Chicagoland

‘Crusaders’ boosted subscriptions from 1939 to 1960s

By Chicago Catholic
September 6, 2017

‘Crusaders’ boosted subscriptions from 1939 to 1960s

Once upon a time, the New World had an army of salespeople on the streets every year. Thousands upon thousands of fresh-faced Catholic school pupils sold the paper door to door in their neighborhoods and to their families and friends, competing for individual awards as well as recognition for their schools.
A young crusader solicits subscriptions from Chicago firefighters and their dog in 1959. (Chicago Catholic file photo)
Cardinal Albert Meyer reviews winning posters from the 1964 crusade. The artists from left are, grammar school winners Lee Irving, Marvin Keplinger and Cynthia Pugh; and high school winners Janet Marie Kamer, Donna Brazis and Rose Ann Christensen. All received U.S. savings bonds. (Chicago Catholic file photo)
Young ladies pose with a copy of the New World on Oct. 14, 1949, with the headline “Youth New World Crusade Opens Sunday.” (Chicago Catholic file photo)
Hartnett and Madeline Guerrieri prepare packages to be sent to Catholic schools participating in the 1955 crusade. (Chicago Catholic file photo)
Students show off their posters in the 1942 Crusader contest. (Chicago Catholic file photo)
New World Crusader Billiy Jeffries pitches a subscription to a door man on Nov. 12, 1943. (Chicago Catholic file photo)
This advertisement for the Crusade ran in 1961. (Chicago Catholic file photo)

Once upon a time, the New World had an army of salespeople on the streets every year. Thousands upon thousands of fresh-faced Catholic school pupils sold the paper door to door in their neighborhoods and to their families and friends, competing for individual awards as well as recognition for their schools.

The New World Crusade ran from 1939 until the mid-1960s, involving enough children that even now, when Chicago Catholic contacts people of a certain age, it’s not uncommon to hear, “I sold your paper when I was in school.” Among the erstwhile crusaders was Bishop John Manz, who, a few years ago, was presented with a plaque in honor of his efforts — a plaque that was probably some 50 years overdue.

The crusade was strongly supported by the cardinal-archbishops of Chicago. In 1965, Cardinal John Cody wrote this to school principals in advance of the two-week crusade:

“The part that you have had in the development of the New World has been truly edifying, and it is a source of happiness to me to know that it is extensively circulated. … I regard our Catholic newspaper as the most effective instrument possible for bearing the message of Christ to every Catholic home in the archdiocese.”

The crusade period was kicked off with four separate regional rallies on the same day. Awards were given not only to top sellers, but also to winners of poster and essay contests.

Topics:

  • 125th anniversary

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