Michigan Paperboys and Newspaper Offices, Early 1900s
This job might seem strange to anyone born since the year 2000, but guess what, kids? There actually was a job where youngsters got on their bikes, went down and picked up a BIG bundle of paper which contained folded sheets containing many words, ads, and pictures - we called them "newspapers" - and (GET THIS) went from door-to-door and delivered them to each house! What a wacky thing to do!!!
The kids who did this job were referred to as "paperboys" and yes, there were "papergirls" but not as many as the boys.
This might seem unfathomable as newspapers are almost non-existent these days...all news now comes from the internet and occasionally TV. But the paperboys of yesteryear were tough.....I mean, tough. Biking or walking through feet of snow in the winter every dark chilly, winter morning to deliver the latest news to waiting neighbors. If you were late with your delivery, the customers would call the boss and make sure you got a good bawling out...or dismissal.
Going back 100 years or more, not only were there paperboys on bikes, but also on downtown street corners in the larger cities. A prime corner was the envy of the other boys who struggled to sell their papers on a less-popular corner. You've seen this depicted in those old movies, with a kid on the corner yelling something like "Extry! Extry! Read all about it! Man bites dog...dog dies! Get yer paper!"
I had a paper route when I was a kid. The main office would dump heavy bundles of newspapers at a downtown location, and I had to ride my bike down there, fold 'em up, put 'em in my newspaper bag, into my bike basket, and off I went. On snowy days, I had to walk the route...that's right...no help from mom or dad to drive me around. It was my responsibility and I did it.
I remember two little old ladies who were on my route. Every Saturday when I arrived to collect money for the paper, they would give me homemade cookies. Then one day I watched the old Cary Grant movie "Arsenic and Old Lace" where two little old ladies murdered their customers with poisoned wine. From then on, I threw the cookies into the river.
I don't know if any paperboys exist anywhere in Michigan anymore. Do you? I would sure hope so. It's a good first-job experience for any kid, male or female. It teaches job responsibility and how to manage money.
The gallery below shows some photos of old-time paperboys - many from Michigan - and some of the old Michigan newspaper offices from 100+ years ago.
Vintage Paper Boys and Newspaper Offices
MORE VINTAGE MICHIGAN!