Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Post Office Department [POD]


(Record Group 28)
1773-1971

OVERVIEW OF RECORDS LOCATIONS

Table of Contents

  • 28.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
  • 28.2 RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL 1773-1971
  • 28.2.1 General records
  • 28.2.2 Records of the Office of the Chief Clerk
  • 28.2.3 Records of the Office of the Disbursing Officer
  • 28.2.4 Records of the Division of Service Relations
  • 28.2.5 Records of the Office of the Solicitor
  • 28.2.6 Records of the Office of the Purchasing Agent
  • 28.2.7 Records of the Special Assistant to the Postmaster General
  • 28.2.8 Records of the Bureau of Finance and Administration
  • 28.2.9 Records of the Bureau of Finance
  • 28.2.10 Records of the Bureau of Facilities
  • 28.2.11Records of the Bureau of Research and Engineering
  • 28.2.12Records of the Bureau of Transportation and International Services
  • 28.2.13Records of the Post Office Changes Branch
  • 28.3 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF THE FIRST ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL AND SUCCESSORS 1789-1971
  • 28.3.1 General records
  • 28.3.2 Records of the Division of Postmasters
  • 28.3.3 Records of the Division of Post Office Clerical Service
  • 28.3.4 Records of the Division of City Delivery Service
  • 28.3.5 Records of the Division of Rural Delivery Service
  • 28.3.6 Records of the Division of Post Office Service
  • 28.3.7 Records of the Division of Dead Letters
  • 28.4 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF THE SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL AND SUCCESSORS 1808-1969
  • 28.4.1 General records
  • 28.4.2 Records of the Domestic Transportation Division
  • 28.4.3 Records of the Division of Railway Mail Service
  • 28.4.4 Records of the Division of Railway Adjustments
  • 28.4.5 Records of the Division of International Postal Service
  • 28.4.6 Records of the Division of Air Mail Service
  • 28.5 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF THE THIRD ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL AND SUCCESSORS 1775-1968
  • 28.5.1 General records
  • 28.5.2 Records of the Division of Finance
  • 28.5.3 Records of the Postal Savings System
  • 28.5.4 Records of the Division of Money Orders
  • 28.5.5 Records of the Division of Stamps
  • 28.5.6 Records of the Division of Newspaper and Periodical Mail
  • 28.6 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF THE FOURTH ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL
    1837-1970
  • 28.6.1 General records
  • 28.6.2 Records of the Division of Topography
  • 28.6.3 Records of the Division of Motor Vehicle Service
  • 28.6.4 Records of the Pneumatic Tube Service
  • 28.6.5 Records of the Division of Post Office Quarters
  • 28.6.6 Records of the Division of Equipment and Supplies
  • 28.6.7 Records of the Division of Rural Mails
  • 28.7 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF ACCOUNTS 1883-1948
  • 28.8 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF THE CHIEF INSPECTOR 1829-1970
  • 28.9 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF TRANSPORTANION 1915-66
  • 28.10 RECORD OF REGIONAL POST OFFICES 1954-65
  • 28.10.1 Records of the Atlanta Office
  • 28.10.2 Records of the Chicago Office
  • 28.11 LIBRARY COLLECTION OF POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT RECORDS 1804-1955
  • 28.12 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)
  • 28.13 MOTION PICTURES (GENERAL)
  • 28.14 SOUND RECORDINGS (GENERAL) 1960-70
  • 28.15 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL) 1883-1959

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28.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

Established: As an independent agency, by an act of February 20, 1792 (1 Stat. 232).

Predecessor Agencies:

  • Postmaster General, 2d Continental Congress (1775-81)
  • Postmaster General, Confederation Congress (1781-89)
  • Office of the Postmaster General (OPMG, 1789-92)

Functions: Provided mail processing and delivery services to individuals and businesses within the United States.

Abolished: Effective July 1, 1971, by the Postal Reorganization Act (84 Stat. 719), August 12, 1970, and functions transferred to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

Finding Aids: Arthur Hecht et al., comps., and Forrest R. Holdcamper, rev., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Post Office Department, PI 168 (1967); supplement in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories. Janet Hargett, comp., List of Selected Maps of States and Territories, SL 29 (1971).

