Fifteen Objects that Changed Postal History

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10-cent Washington stamp

Virtual Exhibit

Probably nothing has been more effective as a civilizing and consolidating agency, than the way in which the American post-office has followed the settlers into the western wilderness, and kept every backwoodsman and squatter within easy reach of the world he had left behind him.
E.L. Godkin, editor, Nation
August 1883

Mail was the core source of communication between individuals, government and businesses in North America before the United States even came into being. More than 200 years later, mail continues to boost morale in the military and make the goods of the world accessible to all. It has transported the national culture, promoting capitalism, migration, community, and identity formation.

In celebration of the National Postal Museum's fifteenth anniversary, this exhibit uses 15 items in the National Postal Museum's collections to examine important developments in the history of the U.S. postal system.

Created by Nancy A. Pope, National Postal Museum

Goddard's petition to the Continental Congress

These four items represent changes within the postal system from its creation through the addition of services that effected how people used the system.

5-cent Franklin stamp

This selection of items represent changes in mail processing that have made mail move faster or easier to use for individuals and businesses.

Overland Mail employee's notebook

These four items showcase the adaptation of new transportation methods for moving mail.

Satchel for letter carriers

This selection of four items showcase changes in the way letter carriers have carried America's mail on their daily rounds.