Postal Facts - U.S. Postal Service
Heads of industry. Hollywood legends. Sports heroes. Singers. Painters. Writers. And a couple presidents. All were postal employees before they became household names! Twelve have even been featured on stamps.
Link, a daily news site for Postal Service employees, is available on any computer with internet access. The content is produced by a team of writers and editors based at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC. Additional contributions come from postal employees across the nation. The site is updated with new articles, photos, graphics and videos each weekday.
Regular features include “Heroes’ Corner,” a column about employees who perform heroic deeds, and “On the Move,” a weekly roundup of employees who’ve received new appointments or recognition.
Employees with postal email addresses receive a Link email each weekday with links to the most recent stories. The team also produces an end-of-week Link Recap email with stories readers might have missed, along with Link Extra emails for breaking news.
Link mobile is a mobile-friendly version of the Link site. Link mobile has all the news you’ll find on the desktop version of Link, except it’s formatted for easy reading on handheld smart devices. Employees and others can receive a weekly Link mobile email by subscribing at www.usps.link.
#PostalProud recognizes employees for the work they do every day. It provides individuals at every level of the organization with an opportunity to share why they are proud to be a postal employee. More than 2,500 employees in 372 unique jobs have been recognized since its inception in 2018.
The Postal Service workforce remains one of the most diverse organizations in the nation. Our pride in serving the American public is a common thread that unites us.
- Women make up nearly 46 percent of our workforce
- Minorities represent 49 percent of our workforce
- The Postal Service employs nearly 73,000 veterans
- The Postal Service employs more than 35,000 employees with disabilities, including nearly 10,000 disabled veterans
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.
Isaac Myers served from 1870 until 1879. During his employment he helped solve a number of notorious cases.
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.
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.
Veterans. The Postal Service employs nearly 68,000 military veterans, making it one of the largest employers of veterans in the country. The organization has also issued more than 140 stamps honoring the nation’s military history, including the Service Cross Medals stamps.
The Postal Service invests more than $600 million in training its workforce. The organization encourages employees to take advantage of self-paced career development by offering 24,000 online courses and 28 educational partnerships offering discounts towards degree and certification programs.
We are diverse! Minorities make up 52 percent of the Postal Service workforce. The Postal Service workforce is one of the most diverse in the nation. We look like America. That is our strength.
U.S. Postal Service Racial/Ethnicity Composition
The Postal Service is composed of more than 653,000 people in more than 2,000 functions, including letter carriers, mail processing clerks, tractor-trailer operators, engineers, mail handlers, nurses, postmasters, mechanics and more — all the way up — to the postmaster general.
Social responsibility. The Postal Service supports communities nationwide. These efforts include facilitating the nation’s largest one-day food drive, working with customers to prevent dog bites, educating customers on consumer protection, and delivering holiday magic through USPS Operation Santa.
You call that scribble legible? Employees at the Remote Encoding Center in Salt Lake City, UT, are responsible for deciphering terribly handwritten or shoddily printed addresses.
Although it was against postal regulations, in the early days of Parcel Post, a few parents managed to mail their children to relatives. In 1913, an 8-month-old baby in Ohio was mailed by his parents to his grandmother who lived a few miles away.
Grandma, can you babysit?
Just a few weeks after Parcel Post began, Jesse and Mathilda Beagle “mailed” their 8-month-old son James to his grandmother, who lived a few miles away near Batavia, Ohio. Baby Beagle was just under the initial 11-pound limit for parcels. Rural Carrier Vernon Lytle picked up the baby from his parents’ house and carried him in his mail wagon to his grandmother’s house. The postage was fifteen cents, and the “parcel” was insured for $50. Although it was against postal regulations, several children traveled via U.S. Mail in the early years of Parcel Post. Initially the only animals that were allowed in the mail were bees and bugs. In 1918, day-old chicks were allowed in the mail. In 1919, some additional “harmless live animals” were permitted, but children did not fall into this category.
Every two weeks, the Postal Service pays $2.15 billion in salaries and benefits.
Louis DeJoy is the 75th Postmaster General of the United States.
More than 1,400 postal-owned buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Our History is the History of America
They are treasures. But they’re not hidden. Many of our buildings are historical properties. Inside -and outside – many of our Post Offices, you’ll find impressive works of art that reflect the stories of our people and our nation.
- More than 1,400 postal-owned buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. More information can be found at gov/nr/research/
- More than 1,400 murals and/or sculptures from President Roosevelt’s New Deal Programs are in our Post Offices around the nation.
- Five murals were featured on First-Class postage stamps in 2019
- The United States Postal Service: An American History is an entire publication dedicated to our history and can be found at usps.com/who-we-are/postal-history/welcome.htm.
The Postal Service's Judicial Officer Department is a court system that conducts hearings and neutrally resolves a wide variety of disputes involving postal matters. Its independent decisions involve contract disputes, employee debt disputes, mail disputes and mail fraud, among many other areas.
USPS and mailers
Postal Customer Councils (PCCs). These Postal Service-affiliated networks connect business mailers with local Post Office leadership to develop more effective and profitable mailings through training and information sharing. Since the 1960s, PCCs have been the go-to local resource for helping mailers learn, innovate and build their business. More information can be found at postalpro.usps.com/pcc.
Find more information at postalpro.usps.com/pcc.
providing technical advice
Postmaster General’s Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC). Representing select mailing associations, this group works to enhance the value of mail by providing technical advice and recommendations to the Postal Service. More information can be found at postalpro.usps.com/mtac.