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Post Office Department and its components in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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28.2 RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL
1773-1971

History: Position of Postmaster General created by 2d Continental Congress, July 26, 1775. Continued under Confederation Congress following ratification of Articles of Confederation, March 1, 1781. Temporary Office of Postmaster General established in Federal Government by the Post Office Act (1 Stat. 70), September 22, 1789. Permanent Post Office Department established by the Post Office Act (1 Stat. 232), February 20, 1792. Postmaster General made Cabinet member, 1829. Post Office Department elevated to Cabinet status by Post Office Act (17 Stat. 283), June 8, 1872. Superseded by USPS, 1971. SEE 28.1.

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28.2.1 General records

Textual Records: Journals containing orders of the Postmaster General, 1835-1953. Letters sent, 1789-1952 (with gaps). Letters received, 1837-43. Letters sent by the private secretary, 1867- 1901 (with gaps). Letters sent by the administrative assistant, July-December 1929. Letters sent by the executive assistant, 1930-35. Postage stamp printing contracts, 1850-1906. Correspondence files of Postmaster General William M. Blount, 1969-70. Publications providing details of a wide span of postal activities, 1961-71. Subject files of the Department Planning Committee, 1966-68.

Microfilm Publications: M601.

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28.2.2 Records of the Office of the Chief Clerk

History: Established, April 1818, to supervise field and investigative operations. Shared responsibility with Assistant Postmaster General and supervised Office of Mail Contracts after departmental reorganization, 1825. Supervised Division of Special Agents and Mail Depredations, Office of the Topographer, the Superintendent of Buildings, and the Disbursing Clerk, 1836-72. Assigned general administrative and operating functions by Post Office Act (17 Stat. 283), June 8, 1872. Assigned supplementary responsibilities as Superintendent of Buildings, July 1, 1905, and as Director of Personnel, July 1, 1934. Superseded by Bureau of Personnel, 1955.

Textual Records: Fair copy of the journal of Hugh Finlay, Surveyor of Post Roads and Post Offices for the British Post Office Department, 1773-74. Continental Congress post office department dead letters book, 1777-88. Miscellaneous cashbooks, bonds, forms, printed material, and other records relating to U.S. and foreign post offices, 1794-1894. Manuscript annual reports, 1836-40, 1846. Congressional correspondence, 1839-58 (with gaps). Inquiries of the Keep Commission about administrative procedures, 1906-7. Letters sent, 1873-80, 1885- 1910. Records relating to buildings occupied by the POD, 1827-55. Records relating to the experimental telegraph line built in 1843 under the general direction of Samuel F.B. Morse and the Postmaster General, 1837-46. Telegraph rate agreements, 1866- 1913. Correspondence concerning personnel and operation of the Censorship Board, 1917-18. General correspondence and reports relating to personnel, 1904-13. Exhibits to a report on Railway Mail Service printing offices, 1908. Scrapbook of issuances and newspaper clippings relating to postal activities, 1823-71.

Microfilm Publications: T268.

Motion Pictures (124 reels): Post office buildings and the construction and dedication of the New Post Office, Washington, DC, 1931-34 (14 reels). Postal activities, equipment, and facilities, including the Dead Letter Office, mail processing, parcel post, mail bags, stamps, mail robbery and misuse of the mails, postal savings system, and instructions to mail users; and prominent persons, including Presidents Herbert C. Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and various Postmasters General, 1915-68 (36 reels). Scenic film about Mount Rainier National Park, 1923 (1 reel). German propaganda films relating to the conquest (1939- 40) of Belgium, Holland, France, and Poland, 1940-41 (28 reels). Postal Service activities and events including the use of automation to improve mail service, n.d. (8 reels); how postal service operates, n.d. (14 reels); and how zip code works, n.d. (2 reels). Various stamp ceremonies, 1958-71 (43 reels). President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, and Postmaster General Summerfield attending the issuance of the Liberty 8-cent stamp, 1954 (1 reel). Postal equipment tests and demonstrations, and interiors of various U.S. post offices, 1964-65 (11 reels).

SEE ALSO 28.13

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28.2.3 Records of the Office of the Disbursing Officer

History: Position of Disbursing Clerk established by a supplementary appropriations act of March 3, 1853 (10 Stat. 211). Title changed to Superintendent of the Post Office Building and Disbursing Officer (or Clerk) by Post Office Act (17 Stat. 283), June 8, 1872. Position transferred to Office of the Third Assistant Postmaster General by appropriations act of June 19, 1878 (20 Stat. 178). Established as independent office by order of August 1, 1891. Redesignated Office of the Disbursing Officer, November 1, 1905. Redesignated Director of Postal Finance, and assigned to Bureau of Third Assistant Postmaster General, November 15, 1943.

Textual Records: Fiscal and other records relating to supplies, property, salaries, and building maintenance, 1862-1913.

