Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Brady, James

James Brady, founder of the Old Newsboys’ Goodfellow Fund, was born poor in 1878. He became successful as an adult, and as a city tax collector, Brady saw firsthand the financial troubles that some Detroiters were experiencing and the children who were suffering as a consequence. To help improve the welfare of Detroit’s youngest residents, Brady came up with the idea to have former newsboys sell newspapers at an inflated cost during the holiday season with the intent of using the extra money to purchase food, clothing and Christmas toys for the children. At the suggestion of friend and Detroit News Managing Editor E.J. Pipp, he enlisted the help of the Detroit Newsboys Association, a group of ex-newspapermen that had since gone on to succeed in business.

Over the course of the 1914 holiday season, the Old Newsboys banded together and once again sold papers on the street. The gifts that were purchased with the funds were delivered that very Christmas. Since then, the Old Newsboys’ Goodfellow Fund of Detroit has raised and subsequently spent millions of dollars on hundreds of thousands of children in the Detroit area. Even today many former newspaper men and women, including some of Brady’s descendants, band together during the holiday season to sell papers and ensure that their motto "No Kiddie Without a Christmas" rings true to all.

James Brady died at the age of 47, just nine years after founding the Old Newsboys’ Goodfellow Fund. A memorial to Brady is located along Central Avenue on Belle Isle. It was unveiled on June 23, 1928.



James Brady Memorial Print, 1973

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