Monday, February 08, 2016

A Month of Letters and A History of the Postal Service

Outgoing Mail for Feb. 1-6.  All but one of the Chinese New Year postcards, postcards to grands and friends, a card for National Mail Carrier Day to our postman,and letters. 

 I bought 5 of the "As long as there are postmen" cards from Missive Maven because I love them--this one went to a friend in Tupelo, MS because I thought he would enjoy it.  

The two postcards to the grands at the bottom of the collage below
got cut off when I made the collage.
Hmmm, maybe I didn't take a pic of B.E.'s.

The ones below went out in Jan.--
so not part of A Month of Letters

Incoming this week

Fee and I went junking last weekend, 
and I found these letters in a batch ready for me to bring home.
1928 and a 2 cent stamp on top!

I'm almost finishing reading Neither Snow Nor Rain an ARC I received through NetGalley.  Who would have imagined how fascinating a history of the USPS could be?!  

It has been both informative and compelling--from Ben Franklin through all of the Post Masters, through the battles with alternative carriers, the short history of the Pony Express, the  competition with technology, and so much more. 

 While I expected to find some interesting information, I couldn't believe how engrossing a history of the mail in the United States could be.  

“It’s impossible to overstate the impact of the United States Postal Service on American Life . . . This book explores the rich history of this formidable operation, as well as its slow disappearance.”—Chicago Tribune

Devin Leonard has achieved something astonishing. He has taken the Post Office—too often disparaged as the carrier of ‘snail mail’ in this age of instant communication—and delivered a vivid and surprising story filled with indelibly drawn personalities including a founding father, an obsessive nineteenth-century smut-hunter, the swashbuckling pilots of the earliest, nearly suicidal airmail service, and many others. With crisp prose and unflagging narrative drive, Leonard reveals the forgotten history of the institution, and makes abundantly clear, the story of the Post Office is also the story of America.”—Fergus M. Bordewich, author of The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government

The amount of mail handled by the USPS is almost beyond comprehension, even if the majority of mail now consists of junk mail and advertisements.

While the Month of Letters challenge is a bit overwhelming to manage, I'm even more pleased to participate when I think that the disappearance of first-class mail and the postal system as we know it is a distinct possibility.  


  1. There are always fascinating characters at the beginning of things....

    1. And seeing the changes, adaptations, and innovations over the centuries is also appealing. Here is a site you might enjoy, Rachel: Royal Mail--such interesting galleries about mail in the UK. Which, of course, was the first mail service in the colonies!

  2. I can't imagine what we would do without USPS. I admit I rarely send "snail" mail. Sometimes I don't even go out to the box to see what was left that day. But I want the USPS when I want it to be there!!
    xx, Carol

    1. I know! I feel the same way, Carol. I want it to be there. Technology has had a huge impact. The majority of mail sorted and delivered now is junk mail; the days of the first class letter may be numbered. I find this truly sad, and as much as I loved the book--which was fascinating--toward the end, the predictions for the postal service were pretty gloomy.

  3. What a fun project! The work itself is so wonderful.

    1. Such a fun way to play with drawing, collage, painting, etc., without worrying about quality. Knowing that it doesn't have to be "good," all that is required is that it be fun is the key. Every day is a new experiment!

  4. Love those monkeys! I taught a little bit about the USPS back in the 90's when I taught letter writing in English I. Yes, before computers! Can you believe that in my career we've gone from teaching letter writing to not writing letters? It's amazing how technology has our lives. It's not all bad but there had to be some negative repercussions, and the poor PO got the gist of it. Carol put it perfectly, I want the USPS there when I want it there! I watch a video on the USPS website on how they use technology to get the mail where it needs to go. How ironic that technology works so well for the USPS and at the same time has all but put them out of business. Check it out just to see the amount of mail that goes through in a day...amazing numbers!

    1. I have a huge supply of birthday and Halloween cards that never got sent, but I'm paying attention again to the need to get things in the mailbox, even if it is a little late. Getting the mail to the right address is an amazing process isn't it? Pretty remarkable what the postal service accomplishes!


Good to hear from you!