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28.2.4 Records of the Division of Service Relations

History: Welfare Division established, April 21, 1921, superseding the Postal Employees' Cooperative Store Association, established 1917. Date of Welfare Division redesignation as Division of Service Relations not determined.

Textual Records: General records of the Postal Employees' Cooperative Store Association, Washington, DC, 1917-21. Records relating to postal employee welfare programs developed through national, county, local, and departmental councils and boards, 1921-30.

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28.2.5 Records of the Office of the Solicitor

History: Established by act of May 8, 1794 (1 Stat. 354), to provide legal advice to Postmaster General. Assistant Attorney General for the Post Office Department (AAGPOD) authorized by Post Office Act (17 Stat. 283), June 8, 1872, to be paid, pursuant to appropriations act of March 3, 1873 (17 Stat. 508), out of Department of Justice funds. Initial appointment made by Postmaster General, March 20, 1873. Office of Solicitor began providing staff assistance to AAGPOD, 1878. AAGPOD redesignated Solicitor for the Post Office Department by appropriations act of June 6, 1914 (38 Stat. 497), but continued to be funded from Department of Justice appropriations. Postmaster General authorized to appoint and finance a Special Assistant to Attorney General, pursuant to act of July 28, 1916 (39 Stat. 412). Office of the Solicitor absorbed the Office of the Special Assistant to the Attorney General, 1934. Redesignated General Counsel, 1958.

Textual Records: Office files of Solicitor William H. Lamar, 1912-22. Opinions, 1868-74, 1895-97. Letters sent, 1877-79, 1906. Selected case files, 1905-21, concerning use of the mails for fraud, sedition, lotteries, false advertising, transportation of obscene matter, and other violations of postal laws and regulations, with indexes. Case files, registers, transcripts, and dockets relating to fraud cases, 1834-1951. Records relating to nonmailable publications, 1940-47. Records relating to federal operation of telephone, telegraph, and cable companies, 1918-21, with index and card file. Records relating to enforcement of the Espionage Act of 1917, as amended (1940), 1917-21, 1942-45. Correspondence and reports relating to investigations of airmail and ocean mail contracts, 1934-40. Registers of postmasters' claims for reimbursement, 1882-1929. Records relating to bonding of mail route carriers, 1901-2, 1908.

Subject Access Terms: Esquire Magazine case.

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28.2.6 Records of the Office of the Purchasing Agent

History: Established by act of April 28, 1904 (33 Stat. 429).

Textual Records: Letters sent relating to supply and equipment purchases, 1904, 1910.

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28.2.7 Records of the Special Assistant to the Postmaster General

History: Established in 1959 in response to the Post Office Department's growing responsibilities and increased demands. Textual Records: Nationwide improved mail services publicity file, 1961. Press release books, 1953-62. Press releases, 1962.

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28.2.8 Records of the Bureau of Finance and Administration

History: Created in 1964 as a successor to the Bureau of Finance.

Textual Records: Directives and publications case files, 1935-72. Paperwork management studies, 1955-69. Reorganization studies, 1950-68. Subject files, 1957-69.

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28.2.9 Records of the Bureau of Finance

History: Established by the 1949 Postal Reorganization Plan.

Textual Records: Records of the Cost Ascertainment Division, consisting of cost ascertainment final reports and appendices, 1923-59; and reports on the cost ascertainment system, 1944-56. Records of the Postal Funds Division, consisting of bank correspondence files, 1908-55. Migratory bird hunting stamp file, 1939-61. Embossed stamped envelope file, 1933-56. Regular, air mail, and commemorative stamp file, 1957-62.

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28.2.10 Records of the Bureau of Facilities

History: Established by the 1949 Postal Reorganization Plan.

Textual Records: Organization history files and related records, 1931-60. Subject files, 1944-67.

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28.2.11 Records of the Bureau of Research and Engineering

History: Established by PL 89-492, July 5, 1966.

Textual Records; Subject files, 1958-67. Construction and engineering project files, 1965-68.

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28.2.12 Records of the Bureau of Transportation and International Services

History: Established in 1964 as the result of a name change from the Bureau of Transportation. Most of the original functions were transferred.

Textual Records: Special project reports and related records, 1966-67. Subject files, 1962-67. Highway post office discontinuation case files, 1961-67. Railroad post office discontinuation case files, 1963-67. Sectional centers facility case files, 1963-66.

