From ‘No Girls Allowed’ to Women in Charge: An Irony in Long Island Press History

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Unidentified girls protest the Long Island Press policy of not allowing girls to deliver the newspaper in the 1970s. (Schlesinger Library, Harvard Radcliffe Institute)

If I had a quarter for every person who told me they used to deliver the Long Island Press, retirement would come early.

But it wasn’t until last year—17 years after the Press relaunched—that the reason the only people who’ve said that to me were men was made clear: The owners who published the old daily version of the newspaper had a no-girls-allowed policy. Ironically, now the paper is owned by a woman.

“My aunt said she wanted to deliver for them but wasn’t allowed,” one reader told me, “So they hired her brother and she did the deliveries!”

The paper, founded 200 years ago, was targeted by picketers for its policy. Bettye Lane, the late, famous New York City-based photographer who documented protests in the 1960s and ’70s, captured images of some of those girls who rallied for their right to deliver the paper.

The photo is often shared on social media. Lane’s nephew and archivists who manage her photo collection said the image was taken in October 1971, but the photographer did not make a note of who the girls in the photo are, so their identities remain a mystery.

The irony of the no-girls rule under then-owners Advance Publications—the company that now prints the Condé Nast magazine group—was not lost on the Press current co-owner, Victoria Schneps-Yunis, founder of Schneps Media.

“Woman power is what I’m about,” Schneps-Yunis said. “Doing what I do with passion and purpose. Ironically, now the Long Island Press has a woman to love it and nourish it into its bicentennial year.”

Got a story about the Long Island Press that you’d like to share to help us celebrate our bicentennial? Email tbolger@longislandpress.com

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