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Mobile Newsboy: 1914

October 1914. Mobile, Alabama. "Young newsboy who begins work at daybreak." View full size. Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine.

October 1914. Mobile, Alabama. "Young newsboy who begins work at daybreak." View full size. Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine.


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I had three routes at once in the mid 60's and made about as much as some adults. My routes were broken up into seven routes when I quit. Collecting was up and down. Some customers were great, and others real deadbeats. Who stiffs a kid for a few cents? There are still paperboys in the Hillsborough and Durham NC area. They sell the papers at intersections, not much walking, but some dodging of texting drivers.

Car Paper Route

Found this pic just today by clicking on "Prev Page" on the home bar. Brought back more memories of my 3 year career delivering papers.

My first 6 months I worked for a lady that had a very large car route. We rolled and I threw from the car windows. My target was driveways and sidewalks. Sometimes I would actually hit the porches and when I did my lady boss would yell out "good shot, Jimmy". We would stop the car if I hit the bushes and if a paper landed on the roof, I would throw another paper. She retired and I got the 1st choice of a walking route as there were 5 routes created from her auto route.

I Was A Paperboy Once ...

and all it taught me was not to be a paperboy. I ran my route on my bike between May and August of 1964 and delivered every day to about 90 homes within a three mile radius. Collecting from customers was like pulling teeth and I was always short - and always having to go back and back and back to try and get paid. The job took more time than I would ever have imagined and by the time I left it I had made only $12 "profit." So much for being an All-American Icon.

OMG! That made me LOL!

Seriously...hilarious with the fadeout. Thank you, Dave, for the laugh.

Mobile Paperboy

In Mobile as a 10-year old, 1950-51, I sold newspapers early in the morning--5:30 a.m.--on a street corner near the main entrance to Brookley AFB. Like a previous commenter, I didn't last long.

The newsboy in the photo is probably on Government Street, a main thoroughfare, about where the entrance to the Bankhead tunnel now is.

It's also possible, though less so, that he's a few blocks around the corner on Royal Street.

From a would-be paperboy

I remember when the paperboy job disappeared from Long Island. It was in the mid 1980's, right when I was wanting to be a paperboy like my older brothers had been. I don't know the details of it, but some older man bought one of the Postal Service's discarded right hand drive Jeeps and took over all the local paper routes. That was the end of it for the kids. They left an envelope in your box every week for you to leave your check in and we never saw the paper deliveryperson again, unless you were up at 5 AM when he was passing by. I have no idea what it's like now, as I left the U.S. nearly a decade ago, fed up with the direction it was headed and boy am I glad I did.

Love the site, keep up the good work.

I was a paperboy once

Back in the 1960s, I had a paper route for a while. Even then, paper carriers were not newspaper employees. No, we were "independent contractors" who solicited sales door to door, delivered to homes 7 days a week and collected once every 2 weeks. I had a canvas bag draped over my bicycle handlebars, loaded with 50 or 60 papers. It was tedious and not very rewarding - I didn't last long.

Our town, anyway, had no newsies hawking papers on the street. I think by then radio and TV had taken over the "breaking news" category. You could buy individual papers at barber shops, drugstores and the local hotel. Our town had 4 daily papers available (Omaha, Lincoln morning & evening, and Beatrice) plus the local paper 3 days a week.

The Internet is taking a toll on those papers today.

Disappearance of paperboys

The reason you don't see paperboys anymore has nothing to do with kids and their willingness to work, and everything to do with the newspaper delivery business and how it is run. Newspapers want no part of child workers anymore. But don't let me stop your misinformed rant...

Paperboys were once a legend,

[We'll be right back with Part 2 of this windy diatribe after a brief intermission. - Dave]


Amazing, that we are looking at a newspaper as it was on Saturday, October 10, 1914 -- papers are so forgettable, no one could have guessed, least of all the Newsie, that he'd be seen and known all these decades later. This site really is like going back in time.


I am wondering about a technical question:
how is it possible to get a detail from the original picture with such a fine resolution.

If I download the picture it has a resolution of 1200x861 and the detail from it will have a resolution of approximately 120x100 but the detail shown in the comment has a resolution of 485x400.

Can anyone tell me how that is possible?

By the way: I am a European lover of historical and cartographic sites. I am very pleased to have found Shorpy. Gives me such an interesting insight in the U.S. society in the past century. thanks for all that.

Bussum, Netherlands

[The full-resolution image here is 5000 x 3587 pixels. We downsize the full-resolution images to approximately 1200 pixels wide before posting them to the site. - Dave]

Mobile Newsie

As an artist I love it.

ww1 news also

Channel ports now Kaiser's Objective, I think thats what is written next to the game, also Portugal expected to Decla but his hand blocks the rest -

Mobile Newsboy: 1914, date of photo

Flip the picture upside down, and you see the newspaper has a banner headline that reads, in part, "BOSTON TAxxx SECOND." On October 10, 1914, the Boston Braves beat the Philadelphia Athletics, 1-0 in the second game of the World Series, ultimately sweeping 4-0. Suffice to say, the newspaper, and the photo, are probably from the morning of Oct. 11, 1914.

[Another clue would be the caption under the photo that says "October 1914." It's the afternoon paper of Saturday, October 10 - Dave]

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