Smithsonian National Postal Museum

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We hope you’ll contribute to this interactive forum and to our ongoing conversation about the work we do to further the Smithsonian's mission to increase and diffuse knowledge. While on-topic discussion is encouraged, we ask that you express yourself in a civil manner and treat other users with respect. The National Postal Museum also monitors this page and may remove posts consistent with the Sm

Operating as usual

Wishing everyone a safe Fourth of July! These 2008 stamps feature four paintings by Laura Stutzman, each depicting an Am...
07/04/2021

Wishing everyone a safe Fourth of July! These 2008 stamps feature four paintings by Laura Stutzman, each depicting an American flag flying at a different time of day: dawn, midday, dusk, and night.
©USPS; all rights reserved.

In 1942, Congress passed a resolution establishing a code of flag etiquette. The code states, in part, that the American flag should be displayed from sunrise to sunset every day, weather permitting, but especially on days of national importance such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veterans Day. Congress also decided that "when a patriotic effect is desired," the flag can be flown through the night if properly lit. Although compliance is voluntary, public observation of the code's measures is widespread throughout the nation.

©USPS; all rights reserved.

Wishing everyone a safe Fourth of July! These 2008 stamps feature four paintings by Laura Stutzman, each depicting an American flag flying at a different time of day: dawn, midday, dusk, and night.
©USPS; all rights reserved.

In 1942, Congress passed a resolution establishing a code of flag etiquette. The code states, in part, that the American flag should be displayed from sunrise to sunset every day, weather permitting, but especially on days of national importance such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veterans Day. Congress also decided that "when a patriotic effect is desired," the flag can be flown through the night if properly lit. Although compliance is voluntary, public observation of the code's measures is widespread throughout the nation.

©USPS; all rights reserved.

Check out our latest Stamp Stories video! Explore the culture of hip hop with educators from the National Postal Museum ...
07/02/2021
Stamp Stories Hip Hop

Check out our latest Stamp Stories video! Explore the culture of hip hop with educators from the National Postal Museum and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)!

Stay tuned for the August 20 release of the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap, a long-awaited collaboration between Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and NMAAHC. More info: https://folkways.si.edu/smithsonian-anthology-of-hip-hop-and-rap

Celebrate the diverse culture of hip hop with the National Postal Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Educators explore m...

07/02/2021

We’re excited to announce the first stamp rendered by a member of the Native American Tlingit Tribe. The Raven Story stamp highlights an important story to the Indigenous people of the Pacific NW Coast.

Raven plays an essential role in traditional tales of the creation of the world, when Raven sets free the sun, moon and stars. In this design, Indigenous artist @RicoWorl depicts Raven just as he escapes from his human family and begins to transform back into his bird form.

Pre-order the Raven Story stamp at usps.com/stamps ☀️

On July 1, 1971, the United States Postal Service officially began operations as an independent agency. Prior to the Pos...
07/01/2021

On July 1, 1971, the United States Postal Service officially began operations as an independent agency. Prior to the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, it functioned as the Post Office Department; the new law transformed the cabinet-level Post Office Department into a newly independent establishment of the executive branch called the United States Postal Service. To mark the transition, President Richard Nixon proclaimed July 1, 1971, as “National Postal Service Day,” a day “set aside … to give recognition to the contributions made through the years by the men and women of the Post Office who have served the Nation so faithfully and to mark the inauguration of the United States Postal Service.”

Post Offices nationwide commemorated the day with a new postage stamp and a free souvenir envelope in addition to ceremonies, facility tours, and other festivities. Postmaster General Winton M. Blount was at the helm of a special ceremony at Postal Headquarters in Washington, DC, where he dedicated the new stamp and the new Postal Service. Honored guests included members of the Postal Service’s new Board of Governors, members of the President’s Cabinet, Members of Congress, former Postmasters General, labor and business leaders, and top postal staff.

In New York City, a gala program was held on the massive steps of the Main Post Office at 33rd Street and Eighth Avenue. Employees, dignitaries, well-wishers, and members of the media were in attendance. Music was provided by the New York Post Office Band and a few women employees dressed as “Miss USPS.” The NYC postal party is pictured here, as are the “Miss USPS” postal service ambassadors posing with members of the uniformed postal security force.

