high iron for over 30 years, building many large buildings in the Houston area. The interesting aspect of this book is the fact that Mr. Haan was clearly a very intelligent person, and more importantly, an independent thinker, a characteristic of many who ride the rails for any length of time. The book also has many of his poems in it. This book does not have a lot of detail about hoboing, but is still significant because it describes in detail the personality of the individual hobo.
Rahimian, Afsaneh. 1990. Migration and Mobility of the Urban Homeless, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Southern California.
Rankin, Bill. 1993. A Lasting Legal Legacy, Atlanta Journal Constitution, January 1, E/1.
A profile of former Gwinnett County, GA Superior Court Judge Bryant Huff, who after serving thirteen years as a lawyer, spent two months riding the rails.
Reckless, Walter. 1934. Why Women Become Hoboes, American Mercury, February, pp. 175-80.
Reed, Christopher. 1991. Racist Killers Ride U.S. Freight Trains, Guardian, December 19, p. 9.
Reed discussed the [faction of the] F.T.R.A. (Freight Train Riders of America), that appear to be a neo-nazist group of hoboes who ride and kill predominantly across the western states of the U.S. Reed cited that the recent attention given to this group was due to the arrest of Jeremy "Low Road" Abshire, a member of the white supremacist group, charged with murdering two people in Utah.
Reisz, Matthew. 2018. The academic hopped a freight train to live and learn with drifters. Times Higher Education. May 18, 2018. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/academic-who-hopped-freight-train-live-and-learn-drifters
A review of Jeff Ferrall's book Drift: Illicit Mobility and Uncertain Knowledge.
Reitman, Ben L. (as told to). 1937. Sister of the Road: The Autobiography of Box-Car Bertha as Told to Dr. Ben L. Reitman, New York: Harper & Row Publishers.
---. 1932. Following the Monkey, (unpublished ms. at U of IL?)
Renshaw, Patrick. 1967. Wobblies: The Story of Syndicalism in the United States, New York: Doubleday. Reprinted 1968, New York: Anchor. Reprinted with a new preface by the author in 1999 by Ivan R. Dee, Chicago.
NEW→ Rex. 2000. Riding the Rails From K.C. to Texas, for the San Francisco Examiner.
Rice, Clyde. 1987. Night Freight, Portland, OR: Breitenbush Books, 141 pages.
A fictionalized account of a trip on the old coast route of northern CA based on the author's experiences in the 1930s.
Richards, Stan, et al. Hobo Signs.
Ringenbach, Paul T. 1973. Tramps and Reformers, 1873-1916: The Discovery of Unemployment in New York, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Originally a Ph.D. dissertation, University of Connecticut, 1970.
Risen, James. 1989. American Album, Los Angeles Times, June 12, I/4.
A profile of Maury "Steam Train" Graham.
Robertson, Nick. Freight Hopping: Two Would-Be Hoboes Go in Search of Kerouac's Legacy, Trips, April 2000.
Roddan, Andrew. 1932. Canada's Untouchables: the Story of the Man without a Home, Vancouver, 111 pp.
Rodgers, Otis . 1950. Hobo from Texas, 64 pages, Verse & Prose.
Rogers, John. 2016. "Anthropologist follows trail of century-old hobo graffiti in LA", Southern California Public Radio, May 30. www.scpr.org/news/2016/05/30/61141/anthropologist-follows-trail-of-century-old-hobo-g/.
Short article on Susan Phillip's groundbreaking research discoveries of old hobo graffiti in Los Angeles.
Romines, Delma K. 1983. Hobo Nickels, American Heritage, August/September, pp. 81-3.
A brief discussion of George Washington Bo Hughes' work with thirteen photographed examples.
Romines, Joyce and Slickrock. 1996. The Hobo Nickel Book, 135 pages. Includes over 400 photos and hobo glossary. Contact: Joyce Ann Romines, P.O. Box 1585, Tucker, Georgia 30085-1586.
Rood, H. E. 1898. The Tramp Problem: A Remedy, Forum, March, pp. 90-94.
Roos, David. 2016. Still Riding the Rails: Life as a Modern Hobo, How Stuff Works. Available online at people.howstuffworks.com/still-riding-the-rails-life-modern-hobo.htm.
Short article interviewing some attendees at the Britt Hobo Convention and, more interestingly, "Dirty" a modern-day train rider.
Rose, Lionel. 1988. Rogues and Vagabonds. Vagrant Underwold in Britain 1815-1985, New York and London: Routledge, 254 pages. Includes a tramp glossary, abbreviations, notes, references, index, and a select bibliography.
A socio-historical account of the germane aspects of tramp life in Great Britain, e.g., tramp subtypes, legislation, relief, lodging houses, and casual wards.
Rose, Megan. 2017. "Kafka in Vegas", Pro-Publica, May 26. Available at www.propublica.org/article/alford-pleas-fred-steese-conviction-without-admitting-guilt.
