National Postal Worker Day

by Smithsonian Digital Library

National Postal Museum Library photographs

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

Inscription on Main Post Office, New York City, adapted from Herodotus.

The United States Postal Service currently employs approximately 664,000 workers. The majority work as:

Service ClerksSell stamps and postage, help people retrieve packages and assist with other services such as passports.

Mail SortersPhysically sort the mail to go to the correct place. As automation has become more prevalent, some of these workers now operate sorting machines.

Mail CarriersDeliver the mail. 10-07-01-hpis8874In densely populated areas this is done on foot, in urban areas the carriers often use a mail truck, and in rural areas carriers drive their own vehicles.

Postal workers are represented by the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and the American Postal Workers Union, a division of the AFL-CIO.

Throughout its history, the United States Postal Service has employed women as postmasters. Starting with a single woman, Mary Katherine Goddard, at the birth of our country in 1775 and continuing to the present, when more women than men head United States Post Offices.

In the 19th century, African Americans played a small role in postal operations, mainly working behind the scenes and hauling bags of mail. By the 20th century, many served as postmasters and letter carriers, and in positions at Post Office Department headquarters. By the 21st century, one in five United States postal employees was African-American, serving at all levels of the Postal Service.

Many famous people worked as postal employees, including Presidents Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, and Harry S. Truman. Statesman Benjamin Franklin was America’s first Postmaster General. Bing Crosby, Walt Disney, and Rock Hudson also worked as postal clerks and letter carriers. Charles Lindbergh was an airmail pilot.

Selected books and journals:

United States Post Office: current issues and historical background. Patrick A. Reebel, editor. Imprint: New York: Nova Science Publications, 2003.

Preserving the people’s post office. Christopher W. Shaw; foreword by Ralph Nader. Shaw, Christopher W.
  Imprint: Washington, DC: Essential Books, c2006.

An American postal portrait: a photographic legacy. United States Postal Service. Imprint: New York: Harper Resource, c2000.

History of the United States Postal Service, 1775-1993. United States Postal Service. United States Postal Service. Imprint: Washington, DC: The Service, [1993].

The American postal worker. Imprint: [Washington, s.n.]

Postal workers. Paulette Bourgeois; [illustrations by] Kim LaFave. Bourgeois, Paulette. Imprint: Niagara Falls, NY: Kids Can Press, 1999.

The postal record. Imprint: [Washington, National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO)].


United States Postal Service

National Postal Mail Handlers Union

American Postal Workers Union

Postmaster finder

Postal history

—Paul McCutcheon

National Postal Museum Library photographs, Postal photograph: letter carriers, San Francisco, c. 1894, pph 924 “Station J.”

7 thoughts on “National Postal Worker Day

  1. Richard E. Baker

    My name is Richard E. Baker and I am the founder of National Postal Workers Day. The day was founded in 1997 when I was a postal employee in the Seattle area. I contacted Chas’e Calendar of Events and, with the support of USPS Senior Management, was able secure July 1st, 1997 as the first day and year in which was observed. I have since left USPS for GSA but continue to be proud of my years with USPS as well as all postal employees since its beginning and am especially proud that I was able to do something to elevate awareness regarding the impact that postal employyes have and continue to have in terms of serving our nation. Sincerely, Rcihard E. Baker, Founder, National Postal Worker’s Day – July 1st-held annually.

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  4. mario a.cardenas

    proud to be a postal worker, serving my community is as rewarding as serving my country as a US Marine Corps Veteran.

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  6. j connell

    Last year, postal employees constituted a third of all federal civilian employees dying on the job .

    Because of that alarming statistic I propose flying the US Flag at half staff on that day in honor of those who’ve died in service.

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