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28.2.13 Records of the Post Office Changes Branch

History: Established as an unit of the Post Office Changes and Rural Appointment Division by the 1949 Postal Reorganization Plan. This unit by the late 1960's was termed the Postal Changes Branch.

Textual records: Establishment and discontinuation of post offices files, 1959-63.

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28.3 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF THE FIRST ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL AND SUCCESSORS
1789-1971

History: Office of the Assistant Postmaster General established by 2d Continental Congress, July 26, 1775, and retained under Federal Government by Post Office Act (1 Stat. 70), September 22, 1789. Redesignated Office of the First Assistant Postmaster General pursuant to Post Office Act (2 Stat. 593), April 30, 1810, which created Office of the Second Assistant Postmaster. Redesignated Bureau of the First Assistant Postmaster General, 1942. Superseded by Bureau of Post Office Operations, in accordance with Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1949, effective August 20, 1949. Redesignated Bureau of Operations, ca. 1959. Established and managed post offices; selected, nominated, or appointed postmasters; administered delivery service; and handled unmailable and undeliverable mail.

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28.3.1 General records

Textual Records: Letters sent, 1793-1800. Orders ("Journals"), 1867-1905. Miscellaneous correspondence, 1911-41. Journal of the First Assistant Postmaster, 1941.

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28.3.2 Records of the Division of Postmasters

Textual Records: Record of earliest returns received from postmasters, 1789-1818. Records relating to appointments of postmasters, 1815-1971. Records relating to the opening, closing, redesignation, and relocation of post offices, 1899-1914.

Microfilm Publications: M841, M1131.

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28.3.3 Records of the Division of Post Office Clerical Service

Textual Records: Records relating to first- and second-class post offices, 1889-1936, including appointment and salary files (1889- 1907) and operating records (1916-36). Records relating to contract stations and branches, 1916-35. Records relating to Sunday service at post offices, 1911-12.

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28.3.4 Records of the Division of City Delivery Service

Textual Records: Records relating to mail carriers employed in first- and second-class post offices, 1888-1907; and to carriers separated from the postal service, 1863-99. Reports of inspections of city delivery service in Baltimore, MD, Kalamazoo, MI, and Pittsburgh, PA, 1929-31. Records relating to the Detroit River Steamboat Service, 1895-1928.

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28.3.5 Records of the Division of Rural Delivery Service

Textual Records: Correspondence, 1898-1936. Issuances of the Superintendent of the Free Delivery System, 1901-6. Statistical data, 1896-1910.

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28.3.6 Records of the Division of Post Office Service

Textual Records: Correspondence and reports relating to classification of employees and measurement of work in post offices, 1912, 1923-34.

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28.3.7 Records of the Division of Dead Letters

Textual Records: Miscellaneous records, 1897-1930.

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28.4 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF THE SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER
GENERAL AND SUCCESSORS
1808-1969

History: Office of the Second Assistant Postmaster General established by the Post Office Act (2 Stat. 593), April 30, 1810 (2 Stat. 593), to provide assistance in the field. Made responsible solely for transportation of the mail, November 15, 1851. Redesignated Bureau of the Second Assistant Postmaster General, 1942. Superseded by Bureau of Transportation (BOT), August 30, 1949. BOT abolished, with functions transferred to Bureau of Operations, 1969.

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28.4.1 General records

Textual Records: Letters sent, 1891-1934. Administrative records, 1852-1968. Reports, 1911-31. Memorandums, 1914-29. Correspondence concerning airmail service, 1921-27. Notices to railway companies concerning mail transportation, 1885-1909. Roster of bureau employees, 1893-1912. Railway and Steamship Company mail pay cases, 1912-35. Ocean mail and airmail contract program and policy files, 1928-34. Files of the Deputy Assistant Postmaster General for the Bureau of Transportation (and International Services), 1958-66. Records of the special administrative aide, consisting of budget estimates and appropriations reports, 1920- 33, and reports of personnel changes, 1918-33. Correspondence and related records concerning the establishment of postal routes and air mail service in Alaska, 1934-48. Orders relating to mail route service by "electric cars," 1948-55.

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28.4.2 Records of the Domestic Transportation Division

Textual Records: Historical files relating to airmail service, 1935-62; and to inaugural ceremonies for highway post offices, 1953-56. Case files pertaining to the establishment of routes for highway post offices, 1940-59; and to the discontinuation of highway and railway post offices, 1964-67.