Special thanks to the USPS Historian’s Office for sharing this information and these images, which appear courtesy of the United States Postal Service. You can learn more about the Postal Reorganization Act and National Postal Service Day at the link!

https://about.usps.com/who-we-are/postal-history/postal-service-day.pdf

On July 1, 1971, the United States Postal Service officially began operations as an independent agency. Prior to the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, it functioned as the Post Office Department; the new law transformed the cabinet-level Post Office Department into a newly independent establishment of the executive branch called the United States Postal Service. To mark the transition, President Richard Nixon proclaimed July 1, 1971, as “National Postal Service Day,” a day “set aside … to give recognition to the contributions made through the years by the men and women of the Post Office who have served the Nation so faithfully and to mark the inauguration of the United States Postal Service.”

Post Offices nationwide commemorated the day with a new postage stamp and a free souvenir envelope in addition to ceremonies, facility tours, and other festivities. Postmaster General Winton M. Blount was at the helm of a special ceremony at Postal Headquarters in Washington, DC, where he dedicated the new stamp and the new Postal Service. Honored guests included members of the Postal Service’s new Board of Governors, members of the President’s Cabinet, Members of Congress, former Postmasters General, labor and business leaders, and top postal staff.

In New York City, a gala program was held on the massive steps of the Main Post Office at 33rd Street and Eighth Avenue. Employees, dignitaries, well-wishers, and members of the media were in attendance. Music was provided by the New York Post Office Band and a few women employees dressed as “Miss USPS.” The NYC postal party is pictured here, as are the “Miss USPS” postal service ambassadors posing with members of the uniformed postal security force.

Special thanks to the USPS Historian’s Office for sharing this information and these images, which appear courtesy of the United States Postal Service. You can learn more about the Postal Reorganization Act and National Postal Service Day at the link!

https://about.usps.com/who-we-are/postal-history/postal-service-day.pdf

As a singer, dancer, and dramatic actress, Ethel Waters (1896-1977) pursued a career that exercised her musical creativi...
06/29/2021

As a singer, dancer, and dramatic actress, Ethel Waters (1896-1977) pursued a career that exercised her musical creativity and dramatic expression. She achieved prominence and critical acclaim both on the stage and in film, and shaped American entertainment.

Waters starred in many Broadway hits, including "Africana" (1927), "Blackbirds" (1930), and "As Thousands Cheer" (1933). She made Broadway history as the first African American to receive equal wages with her white co-stars for her role in “As Thousands Cheer” and became one of the highest paid actresses on Broadway, independent of her race. She went on to be the second African American nominated for an Academy Award, the first to star in her own TV show and the first African American woman to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy. She additionally won the Drama Critics' Circle Award for her performance in "Member of the Wedding."

Waters’ performances and music garnered a large following in le***an and gay communities, though she does not appear to have ever spoken publicly about her sexuality. She married men three times, and also lived with her romantic partner Ethel Williams during the 1920s.

USPS commemorated Ethel Waters in 1994 with this postage stamp, part of the “Popular Singers” issue.

© USPS. All rights reserved.

As a singer, dancer, and dramatic actress, Ethel Waters (1896-1977) pursued a career that exercised her musical creativity and dramatic expression. She achieved prominence and critical acclaim both on the stage and in film, and shaped American entertainment.

Waters starred in many Broadway hits, including "Africana" (1927), "Blackbirds" (1930), and "As Thousands Cheer" (1933). She made Broadway history as the first African American to receive equal wages with her white co-stars for her role in “As Thousands Cheer” and became one of the highest paid actresses on Broadway, independent of her race. She went on to be the second African American nominated for an Academy Award, the first to star in her own TV show and the first African American woman to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy. She additionally won the Drama Critics' Circle Award for her performance in "Member of the Wedding."

Waters’ performances and music garnered a large following in le***an and gay communities, though she does not appear to have ever spoken publicly about her sexuality. She married men three times, and also lived with her romantic partner Ethel Williams during the 1920s.

USPS commemorated Ethel Waters in 1994 with this postage stamp, part of the “Popular Singers” issue.

© USPS. All rights reserved.

Since this year’s Stanley Cup final features an American and Canadian team for the first time since 2011, we thought it ...
06/28/2021

Since this year’s Stanley Cup final features an American and Canadian team for the first time since 2011, we thought it apropos to share a few items from our collection…

This jersey is from the 1997 Albany District Dutchmen season. The Dutchmen were just one of several hockey teams throughout the US and Canada who have participated in the International Postal Hockey Tournament. All teams are made up of postal employees. This tournament has been played since 1977 with the mission of “Friendship through Hockey.” The tournament is an opportunity for employees to come together and have fun outside the post office. But these games are not just about fun. The tournament has raised over a million dollars for various US and Canadian charities.

