Paperboys crossing lawns are no longer a familiar scene, as their golden era hit a rapid eclipse in the new millennium. To capture the vast newspaper business, typical communities carriers served, and the paperboys’ interests, visit lively museums displaying that period.

NEWSEUM, the nation’s newspaper museum. Located in Washington D.C., adjacent to Smithsonian museums on the National Mall this interactive high-tech center offers vibrant newspaper history and American stories. A visit to Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth St N.W. offers an informative, intriguing time. Learn more at: or call (888) 639-7386.

The Bicycle Museum of America in New Bremen, Ohio. The two story brick museum on W. Monroe Street is located in the historic downtown of a friendly community where the Miami and Erie Canal of by-gone days flows through town. A remarkable collection of every style of bike from the 19th century into the 21st. Their web: or phone (419) 629-9249.

Logan County Historical Museum in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Bicycling fast with a swaying lop-sided load of newspapers challenged any youngster. Change from two wheels to one wheel and it’s nearly impossible. Enjoy the museum’s display of Ed Boblitt’s unicycle and story of this resourceful paperboy. (937) 593-7557, or

Metz Bicycle Museum in Freehold, New Jersey. More than any other body of young people, paperboys worked for, bought , rode and repaired bicycles. Another visit to a bicycle center is available at the Metz Bicycle Museum. check their hours with a call (732) 462-7363 or on line:



To grasp children’s need for free time, casual play, curiosity splattered in dirt several best-sellers detail the beneficial results in this important behavior.

children-of-the-cityDavid Nasaw’s Children of the City: At Work and At Play provides a lively positive portrait of children in thriving U.S. cities from 1900 to 1920. From a child’s point of view, his city streets offered playgrounds, jobs, practical lessons.  Drawing on hundreds of memoirs, autobiographies, oral histories and unpublished–and until now unexamined–primary source materials from cities across the country, he provides us with a warm and eloquent portrait of these children, their families, their daily lives, their fears, and their dreams.

nanny-stateDavid Harsanyi’s Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children repeatedly catalogs bureaucrats’ acts that establish endless policies to treat all citizens, young to elderly, as helpless children. Fast paced, humorous, irritating enough to stir a reader to stop do-gooders who do no good.  This is a thoughtful look at how the government is reaching into everyday life and how Americans are quietly going along with it.

free-range-kidsLenore Skenazy strongly advocates dis-attaching children from over-protective parents so youth can explore, be creative, problem solve.  She argues that it’s time to retire the national pastime of worrying and that childhood is supposed to be about discovering the world, not being held captive.  Her book Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) belongs in every pediatrician’s waiting room, every child’s bedroom.

Two pleasant thought-provoking books that tie in with porches and paperboys are listed for your enjoyment.

With humor and engaging history Michael Dolan returns the reader to wonderful years when porches were important and personable. Sitting on a porch swing or in a white wicker chair reading the local newspaper. The American Porch, An Informal History of an Informal Place (The Lyons Press, 2002).

A short delightful book, with lasting thoughts are available in Front Porch Tales by Philip Gulley (Multnomah Books, 1997.

Famous Paperboys

On the path to success, famous Americans often began their route to achievement with first managing a paper route. Inducted into the Newspaper Carrier Hall of Fame, the extensive list with the stories of these important citizens is housed in the Newseum.

A number of autobiographies and best sellers include sections about the troubling experiences of being a paperboy.

Journalist and Pulitzer Prize recipient, Russell Baker is well remembered for his humorous and poignant memoir, Growing Up (Signet). In Chapter 11 his vivid memories of an early Sunday route causes a reader to sympathize, shiver, laugh and cheer.

Bill Bryson’s fantasies, excursions and outlandish acts as told in the hilarious The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir would have strained any circulation manger’s control over this 1950’s paperboy.

The opening of astronaut John Glenn’s memoir leads the reader into the Ohio village of New Concord, with John wheeling around the streets on his paper route in a simpler, slower and usually safer time.


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