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28.4.3 Records of the Division of Railway Mail Service

Textual Records: Correspondence, 1902-29. Records relating to mail service to the American Expeditionary Forces, ca. 1917-19. Directives, 1894-1955. Circular letters sent to chief clerks of districts, 1911-17. Joint letter file, 1919-47. "Decision Book" relating to railway mail rules and procedures, 1872-98. Statements of annual travel allowance, 1928-38. Organization and job description sheets, ca. 1921-42. Rosters of clerks and agents, 1855-1915. Divisional newsletters, 1918-51. Registers of railroad and electric car mail route contracts, 1877-1948. Lists of mail service badges, 1905-19. Advertisements for Star Route carriers, 1808-1958. Route registers for screen body motor vehicles, 1934-53. Record of Star Route changes in NJ, NY, and PA, 1946-53. Lists of Star Route mail contractors, 1833-77. Paybooks for Star Route service, 1851-66. Records relating to government-operated Star Route service by motortrucks, 1917-24. Case files pertaining to the operation of panel body vehicles, 1949-53. Star Route mail contracts, 1814-1960 (with gaps), containing information about service to small post offices not on railroad lines. Orders, contracts, and correspondence relating to powerboat and steamboat mail route service, 1859-1963. Records relating to special service contracts, 1920-41. Records relating to construction and maintenance of railway post office cars, 1930-62.

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28.4.4 Records of the Division of Railway Adjustments

Textual Records: Correspondence relating to rates paid for mail transportation, 1907-46. Case files and correspondence concerning transportation of mail matter by means other than the postal service in violation of federal statutes, 1896-1933. Reports by public carriers of railway mail service performed, 1916-22. Registers of the employment of mail messengers, 1877-81, 1900-47.

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28.4.5 Records of the Division of International Postal Service

Textual Records: Record copies of postal conventions with foreign countries, 1848-1969. Records relating to postal congresses and conventions, 1888-1927. Publications of the Universal Postal Union, 1947-67. Correspondence with the Second Assistant Postmaster General relating to international postal policies and agreements, 1887-1966. Correspondence, reports, and questionnaires relating to vessels and routes employed in the ocean mail service, 1929-39. Correspondence relating to military postal service during the Spanish-American War, 1898-1902. Records relating to the operation of postal services in Cuba, 1896-1908; the Philippine Islands, 1895-1903; and Puerto Rico, 1899-1900. Correspondence, airline schedules, financial statements, surveys, and performance reports relating to the Foreign Airmail Service, 1918-39. Records relating to military mail, 1940-59. Miscellaneous records relating to international mail, 1914-37, and foreign parcel post facilities, 1911-12.

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28.4.6 Records of the Division of Air Mail Service

Textual Records: General records of the Airmail Service, 1918-25, and the General Superintendent of the Service, 1926-42. Records of the Second Assistant Postmaster General concerning air transport, 1926-42. Airmail route contracts, 1927-34. Selected personnel records of air mail pilots and supervisors relating to operations of the air mail service, especially unusual flights, accidents, and aircraft testing, 1918-27. Airmail service publicity materials, 1918-37. Records relating to airmail routes and autogiro and helicopter service, 1919-49. Correspondence and reports concerning National Airmail Week, 1938-39. Performance and efficiency reports on domestic airmail service, 1920-41. Records relating to National Air Transport, Inc., 1926.

Maps (120 items): Landing fields and airmail routes, 1918-41 (98 items). Published maps relating to airmail, 1919-55 (22 items). SEE ALSO 28.12.

Architectural and Engineering Plans (1,620 items, in Washington Area): Blueprints and specifications for airplanes, hangars, and equipment, 1918-25. SEE ALSO 28.12.

Motion Pictures (2 reels): The Story of the U.S. Mail, n.d. (1 reel). Growth of airmail delivery, produced for National Airmail Week, 1938 (1 reel). SEE ALSO 28.13.

Photographs (1,350 images): Development of airmail service, including the first transcontinental flight, operation of Pan American Airlines Mail Service, air mail pilots (notably Charles Lindbergh), post office officials, airplane accidents, and safety devices, 1916-60 (MS). SEE ALSO 28.15.

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28.5 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF THE THIRD ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL AND SUCCESSORS
1775-1968

History: Office of the Third Assistant Postmaster established by act of July 2, 1836 (5 Stat. 80), to supervise the settlement of accounts and, with Chief Clerk, to supervise the newly established Inspection Office. Made responsible for all financial operations not legally delegated to the Auditor, 1846, and subsequently acquired responsibility for issuing stamps and related philatelic issuances; and managing money order, parcel post, postal savings, and registered mail systems. Redesignated Bureau of the Third Assistant Postmaster General, 1942. Superseded by Bureau of Finance, in accordance with Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1949, effective August 20, 1949. Redesignated Bureau of Finance and Administration, 1964.

