Table of Contents


Hobos have a history dating back to the explosion of the railroad after the Civil War. Over this time, many have debated what defines a hobo. While there is still much disagreement over definition, there are a few consistencies. Most scholars have defined them as English-speaking migratory workers from the 1870s to 1940s that road trains in search of temporary jobs (Fox 1989; Raulerson 2011). While this definition captures a general shape of this subculture, it leaves out any hobos after World War II and doesn’t capture the more spiritual side of this lifestyle.

An older man sits cross-legged on fencepost in front of a blue sky with clouds. He is wearing a red T-shirt with a denim shirt over it and jeans. He is also wearing white gloves and a blue conductor hat.
Image from Wikicommons.

While train-hopping and garbage can fires became regular parts of many hobos’ lives, these are not the most defining factors in being a hobo. Throughout literature written on hobos, it consistently comes up that work was the essential factor for many hobos on a personal level (Raulerson 2011; Fox 1989; Vandertie 1995). They were always looking for work and never simply asking for handouts. This is why many hoboes take insult to being called tramps. They see tramps as wanderers looking for handouts expecting to give nothing in return. But the famous hobo Charlie Fox reminds them in his autobiography that many “professional hobos” began as tramps and that the two are from similar strains (1989).

A bronze statue of a man sitting wearing an overcoat and wide brimmed hat. There is a bronze rolled blanket next to him and he is staring at a tiny bronze duck by his left foot.
Image from Wikicommons.

It is important to note here that work is not defined as labor compensated monetarily. Rather, for the hobo, work is anything that helps the, “material, emotional, or intellectual welfare of oneself or others”, meaning it is not guided by time stamps or goods produced, but by how well it actually helps people (Raulerson 2011). By this definition, work can be shoveling someone’s front steps for an extra buck or helping another hobo who has been injured. There is an element of social responsibility embedded in this idea of work, which is unsurprising considering multiple hobos cite their time on the road as what shaped them into socialists (Fox 1989).


The word “hobo” can conjure up a picture of a rough and rugged man of yesteryear, riding the rails by himself simply to get away from the wants of society. This misconception is because most people do not know that many hobos valued cleanliness, women also took to the rails, and most importantly, there are still hobos today and they hold a convention every year in Britt, Iowa. All of these facts fly in the face of hobo stereotypes, so where did this idea of a dirty man running away from responsibility come from? Well the origins of these stereotypes come from the origins of hobos.


A sketch of a group of men sitting around a fire in front of a mining building. They are cooking something in a large black pot. The moon is just rising over a roof. At the bottom of the image text reads, "Bivouac of Tramps near the Desert Diamond Mines."
Image from Wikicommons

While the term hobo is tied to the concept of freight-hopping, or boarding a moving train illegally, hobos have roots older than the railroad. Before the railroad swept the nation, there were men who would simply wander the countryside in search of work, usually never straying too far from their hometowns (Vandertie 1995). These men were sometimes called “tramps” because they were tramping around the countryside, however this is not to be confused with later uses of the word tramp in comparison to hobos. These tramps laid the groundwork for the hobo to rise by developing ideas like leaving your home to find work and living a nomadic life. With American men and some women already holding these ideals in their hearts, it is no surprise that hobos rose with the advent of the railroad.


Railroad expansion began heavily after the Civil War, providing an easy way of transportation along with temporary work such as laying track, farming, and building new settlements (Fox 1989; Vandertie 1995). By the 1890s, hobo culture had formed in the working classes of America. People made publications specifically for hoboes which led to the organization of Hobo Magazine, which ran from 1900 to 1937 (Raulerson 2011). In the same year that the magazine came out, people organized the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa, which is still being held every year complete with a crowning of the Hobo King and Queen (2011).  By 1910, there were more than 3 million hobos and they wanted to distinguish themselves from tramps, whom they defined as travelers who did not work. They did this because during this time many municipalities were enacting laws against train-hoppers, so hobos sought to create comparable social structures in response to their repression to demonstrate they were not like tramps  (2011). While the distinction between hobos and tramps was important to many hobos, in real life the line between the two was very blurred and many well-known hobos got their beginnings as tramps (Raulerson 2011; Fox 1989).

