Please join us in person or online on Zoom on Tuesday, December 12 at 4 pm ET for a talk by Candice Shy Hooper on the work of Absalom Markland, the U.S. Post Office Department Special Agent often referred to as “Grant’s Postmaster General” for his efforts in organizing the mail during the Civil War.
During the Civil War, letters between soldiers and their families were critical to morale on the frontlines and on the home front — they were nearly as important as ammunition. To ensure that the military mail was delivered, the U.S. Post Office Department deployed Special Agents across the country to deal with the millions of letters that were unleashed on the postal system. Arguably the most important of these was Absalom Hanks Markland, who straddled the civilian and military worlds while creating the foundations for the military mail system of today. After the war, his swift response to Ku Klux Klan violence sparked passage of a landmark civil rights law. He was famous throughout the country during his lifetime, but forgotten until Delivered Under Fire, his first biography.
About the speaker
Candice Shy Hooper earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Illinois and her law degree from Georgetown University, but only discovered her true intellectual passion after a career on Capitol Hill and as a lobbyist. Returning to school in 2006, she earned a master’s degree in history, with a concentration in military history, from The George Washington University.
Her first book, Lincoln's Generals' Wives: Four Women Who Influenced the Civil War for Better and for Worse (Kent State University Press, 2016), won three national awards and was favorably reviewed in a number of journals. The New York Times, The Journal of Military History, and The Michigan War Studies Review have published her work in the past, and she has had the privilege of speaking at the annual conferences of the Society for Military History and the Society for Civil War Historians, and at the U. S. Naval Academy. Her most recent book, Delivered Under Fire: Absalom Markland and Freedom’s Mail, is the first biography of the childhood friend of Ulysses S. Grant who became a Special Agent of the U.S. Post Office Department and was often called “Grant’s Postmaster General.” In his role as a Special Agent of the U.S. Post Office Department during Grant’s presidency, Markland also contributed to the passage of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871.