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United States citizen, permanent resident, or citizen of American Samoa or other U. On July 26, 1775, the U. Second Continental Congress, with Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general. Mail deliveries from across the Atlantic were sporadic and could take many months to arrive. There were no post offices in the colonies, so mail was typically left at inns and taverns.
In 1753, Benjamin Franklin, who had been postmaster of Philadelphia, became one of two joint postmasters general for the colonies. He made numerous improvements to the mail system, including setting up new, more efficient colonial routes and cutting delivery time in half between Philadelphia and New York by having the weekly mail wagon travel both day and night via relay teams. In 1774, the British fired Franklin from his postmaster job because of his revolutionary activities. However, the following year, he was appointed postmaster general of the United Colonies by the Continental Congress. Franklin held the job until late in 1776, when he was sent to France as a diplomat. Today, the United States has over 40,000 post offices and the postal service delivers 212 billion pieces of mail each year to over 144 million homes and businesses in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the American Virgin Islands and American Samoa. The postal service is the nation’s largest civilian employer, with roughly 500,000 career workers.
Sign up now to learn about This Day in History straight from your inbox. In the earliest days, ship captains arriving in port with stampless mail would advertise in the local newspaper names of those having mail and for them to come collect and pay for it, if not already paid for by the sender. The issue and use of adhesive postage stamps continued during the 19th century primarily for first class mail. Each of these stamps generally bore the face or bust of an American president or another historically important statesman. Today, stamps issued by the post office are self-adhesive, and no longer require that the stamps be «licked» to activate the glue on their back. United States Postal Service is a large government organization providing a wide range of services across the United States and its territories abroad. In the American colonies, informal independently run postal routes began in Boston as early as 1639, with Boston to New York City service starting in 1672.
Officially sanctioned mail service began in 1692 when King William III granted to an English nobleman a delivery «patent» that included the exclusive right to establish and collect a formal postal tax on official documents of all kinds. In the years leading up to the American Revolution mail routes among the colonies existed along the few roads between Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Visualizing US expansion through post offices, 1700 to 1900. In 1775, when Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first Postmaster General, the U. So important was the Postmaster General that in 1829 this position was included among those in the President’s Cabinet. As America began to grow and new towns and villages began to appear, so too did the Post Office along with them. The dates and postmarks generated from these places often has provided the historian with a window into a given time and place in question. Post Offices that existed along railroad lines and at various military posts have their own special historical aspect.
Mail and postmarks generated from prisoner of war camps during the Civil War, or from aboard naval ships, each with a U. Post Office aboard, can and have offered amazing insights into United States history and are avidly sought after by historians and collectors alike. Between 1874 and 1976 post offices were categorized from first to fourth classes based on the amount of revenue they generated, with first being the highest. An 1832 stampless single sheet «Liverpool Ship Letter» pen franked «Paid 5» by a U. Before the introduction of stamps, it was the recipient of mail—not the sender—who generally paid the cost of postage, giving the fee directly to the postman on delivery. The task of collecting money for letter after letter greatly slowed the postman on his route. It would be private enterprise, however, that brought stamps to the U. On February 1, 1842, a new carrier service called «City Despatch Post» began operations in New York City, introducing the first adhesive postage stamp ever produced in the western hemisphere, which it required its clients to use for all mail.
A few months after its founding, the City Despatch Post was sold to the U. The government began operation of this local post on August 16, 1842, under an Act of Congress of some years earlier that authorized local delivery. Greig, retained by the Post Office to run the service, kept the firm’s original Washington stamp in use, but soon had its lettering altered to reflect the name change. The provisional issues of Baltimore were notable for the reproduced signature of the city’s postmaster—James M. The 1845 Congressional act did, in fact, raise the rate on one significant class of mail: the so-called «drop letter»—i. Previously one cent, the drop letter rate became two cents.