A large group photo of many young men all wearing the same uniform of dark pants with button downs. The men sitting in the front and middle hold a sign saying, “The Hobo Retreat”.
Image from Named Faces of The Past

Up through the 1920s, hobos continued to define themselves on terms of freedom and spirit. It was the roaring 20s, the economy was booming, and people saw freight-hopping as a conscious choice and an alternative to a more normative lifestyle. Then with the 1930s and the start of the Great Depression, the hobo population shifted. Once a symbol of freedom, they were now a symbol of the poverty wracking the country (Granade 2014; Fox 1989). Some traditional hoboes, like Charlie Fox, go so far to say that many of these people were not true hoboes partially because they had poor skills in hopping trains, but mainly because they saw train-hopping as a temporary necessity of the times and not a way of life to be cherished (Fox 1989).

Great Depression

In many ways, train-hopping was a necessity of the times for poor families. While there were still people who ran away for the thrill of it, an increasing number of freight-hoppers left due to the shame of unemployment. As factories shut down across the country, people felt they had no choice but to leave and find other means of subsistence. Many hoped they would send money back, but this was more difficult than many anticipated and little money got home (Lincoln 1999).

A train sits still in a train yard. Hundreds of hobos are around it. Some are standing on the ground nearby, some are climbing to the top, and a good portion are standing on the top of the train. The photo fades out before you can see the end of the line.
Image from Wikicommons

Another large structural factor was schooling. Across the country, school houses were locked because they lacked funding. For the school year of 1933-34, many terms ended on January 1st and more children had no terms at all (Lincoln 1999). Without school, children had idle time to fantasize about life on the road, but more importantly, they had no solid economic reason to stay home. Young adults began to feel they were simply a burden on their families. In households with many children, removing one more mouth to feed could go a long way. Older siblings would then take it upon themselves to go forth and possibly send money home, sometimes leaving in the middle of the night (1999).


After the Great Depression and World War II, the number of hobos decreased dramatically in America but did not die out completely. The Hobo Convention continues strong today, and they crown a Hobo King and Queen every year. There is also still a small but present population of youth known as, “The Dirty Kids”, who travel around the country in cars or hopping trains and subsist off of what they can find. Unlike hobos, there is not a huge emphasis on finding work, but many of these youth find the same spiritual aspect in travel that many hobos say is the reason they stayed on the road (Silverman 2016). Some hobos look down on these travelers they are inexperienced people often end up getting killed due to ignorance of train-hopping, which in turn makes the more experienced look bad (Bowes and Hall 2012). Unfortunately, this is becoming a more common trend as railroad trespassing deaths have reached a 10 year high as of 2018 (McCausland 2018).

One example of a modern day traveler is a YouTuber who goes by the name of Brave Dave. He is an English man in his 30s who has decided that he can’t quite fit into the structure of the modern world. Instead, he travels on his own, train-hopping and finding new places to explore. While he does not search for work specifically, his YouTube channel is a testament of the influences of hobos past.

Train-Hopping Globally

The specific culture of the hobo, such as the Britt convention and hobo poetry, distinctly emerged from America, but it is important to note that train-hopping is a common practice anywhere in the world with a railroad system. has a guide to train-hopping within Europe, Asia, Russia, and Australia. While the guide is set up for outsiders going into a country, it also talks about the different train-hopping scenarios one may encounter, such as overcrowded trains in Bangladesh, good gripping handles in Russian trains, or oblivious workers in Europe where the concept is relatively unknown (2017). While no country has a culture reflexive of the American Hobo, train hopping will always be around the world.

Women on the Rails

A black and white drawing of the side of an open boxcar. There are silohuettes of women sitting inside. Text reads, "Boxcar Bertha: An Autobiography. As told to Dr. Ben L. Reitman. Introduction by Kathey Acker"
Image from AbeBooks

Because the hobo movement grew from many young working-class men riding the rails for work, it took on many elements from their lives and became a more masculine culture. Hobo men generally treated women respectfully, going by a strict moral code to never mention a thought or touch a woman, especially married women (Fox 1989). While this behavior ensured greater trust of hobos in general, it also indicates that they saw women as part of the mainstream society that they had to maintain good relations with, not part of their own culture.