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28.5.1 General records

Textual Records: Files of the Deputy Assistant Postmaster General and Controller, 1955-63, and of the Assistant Controller for Field Operations, 1961-65.

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28.5.2 Records of the Division of Finance

Textual Records: Accounts, ledgers, and journals of the General Post Office, 1775-1803. General Post Office cashbooks, 1792-95. Post Office cashbooks, 1955-68. Correspondence of the division, 1922-37. Salary journals and receipts of post offices, 1895-1956 (including 2 rolls of microfilm). General ledgers for the whole department, 1947-54.

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28.5.3 Records of the Postal Savings System

Textual Records: Records relating to the establishment of the Postal Savings System, 1861-1913. Forms, 1912-13. Daily record of cases received, 1913-51. General records, 1883-1957. Annual reports, 1937-64. Ledgers, 1911-59. Records relating to the discontinuance of the Postal Savings System, 1951-68.

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28.5.4 Records of the Division of Money Orders

Textual Records: Correspondence, memorandums, reports, and accounts, 1868- 1936. Copies of international money order conventions, with related correspondence, 1856-1966.

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28.5.5 Records of the Division of Stamps

Textual Records: Stamp billbooks, 1870-97. Correspondence relating to envelopes, 1857-1925. Ledger showing quantities and costs of stamps furnished to postal services in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippine Islands, and Guam, 1898-1900. Records of the postal card agent, 1893-1923. Historical file on early postage stamps, 1847-1901.

Related Records: Plate-proof stamp sheets, 1894-1962, in RG 28, are on permanent loan to the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

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28.5.6 Records of the Division of Newspaper and Periodical Mail

Textual Records: Records relating to an increase in second-class rates, 1917-20.

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28.6 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF THE FOURTH ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL
1837-1970

History: Office of the Fourth Assistant Postmaster General established by order of the Postmaster General, August 1, 1891, in accordance with provisions of appropriations act of March 3, 1891 (26 Stat. 944). Office redesignated Bureau of the Fourth Assistant Postmaster, 1942. Superseded by Bureau of Facilities in accordance with Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1949, August 20, 1949. Responsible for maintaining and operating post offices and equipment, for providing supplies, and for producing and distributing route maps.

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28.6.1 General records

Textual Records: General records, 1905-32. Correspondence of Fourth Assistant Postmaster General James I. Blakslee, 1914-20.

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28.6.2 Records of the Division of Topography

Textual Records: Letters sent, 1901-11. Reports of site locations and completed geographical information forms, 1837-1950.

Maps (2,924 items): Post route atlas of the United States compiled under the direction of David Burr, 1839 (13 items). Regional, state, county, and city maps, and a sampling of rural delivery route maps, showing post offices, mail delivery routes, mail-carrying railroads, navigable waters (1917), Congressional districts (1935-40), frequency of mail service, and distances between post offices, 1867-1970 (2,911 items). SEE ALSO 28.12.

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28.6.3 Records of the Division of Motor Vehicle Service

Textual Records: Advertisements, contracts, and correspondence concerning manufacture and operation of mail transportation vehicles, 1858-1939. Correspondence relating to shipment of farm products by postal trucks, 1919-29.

Architectural and Engineering Plans (100 items, in Washington Area): Blueprints and similiar drawings of postal delivery vehicles submitted by vendors for possible procurement by the Post Office, 1967-70. SEE ALSO28.12.

Photographic Prints and Negatives (75 images): Postal delivery trucks and equipment, 1965-67 (TE). SEE ALSO 28.15.

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28.6.4 Records of the Pneumatic Tube Service

Textual Records: Records, including interfiled blueprints, relating to the establishment and operation of the service, 1892- 1953. Records of the Commission to Investigate Pneumatic Tube Postal Systems (Pneumatic Tube Commission), 1912-14.

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28.6.5 Records of the Division of Post Office Quarters

Textual Records: Correspondence and reports, 1916-42. Records relating to leases of postal quarters, 1916-32. Blueprints, plans, and estimates for construction of postal quarters, and interfiled reports concerning space and conditions in federal buildings, 1911-30. Records relating to dedications of post office buildings, 1933-42.

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28.6.6 Records of the Division of Equipment and Supplies

Textual Records: Cost reports on work in mail-equipment shops, 1915-24. Miscellaneous records relating to division operations, 1868-1911.

