Saturday Evening Post: Post Boys

Figure 1.-- This 1916 photograph shows a group of "Saturday Evening Post" delivery boys. They were responsible for selling subscriptions and building their routes. Source: Coyd Bickley Yost (1893-1972). The boys seem to be at a newspaper/magazine shop. This is presumably where the boys picked up the "post" to deliver.

The Post experienced financial problems and bankruptsy was a rel possibility (1899). The management came up with a srtegy to increase sales. They recruited Post Boys to go door to door and sell the magazine. They also delivered it like a newspaper. As it ws on Satuday, it interferdless with school. One author reports, "“In less than a year, the scheme for selling the magazine through boys had succeeded so well that their share of the sales now exceeded the entire circulation for July 1898. By 1900 the circulation of the Post had soared to 193,544. At 13,947 copies a week, the Post boys’ sales represented 7.2 percent of an issues circulation. They had become a fixed asset in the distribution system of The Saturday Evening Post”. (Cohn, p. 189.) Boys not only helped save the Post, they became proiminanrlty featured inside the magazine. The Post prominately developed the image of hard working, industrious boys, essentially the Horatio Alger imge of hard work rewarded. Some of Norman Roickwell's best remenbered covers featured boys, especially in the early years. Ahd the Post had numerous articles about hard wok and financial success. Eventually the Post shited entirely to mail delivery. I am not entirely sure when this occurred.


Cohn, Jan. “The Business Ethic for Boys: The Saturday Evening Post and the Post Boys', The Business History Review. Vol. 61, 2 (Summer 1987), pp. 185-215.


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Created: 2:44 PM 2/14/2009
Last updated: 2:44 PM 2/14/2009