A tan book with a black diagnol section in the top left corner. The text on the spine and cover both reads, "Born in Captivity. Barbara Starke"
Image from AbeBooks

However, this was not enough to keep women off the trains. Many chose to ride the rails, but they had to fight perceptions of women hobos as amoral prostitutes and fight to retain a distinct identity while still being included in the main subculture (Fox 1989; Hall 2010). Therefore, when women chose to don the label, “hobo”, they had to navigate and create a new identity within a culture that does not acknowledge they exist (2010). Women hobos had many strategies for making space for themselves. One day in the 1930s, hobo Joseph Rieden and his brother Ralph were riding a boxcar with two young women. When a man harassed the women, the brothers told him to stop and at the next town one of the girls shot down three out of five crows to every man’s surprise (Lincoln 1999). This example demonstrates how the woman used a traditionally masculine skill like gun technique to gain respect from the other men and also ensure that the men don’t mistake them for passive females. Another traveler described being in a boxcar of about forty people with six women, and they all sat towards the entrance with stilettos in their boots (1999). In this case, the women are demonstrating their distinctness from the men by ensuring they have a quick safe exit and weapons to defend themselves from the others on board. Since these are precautions that none of the men had to take, the women are creating their own space in the boxcar with different rules than the men.

A blue book cover with a decorative silver border. In the middle is a thick cursive F with a circle around it, imitating wax seals. Text reads, "Classic Reprint Series. The Adventures of a Woman Hobo. by Ethel Lynn. Forgotten Books."
Image from Amazon

Women rode the rails for many of the same reasons men did. Some wanted to see the world, others were searching for love, and some seriously needed work (Lincoln 1999). It is important to note that while there is little scholarship or statistics, women likely traveled with children more often than men would and there were probably cases where they were fleeing from domestic violence. However, while there is no widespread data about women hobos, their autobiographies reveal issues of sexual repression and violence that don’t show up in hobo stories from men (Hall 2010). Some notable autobiographies come from Ethel Lynn, Bertha Thompson, and Barbara Starke, all of which capture the struggle of people trying to deviate from the deviant.


Lynn, Ethel. 1917. The Adventures of a Woman Hobo. New York: G.H. Doran.

The Adventures of a Woman Hobo is the autobiography of Ethel Lynn, whose life on the road started when she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and she chose the fresh air as her remedy over the bed. It details a life constantly at tension with masculinity.

Bertha, Box-Car and Ben L. Reitman. 1990. Boxcar Bertha: an Autobiography. New York: AMOK Press.

Boxcar Bertha is Bertha Thompson’s oral autobiography recorded by Dr. Ben L. Reitman. This style is consistent with the hobo tradition of storytelling.

Starke, Barbara. 1931. Born in Captivity; the Story of a Girls Escape. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.

Born in Captivity is Barbara Starke’s autobiography detailing her life from when she left home at 17. She observes many differences between her experience and that of hobo men and struggles against female hobo stereotypes so people respect her.

Stigma Management

Hobos engage in great deal of stigma management or attempts to control outsiders’ perceptions of their subculture (Haenfler 2014). This management occurs on many levels but is particularly evident at the individual level. Personal management is vital to the hobo, who relies on normative society for much of survival. If one hobo causes a ruckus in a town, that will harm other hobos coming that way seeking work. One way they enforce personal management is through developing The Hobo Code (Raulerson 2011). The Hobo Code, listed below, details multiple ways that hobos are supposed to behave while traveling to ensure that they and future hobos are given respect. Rule 2 specifies that one should always follow local laws and rule 6 says one should never become a stupid drunk. These are examples of how hobos did not want to necessarily rebel against society, but merely move in and out of it. They did not want to participate in normative life, but they also did not want to be shunned by it.

This tension is why there is hobo ethos of work and a desire to be a separate category from tramps. This desire is demonstrated in rule 4 and 5. Rule 4 states a hobo should always be looking for work, especially jobs no one else wants, and rule 5 states that when a hobo cannot find work they should try to make their own. By largely defining their identity as tied to work, hobos place value on something mainstream society holds dear. They are not merely vagabonds looking for handouts, but hard workers that simply have an adventurous spirit.

