National Newspaper Carrier Day 

US #1015 pictures a boy delivering newspapers along with a hand holding a torch, symbolizing free enterprise.

On September 4, 1833, the first recorded newspaper boy was hired, an event celebrated today as National Newspaper Carrier Day.

In 1833, Benjamin Day, publisher of the New York Sun newspaper ran an ad looking for people to sell his papers.  It read, “A number of steady men can find employment by vending this paper.  A liberal discount is allowed to those who buy to sell again.”

US #1015 – Classic First Day Cover.

On September 4, 1833, 10-year-old Barney Flaherty went to the Sun inquiring about the papers. While Day had put the ad out looking for men, he was impressed by the boy’s excitement for the job and decided to hire him.   Flaherty became the first recorded paperboy in America that day.

From that time on, young boys were the main deliverers of newspapers to the general public. They could be found standing on street corners or walking through neighborhoods. In the early days, the newspaper boys were not employees of the newspapers, rather they bought the papers from the publishers and sold them as independent workers. They could not return the papers and usually earned about 30¢ per day.

US #1015 – Fleetwood First Day Cover.

In 1960, the Newspaper Carrier Hall of Fame was established.  It honors several famous newspaper carriers including Martin Luther King, Jr., Warren Buffet, Walt Disney, Carl Sandburg, and John Wayne.

In addition to National Newspaper Carrier Day, there’s also an International Newspaper Carrier Day.  This observance was created by the Newspaper Association of America and is celebrated as part of National Newspaper Week.  The weeklong celebration is held during the first full week of October, with Newspaper Carrier Day held on that Saturday.  This year, International Newspaper Carrier Day will be held on October 6.

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  1. So true Bob. My cousin Steve and I had two routes in our neighborhood and would switch off routes each week. Great memories. Still remember different customers names when I visit my old neighborhood.

  2. Very difficult to explain to my young grandsons how a 12 rear old (me) could be so responsible & feel so safe delivering papers & collecting money. Not possible today. So many great memories.

    1. I had forgotten how I carried so much money around collecting. There was no lease law and was bitten 5 times by dogs, until I started using my Cushman Highlander motor scooter. I lved it! Use to pick out the Buffalo nickels from my money bag. Quarters and the other coins were real silver back then. It was definitely like another world then.

  3. Yes, Richard. My first “job” at age twelve, also, was a six day a week afternoon route. Then, a bus ride downtown on Saturday to pay for the papers I delivered on foot over a about a one and a half mile route. There was also the mid week evening trek to “collect” from my clients, some of whom thought I should collect at the end of the week. At 16, you could get a morning route. More income, but seven days a week. Now a days, you have to be 18+ for for any route and the clients pay by credit card. I have seen adults of all ages, even seniors, supplementing there income by becoming paper “boys”. There was no such thing as a weekly “allowance” in my working class family. So, short of neighborhood yard work, it was the only source of pocket money. It required a serious “work ethic”.

  4. I started at age 12 delivering the old Scripps-Howard Houston Press. I eventually worked as a district manager. I loved the smell of the loading docks. The bundles of newspaper I delivered to the carriers and to the boys selling on the street corner. Men and boys use to sell Tyler roses to husbands going home too, that way they could please their wives and read the afternoon. paper. Thw newspaper was kin, loaded with features and ads. Now most newspapers are shells of their former past appearances. Another piece of America is changing rapidly.

  5. I notice that the previous comments were posted A.M.. In Buffalo New York there was the Courier Express in the morning and the Buffalo Evening News in the afternoon. You guys worked for the Courier or the equivalent wherever you live. There was a guy for the Courier that was so devoted that nobody was going to get his route on Aldrich St. but the news route was wide open. I took it for a year then moved to Hamburg N.Y. where I took a route (pronounced rout) for 2 years. I made $7. a week. That was huge money in 1964 for a 14 year old and a massive experience in responsibility. Keep in mind the snow and an attitude of a letter carrier from the postal service. If a paper wasn’t delivered the phone would ring . It never rang until my 13 year old brother took over for me. Holiday season brought the calendars that would guarantee a $1 tip when delivered. 55 bucks covered Christmas for the whole family back then.

  6. Wow judging by the sheer number of comments, this article sure touched a nerve. A good one that is… 🙂

  7. Delivering The Atlantic City Press in Ventnor, New Jersey was my first job. I couldn’t accept the route, until I was able to arrange for someone else to deliver the Sunday edition. NO work on Sundays was the rule in our house in the 1950s.

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