Ben Reitman was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1879 and died in Chicago in 1943. On one occasion he said of himself: "I am American of origin, Jewish by birth, baptized by adoption, teacher and doctor by profession, cosmopolitan by choice, socialist by inclination, famous by accident, vagabond by the weight of twenty years of experience and reformer by inspiration ». Known as "The King of Hobos," he was one of the pillars of "Hobohemia," became the doctor of beggars and globetrotters, and spent half his life taking care of prostitutes, including those exploited by Al Capone. He practiced clandestine abortions, fought for Malthusian policies and was more a social reformer than a revolutionary. Over the years he became a leading figure in the intellectual life of Chicago. His relationship with Emma Goldman, of whom he was a collaborator and lover for nine years, is well known. After a long period of separation, shortly before dying, Emma dedicated these lines to him: "It would have been necessary to know a creature as exotic and primitive as you. I have always told everyone what a worker you were, the only one of all the men I have known, in fact, who would have devoted himself entirely to the task and the ends that were the most powerful motive of my life. "