National Newspaper Carrier Day on September 4th recognizes the dedicated newspaper carriers (yes, they are still delivering) who deliver the news in the wee hours of the morning.
A lot has changed since the first newspaper carrier. Not only have the routines changed, but their methods and the age of the people delivering has changed, too. However, the newspaper carrier still exists in some form. Each and every newspaper carrier owe their start to an enterprising young immigrant in New York City over 180 years ago. As the tradition gradually fades, their history becomes no less fascinating.
According to a captioned photo released by the Museum of the City of New York, The Sun‘s publisher Benjamin Day hired the first paperboy on Septemeber 4, 1833. A 10-year-old Barney Flaherty answered the advertisement that September day. And although the ad specified for “steady men” to apply, Flaherty so impressed the editor that Day was so impressed by the boy’s sincerity; he gave him the job.
Down on the corner, passersby soon heard Flaherty hawking his sales pitch. Eventually, the universal chorus of boys (and sometimes girls) calling, “Paper! Get your paper, here!” could be heard on the streets selling papers.
“A number of steady men can find employment by vending this paper. A liberal discount is allowed to those who buy to sell again.” ~ Benjamin Day’s 1833 advertisement in The Sun.
In 1960, The Newspaper Carrier Hall of Fame was created. It acknowledges some famous newspaper carriers in our nation’s history, too. Included in the Newspaper Carrier Hall of Fame are Martin Luther King Jr., Warren Buffet, and John Wayne.
Note from the publisher:
Nearly every time I attend an event, I meet someone that delivered papers at some point in their lives.
My brother and I started selling GRIT newspapers. Kids could buy these “Enquirer” type publications – 50 at a time – out of the ad section in comic books. I think we paid eight cents per copy and stood outside Gibson’s Department store in McAlester and hawked those papers to customers for a quarter. It wasn’t much, but it paid for our next batch of papers and a bunch of junk food and soda pop.
Later we delivered the Mcalester News Capital and really started making money, LOL. I’ve been in the business for 53 years, all because of GRIT. Oh, and my Grandpa, for sitting at Gibson’s Department store watching us sell those GRIT copies – sometimes all day!
Times have changed (and I’m still not in the Hall of Fame with John Wayne) but the 55-plus crowd still loves picking up our newspaper every month. Advertisers know that when they contact us – and we are sure glad they do.
Take care of those newspaper carriers this month. Give a pat on the back to our SNL delivery folks that work so hard to make sure you have your latest copy of Oklahoma’s Senior News and Living.
By the way, I love hearing your stories. So if you delivered newspapers or just know a funny story, send me an email at [email protected]. Who knows, maybe I’ll publish your nugget so more than 60,000 seniors can enjoy.