Though no longer an active team, the Albany District Dutchmen played in the International Postal Hockey Tournament from 1995 until 2004. The team was made up of postal employees from a variety of backgrounds within USPS. Co-captain and right winger Fred Conley, #3, recalls that while the players comprising the team may have been supervisors, letter carriers and dock clerks, “…on the ice, we were all just hockey players.”

Also pictured is the Albany District Dutchmen hockey team at the 1997 International Postal Hockey Tournament in Marlborough, Massachusetts and two hockey pucks used in the tournament. Each puck has a silkscreened image on one side. One puck shows the logo of The Dutchmen, while the other shows the logo of the International Postal Hockey Tournament. The scratches across the surface of each image are evidence of the vigorous play involved in hockey. These pucks skittered and bounced across the ice in each of the Dutchmen’s three games. The Dutchmen succeeded in a win over the Michigan Eagles, but lost in later games to two Canadian teams.

The postman really did ring twice—or blew a whistle, or, most commonly, knocked. For decades, letter carriers waited for...
06/26/2021
Door Knocker

The postman really did ring twice—or blew a whistle, or, most commonly, knocked. For decades, letter carriers waited for residents to answer their signal; if no one was home, they took the mail back to the post office and tried again the next day. Since every home was not equipped with a doorbell, some letter carriers chose to use wooden, dumb-bell shaped door knockers on their city free delivery service rounds. Convenient, light-weight, and easy to grasp, the knocker saved wear and tear on hands and sounded a load crack to announce the carrier’s arrival. Studies in the early twentieth century showed carriers spent an average of two hours daily waiting at the doorstep. To save work hours, the Post Office Department required residents to install mailboxes or letter slots in 1916.

Before mail boxes were common place in American homes, carriers used whistles and wooden door knockers (that fit over their knuckles) to let people know thei...

06/25/2021

This summer, keep your kiddos entertained by encouraging them to write letters. They can practice their penmanship, solidify their spelling, pick out their favorite stamps at usps.com/stamps and keep in touch with anyone they’d like! ☀️💌

Here are some ideas to start with. Write to:
A distant relative
A famous person
Your role model
Your favorite teacher
A classmate
A friend you miss

America’s mailboxes and trucks have long been easy to identify by color. However, today’s blue mailboxes and white mail ...
06/22/2021

America’s mailboxes and trucks have long been easy to identify by color. However, today’s blue mailboxes and white mail trucks have not always sported those colors. In the 1950s, postal boxes and trucks shared a color scheme of dark blue bottom bodies and blood red tops. Before that, the Post Office Department marked their mailboxes and vehicles by painting them drab olive green. This color scheme was used from the late years of the 19th century through the early 1950s.

The drab olive green color was was widely-recognized as "postal" color on American streets. As the Department changed mailbox designs and shapes over the years, the green color remained constant. In this forest of green, postal officials decided to place some bright red mailboxes on city streets.

The new mailboxes, built by Van Dorn Iron Works of Cleveland, Ohio, were durable, but rather homely, and originally painted postal green. In some cities officials asked their postmasters to spruce up the unattractive boxes. In response, a few postmasters added fancy handles. A number of others, possibly in response to a suggestion from postal officials, painted the boxes bright red.

The new color may have rendered the mailboxes less plain, but in return the new color scheme caused great confusion. The red mailboxes were mistaken for fire alarm or police call boxes. Instead of collecting city mail, they sat unused, until a frantic resident would struggle to pry open a mailbox to alert police or fire to an emergency. Postal officials determined to return the mailboxes to their original postal green.

This is a Van Dorn manufactured collection box made for attaching to street lampposts. It was in use from about 1910-1919

America’s mailboxes and trucks have long been easy to identify by color. However, today’s blue mailboxes and white mail trucks have not always sported those colors. In the 1950s, postal boxes and trucks shared a color scheme of dark blue bottom bodies and blood red tops. Before that, the Post Office Department marked their mailboxes and vehicles by painting them drab olive green. This color scheme was used from the late years of the 19th century through the early 1950s.

