America’s Mailing Industry

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Woman standing in front of printing equipment

Western States staff member

Virtual Exhibit

The mailing industry consists of all of those that communicate with customers and constituents through the U.S. Mail on a large scale — from direct marketers, to publishers, to nonprofits, to public entities — as well as all the businesses that help prepare mail, such as ad agencies, print shops, software vendors, and transportation providers.

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Hi, I'm Marlo Thomas, and I'd like to introduce you to a website that celebrates an industry

that you may not know by name but it touches our lives almost every day.

I'm talking about the mailing industry.

For the past 200 years, this trillion-dollar industry has partnered with the US Postal Service

to bring cards and letters and packages into our homes almost every day of the week.

Today this partnership is comprised of thousands of businesses that employ more than 7.5 million

people in the United States alone.

And it's a major contributor to the economy bringing in more than one trillion dollars every year.

Aren't those numbers astounding?

The mailing industry is a breathtaking enterprise that is woven into the very fabric of our lives.

It's the companies that produce the ink, and paper, to create the magazines and catalogs that

bind us to those who share our interests.

It's how millions of us still pay our bills and receive physical proof for financial transactions.

It provides information and entertainment, and more and more these days, let's us shop

from the kitchen table for just about anything we need.

And it's how thousands of charities and nonprofits can receive aid and assistance.

I'm speaking with you today because I depend on the mailing industry to help St. Jude Children’s

Research Hospital in its mission to save the lives of children who are battling cancer

and other deadly diseases.

As the national outreach director of the hospital, I can tell you that we rely on the mail

to help us raise funds and awareness for St. Jude, each and every day of the year.

And I should tell you that the mailing industry is especially during my family because in

2012 the US Postal Service issued a stamp featuring the founder of St. Jude, our dad Danny Thomas.

That sure makes mailing a letter special to us.

So I hope you take a few minutes to explore the site and while you're at it think about

how the mailing industry affects your daily life and helps others who are in need.

And if you like what you see tell your friends about it.

Better yet, mail them card.

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James Cochrane, USPS Chief Marketing and Sales Officer

The United States Postal Service is part of the bedrock of American society and commerce.

And on that bedrock there's a foundation of trust, good will, built from generations of

reliable affordable and secure delivery extending back to the birth of our nation.

The Postal Service connects us to each other, to businesses, to our government, and to our shared history.

There is no comparable American organization that does this so intimately and so reliably.

After all, practically every person in America encounters the Postal Service and the mail

we deliver just about every day.

The history of the Postal Service is the history of a beautiful partnership with America's mailing industry.

It's a partnership that endures to this day.

And the National Postal Museum exhibit on the mailing industry, past, present, and future,

tells the story of this partnership.

From the very beginning, the Postal Service supported the commerce that helped our nation

thrive economically and disseminated information that strengthened our democracy.

Benjamin Franklin was a genius and a statesmen as well as our first Postmaster General.

But he was also a leading printer and publisher of his day.

And he envisioned and built a national postal service to help people conduct business and

to bind the nation together.

The letter, the envelope, the stamp, the address, the written word, they're the building blocks

of a mailing industry that has grown and evolved over 240 years.

Today the Postal Service delivers over a hundred and fifty-two billion pieces of mail to more

than a hundred and fifty-three million addresses.

More than 8 million people work in an industry that provides the American public with information

they need in the form of catalogs, magazines, letters, postcards, and more and more packages.

Today's mailing industry is data and technology centric.

The use of information is transforming the experience of mail and making it more part

of our daily digital lives.

The history of the Postal Service and the mailing industry is one of progress and constant change.

In so many ways you can trace the history of the nation through the changes enabled

by the great partnership between the Postal Service and America's mailing industry.

And as the pace of digital change quickens in the coming years, businesses and the American

public are sure to benefit greatly from the latest exciting developments.

Thank you for visiting with us.

I hope you enjoy the National Postal Museum's exhibit on the mailing industry, past, present, and future.

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Allen Kane, National Postal Museum Former Director

Hello, my name is Allen Kane and I'm the director of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

I want to welcome you to a new and exciting National Postal Museum website.

We want to share the story of a remarkable partnership with you.

This partnership is between the United States Postal Service and thousands of companies

and organizations that make up the mailing industry.

The United States Postal Service delivers almost half the world's mail.

Well think about that, almost half of the world's mail.

The mailing industry employs approximately eight million people

and has revenues in excess of a trillion dollars per year.

So what does this industry do?

It creates and produces mail.

It supports the very large postal network, and helps get mail into your mailbox.

There are hundreds of examples in this website of how mail affects your daily life.

Learn how this unique and critical partnership came into being and where it's headed.

We have grouped the thousands of companies into 14 industry segments

so you can navigate the website easier.

You can learn how one segment operates or how they will work together.

The website also offers stories of individual companies and organizations that continue

to use the mail as a critical piece of their communications strategy.

And you can learn some interesting facts about the postal service and the industry.

I hope you enjoy this website and take away an appreciation for the vital partnership

that goes back two hundred years between a government agency and the private sector

that is essential to American businesses and consumers.

America’s Mailing Industry