An investigative article in an online journal about a man, Fred Steese, who spent 21 years in prison falsely convicted of murder even when the prosecutor had evidence that he had a solid alibi - he had been busted riding the rails many hundreds of miles away and was in jail at the time of the murder. A story reminiscent of the story of Dog Man Tony told in the movie Long Gone. At the end, after being released from prison in 2013 and looking for a job, Steese, "jumped into the first boxcar to Utah" trying to get hired as a truck driver.
Rosemont, Franklin (editor). 2003. The Rise & Fall of the Dill Pickle, Chicago: Charles H. Kerr Publishing.
---. (editor). 1992. Selected Writings of T-Bone Slim, Charles H. Kerr Publishing, Chicago.
Frank Rosemont edited and wrote an introduction to this compilation of the writings of T-Bone Slim, a workingstiff, a hobo, and an irreconcilable revolutionist. Slim was a songwriter as well, some of his songs are included in the IWW's famous Little Red Songbook.
---. (editor). 2002. Joe Hill: The IWW and the Making of a Revolutionary Working Class Subculture, Charles H. Kerr Publishing, Chicago. 656p.
A comprehensive history of the life and times of famous Wobbly organizer Joe Hill.
Roy, Donald Francis. 1935. Hooverville: A Study of a Community of Homeless Men in Seattle, unpublished Masters thesis, University of Washington, 98 pages
NEW→ Rozeboom, Sarah. 2003. buZ blurr exhibit is a sharp study in contrast, for the Northwest Arkansas Times.
Russell, C.D. 1945. Pete the Tramp.
Russell, Sheldon. 2017. The Bridge Troll Murders.
A murder mystery, set in post-World War II Oklahoma City, about a determined but incompetent railroad Bull living in a caboose on the edge of the Waynoka Yard and his attempt to track down a serial killer who is murdering hobos under railroad bridges.
Ryals, Mitch. 2015. "Derailed", Inlander, May 15. Available at www.inlander.com/spokane/derailed/Content?oid=2457742.
A shortish online article highlighting the dangers of train riding. An interesting but sad focus on a guy who lost his leg when he fell off a freight car.
Samolar, Charlie. 1927. The Argot of the Vagabond, American Speech, pp. 385-92.
The definitions, distinctions, development and theories of origin of various hobo words and phrases are given.
NEW→ Saine, Deb. 2003. Real hobos ride the rails as a way of life, for the Logansport IN Pharos-Tribune.
Sandburg, Carl. 1953. Always the Young Strangers, New York: Harcourt, Brace
Saroyan, William. 1928. "Portrait of a Bum", Overland Monthly, December, pp. 421 and 424.
Saul, Vernon alias K.C. Slim. 1929. The Vocabulary of Bums, American Speech, June, pp. 337-46.
A record of over three hundred fifty words and phrases commonly used by the knights of the road.
Schmidt, Michelle. 2019. "Making their mark: father-son team documents hobo era graffiti", Inland 360, September 19. Available online.
Schockman, Carl. 1937. We Turned Hobo, Columbus, OH: F.J. Heer Printing Co.
NEW→ Schofield, Matthew. 1998. Hobos hope for peace with railroad, for the Kansas City MO Star.
Schwantes, Carlos. 1985. Coxey's Army: An American Odyssey, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Although not specifically about hobos and hoboing, this account of the first march on Washington is a good historical overview of the late 19th century as it relates to the world of the hobo at that time. Parallels with later political protest movements in the 1930s, 1960s, and the more recent Occupy Wall Street protests are thought provoking to say the least. There are some interesting descriptions of the various groups of unemployed men as they attempted to cross all or large portions of America to rendezvous in Washington, D.C. on May Day of 1894. The varied nature of their receptions along the way by local and federal authorities as well as the citizenry of small towns and large cities reflects the same ambivalence we see today for similar disadvantaged groups. DL.
Searles, Cali. 2010. Ethnography of Punk Rock Anarchist Hobos, Periphery 47, Drake University. Des Moines. Available online at "michaeljcarbaugh.com/periphery47/fictionnonfiction.html".
Seeger, Pete. 1972. The Incompleat Folksinger, New York: Simon & Schuster.
Seelye John. 1963. The American Tramp: A Version of the Picaresque, American Quarterly, Winter, pp. 535-53.
Sellars, Anthony Nigel. 1998. Oil, Wheat and Wobblies: The Industrial Workers of the World in Oklahoma 1905 - 1930, University of Oklahoma Press.
Service, Robert. 1921. The Collected Poems of Robert Service, New York: Dodd, Mead & Co.
Sevareid, Eric. 1946. Not So Wild a Dream.
A memoir from the 1930s. Sevareid was a well known journalist in later years.
Shannon, David A. 1960. The Great Depression. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
One chapter of this academic book is titled "Nomads of the Depression" and includes a number of short articles on hoboing during the depression.