The drab olive green color was was widely-recognized as "postal" color on American streets. As the Department changed mailbox designs and shapes over the years, the green color remained constant. In this forest of green, postal officials decided to place some bright red mailboxes on city streets.

The new mailboxes, built by Van Dorn Iron Works of Cleveland, Ohio, were durable, but rather homely, and originally painted postal green. In some cities officials asked their postmasters to spruce up the unattractive boxes. In response, a few postmasters added fancy handles. A number of others, possibly in response to a suggestion from postal officials, painted the boxes bright red.

The new color may have rendered the mailboxes less plain, but in return the new color scheme caused great confusion. The red mailboxes were mistaken for fire alarm or police call boxes. Instead of collecting city mail, they sat unused, until a frantic resident would struggle to pry open a mailbox to alert police or fire to an emergency. Postal officials determined to return the mailboxes to their original postal green.

This is a Van Dorn manufactured collection box made for attaching to street lampposts. It was in use from about 1910-1919

Happy summer! Kick off the season of swelter and sun with this vibrant “Summer Garden Flowers” issue. The stamps feature...
06/21/2021

Happy summer! Kick off the season of swelter and sun with this vibrant “Summer Garden Flowers” issue. The stamps feature blooming favorites such as the lily, zinnia, gladiolus (which was erroneously labeled “gladiola”), marigold, and the rose. Two kinds of roses are shown: a yellow blossom and a Hybrid Tea Rose. The original artwork – by illustrator Ned Seidler – that inspired the stamps is juxtaposed above the final product.

©USPS; all rights reserved. Artwork on loan from the United States Postal Service, Postmaster General’s Collection.

Happy summer! Kick off the season of swelter and sun with this vibrant “Summer Garden Flowers” issue. The stamps feature blooming favorites such as the lily, zinnia, gladiolus (which was erroneously labeled “gladiola”), marigold, and the rose. Two kinds of roses are shown: a yellow blossom and a Hybrid Tea Rose. The original artwork – by illustrator Ned Seidler – that inspired the stamps is juxtaposed above the final product.

©USPS; all rights reserved. Artwork on loan from the United States Postal Service, Postmaster General’s Collection.

Address

2 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington D.C., DC
20002

METRO: Take Metro's Red Line to Union Station. As you get off the escalator, the National Postal Museum will be across the street. PARKING: The National Postal Museum does not have a parking lot. Street parking is available near the museum and all-day paid parking is available at Union Station, located accross the street. BUS: The DC Circulator just announced the new Navy Yard-Union Station route: www.dccirculator.com Union Station is also served by many other bus routes including: 96 to 14th & U NW D3 to Ivy City D4 to Ivy City D6 to Stadium Armory Station D8 to Washington Hospital 96 to Capitol Heights Station 97 to Capitol Heights Station D1 to Glover Park D3 to Dupont Circle D6 to Sibley Hospital X8 to Carver Terrace RAIL: Union Station is well-connected by rail, serviced by both MARC and VRE trains.