Black and white photo of two older men walk down train tracks in front of stone and they are dark gray wearing jackets. One wears a black fedora and is carrying a rucksack and the other wears a white conductor hat.
Image from Wikicommons

Another aspect of stigma management for the hobo is cleanliness. It may seem logical that living out on the road would lead to a dirty and scrappy look, but some professional hobos like Fry Pan Jack and Frisco Jack made a point to dress very neatly and in a such a way that no one would expect they spent their life out on the road (Fox 1989). Rule 10 of the Hobo Code also specifies that one should try to “boil up” whenever possible, suggesting a priority on cleanliness. By pruning their appearances, hobos controlled people’s perception of not just the individuals, but the entire subculture.

One example of active stigma management is the Sinner’s Camp at the Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa. Every year at the convention there is a trailer that is separate from the main area and this is where heavy drinking, illicit drug use, and the swapping of more shameful stories takes place (Raulerson 2011). This demonstrates an active attempt from the hobo community to hide the parts that the public may find more displeasing. The Sinner’s Camp then demonstrates a use of space to shape the perceptions of a community.

Authenticity within Stigma Management

Authenticity is highly subjective, but basically means that a person actually is who others perceive them to be (Haenfler 2014). In the case of hobos, it is not authentic enough for someone to simply walk around with a bindle and a harmonica. While these may be symbols associated with hobos, real hobos respect laws, care about their appearance, and value work above all else. By defining the authentic hobo as performing behavior that manages stigma, hobos are effectively able to distance themselves from those that exhibit bad behavior. This allows them to keep the group pure because bad behavior is outside the definition of the hobo.

Rule 1 and Resitance

Rule 1 of the Hobo Code states, “Decide your own life, don’t let another person run or rule you”. This rule stands distinctly from the rest and even contradicts them automatically. If you’re using these rules, you’re letting someone else decide your life. Rule 1 is not a mistake though, but represents the resistance in hobo culture. Resistance in subcultures is when these groups resist typical values of society (Boatsman and Grubb 2016). Rule 1 then represents all the parts of a hobo’s life that is not worried about navigating next to normative society, but the part that goes completely against it.

The Hobo Code

This code was adopted at the 1894 Hobo Convention.

  1. Decide your own life, don’t let another person run or rule you.
  2. When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a gentleman at all times.
  3. Don’t take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other hobos.
  4. Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody wants.
  5. When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents and crafts.
  6. Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for locals’ treatment of other hobos.
  7. When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, do not wear them out, another hobo will be coming along who will need them as bad, if not worse than you.
  8. Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling.
  9. If in a community jungle, always pitch in to help.
  10. Try to stay clean, and boil up whenever possible.
  11. When traveling, ride your train respectfully, take no personal chances, cause no problems with the operating crew or host railroad, act like an extra crew member.
  12. Do not cause problems in a train yard, another hobo will be coming along who will need passage thru that yard
  13. Do not allow other hobos to molest children, expose to authorities all molesters, they are the worst garbage to infest any society.
  14. Help all runaway children, and try to induce them to return home.
  15. Help your fellow hobos whenever and wherever need, you may need their help someday.
  16. If present at a hobo court and you have a testimony, give it, whether for or against the accused, your voice counts! (Raulerson 2011).

The Hobo Oath

“I _____, solemnly swear to do all in my power to aid and assist all those willing to aid and assist themselves. I pledge myself to assist all runaway boys and girls an induce them to return to their homes and parents. I solemnly swear never to take advantage of my fellow men or be unjust to others, and to do all in my power for the betterment of myself, my organization, and America. So help me God.

Signed _____” (Fox 1989)

The Hobo Oath is another example of stigma management and reinforces much of what is in the hobo code.


While hobos chose to ride the rails for many reasons, there were two basic explanations that many fell into and those were economic necessity or a desire to see what’s in the world (Fox 1989; Lincoln 1999; Raulerson 2011). Most hobos held a combination of these two sentiments. Each sentiment can be understood through certain theories of deviance.