Shaw, Clifford. The Jack Roller: A Delinquent Boy's Own Story, Sociological Case History.
Sheil, Richard. On Trek, The Outlook of Missions Feb 1940: 57-59.
Shepard, Lucius. 2004. Two Trains Running, Golden Gryphon Press, Urbana, IL.
This book encompasses an extended version of the non-fiction article on the FTRA that Shepard published in SPIN magazine along with two fictional FTRA related train-riding stories.
Shepard, Lucius with photos by David Eberhardt. 1998. Attack of the Freight Train-Riding Crazed Vietnam Vet Psycho Killer Hobo Mafia, or Not, SPIN Magazine, July.
In the midst of the late 1990s media frenzy regarding the Freight Train Riders of America (FTRA), Shepard spent two months with FTRA members and then attempted to dispel some of the exaggerated myths being perpetrated about the group.
Shen, Maxine. 2018. Secret "hobo codes" revealed: Pictograph language used by homeless travelers hopping trains in the 1800s shows how they warned each other of well-guarded homes and how to dodge cops — and they're still being used today, Daily Mail. Nov. 6. See article.
NEW→ Sherman, Leonie. 2006. Railway Renegades, for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Shortney, Joan Ranson. 1971. How to Live on Nothing, New York: Pocket Books.
Sibley, Celestine. 1995. Life in the '30s: Hobo at the Door, Possum in the Pot, Atlanta Constitution, March 20, C/1.
Sibley shared a letter from an old friend who lived during the Great Depression.
---. 1989. Ex-Hobo Shares His Lifelong Loves, Atlanta Constitution, June 26, D/1.
A feature about John Smally Smolka, a seventy-eight year-old former hobo (for about ten years) and baseball aficionado.
Silber, Irin and Ethel Raim (editors). 1970. American Favorite Ballads: Tunes and Songs as Sung by Pete Seeger.
Silverman, Rena with photographs by Emily Kask. 2016. Hopping Freight Trains with the Dirty Kids, New York Times. March 8. Available online at "lens.blogs.nytimes.com".
The article is a short introduction to an online album by an art school student featuring 19 photos of a group of dirty kids as they travel around on trains and hitch hiking.
Sinclair, Andrew. 1963. The Hallelujah Bum, London: Faber and Faber.
Sing Out! The Folk Song Magazine. 1975. Riding the Rails with Utah Phillips and Bodie Wagner. Volume 24, No. 3. August/September.
An article transcribed from a tape recording Utah Phillips made while walking around in the BN Spokane freight yard, talking about experiences riding freights and meeting some riders about to catch out on the #82 time freight to Minneapolis. The article includes photos and lyrics to a couple of songs.
Smith, Aaron Lake. 2012. Death of the American Hobo: The National Hobo Convention reaches the end of the line, Vice Magazine, October. Available online at "www.vice.com/read/death-of-the-american-hobo-0012987-v19n10".
A well-written article about the author's travels from the west coast to the 112th National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa. Unlike some uncritical mainstream journalists who visit Britt, Smith soon comes to understand what a sham the conservative religious small town festival has become. He even mentions trampfest, the alternative hobo convention, organized starting in 2000 by train riders who couldn't take Britt's phoniness any longer. BPS.
Smith, Alena and Kate Harmer. 2014. Tween Hobo: Off the Rails, Gallery Books. New York.
A twelve year-old girl, obsessed with twitter and Justin Bieber, heads out for adventures on the rails. This project started out as a twitter feed:@tweenhobo.
Smith, F. Hopkinson. A Gentleman Vagabond and Some Others, Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1895.
Smith, Jack. 1989. Bum Rap, Los Angeles Times, July 16, M/2.
Smith accounted his adventures of the summer he spent as a hobo riding the rails.
---. 1989. Hobo Is King on Social Scale of Itinerants, Los Angeles Times, September 6, V/ 1.
Smith discussed the hobo lifestyle and the differences between a hobo, bum and vagabond.
Solenberger, Alice W. 1911. One Thousand Homeless Men, Charities Publication Committee.
Sorrel, Robert. 2019. "Bristol, Other Towns, Likely Saw Share of Hobos", Bristol Herald-Courier, June 10.
Short not so substantive newspaper article referencing hobos in Bristol's (VA) past and not finding any evidence of them at the present time.
Speek, Peter A. 1917. The Psychology of Floating Workers, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, January, pp. 72-78.
Spence, Clark. 1971. Knights of the Tie and Rail — Tramps and Hoboes in the West, Western Historical Quarterly, January, pp. 5-16.
---. 1976. Knights of the Fast Freight, American Heritage, August, pp.50-57.
Spielmann, Peter. 1979. Hobos, Penthouse, May, pp. 138-45.
