USPS logo LINK — USPS employee news Printable

Now and again

10 facts from the past four years

A mail truck displays a sign encouraging customers to provide mail slots or receptacles in Washington, DC, in 1916. At the time, carriers spent an estimated 30-60 minutes each day waiting at residents’ doors. Image: Library of Congress

This is the 200th edition of “The List” since the column’s 2017 debut. To mark the occasion, here are 10 facts from previous editions.

1. Abraham Lincoln and Harry S. Truman are the only Postmasters who have been elected president (so far). In 1833, when he was 24, Lincoln was appointed Postmaster of New Salem, IL. In 1914, Truman was appointed Postmaster of Grandview, MO. Before Adlai Stevenson served as vice president under President Grover Cleveland, he was First Assistant Postmaster General, while various biographies state William McKinley, the 25th president, was a clerk at the Poland, OH, Post Office at the outbreak of the Civil War.

2. William H. Carney, a letter carrier, was the first African American to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor. Carney received the honor for his Civil War-era service in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the first regiment composed entirely of African American soldiers. Their story was told in the 1989 film “Glory.”

3. The first official airmail delivery in the United States was by hot air balloon. This occurred in 1859, when balloonist John Wise completed a 30-mile demonstration flight from Lafayette to Crawfordsville, IN.

4. Hinsdale, NH, has the oldest original Post Office building. The office has operated in the building since 1816.

5. General Electric has the nation’s easiest to remember ZIP Code. The code for the company’s location in Schenectady, NY, is 12345.

6. Not everyone was a fan of the first full-color flag stamp. Because postage requires cancellation, some collectors opposed the 1957 release of the stamp, seeing the cancellation as a desecration of the flag.

7. Postal pioneer Mary Katherine Goddard is part of the Declaration of Independence. In 1777, Congress tasked Goddard, America’s first known woman Postmaster, with printing and distributing the first copies of the declaration with all signatures — a job she completed in two weeks. Although she used the gender-neutral “M.K. Goddard” as her name when she ran the newspaper, her copy of the declaration lists her full name at the bottom.

8. A postal employee’s son created Mr. ZIP. The beloved cartoon figure was originally designed by Harold Wilcox, an advertising agency employee whose father was a letter carrier. Mr. ZIP was initially used by Chase Manhattan Bank for a bank-by-mail campaign, but then the American Telephone and Telegraph Co. acquired the design and allowed the Post Office Department to use it.

9. Postal Service employees were once honored with stamps. The 1973 release consisted of 10 8-cent stamps depicting services performed by postal workers, including stamp sales inside Post Offices and mail processing and delivery.

10. Until 1923, city letter carriers had to knock, ring or whistle at doors. Initially, carriers hand-delivered mail to customers. By 1912, new customers were required to provide mail slots or boxes, and since 1923, all customers have been required to have a mailbox or slot to receive mail.

Post-story highlights