The U.S. Postal Service has no official motto. Nope, it’s not this: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” But we certainly appreciate the sentiment.
About that motto…
Those words are engraved on the front of the James A. Farley Post Office in NYC, set in stone by the architectural firm that built it. The phrase is taken from an ancient book by the Greek historian Herodotus and refers to messengers in the Persian Empire.
The phrase comes from book 8, paragraph 98, of The Persian Wars by Herodotus, a Greek historian. During the wars between the Greeks and Persians (500-449 B.C.), the Persians operated a system of mounted postal couriers who served with great fidelity.
The popular belief that Herodotus’s description of the Persian postal service is about the U.S. Postal Service is a tribute to the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have delivered the mail reliably and dependably, through all conditions, for centuries.
The Post Office Department was founded in 1775 with Benjamin Franklin as the first Postmaster General. His annual salary was $1,000. Before 1971, the PMG was a Cabinet member.
The Military Postal Service Agency was formed in 1980, consolidating the postal operations of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The Department of Defense designated the Secretary of the Army as the single military mail manager.
Military and Diplomatic Mail in brief.
- The Military Postal Service provides service in 63 countries.
- There are 401 land-based military Post Offices and 626 based on ships.
- The U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Post Office serves 32,500 customers at 184 diplomatic missions across 103 countries around the world.
- Within the military and diplomatic services, 1,200 ZIP Codes are served around the world.
- The Military Postal Service Agency was formed in 1980, consolidating the postal operations of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The Department of Defense designated the Secretary of the Army as the single military mail manager.
- Members of the military and diplomatic corps receive virtually the same level of service as they would if they were at home in the United States. Differences are based on the country in which they’re stationed and the type of mission in which they’re involved.
- Military and Diplomatic Mail moves within the United States via the Postal Service transportation network to major mail processing facilities.
- If it’s First-Class Mail, Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express, the item moves from major airport gateways in the United States to overseas airport gateways on commercial aircraft. It then moves by various methods to designated military or diplomatic postal facilities for delivery to individual members. Mail also moves by military aircraft when necessary.
The Postal Service is the best way to ship directly to APO, FPO and DPO locations. The Military Care Kit contains six Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes — two large-sized and four medium-sized — six address labels, one roll of tape and six customs forms, and can be ordered at no charge at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-610-8734.
The Military Care Kit — and the special pricing offered for APO, FPO and DPO destinations — makes it easy to send care packages to loved ones stationed overseas.
National Consumer Protection Week. During the Federal Trade Commission’s annual awareness campaign, the Postal Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service provide customers with education, tools and information to combat identity theft and mail fraud. More information can be found at consumer.ftc.gov/features/national-consumer-protection-week.
Veterans. The Postal Service employs nearly 68,000 military veterans, making it one of the largest employers of veterans in the country.
The organization has also issued more than 140 stamps honoring the nation’s military history, including the Service Cross Medals stamps.
The U.S. Postal Service is the core of the nation’s $1.6 trillion mailing industry, which employs more than 7.3 million people.
The U.S. Postal Service is the core of the nation’s $1.6 trillion mailing industry, which employs more than 7.3 million people.*
These types of mail brought in most of the $77 billion in operating revenue in 2021:
- First-Class Mail — $23.3 billion
- Marketing Mail — $14.6 billion
- Shipping and Package Services — $32 billion
- International — $2.2 billion
- Periodicals — $942 million
If it were a private sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 43rd in the 2021 Fortune 500.
In the 2021 Global Fortune 500 list, the U.S. Postal Service ranked 123rd.
The Envelope Manufacturers Association Mailing Industry Job Study, 2019, reported that there are more than 7.3 million jobs and $1.58 trillion in revenue attributed to the mailing industry. More information can be found at envelope.org.
Heroes. Postal employees regularly go beyond the call of duty to protect the lives of the people they serve, including elderly or disabled customers through the Carrier Alert Program. In 2021, the Postal Service recognized 152 heroic employees.
Nearly 74,000 letter carriers drive to neighborhoods and then deliver the mail on foot. Nearly 6,600 carriers deliver mail entirely on foot -- the USPS Fleet of Feet. Mail is delivered by bicycle on select routes in Arizona and Florida, reducing emissions and saving fuel.
The Pony Express was in operation only from April 3, 1860, to Oct. 26, 1861. It was never part of the U.S. Postal Service.
That’s no pony, that’s a big horse
The official name for the “Pony Express” was the Central Overland California & Pike’s Peak Express Co. Before they were hired, riders had to swear on a Bible not to curse, fight or abuse their animals. Orphans were preferred. The service was in operation only from April 3, 1860, to Oct. 26, 1861. It operated as a U.S. Mail route during its final 4 months.
On April 3, 1860, the first Pony Express mail, traveling by horse and rider relay teams, simultaneously leaves St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. Ten days later, on April 13, the westbound rider and mail packet completed the 1,800-mile journey and arrived in Sacramento, beating the eastbound packet’s arrival in St. Joseph by two days and setting a new standard for speedy mail delivery. The Pony Express was by far the most effective way to communicate cross-country—until the telegraph came along. After 18 months in operation, the system was shuttered on October 26, 1861, and the last remaining mail was delivered.
The Pony Express National Historic Trail was designated to preserve the story and routes of this nationally significant trail and to support the associated sites that preserve its history. Learn more at https://www.nps.gov/poex