Sporleder, Steve. 2013. Hobo Ashes, Robertson Publishing, Los Gatos, CA.
A fictional historical murder mystery set in various hobo jungles in the greater Bay Area where hobos are being murdered by a serial killer. Minimal rail riding. The story takes place over several decades.
Spradley, James. You Owe Yourself a Drunk: An Ethnography of Urban Nomads, Boston, MA: Little Brown and Company.
Spud. 1896. "The Hobo: A Protest", Iron Molders Journal, Vol. 32. No. 10 Page 423.
In the October, 1896 issue of this union publication there is a letter to the editor raising some criticisms of hobos by "Spud" emphasizing their general laziness and proclivity to spend any charity provided to them on drink. In the following month's issue (No. 11, November) there is a spirited response objecting to Spud's letter and defending hobos (P. 474). This is followed in the next issue (No. 12, December) by more letters (Pages 518-19) both defending hobos and confirming some of "Spud's" criticisms. A writer considers how a union man should treat a hobo and a couple writers distinguish between "good" and "bad" hobos (even back in 1896 oogles were blowing up the spot!). Available to read at this site.
St. John, Vincent. 1919. The I.W.W., Chicago, IL: I.W.W.
Staats, William. 1879. A Tight Squeeze or the Adventures of a Gentleman.... Available online at "archive.org/details/tightsqueezeorad00staaiala".
Starke, Barbara. 1931. Born in Captivity: The Story of a Girl's Escape, Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merril Company.
Stegner, Wallace. 1975. Depression Pop, Esquire, September, pp. 79-83.
---. 1943. The Big Rock Candy Mountain, Doubleday & Co. New York.
A fictional account of a family drifting around the Pacific Northwest in the early twentieth century.
Stein, Walter, J. 1973. California and the Dust Bowl Migration, Westport, CT: Greenwood.
Stessin, Lawrence. 1940. That Vanishing American: The Hobo, New York Times Magazine, August 18.
Stevens, Irving, L. "Fishbones". 1982. Fishbones, Hoboing in the 1930's.
Stevens, James. 1925. The Hobos Apology, Century Magazine, February, pp. 464-72.
Stewig, John W. 1978. Sending Messages, Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 64 pages with illustrations.
The many possible ways to send messages, including language, music, mime, dance, Morse code, cattle brands, deaf hand language, hobo signs, and referee signals are described [juvenile literature].
Stiff, Dean. 1930. The Milk and Honey Route, New York: The Vanguard Press.
Stranger on A Train — Ted Conover Spent Rootless Months Studying A Furtive Breed: America's Hoboes, People Magazine, 1984. [see Conover 1984]
Strayed, Cheryl. 2013. Wild, New York: Vintage Books.
A trip on the Pacific Crest Trail, not the rails, except for one weird moment in the book in which the author while hitchhiking meets a reporter for the "Hobo Times".
Stroup, Sheila. 1994. Hobnobber Once a Hobo, The Times-Picayune, February 6, B/1.
Stroup talked about New Orleans entrepreneur, philanthropist and civic activist Bryan Bell, who rode freight trains and hitchhiked across the country as a child hobo during the Great Depression.
Sutherland, Edwin H. and Harvey J. Locke. 1936. Twenty Thousand Homeless Men, Chicago and Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co.
Sutter, Robert E III. 2014. Hobo Fires, self-published. 335p. ISBN 978-0-692-20603-4.
Produced by experienced zinester Robnoxious, Hobo Fires is a science fiction graphic novel set in the year 2137 when hobos must live like superheroes to survive.
Swampy. 2015. NBD, Self-published. swmpy.com.
A photo book of Swampy's travels, mainly by freight train, from Mexico and through North America, including to Alaska by rail barge, in 2010.
Swick, Thomas (Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinal). 1992. Britt, Iowa: End of the line for America's rambling hobos, The Sacramento Bee, Dec. 2, 1992.
Swift, Morrison. 1895. Tramps as Human Beings, Outlook, August 31, pp. 342-43.
Symanski, Richard. 1979. Hobos, freight trains and me, Canadian Geographer. Vol. 23, 2, June. Pages 110-118.
An article, published in a Canadian academic journal, recalling the author's travels with hobos in the 1970s, a period relatively little documented in hobo literature. Entertaining, more a personal recollections/anecdotes than academic research.
Symmank, Margaret. 1994. The Hobo and the Lucky Piece, Houston Chronicle, March 13, TM/4.
Symmank reminisced about her childhood and the stories she was told about her grandmother feeding the hobos who came to the door during the Great Depression.
Szalanski, Joseph. 2010. Boarding the Westbound: Journey of a Depression-era Hobo, Word Association Publishers, Tarentum, PA.
This is a more interesting account of a young man's trip around all 48 states in 1932, edited and commentary added by his son, whose places the account in historical perspective. It is well written, but I think I would have liked to read the entire journals that it is based on in chronological order, and instead excerpts are quoted in chapters which cover different aspects of '30s hoboing: Getting Fed, Places to Sleep, Holidays, Admiring the Views, etc. 291 pp. DL.