The economic necessity can be understood through Robert Merton’s strain theory, or the idea

Three older men sit in a circle in a broken down building. They are all wearing black jackets and gray fedoras.
Image from Wikicommons

that within a stratified society there is an inherent contradiction if the culture defines success as something only institutionally available to the middle and upper classes (Adler 2009). This definition of success is why there was such a boom in freight-hopping over the Great Depression years. While poor people had always been using freight-hopping, the Great Depression signaled a point when many structural factors such as factory jobs and schooling simply disappeared in many places. The less structure in place, the greater the strain placed on disenfranchised populations and thus they turn to deviant behaviors for alternative means of success. However, this theory does not address the fact that many poor people did not turn to freight-hopping when times became rough. This is where Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin’s differential opportunity theory helps us understand. This theory basically states that while all disenfranchised people lack legitimate opportunity structures, they do not all have the same access to illegitimate means of success (Adler 2009). If someone simply didn’t live by a train, they would have far less access to freight-hopping as an opportunity. They could also serve a very specific function within their family and feel that they couldn’t leave them. Whatever the case, differential opportunity theory explains people’s multiple responses to the same situation.

Yet, not everyone who rode the rails came from a hard background. There were many middle- and upper-class men who chose this life almost as a spiritual journey or a way to transition from youth to manhood (Fox 1989). These people did not feel forced, but rather they were making a self-defining choice. David Matza’s drift theory may help explain this behavior. This theory posits that people move into a subculture through a gradual drift as they slowly leave their old crowd and find a new one (Adler 2009). These men may have encountered hobos in many ways, such as seeing them pass through town, hearing about great writers who rode the rails, or perhaps even having one in their own home. These encounters would cause them to drift towards freight-hopping until they finally do it and then become enmeshed in the deviant culture.

Hobo Signs

A five by six grid. Each cell contains a certain hobo sign paired with an explanation.
Image from Karen Apricot

Hobos used a system of graphic symbols to communicate with one another. The code looks like rough hieroglyphics, and each image represents a helpful message for other hobos and communicates the usefulness of a place or object (Lewis; 2013). A small cat on a house means that a kind woman lives

A sketch of a man with a staff writing some symbols on the side of a building. Two boys watch him in the background
Image from wikipedia

there, three slashes mean that a place is not safe, and a box with a line coming out of it meant there was alcohol in a town, all very important for a hobo to know. They were either scratched into wood or drawn with chalk and were found on trees, fences, rocks, houses, campsites, and many other locations. This communication system enabled hobos to navigate the world by finding objects marked as useful (Wanderer 2001). Things like water and campsites are not any help unless they are known to be safe. However, places do not stay the same. Sometimes safe water becomes contaminated or kind ladies move and new ladies take their place, yet hobos will still treat them as they are marked. In this way, hobos used the marks as discursive signs to act towards the constituted objects of campsites, households, and water sources (Wanderer 2001). In other words, hobos relied on the signs to tell them about the properties of a certain object rather than the physical object itself. This reliance is not necessarily a bad thing. It may mean that a hobo may miss safe water marked dangerous or approach an unkind house when it was marked kind, but it also means that a hobo doesn’t have to check every resource they happen upon, which saves time and spares feelings of uncertainty.

Significant Scholarship

Raulerson, Graham Harms. 2011. “The Hobo in American Musical Culture.” dissertation, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

In this dissertation, Graham Raulerson examines hobos as they function in today’s world as well as the impact that hobo culture has had on music. He specifically looks at American composer Harry Partch, a man who spent time as a hobo and wrote much music about it.

Hall, Joanne. 2010. “Sisters of the Road?: The Construction of Female Hobo Identity in the Autobiographies of Ethel Lynn, Barbara Starke, and ‘Box-Car’ Bertha Thompson.Womens Studies 39(3):215–37.

One of the few scholarly articles that focuses specifically on how being a woman hobo is distinctly different from the traditional masculine narrative. In this essay, Joanne Hall brings forward the experience of the woman hobo by focusing on three autobiographies of women hobos. She focuses on how women attempted to deconstruct the amoral tramp narrative and created new deviant identities in response to old ones.


Tales of an American Hobo is Charles Fox’s autobiography recording his time on the road, as well as making observations about hobo etiquette and their relationship to mainstream society.

A green book cover with a black and white picture of a freight train at the bottom. Text reads, "Tales of an American Hobo. Charles Elmer Fox"
Image by Amazon

Fox, Charles Elmer. 1989. Tales of an American Hobo. University of Iowa Press, Iowa City.

Riding the Rails by Errol Lincoln Uys is a comprehensive look at train-hopping specifically as it functioned in the Great Depression. Many scholars note that this is when train-hopping took on a more desperate tone and Uys dives into why and how that functioned.