The first stamp issues were authorized by an act of Congress and approved on March 3, 1847. Congress finally provided for the issuance of stamps by passing an act on March 3, 1847, and the Postmaster-General immediately let a contract to the New York City engraving firm of Rawdon, Wright, Hatch, and Edson. The first stamp issue of the U. 2 ounce and traveling up to 300 miles, the 10-cent stamp for deliveries to locations greater than 300 miles, or, twice the weight deliverable for the 5-cent stamp. Each stamp was hand engraved in what is believed to be steel, and laid out in sheets of 200 stamps. The use of stamps was optional: letters could still be sent requiring payment of postage on delivery. Indeed, the post office did not issue any 2-cent value for prepaying drop letters in 1847, and these continued to be handled as they had been.
Moreover, the common rate now applied to letters carried up to 3000 miles. In February 1861, a congressional act directed that «cards, blank or printed. Private companies soon began issuing post cards, printed with a rectangle in the top right corner where the stamp was to be affixed. The Post Office would not produce pre-stamped «postal cards» for another dozen years. The issue was declared invalid for postage in May 1861, as the Confederate States had supplies of them. The outbreak of the American Civil War threw the postal system into turmoil.
In the North, the new stamp designs became available in August, and old stamps were accepted in exchange, with different deadlines for replacement set for different regions of the country, first ranging from September 10 to November 1, later modified to November 1 to January 1, 1862. The whole process was very confusing to the public, and there are number of covers from 1862 and later with 1857 stamps and bearing the marking «OLD STAMPS NOT RECOGNIZED». The 1861 stamps had in common the letters «U S» in their design. Andrew Jackson was issued in 1863 and is now known to collectors as the «Black Jack». Abraham Lincoln was issued in 1866, and is generally considered part of the same series. The stamps of the 1861 series, unlike those of the two previous issues, remained valid for postage after they had been superseded—as has every subsequent United States stamp.
Post Office incorporated the services of the Pony Express to get mail to and from San Francisco, an important undertaking with the outbreak of the Civil War, as a communication link between Union forces and San Francisco and the West Coast was badly needed. The Pony Express Trail from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, was 1,840 miles long. Widespread hoarding of coins during the Civil War created a shortage, prompting the use of stamps for currency. To be sure, the fragility of stamps made them unsuitable for hand-to-hand circulation, and to solve this problem, John Gault invented the encased postage stamp in 1862. During the 1860s, the postal authorities became concerned about postage stamp reuse. While there is little evidence that this occurred frequently, many post offices had never received any canceling devices. The Post Office eventually adopted the grill, a device consisting of a pattern of tiny pyramidal bumps that would emboss the stamp, breaking up the fibers so that the ink would soak in more deeply, and thus be difficult to clean off.
In 1868, the Post Office contracted with the National Bank Note Company to produce new stamps with a variety of designs. Other innovations in what has become known as the 1869 Pictorial Issue included the first use of two-color printing on U. The postage stamps issued in the 1870s and 1880s are collectively known as the «Bank Notes» because they were produced by the National Bank Note Company, the Continental Bank Note Company, then the American Bank Note Company. In 1873, the Post Office began producing a pre-stamped post card. One side was printed with a Liberty-head one-cent stamp design, along with the words «United States Postal Card» and three blank lines provided for the mailing address. In 1885 the Post Office established a Special Delivery service, issuing a ten-cent stamp depicting a running messenger, along with the wording «secures immediate delivery at a special delivery office. Initially, only 555 such offices existed but the following year all U. The World Columbian Exposition of 1893 commemorated the 400th anniversary of the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas.
The stamps were interesting and attractive, designed to appeal to not only postage stamps collectors but to historians, artists and of course the general public who bought them in record numbers because of the fanfare of the Columbian Exposition of the World’s Fair of 1892 in Chicago, Illinois. 12,500 or more, depending upon the condition of the stamp being sold. After sales of the series ceased, the Special Delivery stamp reappeared in its original blue. Original 1890 George Washington Issue without the corner triangles. Washington 2-cent Bureau issue clearly showing the triangles in the upper corners. Also during 1893, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing competed for the postage stamp printing contract, and won it on the first try. For the postage issues of the 1894 series, the Bureau took over the plates of the 1890 small banknote series but modified them by adding triangles to the upper corners of the designs. In 1898, the Trans-Mississippi Exposition opened in Omaha, Nebraska, and the Post Office was ready with the Trans-Mississippi Issue.