Taft, Philip. 1960. The I.W.W. in the Grain Belt, Labor History, Winter, pp. 342-343.
Tapley, Heather. 2009. "In Search of the Female Hobo", Atlantis, Vol. 34 No. 1. Can be viewed online.
A very academic journal article exploring the lack of female hobo references in late 1800s and early 1900s hobo literature.
Tascheraud, Henri. 1925. The Art of Bumming a Meal, American Mercury, June, pp. 183-87.
Taylor, Jose Inez and Taggart, James M. 2003. Alex and the Hobo: A Chicago Life and Story, University of Texas Press, Austin.
An interesting combination of a fictional story, albeit one based on life experiences of the first author, with an ethnographic non-fiction look at the issues raised in the story.
NEW→ Taylor, Nelson. 1998. Stealing Rides, for Bikini.
Terkel, Studs. 1970. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression, New York: Pantheon Books. Reprinted 1971, New York: Avon Books.
Terkel interviewed over one hundred-sixty people from various backgrounds and orientations about their experiences during the Great Depression (1929). The chapter Hard Travelin' includes interviews of fourteen people who hoboed or had experiences with hoboes.
Thanet, Octave. 1878-9. The Tramp in Four Centuries, Lippincott's Magazine, pp. 565-74
The Great Historical Bum: An Introduction to Hobo Folklore, Come All Ye, October-December 1975.
The Most Arrested American, 1925. Literary Digest, July 11, pp. 50-55.
The Philadelphia Tramp Conference, 1903. Charities, November 28, pp. 514-15.
The South Calling A Halt on Tramps, Survey, February 5, 1916, p.534
The Tramp as a Social Factor. 1891. Address by William J. Gorsuch delivered under the auspices of the Hartford Central Labor Union. Hartford, CT: Press of Clark and Smith
This is a Primer for Hobo "Gaycats". 1937. Life, October 4, pp. 14-17.
The Social Reform Papers of John James McCook. 1977. Ed. Adela Haberski French. Hartford: The Antiquarian and Landmarks Society, Inc., of Connecticut
Thomas, Will. 1987. Tramp, New York: Vantage Press.
Tietz, Jeff. 2002. "The Boy Who Loved Transit: How the system failed an obsession", Harper's, May.
An in-depth article on legendary Darius McCollum and his long-running love affair with the New York Transit Authority. I've heard a related documentary film "Off the Rails" made it into the festival circuit but haven't tracked down a copy yet.
Toth, Jennifer. 1993. The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City, Chicago Review Press.
Townend, Paul. 1953. Amateur Hobo, Robert Hale Ltd. London.
This is a rare book, difficult to find in the US. Describes the British author's ramblings between Alaska, Canada and the US. He travels by hitching, not trains and it comes off as more of a low-rent tourist travelogue rather than as something actually about hoboing.
Train Doc. 1988. A Basic Guide to Jumping Freight Trains and Railroad Crew Change Points in North America, Unpublished manuscript. Basic Guide revised in 2003. Crew change section revised every one to two years, 1993 to 2020.
Tripp, Valerie. 2001. Kit Saves the Day, American Girl Publishing, Inc. Middleton, WI.
An illustrated children's book about a young girl during the Great Depression who wanders into a hobo jungle and ends up riding the rails with the hoboes she meets.
Troyer, Milo C.. 1996. Hobo with a Briefcase, Wawaka, Indiana.
NEW→ Tudor, Silke. 2001. Railroaded, for sfweekly.com.
Tugwell, Rexford. 1920. The Casual Laborer , Survey, July 3, pp. 472-74.
---. 1920. The Casual of the Woods, Survey, July 3, pp. 472-74.
Tully, Jim. 1924. Beggars of Life: A Hobo Autobiography, New York: Albert & Charles Boni, and Random House, 336 pages. Also published by Garden City Publishing Co., Garden City, NJ.
---. 1925. The Lion-Tamer, American Mercury, October, pp. 142-46.
---. 1927. Bull Horrors, American Mercury, October, pp. 144-50.
---. 1928. Thieves and Vagabonds, American Mercury, May, pp. 18-24.
Turner, Linda. 1989. Flirting With Danger, Silhouette, New York.
Harlequin romance novel in which a cosmetics heiress flees her wealthy home and encounters trouble aboard a freight train where she is then rescued by a dark, handsome stranger.
Tyler, Robert L. 1967. maxx , Eugene: University of Oregon Books.
Uys, Errol L. 1999. Riding the Rails: Teenagers on the Move during the Great Depression, New York, TV Books, Inc.
Inspired by Minehan's Boy and Girl Tramps of America, this book features numerous oral histories and in-depth interviews made in the 1990s.
