Boxcar Betty

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Boxcar Betty
First appearance Sister of the Road
Created by Ben Reitman
Gender Female
Occupation Hobo, union organizer
Nationality American

Boxcar Betty was a fictional hobo and Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) organizer in the early 20th century, popularized by a Great Depression-era book, Sister of the Road by Ben Reitman.[1] The IWW were among the first to organize itinerant workers, and some of their most dedicated organizers were homeless themselves. Boxcar Betty became a "larger than life" character, an amalgam of various women and part of American folklore:

Today, if you really want to, you can probably find Boxcar Betty roaming the railroad yards across the country. Her name itself has become synonymous with rollicking, rough and tumble adventure. And wherever she goes, Boxcar Betty is a railroad tramp's worst nightmare and most delicious dream. Hopping freights and bouncing from one boxcar to another, Boxcar Betty is brawling her way across this great land.[2]

Boxcar Betty appears in singer/songwriter David Rovics's song titled, "Song for Boxcar Betty," as well as in Holly Hanson's (of Neptune's Car) song titled, "Boxcar Betty."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reitman, Ben. "Sister of the Road". 
  2. ^ C. James, "Boxcar Betty", Retrieved January 21, 2006