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U.S. Postal Service

First Post Office Was In A Bar

The first post office in colonial America was created in 1639 in the Boston house of a man called Richard Fairbanks, which was also a tavern that sold “stronge water”.1)

Newspaper Owe To Post Office

Newspapers were allowed to be mailed at exceptionally low rates as part of the Post Office Act of 1792, which the Founding Fathers saw as crucial for sustaining an informed population through sharing knowledge. As a result, by the early nineteenth century, newspapers constituted the majority of US mail. In 1840, 91 percent of white American adults could read, and the broad availability of newspapers contributed to this excellent literacy rate.2)

Death Penalty For Mail Thieves!

Because the United States Postal Service was the only official means to transfer money, the severity of the punishment was less a reflection of the government's brutality and more an evidence of the necessity of secure postal delivery. Congress quickly changed its mind, and mail theft for first-time offenders was made punished by a public flogging and a jail sentence of up to ten years in 1799. Second offenders, on the other hand, faced the death penalty, which remained in effect until 1872.3)

Postmaster General Semi-Celebrity

The post was deemed so important to a fledgling nation that John McLean, Postmaster General from 1823 to 1829, reported directly to President James Monroe and later to President John Quincy Adams. Following his tenure as Postmaster General, he will be appointed to the United States Supreme Court. Later in his career, he was considered a serious presidential candidate.4)

In Cabinet

The Postmaster General used to sit in the Cabinet, elevating the position to that of the Secretaries of War, Treasury, and State—and placing the PG in competition to be Commander in Chief. True, the Postmaster General was last in line, but he or she was still a heartbeat, if not a dozen, away. In 1971, the Postmaster General was ultimately removed from the Cabinet and from the succession.5)

Recipients Had To Pay For Delivery

Until the mid-nineteenth century, recipients—rather than senders—had to pay for postage on letters they received. As a result, many letters were refused in order to avoid paying for them, causing the post office to spend an unusual amount of time returning mail to senders. Prepaid postage stamps were introduced in America in 1847, which solved this difficulty.6)


Trolls were first made possible by the United States Postal Service. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, offensive “vinegar” or “poison” valentines were fashionable in America (and England, btw). These cards depicted a man or female parody of a popular stereotype, such as a miser or a spinster, and were accompanied by snide lyrics.7)

Pony Express

Contrary to common conception, the Rough Pony Express was a pioneering mail and private service that took on the challenging work of delivering mail through the Wild West before the United States Postal Service arrived. From April 3, 1860, until October 24, 1861, The Express was in operation for a year and a half. Scrappy riders—“orphans preferred,” according to a help-wanted ad—carried mail from St. Joseph, Missouri, to San Francisco, racing over the Great Plains, Rockies, and High Sierras.8)

Go To Post Office Before Civil War

Free City Delivery, or free mail delivery to your house, was first introduced in Cleveland in 1863. Joseph Briggs, a postal employee in that Ohio city, is claimed to have had the idea the previous winter after seeing so many women customers forced to wait in lengthy lines at the post office, chilly and worried, because the only way to obtain word of their loved ones fighting in the war was through the mail. His Free City Delivery program was so popular that it rapidly expanded to neighboring cities before becoming a national standard. Furthermore, Civil War veterans were given first dibs on applying for newly formed postal carrier employment. Another Civil War-inspired postal innovation: money orders, which allowed Union troops to safely transfer money home.9)

Women Postal Clerks

Beginning in 1825, all mail in America that was unlabeled, mislabeled, or inadequately labeled was routed to a central Dead Letter Office in Washington, D.C. This was the only spot in America where persons who weren't the intended receivers of a letter were permitted to open someone else's mail. The postal employees chosen for this position needed to be honest in order to avoid pilfering of all the mail they had access to, and because women were perceived to be more honest than males at the time, the crew was largely made up of women. There were also clergy engaged to work there. The DLO was a famous tourist site for many years. Today, it is not; it is known as the “Mail Recovery Center,” and it is located in Atlanta.10)

Mail Carriers Could Only Hand Mail To Receiver

Despite the fact that mail began to be carried to people's houses, mail carriers were only permitted to hand it to the receiver. This meant that staff had to wait and wait or circle back until their customer returned home.11)

Mandatory Mailbox Or Slot

As of March 1, 1923, every U.S. houses were required to have a mail box or slot, and postal workers no longer had to worry about clients being at home.12)


The Farm-to-Table program, which ran from 1914 to 1920, was a novel initiative that allowed farmers to negotiate prices with people in cities and then mail them their choice of ham, bacon, fresh meats, poultry, eggs, butter, cheese, nuts, maple syrup, honey, jellies, preserves, fruits, and vegetables. This was considered as a method to provide farmers more clients and city people better and cheaper access to fresh commodities, and it was promoted after World War I as a way to assist accomplish President Woodrow Wilson's aim of food conservation in America. What are the two most popular Farm-to-Table items? Lard and butter.13)

Hope Diamond

The 45.52 carat Hope Diamond was given to the Smithsonian by New York City jeweler Harry Winston in 1958. He was so confident in the United States Postal Service, which he used frequently to transfer diamonds, that he chose it to convey one of the world's most costly stones. Winston paid $2.44 for registered first-class mail (about $15.80 today), plus an extra $142.05 (approximately $917 today) to insure it for $1 million. It arrived at his destination safely. The Hope Diamond is on exhibit at the Smithsonian, and the original packing with postmarks is still on show.14)

No Official Motto

Many people think that the United States Postal Service's slogan is “Neither snow, rain, heat, nor gloom of night keeps our couriers from the fast completion of their scheduled rounds.” Yes, those are the words inscribed on the front of New York City's grand 1912 James A. Farley Post Office, but they are drawn from a work by the Persian historian Herodotus written in the 5th century BC. They are referring to couriers in the old Persian Empire, not America's strong men and women in blue. This remark was chosen by an employee of McKim, Mead, and White, the architectural firm that designed the post office, and it is now etched in stone in the post office—and in people's thoughts.15)

u.s._postal_service.txt · Last modified: 2022/11/03 01:13 by eziothekilla34