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28.6.7 Records of the Division of Rural Mails

Textual Records: Records relating to the employment of rural mail carriers, 1901-20. General and accounting records concerning the operation of rural mail routes and the administration of the division, 1906-34.

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28.7 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF ACCOUNTS
1883-1948

History: Auditing of post office accounts vested in Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury by act of September 2, 1789 ( 1 Stat. 66). Assigned to Fifth Auditor of the Treasury by an act of March 3, 1817 (3 Stat. 366), and to Sixth Auditor of the Treasury by act of July 2, 1836 (5 Stat. 81). Functions transferred to Post Office Department and vested in newly established Bureau of Accounts by the Budget and Accounting Act (42 Stat. 24), June 10, 1921. Bureau terminated, 1953, and functions assigned to the Bureau of Finance.

Textual Records: Correspondence, memorandums, and issuances, 1862-1924. Copies of outgoing letters of George A. Howard, auditor, 1893-97. Letters sent, 1904-18. Accounts relating to postal services between the United States and foreign countries, 1883-1948. Cost ascertainment reports, 1926-47.

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28.8 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF THE CHIEF INSPECTOR
1829-1970

History: Responsibility for investigation of irregularities in the POD vested by June 14, 1790, in Assistant Postmaster General, under supervision of the Office of Instructions, OPMG. Office of Instructions redesignated Office of Instructions and Mail Depredations and assigned to Office of the Second Assistant Postmaster General, 1830. Function transferred to Miscellaneous Division, OPMG, 1835. Thereafter successively vested in Contract Division, Office of the Second Assistant Postmaster General; Office of Mail Depredations, OPMG; Division of Special Agents and Mail Depredations, OPMG; Division of Post Office Inspectors and Mail Depredations, OPMG (and later in Office of the Fourth Assistant Postmaster General); and Division of Post Office Inspectors, OPMG. Bureau of the Chief Inspector established, February 2, 1939.

Textual Records: General records of the Postal Inspection Service, 1832-1970. Indexes to mail depredations, 1845-48. Reports and letters sent by the Chief Special Agent, Office of Mail Depredations, 1875-78. Case files of investigations, 1877-1903, including reports of secret internal investigations, 1894-95. Press copies of investigative reports, 1907-18. Statements of arrest for offenses against postal laws, with related registers and indexes, 1864-99. Records relating to an investigation of the Railway Mail Service, 1925. Annual reports, 1905-35. Rosters of inspectors and other employees, 1898-1909. Records of Inspection Offices at St. Louis, 1876-78; Denver, 1879-1907; Philadelphia, 1896-1909; New York, 1907-8; Chicago, 1885-1907; San Francisco, 1884-1909; Atlanta, 1907; and Chattanooga, 1898-1906. Inspection reports on Rural Mail Service, 1904-31. Bimonthly general intelligence press reports of the Justice Department relating to radical publications, 1918-22. Records of the Fraud and Mailability Division, consisting of foreign political propaganda case files, 1958-59; foreign political propaganda in-transist lists, 1958-59; policy and precedent docket case files, 1913-53; transcripts of hearings, 1937-51; and air mail cases, 1943-53. Selected records relating to the John F. Kennedy assassination, 1962-68. Tables of investigation records exchanged between the POD and inspection offices in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chattanooga, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Kansas City, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, St. Paul, San Francisco, Spokane, and Washington, DC, 1923-25. Press copies of correspondence of inspectors in charge in Kansas City, 1902-8 (in Kansas City) and Boston, 1899-1908 (in Boston).

Photographs (28 images): Chief postal inspectors, 1829-1961 (IP). SEE ALSO 28.15.

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28.9 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF TRANSPORTATION 1915-66

History: Established by the 1949 Postal Reorganization Plan. Abolished in 1964, its functions transferred to the newly created Assistant Postal General, Bureau of Transportation and International Services.

Textual Records: Subject files of the Assistant Postmaster General, 1915- 66. Records of the Administration Division, consisting of reorganization files, 1946-62; and administrative manual, 1922-55. Records of the Air Division, consisting of rate orders and related records, 1937-58; and foreign air mail rate case files, 1954-59. Records of the Railway Transportation Division, consisting of postal inspection reports, 1958-63; and railroad operating agreements, 1948-56. Records of the International Service Division, consisting of records relating to the VIIIth Congress of the Postal Union of the Americas and Spain, 1960. Records of the Division of the Transportation Research, including the records of the branch consisting of general research project 10 regional final reports, 1956; report of the departmental committee on expedited first-class mail, 1956; and transportation study reports, 1958-59.

