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Famous Newsies of Yore

Legend has it that the first newspaper boy was 10-year-old Barney Flaherty, hired in 1833 by the New York Sun in response to an advertisement that read: "To the Unemployed a number of steady men can find employment by vending this paper."

A boy on his bicycle delivering the Toronto Star in 1940. Photo by Marjorie Georgina Ruddy via Wikimedia Commons

Ambitious, enterprising youngsters were soon selling and delivering newspapers throughout the country. The first job for many a successful person, the list of famous folks who got their start as newspaper delivery boys includes:

  • Walt Disney
  • H. Ross Perot
  • Bob Hope
  • Ed Sullivan
  • Danny Thomas
  • John Wayne
  • Bing Crosby
  • Jimmy Durante
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Herbert Hoover
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Harry S. Truman
  • Ed Sullivan
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Carl Sandburg
  • Tom Brokaw
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Source: Newspaper Association of America via Library Spot

Want to know more about what it was like to be a newspaper delivery boy? Coming up later this week, we’ve got an interview with a former newsie who worked right here in San Francisco. In the meantime, support our Pedal-Powered News Kickstarter campaign and help us get our own bicycle-riding newsies on the road!