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Smithsonian National Postal Museum


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Exhibits




Binding the Nation : Starting the System

Starting the System




Photograph of the Starting the System exhibit at the National Postal Museum





George Washington envisioned a nation bound together by a system of post roads and post offices. Starting the System documents America's increasing need for a mail system to ensure the free flow of information between citizens and their government.






Key Objects




Queen Anne's Act

Queen Anne's Act
The Queen Anne Act was instrumental in creating a functioning postal system in the American colonies.







Colonies and the Mail

Colonies and the Mail
The British government needed a reliable mail service in the American colonies in order to communicate with its colonial governors.







Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin helped bring form to the disorganized British colonial post, but was fired from his post for his pro-revolutionary activities.







Washington's Postage Bill

Washington's Postage Bill
George Washington, while a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, was given this bill for letters sent him by Colonel Fairfax.











Other Objects



Rate Chart

Rate Chart
Co-Deputy Postmasters General, Benjamin Franklin and John Foxcroft, created a chart that converted postage charges from British to colonial currency.







Goddard's Petition

William Goddard and the Constitutional Post
Printer William Goddard petitioned Congress to accept his plan for an independent postal service in 1774.







1790 Act Signed by Jefferson

1790 Act Signed by Jefferson
In 1790, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson signed this copy of the act for the "Temporary Establishment of the Post Office."







1792 Postal Act

1792 Postal Act
The Postal Act of February 20, 1792 defined the character of the young Post Office Department.







'The Maryland Journal, and Baltimore Advertiser,' Friday, May 16, 1788

Mary Katherine Goddard
Mary Katherine Goddard became Baltimore, Maryland's postmaster in 1775. She held the post for 14 years.












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Queen Anne's Act Colonies and the Mail Benjamin Franklin Washington's Postage Bill