Van Swol, Erwin. 1960. The Hoboes' Secret Code, Coronet, August, pp. 35-38.
After a friend pointed out to Van Swol that his house was marked by hoboes due to his wife's generosity, he began to research hobo signs. Twenty signs are pictured in this article with respective descriptions. Hobo history, the supposed causes of the hobo condition, and the dissemination of hobo symbols and code are discussed briefly.
Vance, James and Burr, Dan E. 1988. Kings in Disguise: A Novel, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
A long graphic novel featuring excellent and intricate drawings.
Vandercook, Mark S. 2000. An American Journey: Images of Railroading During the Depression, Mobile, AL: Hotbox Press, 164 pages.
This is a collection of the work of several photographers, including Dorothea Lange, John Vachon and others who were commissioned by the Farm Security Administration (FSA) to document the state of America and its people at the height of the Great Depression. The book includes sections for each year between 1935 and 1941. A snapshot of what could be called the railroad culture.
Vandertie, Adolph & Patrick Spielman. Hobo & Tramp Art: Carving An Authentic American Folk Tradition, )1995 Sterling Publishing Co. ISBN 0-8069-3185-X, 128 pp.
Vaughn, J. B. 1975. The Wandering Years, Hancock House.
Color glossy trade paperback, good photos, some do it yourself projects, and a very brief commentary on the tramps and hobos who made the original art.
Vollmann, William T. 2008. Riding Toward Everywhere, ECCO/Harper Collins. 288 pages.
---. 2007. Catching Out. Travels in an Open Boxcar. Harper's Magazine, January, pp.70-79.
Vose, John D. 1981. Diary of a Tramp, St. Ives, Cornwall, U.K.: United Writers, 199 pages.
Wakin, Michele. 2020. Hobo Jungle: A Homeless Community in Paradise, Lynne Rienner Publishers. Boulder, Co.
"For many decades and for many reasons, people who are homeless have chosen to live in camps or other makeshift settings, even when shelters are available. Is this an act of resistance? Of self-preservation? Or are they simply too addicted, too mentally ill, or too criminal to adapt to the rules and regulations of shelter life? To address these questions, Michele Wakin explores the evolution of unsheltered homelessness through an evocative portrait of a jungle encampment that has endured since the Great Depression in one of the most opulent cities on California's south coast".
Walk, Tina. 2011. Railroad Man: The Legend of Lil' Jay, Pelrin Press Clawson, MI
A non-fiction portrayal of the life and death of a young man, Jason Paul Litzner, who traveled and rode the rails in the early 2000s until killed in a train accident. Interesting insights into the traveling community of which he was a part. The author knew "Lil' Jay" in the last two years of his life and subsequently interviewed over 70 people in putting this book together.
Wallace, Samuel E. 1965. Skid Row As A Way of Life, Totowa, NJ: Bedminster Press, 216 pages.
Walljasper, Jay. 1988. The World of the Hobo, Utne Reader, January/February, p.45.
Walsh, Bertha. 2007. Fruit Tramps, Westview Publishing. Nashville.
An autobiography of a young woman, written decades later, travelling with her family across California seeking work as migrant laborers. I don't think there is any train riding in this one but it's of potential interest as a personalized account of migratory experiences in the 1920s-1940s.
Walter, Jess. 2020. The Cold Millions, Harper, New York.
An historical novel, set in 1909 in Spokane, Washington, focused on two young rail-riding tramps who get involved in the IWW free speech fights in Spokane. Has received excellent reviews.
Warner, Gertrude C. 1924. The Boxcar Children, Sahara Publisher Books.
This is the original book that inspired a later (more sanitized book and series [see Marshall, 2017] about how the author was inspired by tales of hobo culture) about four siblings who run away from home and live in an abandoned boxcar on a siding.
Ward, Jim. 1979. The Street is Their Home: the Hobo's Manifesto, Melbourne: Quartet Books.
Warner, Jack. 1995. Kings of the Road, Atlanta Journal Constitution, November 19, M/1.
An article about the life and experiences of Russell Stephens, age 77, a Great Depression-era hobo. Stephens was a teacher of English and journalism at Cherokee County, GA High School, having retired in 1977.
Warner, Roger. 1976. Riding the Rails, Washington Post Jan. 25, F3-4.
Webb, John N. 1935. The Transient Unemployed: A Description and Analysis of the Transient Relief Population, Works Progress Administration Division of Social Research, Washington DC.
---. 1937. The Migratory-Casual Worker, Washington D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, United States Works Progress Administration, Division of Social Research, Research Monograph VII. Reprinted, 1971, New York: Da Capo Press.
This report is a byproduct of the studies of the transient unemployed conducted by the research section of the division of Research, Statistics, and Finance, during 1934 and 1935 [p. IX]. It offers profiles of the personal characteristics of the migratory-casual worker, and explains the types and characteristics of migratory casual employment (industrial/agricultural). Ten text tables, twenty-six figures and ten supplementary figures illustrate statistical information and map migratory routes, patterns and types of work.