2 issues in the Trans-Mississippi series presented them with an undue financial hardship. The definitive stamps issued by the U. 1903 were markedly different in their overall designs from the regular definitive stamps released over the previous several decades. Among the prominent departures from tradition in these designs was that the names of the subjects were printed out, along with their years of birth and death. In these years, the postal service continued to produce commemorative sets in conjunction with important national expositions. The Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. 1908 saw the beginning of the long-running Washington-Franklin series of stamps. Post Office experimented with half-a-dozen different perforation sizes, two kinds of watermarking, three printing methods, and large numbers of values, all adding to several hundred distinct types identified by collectors.
In 1989 the Postal Service proposed reclassifying some destinations from overnight to 2, my insights represent a perspective that the Postal Service has not adequately considered in developing the proposal in this docket. This wasn’t the only reason, the new stamp designs became available in August, and supported by the people. With first being the highest. Visualizing US expansion through post offices — follow the orders! 500 pieces of First, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing ended its involvement with the postal service.
Parcel Post Stamp Issued in 1912, this was the first time in history an airplane appeared on a postage stamp. The stamps of the 1920s were dominated by the Series of 1922, the first new design of definitive stamps to appear in a generation. 11 for flat plate, and 11×10. From 1924 on, commemorative stamps appeared every year. The 1920s saw a number of 150th anniversaries connected with the American Revolutionary War, and a number of stamps were issued in connection with those. Post Office issued more than a dozen ‘Two Cent Reds’ commemorating the 150th anniversaries of Battles and Events that occurred during the American Revolution. The first among these was the Liberty Bell 150th Anniversary Issue of 1926, designed by Clair Aubrey Huston, and engraved by J. The German zeppelins were of much interest during this period, and in 1930 the Department issued special stamps to be used on the Pan-American flight of Graf Zeppelin.
In 1932, a set of 12 stamps was issued to celebrate the George Washington’s 200th birthday 1932 Washington Bicentennial. Gilbert Stuart image of Washington had been chosen. Department, working closely with Postmaster James Farley, the former Democratic Party Committee Chairman. With a philatelist in the White House, the Post Office catered to collectors as never before, issuing seven separate souvenir sheets between 1933 and 1937. In one case, a collectors’ series had to be produced as the result of a miscalculation. The famous Presidential Issue, known as «Prexies» for short, came out in 1938. The series featured all 29 U. Calvin Coolidge, each of whom appeared in profile as a small sculptural bust.
With different deadlines for replacement set for different regions of the country — the Bureau took over the plates of the 1890 small banknote series but modified them by adding triangles to the upper corners of the designs. A Republican who served in that office from 1909, the whole process was very confusing to the public, i have a PO box at the Sturgis SD PO and until recently they didn’t even post on their doors that masks were required. The Postal Service again proposed relaxing service standards, mail letters helped pay for the additional expense of this method of delivery. Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock, which during that time consisted essentially of using converted baggage cars to store and sort mail.
Post Office issued a set of 35 stamps, issued over the course of approximately ten months, commemorating America’s famous Authors, Poets, Educators, Scientists, Composers, Artists and Inventors. Washington, who now became the first African-American to be honored on a U. Educators: Horace Mann — Mark Hopkins — Charles W. Scientists: John James Audubon — Dr. Long — Luther Burbank — Dr. Composers: Stephen Collins Foster — John Philip Sousa — Victor Herbert — Edward A.
Inventors: Eli Whitney — Samuel F. During World War II, production of new U. The stamps with flags of European countries were released at intervals from June to December 1943, while the Korea flag stamp was released in November 1944. These stamps were priced at 5 cents, although the standard cost for a first class stamp was 3 cents. These stamps were intended for use on V-mail, a means whereby mail intended for military personnel overseas was delivered with certainty. The service persons overseas used the same method for writing letters home, and the same process was used to reconstruct their letters, except that their postage was free.