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I am indian u have many older post stamp like year1500 to1900 century about more than300 hundred ,for more country but don't know real value of them. But want to sale them bcos I need money. Of any one want tell me,my mobile number 9763420644
I don't want to sale my stamp collectiont
Thank you so much for the Valentine card project! We are having lots of fun decorating our cards.
Thank you so much for the wonderful Valentine’s Day card kits! Lucas and Dominic loved putting theirs together 😍
Can I post you a postcard from Australia? Will you keep/ archive it? What are your rules?
Solano Chronicles, Dec. 20, 2020 By Brendan Riley The loot taken in Solano County’s only mail train robbery wasn’t much – $14 in cash and a small silver spoon found in stolen registered mail pouches – but the daring April 16, 1910, hold-up by two masked gunmen made headlines around the country, including the front page of the New York Times. Three months later, on July 15, a Sacramento constable arrested two men suspected of stealing a bale of hay. Three revolvers found in their wagon linked them to the late-night train robbery near Benicia, and Joseph C. Brown and Charles Dunbar Bishop eventually confessed. By late August they were starting 45-year prison terms. Here’s a detailed account, drawn from various 1910 newspaper stories and a few columns written in later years, of the carefully planned robbery: Brown and Bishop had holed up in an abandoned shack near Benicia and, with high-powered field glasses, had been watching the mail trains come and go for days. They knew that eastbound trains took a few minutes to pick up speed after leaving a ferry that hauled them across the Carquinez Strait. The night of the robbery, they stowed away on one of those slow-moving trains. At a remote spot between Benicia and Suisun, they emerged from hiding, pointed their guns at Jack Marsh, the engineer, and Jim Blakely, his fireman, and ordered them to stop the locomotive. Marsh and Blakely then were marched back to the mail car, where two clerks were forced to throw out registered mail sacks. One clerk started to toss out sacks filled with newspapers but the robbers detected the ruse and threatened to kill him unless he handed over the registered mail sacks. The crewmen were then ordered to put the pouches in the engine cab and unhook the locomotive. The robbers took off in the engine, stopped a couple of miles down the tracks at a bridge over Goodyear Slough and unloaded the pouches into a small boat. Then the engine was turned loose, with the throttle wide open. As the locomotive passed the station at Suisun, the station operator saw it was running wild and alerted dispatchers, who ordered that the engine be shunted onto a siding at Tolenas, several miles down the line. The engine, almost out of steam, ran onto the siding and rammed into two boxcars. Had it not been switched from the main line, it would have run into a westbound passenger train that had stopped at Tolenas. While railway employees rushed to prevent a train collision, the robbers rowed from the slough to a point just east of Martinez, across the Carquinez Strait from Benicia, and made their getaway in a stolen horse and buggy. They hid out near Mount Diablo for a couple of days, and then went to Los Angeles. Investigators found a shotgun and other weapons abandoned by the robbers as they made their escape, and learned that the shotgun had been stolen from a Riverside, Calif., store. There were other clues, along with a $5,000 reward offered by Southern Pacific for information, but the trail had gone cold – until the July 15 arrest of Brown and Bishop in Sacramento by Constable Michael Judge. Authorities determined that the three handguns found in their wagon also had been stolen from the same Riverside store. The two men immediately became the prime suspects in the train robbery case. Brown was the first to crack under questioning, admitting four days after his arrest to the gun thefts, the train robbery and other crimes. He also implicated Bishop, who held out but a few days later also confessed. A Sacramento Bee account stated that Bishop was “highly incensed at Brown for making the confession and has on several occasions since being in jail here intimated to some of his jail mates that if an opportunity presented itself that he would do Brown bodily harm.” On Aug. 22, the two men appeared before Solano County Superior Court Judge A.J. Buckles in Fairfield and entered guilty pleas to the train robbery. Several witnesses were called, including the mail clerks on the train, Tom Clancy and Herbert Block; and Constable Judge from Sacramento. The constable eventually collected a total reward of $10,000, or $5,000 per man, for the arrests and convictions of Brown and Bishop. Judge Buckles was prepared to impose 50-year sentences on Brown and Bishop but reduced the time after the county prosecutor, District Attorney Joseph Raines, said the pair had confessed and thereby saved the county time and money had the case gone to trial. The judge “stated that he was convinced that they were criminals of the first water and that they deserved no leniency,” the Oakland Tribune reported. “The limit, he stated, was not too good for them, but he believed that 45 years would serve the ends of justice.” Bishop was sent to San Quentin Prison, was paroled in late 1919 and eventually returned to his hometown, New Haven, Conn.. Brown was sent to Folsom Prison but escaped from a prison convict work gang near San Andreas in May 1917 and was never apprehended. ---- Vallejo and other Solano County communities are treasure troves of early-day California history. The “Solano Chronicles” column, running every other Sunday, highlights various aspects of that history. My source references are available upon request. If you have local stories or photos to share, email me at [email protected]. You can also send any material care of the Times-Herald, 420 Virginia St.; or the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum, 734 Marin St., Vallejo 94590.
Today in History: American diplomat Hiram Bingham IV was born on July 17, 1903, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bingham was featured as part of the Distinguished American Diplomats Series at the Washington 2006 World Philatelic Exhibition. (Thanks! Autograph by Art Director: Howard E. Paine from Delaplane, VA)
I love the US Postal Museum!
A bit of a postal history lesson for these times from the RI Philatelic Society. Back in the early 1920's, just after the Influenza epidemic, authorities were required to report communicable diseases via postal cards!
My Mom (Marguerite Schroeder) worked at the Washington DC Post Office in the Registered Mail Department in 1947-1948. Last week I toured the National Postal Museum in her honor. Thought you'd enjoy this photo from her archives
#Zeppelin collectors, please check out this group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/ZeppelinCollectors/