Virtual Museum of Public Service

Postal Service

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
 
-Inscription on the James Farley Post Office in New York City 
 
The United States Postal Service (also known as USPS, the Post Office or U.S. Mail) has been responsible for providing postal services in the United States since 1775.
 
An American History 1775 to 2006 was published by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to document its history as a universal mail system from its inception. The authors affirm that its system has strengthened the bonds of friendship, family, and community; encouraged civil discourse; disseminated essential information; and bolstered the national economy by serving as a hub of vital industry and as a trusted courier for American businesses and businesses worldwide. Much of the development that took place in the US in its early days is attributable to the postal service, for “binding” the nation. Mail was first moved using steamboats, along the rivers and then by rail. More inland communities were later served via the Pony Express. Due to challenges presented by difficult terrains, the necessity of moving mail instigated innovation, including the use of horse-drawn sleds to transport mail into the mountains early in the 20th Century. Although the quote that opens this gallery is the unofficial motto, it is evident that postal workers face many challenges in their roles with one of the representative frontline agencies serving citizens.

Title 39 of the United States Code, enacted in 1960, outlines the function of the postal service. (See under Primary Documents). Chapters 10 and 12 of Part 2 of the Code outline the personnel and labor-management policies and establish a framework for a career in the postal service. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman are a few famous public servants who began their careers in the postal service. In 1833, at the age of 24, Lincoln was appointed postmaster of New Salem, Illinois and served in that capacity for three years. According to postal records, Harry Truman was appointed postmaster of Grandview, Missouri, on December 2, 1914. Emblematic of his innate desire to help others, Truman turned the position over to a widow in need of money.

Postal Service