Postal Facts - U.S. Postal Service
The Postal Service has enabled faster, more efficient communication, created safer, more secure delivery of correspondence and merchandise and has adapted to meet the evolving needs of its customers for nearly 250 years. It’s what we do.
The history of the Postal Service is a large story set on a broad canvas. It is intertwined with the history of America, and it provides a lens from which to observe the evolution of the United States. The postal system strengthened the foundations of our democracy by fostering the flow of ideas and access to America’s free press. It enabled the vast expansion of American industry and commerce, spanning and influencing the rise of the railroads in the 19th century, air travel in the 20th century, and the advanced digital technology of recent decades. As America’s economy and society have evolved, so too has the Postal Service progressed, both meeting and reflecting the nation’s changing needs.
Information about the history of the Postal Service can be found here
It’s not just any letter or package. It’s a picture of the kids. It’s a handmade scarf. It’s a favorite candy bar. It’s a piece of home. The Postal Service helps make sure these very special letters and packages make it to those who serve in the military — and their families with them — wherever they are around the globe. It's our honor to serve those who serve!
The U.S. Postal Service upholds its promise to deliver the nation’s Election Mail securely and on time, consistent with the organization’s non-partisan public service mission.
service men and women
Honoring service men and women. The Postal Service proudly partners with the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide burial flags to families of deceased veterans.
In 2022, the Postal Service provided 406,103 burial flags.
and the U.S. Mail
Extra! Extra! American newspapers largely owe their existence to Post Offices. As part of the Post Office Act of 1792, newspapers were permitted to be mailed at extremely low rates. By the start of the 19th century, newspapers made up the bulk of the U.S. Mail.
The first Post Office in America was established in a tavern in Boston in 1639.
National Postal Museum Opens
In 1993, the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum opened. This museum is dedicated to the preservation, study and presentation of postal history and philately.
Located in Maryland, the William F. Bolger Center is a premier leadership development and conference center servicing both Postal Service and external clients.
It is the only hotel in the country featuring an on-site Smithsonian Institution exhibit.
The U.S. Postal Service Headquarters building is located in Washington, D.C., just a few blocks south of the National Mall.
An Act of Congress of March 3, 1863, effective July 1, 1863, provided that free city delivery be established at Post Offices where income from local postage was more than sufficient to pay all expenses of the service. For the first time, Americans had to put street addresses on their letters.
On an autumn day in 1888, a shaggy pup took his first steps toward becoming a postal legend when he crept into the Albany, New York, Post Office. Postal employees allowed him to stay and named him Owney.
On May 7, 1833, 24-year-old Abraham Lincoln was appointed Postmaster of New Salem, Illinois. Lincoln served until the office was closed May 30, 1836.
Mr. ZIP, who has no first name, appeared in many public service announcements and advertisements urging postal customers to use the five-digit ZIP Code that was initiated on July 1, 1963. Within four years of his appearance, eight out of ten Americans knew who Mr. ZIP was and what he stood for.
The Postal Service launched usps.com in 1994.
1847 - U.S. postage stamps issued
1775 - Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first Postmaster General by the Continental Congress
The first female Postmaster General was Megan J. Brennan, Washington, DC, 2015.
African American on stamp
The first African American on a stamp was Booker T. Washington, 1940.
Native American on a stamp
The first Native American on a stamp was Pocahontas, 1907.
Hispanic American on a stamp
The first Hispanic American on a stamp was Adm. David Farragut, 1903.
African American Inspector
The first known African American postal inspector was Isaac Myers, Baltimore, MD, 1870.
woman on a stamp
The first American woman on a U.S. postage stamp was Martha Washington, 1902.
African American Carrier
The first known African American mail carrier was James B. Christian, Richmond, VA, 1869.
African American Postmaster
The first known African American Postmaster was James W. Mason, Sunny Side, AR, 1867.
female mail carrier
The first known female mail carrier was Sarah Black, mail messenger, Charlestown, MD, 1845.
The first known female Postmaster in the United Colonies was Mary Katherine Goddard, Baltimore, MD, 1775.
The United States Postal Service has a storied history, familiar to many. Our history is the history of America.
Detailed information about the Postal Service and its history can be found in "The United States Postal Service: An American History" at about.usps.com/who-we-are/postal-history/welcome.htm
African American Postmasters
African Americans worked as Postmasters, clerks and carriers beginning in the 1860s — 100 years before the Civil Rights era brought wider opportunity in the American workplace.
Women served as Postmasters in this country more than a century before they won the right to vote.
Post Offices were first required to display the American flag in 1885 to comply with Treasury Department instructions. On Nov. 7, 2019, Post Offices were required to fly the Prisoner of War (POW)-Missing In Action (MIA) flag on the same days that the American flag is flown.
The history of the Postal Service is a large story set on a broad canvas. It is intertwined with the history of America, and it provides a lens from which to observe the evolution of the United States. This story is told beautifully in The United States Postal Service: An American History (also known as Pub. 100).
On time. Every time. The Postal Bulletin, a nationally distributed biweekly publication, serves as a source for official policy, procedure updates and departmental news for all USPS functions. It has never missed a deadline since its inception in 1880.
People once had to pay for the postage on the letters they received. That resulted in a lot of mail being returned because the recipient didn't want to spend the money. Prepaid postage stamps, introduced in 1847, solved this problem.
More than 1,400 postal-owned buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
first woman on stamp
The first woman to appear on a U.S. postage stamp was Queen Isabella in 1893. The first American woman honored on stamp was Martha Washington in 1902.
Postal Inspectors, 1971
In 1971, the Postal Inspection Service became one of the first federal law enforcement organizations to hire female agents.
For 110 years, postal employees and the American public have helped bring more magic to the holiday season, one letter to Santa at a time.
The Eagle Logo, the trade dress of USPS packaging, the Letter Carrier Uniform and the Postal Truck and the following marks are among the many trademarks owned by the United States Postal Service: Click-N-Ship®, Deliver The Win®, EDDM®, ePostage®, Every Door Direct Mail®, Express Mail®, First-Class™, First-Class Mail®, First-Class Package International Service®, Forever®, Global Express Guaranteed®, IMb®, Informed Delivery®, Intelligent Mail®, Label Broker™, Parcel Select®, P.O. Box™, Post Office®, Pony Express®, Postal Inspection Service™, PostalOne!®, Postal Police®, #PostalProud®, Priority Mail Express International®, Priority Mail Flat Rate®, Priority Mail International®, Priority: You®, Registered Mail™, Standard Mail®, The Postal Store®, United States Postal Inspection Service®, United States Postal Service®, U.S. Mail®, U.S. Postal Inspector™, U.S. Postal Service®, USPS®, USPS BlueEarth®, USPS Mobile®, USPS Operation Santa®, USPS Tracking®, usps.com®, We are people delivering to people™, ZIP+4® and ZIP Code™. This is not a comprehensive list of all Postal Service trademarks.
Dollar General®, Forest Stewardship Council®, How2Recycle®, McDonald’s®, National Dog Bite Prevention Week®, Starbucks®, Subway®, Sustainable Forestry Initiative®, The Climate Registry®, Vans®.
Postal Facts 2023 provides the public with information about the U.S. Postal Service. The facts in this publication may be reproduced for the purpose of stating the fact itself, in a business, informational or academic context and the like, and in the body of text discussing factual subject matter relevant to the fact being presented. However, these facts may become outdated after publication and seeking the latest information is advised.
Produced by U.S. Postal Service Corporate Communications
© 2023 United States Postal Service. All rights reserved.
© 2016-2024 United States Postal Service. All rights reserved.