200. Today in 1920s Turkey: 9 July 1927 (Successful Paperboys from Adana and İzmir)

Snippet with photograph, Karagöz, 9 July 1927, no. 2015, page 2.


Karagöz regularly celebrated its most studious and productive paperboys by including photographs of them within the pages of the journal. This underscored the paper’s own identity as a “people’s gazette” (halk gazetesi) by illustrating how it creates jobs and rewards hard work. Pictures and stories about the paperboys would have been interesting for the readers/buyers of the paper as well as the “thousands” of paperboys working “in every corner of the country.” These features functioned to reward the hardest working paperboys with their own 15 minutes of fame, so to speak. However, in this case, it seems that the paperboys took it upon themselves to supply their employers with their pictures, which Karagöz was happy to print.

Today in 1920s Turkey has covered other examples of this practice in earlier posts (#6 and #49) however this example stands out as a dual celebration of both the paperboys and the Karagöz issues that were so popular. Recently Gazi Mustafa Kemal Pasha had visited Istanbul for the first time since becoming the Turkish Republic’s first president. Accordingly, there was a massive amount of fanfare and anticipation for this long-awaited reunion between the great city of Istanbul and the country’s leader. Thus, the event was important and many papers, including Karagöz, kept the public informed about his plans and activities in the days preceding his arrival and reporting on his whereabouts during his visit. Indeed, the two papers that the paperboys are posing with are examples of two such issues of Karagöz. On the right is issue #2011 published on 25 June 1927, the week before Mustafa Kemal’s arrival. Its front page features a color bust of the leader, which was apparently very popular with readers. Likewise, the paperboy on the left is holding issue #2013 published on 2 July 1927, the day after Mustafa Kemal’s arrival on 1 July. A post specifically about that issue’s cover picture can be found here: #192.


Büyük Gazi’mizin Resimleri

Türk Gençleri Çalıştıkça Kazanıyor

Karagöz memleketin her köşesinde binlerce Türk evladının ekmek parası çıkarmasına yardım ediyor. Birçok yerlerde yalnız gazetemizi dağıtmak suretiyle evi geçindiren gençler var. Bu gençler kendilerini en çok sevindiren Gazi Pasha’mıza ait olan nüshalarımızı o kadar fazla dağıtmışlardır ki kendilerini para sahibi eden bu nüshalarla birer fotoğraf çektirip bize yollamışlar. Sağdaki Adana’da sermüvezzi Halki Efendi, soldaki İzmir’de müvezzilerimizden on yıllık emektarımız Kamil Efendi’dir. Bu müteşebbis Türk gençleri çalıştıkça refah bulacaklardır.


Our Great Gazi’s Pictures

Turkish Youngsters Earn as (long as) They Work

Karagöz is helping thousands of Turkish kids from every corner of the country become bread earners. In many places there are youngsters supporting households off of selling our paper alone. These youngsters sold so many of the issues of our Gazi Pasha, who has made them so happy, that they had their photographs taken with the papers that earned them so much money and sent them to us. The one on the right is head-paperboy Halki Efendi from Adana and the one on the left is Kamil Efendi of ten years from among our İzmir paperboys. These enterprising Turkish youngsters will find prosperity as (long as) they work.

Snippet with photograph, Karagöz, 9 July 1927, no. 2015, page 2. Hakkı Tarık Us Collection, Beyazıt Library, Istanbul.



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Yasemin Gencer

Yasemin Gencer

I am an independent scholar of Islamic art and civilization specializing in the history of Ottoman and modern Turkish art and print culture.