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28.10 RECORD OF REGIONAL POST OFFICES
1954-65

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28.10.1 Records of the Atlanta Office

Textual Records (in Atlanta): Transportation Planning Branch air and surface transportation studies (Georgia), 1954-60.

Maps (25 items, in Atlanta): Used with Transportation Planning Branch air and surface transportation studies, 1954-60. SEE ALSO 28.12.

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28.10.2 Records of the Chicago Office

Textual Records (in Chicago): Records relating to publicity, 1957-65.

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28.11 LIBRARY COLLECTION OF POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT RECORDS
1804-1955

Textual Records: Letters received by the Postmaster General, 1836-1910. Letters of the Second Assistant Postmaster General addressed to all Superintendents of the Railway Mail Service, 1948-55. Correspondence of the First and Second Assistant Postmasters General, 1862-69; the Chief Clerk and Director of Personnel, 1912-44; and the U.S. Postal Card Agency, 1856-92. Correspondence relating to postal exhibitions, 1891-93, 1927, 1933-34. Correspondence and other records of the Dead Letter Office, 1830-35, 1862-63, 1898; the Inspection Office, 1863, 1914-52; the U.S. Stamped Envelope Agency, 1869- 1906; the Railway Mail Service, 1877-1939; and the Sea Post Service, 1924- 26, 1942. Records relating to the Money Order Service, 1857-68, 1876-1909, 1929-33; and to the international money order business, 1867-93. Documents relating to the Universal Postal Union, 1862-1929. Opinions of the Attorney General for the Post Office Department, 1909-25.

Maps (61 items): Collected by the Post Office Department Library, consisting chiefly of photostatic copies of maps of North America (1550 and 1700's), and including two printed maps showing U.S. post roads (1804 and ca. 1836), and maps of Prince George's and Montgomery Counties, MD (1878), and NJ (ca. 1882), 1804-1928. SEE ALSO 28.12.

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28.12 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)

SEE Maps UNDER 28.4.6, 28.6.2, 28.10.1 and 28.11. SEE Architectural and Engineering Plans UNDER 28.4.6 and 28.6.3.

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28.13 MOTION PICTURES (GENERAL)

SEE UNDER 28.2.2 and 28.4.6.

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28.14 SOUND RECORDINGS (GENERAL)
1960-70

Speeches, interviews, press conferences, and remarks by various Postmasters General, 1960-68 (32 items). Radio spot announcements, 1965 (2 items). Zip code campaign, featuring Ethel Merman singing the official zip code song, 1966 (1 item). U.S. Navy Band performing the "Post Office March," n.d. (1 item). President Richard M. Nixon signing the Postal Reform Bill, 1970 (2 items).

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28.15 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)
1883-1959

Photographic Prints (3,800 images): Post offices in over 2,000 communities throughout the United States, 1900-40 (PB).

Photographs (10,000 images): Construction of post offices in the District of Columbia, 1931-32; and interiors and exteriors of post offices and hazardous work areas, 1956-59 (F).

Photographic Prints (32 images): Post office buildings, ca. 1930- 59; methods of transporting mail, n.d.; unidentified ceremony, 1934; postal employees at work, ca. 1930-40; portrait of Samuel Osgood, First Postmaster General, n.d.; and a copy of an 1863 portrait of President Abraham Lincoln taken by Alexander Gardner, n.d. (M).

Color Photographic Prints (18 images): Design sketches for post office buildings, n.d.; and "Parade of Postal Progress" exhibit at the U.S. World Trade Fair Show, n.d. (M).

Photomechanical Reproductions (30 images): Post Office five-year building modernization and new equipment program, in pamphlet, n.d. (M).

Drawings (3 images): Federal building, San Diego Exposition, n.d.; Post Office Department Building, Washington, DC, n.d.; post office building, Glen Ridge, NJ, 1883 (M).

Posters (1 image): Air Mail Service advertisement, ca. 1930 (M, 1 image).

Filmstrips (10 items): Mail transport by sea, 1920 (FS, 1 item).Used in training post office employees involved in mail delivery service, including such topics as the acceptance and delivery of domestic registered mail, duties of the transfer clerk, driving the fleetvan safely, and "schemes and schedules," ca. 1957-62 (D, 9 items).

SEE Photographs UNDER 28.4.6 and 28.8.

SEE Photographic Prints and Negatives UNDER 28.6.3.


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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