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 Clerks—Sell stamps and postage, help people retrieve packages and assist with other services such as passports.
Mail Sorters—Physically sort the mail to go to the correct place. As automation has become more prevalent, some of these workers now operate sorting machines.
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, .
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)].
National Postal Museum Library photographs, Postal photograph: letter carriers, San Francisco, c. 1894, pph 924 “Station J.”