The Superintendent's duties.The Superintendent was probably the most central figure on the premises; his role was to manage the day-to-day running of the DSLH. As the daily routine of the LH involved such diverse elements as lodging, meals, the Industrial School, the evening school, security, maintenance, etc., his was undoubtedly a complex job. He provided guidance and discipline to the boys, and oversaw the boys during special events at the DSLH. It was also his job to try to determine where boys should go: if they really had a home to go back to, or whether it was possible to have them placed somewhere (including out West).
Either he or his assistant would register the boys staying at the DSLH, and give them their locker keys.
Who did the cooking and cleaning and laundry, then?The boys were required to help with a number of the chores: washing dishes, sweeping, mopping, making beds, washing windows. They also had to help with some of the laundry.
Servants did the remaining household chores: the official 1900 census shows that a servant, a house-keeper, and a cook lived there. Some boys were required to assist the cook as well as help serve meals.
A night clerk (I assume helping with check-in?), engineer, and librarian are also mentioned.
Did he own the DSLH?No. The Children's Aid Society ran the DSLH. The Superintendent was their employee, with a salary.
Did he live at the DSLH?Yes. Rooms for the Superintendent and his family (in Newsies, Kloppman appears to be on his own) were on the second floor. It must take a man (or woman) of strong constitution to live with hundreds of rowdy boys day after day, and that's why I'm not a Superintendent.
Who was Superintendent of the DSLH in 1899?The Supt. was a Mr. Rudolph R. Heig, who held the position starting in 1887 until he retired (due to ill health) at the beginning of July 1910. He had a wife who lived with him. Together, the couple were known at the DSLH as "Pop" Rudolph and "Mother" Heig. A reception was held for them on their last day at the DSLH, and former newsboys from across the country were in attendance.
[Earlier, I had written that he retired in early August, based on an article printed in the Fort Wayne Sentinel July 30, 1910. Then I discovered that same article had appeared in several other papers across the country in different (earlier) weeks, leaving the date of the original article a mystery. The day of the reception is given as "Thursday night," yet there is no specific date given. At this point, the earliest printing of this article found (which was sent in to me) is from the Evening Telegram, June 27, 1910, which seems most likely to be accurate since it is a NY paper.]
Heig was a former newsboy himself who later went on to work at the office of the CAS and then was appointed Superintendent. During his twenty-three years on the job, he had to deal (and quite successfully) with incidents ranging from common, such as determining whether a boy was truly homeless or just a runaway (e.g., Campbell, 1893)--to exotic, such as a roof fire (1900) and an unexpected box of dynamite (1892)! Any mentions of him that I've seen in the papers show that he was well-regarded, and there are reports of former lodgers who came back to visit or sent fond letters. An article in the Nebraska State Journal (July 30, 1910) states that he was "universally known as 'father of all waifs.'" Another newspaper article, which according to textual clues appears to have been written by Campbell in the 1891, states, "Superintendent Heig, of the Duane Street Newsboys' Lodging House, is a splendid specimen of [word obscured, possibly "physical"] manhood. He can care for more than two hundred lodgers in a single night, and care for them in a way that needs no apology."
After his retirement, the couple went on to take charge of one of the CAS's farms.
They had five children, all of whom were born while the Heigs were at the DSLH. For much more detailed information on the Heigs and their family, see the Muller Family website, which has individual pages on both Mr. and Mrs. Heig (thanks to the site's owners for their kind permission to link).
See also "Images" page.
His predecessor.This was Mr. Charles O'Connor, who held the job as early as Feb. 1860 (and possibly earlier). He passed away on Mar. 12, 1887 while still holding the position of Superintendent. Horatio Alger's story Cast Upon the Breakers (available online, link to follow) includes some brief appearances of Supt. O'Connor at the DSLH.