Friday, March 20, 2015


I dug this small item many years ago but was only recently successful in identifying it:

This small (1 7/8" tip to tip of stars) aluminum "badge" was used to identify the paperboys (agents) who sold copies of the W. D. Boyce's Chicago Blade and Ledger newspaper throughout the United States. It was dug via metal detector on my property here in Vicksburg.
Boyce's story is quite interesting. He established the weekly Saturday Blade in 1887, an illustrated newspaper aimed at a rural audience and sold by a legion of newsboys. These "agents," some 30,000 of them at one point, earned two cents per paper sold and were not charged for unsold issues. Boyce bought out the Chicago Ledger, another weekly, in 1892. Years later, dwindling sales led to the merger of the Blade and Ledger in 1925 as the monthly Chicago Blade & Ledger. This paper continued until 1937.
As Boyce's enterprises grew, the welfare of his delivery boys was uppermost in his mind. Consideration for them may have been partially responsible for his creation of the BSA. While visiting London in 1909, he became lost on a foggy street in London. An unknown Scout came to his aid, guiding him back to his destination. The boy then refused Boyce's tip, explaining that he was merely doing his duty as a Boy Scout. Boyce returned to America, and, four months later, founded the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910.
I have included a photo of one of Boyce's advertisements in which he states, "22,000 happy agents earn a tidy sum of money every Saturday." Boyce was indeed a true humanitarian. 

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