The paper was founded as Reynolds's Weekly Newspaper by George W. M. Reynolds in 1850, who became its first editor. By 1870, the paper was selling more than 350,000 copies per week. George died in 1879 and was succeeded as editor by his brother, Edward Reynolds.
After Edward's death in 1894, the paper was bought by Henry Dalziel and in 1924 was renamed Reynold's Illustrated News. In 1929, the paper was bought by the Co-operative Press, linked to the Co-operative Party, and in 1936 its title was shortened to Reynold's News.
After the left-wing journalist H. N. Brailsford wrote a series of articles in Reynold's News criticising the Moscow trials, the paper received hundreds of letters both supporting Brailsford and criticising him.  In 1944, it was again renamed as Reynold's News and Sunday Citizen, but the paper began losing money in the 1950s; it was relaunched in 1962 as a tabloid named the Sunday Citizen, but it closed after the final issue, on 18 June 1967.
When Disney made the animated film '101 Dalmatians', it used a front cover of the Reynolds News and Sunday Citizen to carry the story of the 'Dognapping'. Although the headline was about the theft of the dogs, the story under the headline was of a Canadian mining disaster.
- 1850: George W. M. Reynolds
- 1879: Edward Reynolds
- 1894: William Thompson
- 1907: Henry Dalziel
- 1920: John Crawley
- 1929: Sydney Elliott
- 1941: Bill Richardson
- David Butler and Jennie Freeman, British Political Facts, 1900-1967, p.281
- Joanne Shattock, The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, p.2908
- "Gone and (largely) forgotten", British Journalism Review, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2006, pp.50–52
- F. M. Leventhal, "H. N. Brailsford and Russia: The Problem of Objectivity", in Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies, vol. 5, no. 2 (Summer 1973), pp. 81‐96.