Weideman, Edward and R.W. Crump. A Hobo Life in the Great Depression: A Regional Narrative.
Welsh, Herbert. 1921. The New Gentlemen of the Road, Philadelphia, Wm F. Fell. Available online at "archive.org/details/newgentlemanofro00wels".
Welty, Gus. 1994. Review of Daniel Leen's "The Freighthopper's Manual", Railway Age, March, p.195.
Welty's unfavorable review condemns the book (and hoboes) for safety reasons and setting a bad example for youngsters and adolescents [see Leen 1992].
Westbury, G.H. 1930. Misadventures of a Working Hobo in Canada.
Weybright, Victor. 1939. Rolling Stones Gather No Sympathy, Survey Graphic, January.
Whisler, William. 1989. Hobos in a Model.
This is a first hand account of two young men's experiences working the wheat harvest in the mid 1920s. It includes descriptions of riding freights at the beginning and at the end of the two year period covered in the book. The book appears to have been privately published and has a library of congress catalog number: 89-83375.
Whitaker, Percy. 1929. Fruit Tramps, Century Magazine, March, pp. 599-606.
White, Richard. 1991. Its Your Misfortune and None of My Own, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
White, Sarah. 2017(?). In Search of the American Hobo, Research project, University of Virginia. Available at xroads.virginia.edu/~MA01/White/hobo/intro.html.
An online research project, probably for a Masters thesis, with several short chapters. Undated.
Whitey, Guitar. 2002. Ridin' Free, Zephyr Rhoades Press. 215 pages.
Whiting, F.V. 1912. Trespassers Killed on Railways — Who Are They?, Scientific America, May 11, pp.303-4.
Whitten, George. 1928. The Open Road, Century Magazine, January, pp. 351-66.
---. 1929. Outlaw Trails, New York: Minton, Balch and Co.
Wilcox, Finn. 1984. Here Among the Sacrificed, Port Townsend, WA: Empty Bowl.
A literary and photographic depiction of Wilcox's journey by freight train from Seattle, WA to Los Angeles, CA.
Willard, Josiah Flynt. 1894. Old Boston Mary, Atlantic, September, pp. 318-25.
---. 1894b. The Tramp at Home, Century Magazine, February, pp. 517-26.
---. 1895. How Men Become Tramps, Century Magazine, October, pp. 941-45.
---. 1899. Tramps and the Railroads, Century Magazine, June, pp. 258-66.
---. 1899. Tramping With Tramps: Studies and Sketches of Vagabond Life, New York: Century Company. Reprinted 1972, Montclair, NJ: Patterson Smith Publishing Corp. Available online at "archive.org/details/trampingwithtram00will".
---. 1908. My Life, New York: The Outing Publishing Co.
---. 1896. Children of the Road, Atlantic Monthly, March, pp. 599-606.
---. 1968. The Little Brother: A Story of Tramp Life, by Josiah Flynt, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Gregg Press 254 pages. [Originally published ?]
Willeford, Charles Ray. 1988. I Was Looking for a Street, Woodstock, VT: Charles Willeford Countryman Press.
A memoir from the 1930s.
Willett, Brooke. 2015. How to be a Hobo, Free Press Publications.
This is an often times cringe-worthy book, a narration by a self-described "dirty kid" culturally connected to the worst aspects of the Rainbow Family tribe of train hoppers who have descended on the rails in disturbingly large numbers in the millennial age. Full of bad advice for the novice train rider. Rather than being self-reliant you can just sit back, "manifest" things in your mind and good things will happen to you. Right. Only if you are a mooch. And sorry, Brooke, no, your assertion that the "N" word is "generally not seen as offensive to black people" is a crock of shit. I'm guessing you are just a clueless hippie rather than a hardcore racist but still... grow up a bit. I can't decide whether this book or Bo Keeley's Executive Hobo deserves the award for worst hobo book so far of the 21st Century. BPS.
Williams, Cliff Oats (editor), 1997. Around the Jungle Fire II: A Second Collection of Original Hobo Poetry, Deerfield, IL: Hobo Press. 44 pages.
Oats has collected and edited these two editions of poems written by hoboes and traveling folk including Liberty Justice, Guitar Whitey, Oklahoma Slim, Reefer Charlie, Luther the Jet, Fishbones and others. Oats established The Hobo Press to help document and preserve hobo history. Proceeds are given to the National Hobo Foundation. Contact: Cliff Williams, 1044 Linden Avenue, Deerfield, IL 60015. [see Davis 1995]
--- (editor), 2000. Around the Jungle Fire III: True Accounts of Life on the Rails, Deerfield, IL: Hobo Press. 49 pages.