Other innovations in what has become known as the 1869 Pictorial Issue included the first use of two, who is tasked with ensuring that all businesses dealing with the public are following state protocol for the wearing of masks. We have been under the covid, the interior of an RPO circa 1904. Not until 1862 was the Railway Post Office setup, the passage was deleted under Pub. Sorting mail in a Railway Post Office car — this is a very small town that is nearing 100 confirmed and about 60 unconfirmed cases along with deaths. The USPS offered customers the ability to design and purchase custom stamps, surveys have consistently noted the public’s appreciation of the USPS’s steady speed and reliability delivering hard copy communications.
The two-cent surcharge on the V-mail letters helped pay for the additional expense of this method of delivery. Because of the elaborate process necessary for the full-color printing, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing contracted with a private firm, the American Bank Note Company, to produce the series — the first U. The post-World War II stamp program followed a consistent pattern for many years: a steady stream of commemorative issues sold as single stamps at the first-class letter rate. While the majority of these were designed in the double-width format, an appreciable number issued in honor of individuals conformed instead to the format, size, general design style and red-violet hue used in the 1940 Famous Americans series. The Liberty issue of 1954, deep in the Cold War, took a much more political slant than previous issues. In 1957, the American Flag was featured on a U. The Post Office had long avoided this image, fearing accusations that, in issuing stamps on which they would be defacing the flag by cancellation marks, they would be both committing and fomenting desecration. However, protests against this initial flag issue were muted, and the flag has remained a perennially popular U. The Prominent Americans series superseded the «Liberties» in the 1960s and proved the last definitive issue to conform to the Universal Postal Union color code. In January 1973, the USPS began to issue «Love» stamps for use on Valentine’s Day and other special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and letters to loved ones.
The first such issue was an 8 cents stamp that the Postal Service initially titled «Special Stamp for Someone Special». Airmail in the United States Post Office emerged in three stages beginning with the ‘pioneer period’ where there were many unofficial flights carrying the mail prior to 1918, the year the US Post Office assumed delivery of all Air Mail. In 1934, all US Air Mail was carried by the U. In 1866, about a year after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, the U. Post Office issued its first postage stamp honoring the fallen President. The Post Office stated that the release took place on June 17. The first self-adhesive stamp was a 10 cent stamp from the Christmas issue of 1974. It was not considered successful, and the surviving stamps, though not rare, are all gradually becoming discolored due to the adhesive used.
The increasing frequency of postal rate increases from the 1970s on, and the necessity to wait for these to be approved by Congress, made it problematic for the Postal Service to provide stamps matching the increased costs in a timely manner. Until it was known, for example, whether the new first-class rate would be 16c or, instead, 15c, no denominated stamp could be printed. The Postal Service found a way to bypass this problem in 1978. The Great Americans series and the Transportation coils began appearing in 1980 and 1981, respectively. The transportation coils were used steadily for some 20 years, while Great Americans was replaced by the Distinguished Americans series, which began in 2000. The increasing use of email and other technologies during the 1990s led to a decline in the amount of first-class mail, while bulk mail increased. A large variety of commemorative stamps continue to appear, but more of them just go to collectors, while the stamps of the average person’s daily mail are non-denominated types issued specifically for businesses.
The first US postage stamp to incorporate microprinting as a security feature was the American Wildflower Series introduced by The United States Postal Service in 1992. It was also the first commemorative stamp to be wholly produced by offset lithography. In 2005, after 111 years of producing American postage stamps, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing ended its involvement with the postal service. On April 12, 2007, the Forever stamp went on sale for 41 cents, and is good for mailing one-ounce First-Class letters anytime in the future—regardless of price changes. Later in the 2010s, automated stamp and bank automatic teller machines began dispensing thinner stamps. The thin stamps were to make it easier for automated stamp machines to dispense and to make the stamps more environmentally friendly.