A black and white photo of two young men walking down railroad tracks with their back to the camera. The man on the left holds a plaid blanket. The one on the right holds a small bundle of clothes. There are trains on the tracks on either side of the men.
Image from Amazon

Uys, Errol Lincoln. 2014. Riding the Rails: Teenagers on the Move during the Great Depression. Boston: T.E. Winter & Sons.

The Hobo Handbook is a guide to living on the rails in today’s world.

Text Reads, "THE HOBO HANDBOOK: A Field Guide to Living by Your Own Rules
Image from Amazon.

Mack, Josh. 2011. The Hobo Handbook. Avon, MA: Adams Media.

Beggars of Life is Jim Tully’s autobiographical narrative from when he left his hometown of St. Mary’s, Ohio in 1901. Originally published in 1924, he recorded the experiences of many hobos in that era. Disliked by Charles Fox, Tully represents a more debauched side of the hobo, being known for his motto, “Women for breeding purposes and young boys for pleasure.”

A sepia photo of two men walking down train tracks and both are wearing suits. One is wearing a fedora and one is wearing a conductor hat. Text in the corner reads, "Jim Tully: BEGGARS OF LIFE"
Image from Kent State University Press

Tully, Jim. 2010. Beggars of Life. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press.


A video documenting some of the hobos and practices that pass through Britt, Iowa during the National Hobo Convention.

A video introducing the YouTuber “Brave Dave”, a modern heir to the classic hobo.

A man walks away from the camera down traintracks. He has a rolled blanket on his back and is holding a bucket in his left hand and a bag in his right. There is a golden light filter.
Image from IMBD

The American Hobo is a documentary that interviews many hobos from across time such as country singer Merle Haggar and Pulitzer Prize winner James Michener.

Image looking straight down train tracks with a train coming towards the camera. There is a bridge over the train with power lines in the left top corner. The bottom text reads, "HOBO by John T. Davis"
Image from

Hobo is a documentary where the filmmaker, John T. Davis, actually traveled the rails with another hobo and documented his journey.

Anon. 2017. “Hitchwiki.” Israel – Hitchwiki: the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Hitchhiking. Retrieved December 18, 2018 (

Bowes, Peter and Sara Jane Hall. 2012. “Train Hopping: Why Do Hobos Risk Their Lives to Ride the Rails?BBC News.

Fox, Charles Elmer. 1989. Tales of an American Hobo. University of Iowa Press, Iowa City.

Granade, S. Andrew. 2014. “Hoboes.” Harry Partch: Hobo Composer. Rochester, NY: Univ. of Rochester Press

Haenfler, Ross. 2014. Subcultures: The Basics. London: Routledge

Hall, Joanne. 2010. “Sisters of the Road?: The Construction of Female Hobo Identity in the Autobiographies of Ethel Lynn, Barbara Starke, and ‘Box-Car’ Bertha Thompson.Womens Studies 39(3):215–37.

Lennon, John. 2004. “Ridin’ the Rails: The Place of the Passenger and the Space of the Hobo.” Americana : The Journal of American Popular Culture, 1900 to Present 3(2) 

Lewis, Dan. 2013. “The Hobo Code.” Now I Know.

McCausland, Phil. 2018. “Railroad Trespassing Fatalities in the U.S. Reach 10-Year High.” Retrieved December 18, 2018 (

Raulerson, Graham Harms. 2011. “The Hobo in American Musical Culture.” dissertation, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Ross, J.I. (Ed.). (2016). Routledge Handbook of Graffiti and Street Art (1st ed.). Routledge. 

Silverman, Rena. 2016. “Hopping Freight Trains With the Dirty Kids.The New York Times.

Uys, Errol Lincoln. 2014. Riding the Rails: Teenagers on the Move during the Great Depression. Boston: T.E. Winter & Sons.

Vandertie, Adolph and Patrick Spielman. 1995. Hobo & tramp art carving: an authentic American folk tradition. New York City, NY: Sterling Pub Co Inc.

Wanderer, Jules J. 2001. “HOBO SIGNS: Embodied Metaphors and MetonymiesThe American Journal of Semiotics 17:131–46.

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Subcultures and Sociology 2024

"A tramp is constantly hounded by the minions of the law; is shunned by all humanity, and never knows the meaning of home and friends. To tell the truth, it is a pitiful existence all the way through, and what is the end?"

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