---. 2003. One More Train to Ride: The Underground World of Modern American Hoboes, Indiana University Press. 163 pages.
A collection of short biographies and oral histories of late 1990s riders, with some verses thrown in.
---. (editor), 1994. Around the Jungle Fire I: A Collection of Original Hobo Poetry, Deerfield, IL. Hobo Press, 44 pages.
Williams, Louis. 1926. Hobos Rich and Poor, 36 pp. (collection of poems?)
Williams, Vinnie. 1957. The Fruit Tramp, New York: Harper, 247 pages.
Willmans, Karl. 1902. Psychoses Among Tramps, Centralblatt fur Nervenheilkunde, December.
Willwerth, James. 1988. Hoboes from High-Rent Districts, Time, July 11, p.8.
Willwerth looked at hoboing from the viewpoint of The National Hobo Association, co-founded by California actor Bobb "Santa Fe Bo" Hopkins, and the vehemently opposing Association of American Railroads which declared these hobo-hobbyists part of a dangerous trend. SJ.
Wilson, Marvin Brooks. 1982. To Tame the Iron Horse: a Hobo's Journal.
Wise, Ken C. 1992. Depression Bums, Fowlerville, Michigan, Wilderness Adventure Books.
Witten, George. 1928. The Open Road: The Autobiography of a Hobo.
---. 1929. Outlaw Trails: A Yankee Hobo Soldier of Queen, New York: Minton Balch. 252 pp.
This one I particularly enjoyed. Witten had a wild boyhood and ran away from home at about the age of 10, eventually hooking up with an older hobo who teaches him the ropes for a couple of years. Eventually his older pal enlists to fight the Spanish in Cuba and Witten is too young to fight. He then ships out on a cattle boat to Africa and jumps ship there, hoping to enlist with the British Army and fight in the Boer War. This he eventually manages to do, inspite of being only 14 years of age. His accounts of army life during the Boer War are quite interesting as well, but involve cattle rustling and a lot of other dodgy activities, including spending three months in prison there. The story ends abruptly when he returns home to the hills of Tennessee but it is quite picaresque while it lasts.
Woehlke, Walter. 1914. The Porterhouse Heaven and the Hobo, Technical World Magazine, August, pp. 808-13, 938.
Woirol, Gregory R. 1992. In the Floating Army, F.C. Mills on Itinerant Life in California, 1914, Univ. of Illinois Press.
Worby, John. 1942. The Other Half: The Autobiography of a Tramp, New York: Arden Book Company, 307 pages with illustrations.
Wormser, Richard. 1994. Hoboes: Wandering in America 1870-1940, Walker Publishing Company. Includes hobo dictionary, index, and bibliography.
A socio-historical survey of the American hobo. Wormser discussed the early pioneers, the distinctions between a hobo, tramp, and a bum, the tragedies, hardships, and glories of the road, the I.W.W., Chicago, and road kids. A comparison of the hobo to the contemporary homeless is made in chapter 10.
Worth, Cedric. 1929. The Brotherhood of Man, North American Review, April, pp. 487-92.
Wren, Daniel A. 1987. White Collar Hobo: The Travels of Whiting Williams, Ames: Iowa State University Press, 165 pages. Includes portraits, index, and bibliography.
Wright, Capt. Wm. J. 2002. Hobo to Leatherneck: Memoirs of Travel and Adventure, Vantage Press, NY.
This is another first-person memoir, written in short chapters , some less than a page. It describes growing up on a rural farm in S. Carolina and his eventual decision to hit the road when school failed to inspire him and work on the farm was an obvious dead end. He describes riding a few freights, but eventually applies for a job selling magazine subscriptions, traveling across the USA with a group of young men in cars and selling door to door. After a year or so of this he somehow decided to join the US Marines, and from that point the book describes his military experiences, including a hitch in North China before the war and then in the Pacific Theater during WWII. This is not particularly well written and does not have any especially unusual hobo or wartime experiences, but is readable for all that.
Wyckoff, Walter Augustus. 1901. A Day with a Tramp and Other Days, New York: C. Scribner. Reprinted 1971, New York: B. Blom, 191 pages. Available for viewing or download.
"In the summer of 1891, the author set out on a journey. He took roads and rails from Connecticut to California to get a better knowledge of the people and the country. He earned his living as a day laborer and continued it until, in the course of eighteen months, he had worked his way from Connecticut to California. Wyckoff later became a Professor of Political Economy at Princeton University, and he kept a notebook of his travels that became this book".
Wyman, Mark. 2010. Hobos: Bindlestiff, Fruit Tramps and the Harvesting of the West, Hill and Wang. 336 pages.
---. 1979. Hard Rock Epic: Western Miners and Industrial Revolution 1860-1910, Berkeley: University of California Press.
Yancey, Mrs. Dolly Kennedy. 1909. The Tramp Woman, a book of experiences, St Louis: Britt pub. Co.