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The Unwanted ChildThe Fate of Foundlings, Orphans, and Juvenile Criminals in Early Modern Germany$
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Joel F. Harrington

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226317274

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226317298.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 21 October 2021

The Street Orphan

The Street Orphan

(p.177) Four The Street Orphan
The Unwanted Child
University of Chicago Press

This chapter analyzes the story of a homeless, orphaned teenager named Jörg Mayra. Though only “sixteen or seventeen” years old, the youth more commonly known as “the Little Castle Seventh” had already been arrested and banished several times and was notorious throughout the Franconian countryside as the most prolific juvenile thief in memory. The chapter addresses questions such as: How did things reach this point for Mayr? Where did he come from and why was he on the street in the first place? What was that life like for him and other vagrant youths? Most important, how was a wandering adolescent beggar transformed into a career criminal, “known throughout the land?” In exploring this type of informal child circulation, it is shown that some aspects of the Jörg's background and experience were common to many youths, regardless of residence or criminal activity.

Keywords:   orphans, thieves, orphaned teenagers, youths, criminal activity

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