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Title: The American Postal Service - History of the Postal Service from the Earliest Times
Author: Melius, Louis
Language: English
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THE AMERICAN POSTAL SERVICE

History of the Postal Service from the Earliest Times

The American System Described with Full Details of Operation

A Fund of Interesting Information upon All Postal Subjects

By

LOUIS MELIUS

Washington, D. C.



Second Edition Revised and Enlarged
Copyright 1917 Louis Melius

National Capital Press, Inc., Washington, D. C.


[Illustration: POSTMASTER GENERAL BURLESON]



Biographical Sketches of the Postmaster General and His Four Assistants


Albert Sidney Burleson, of Austin, Tex., Postmaster General, was
born June 7, 1863, at San Marcos, Tex.; was educated at Agricultural
and Mechanical College of Texas, Baylor University (of Waco), and
University of Texas. Was admitted to the bar in 1884; was Assistant
City Attorney of Austin in 1885, ‘86, ‘87, ‘88, ‘89 and ‘90; was
appointed by the Governor of Texas, Attorney of the Twenty-Sixth
Judicial District in 1891; was elected to said office, 1892, ‘94 and
‘96; was elected to the 56th, 57th, 58th, 59th, 60th, 61st, 62d,
and 63d Congresses; appointed Postmaster General March 4, 1913, and
confirmed March 6, 1913.

       *       *       *       *       *

John C. Koons, First Assistant Postmaster General, entered the service
as a Railway Postal Clerk; was transferred to Washington and made
Post Office Inspector, subsequently made Chief of the Division of
Salaries and Allowances and member of the Parcel Post Commission, in
which latter connection his services were considered of especial value
and importance. Appointed Chief Post Office Inspector and upon the
resignation of the late First Assistant Postmaster General, Daniel C.
Roper, was named to succeed him. His legal residence is in Carroll Co.,
Md.

Otto Praeger, Second Assistant Postmaster General, was born in
Victoria, Tex., 1871. Legal residence, San Antonio, Tex. Took a
course of instruction in the University of Texas and was a student on
political economy under David F. Houston now Secretary of Agriculture.
Engaged in the newspaper business at San Antonio in 1887--_San Antonio
Light_ and _San Antonio Express_; was for a time city clerk of said
city; was engaged in newspaper work as Washington correspondent when
appointed Postmaster of Washington, D. C., and in August, 1915, was
appointed Second Assistant to succeed Hon. Joseph Stewart.

Alexander Monroe Dockery, Third Assistant Postmaster General, is a
native of Missouri, born in Daviess County, educated at Macon Academy;
studied medicine, graduated and practiced it for a while but later
engaged in the banking business. Served in Congress from March 3,
1883, to March 3, 1899. Member of Committee of Appropriations, twelve
years; Committee Post Offices and Post Roads, four years; Governor
of Missouri from 1901 to 1905; was author of the bill extending the
special delivery system to all post offices; also extending free
delivery service to small cities; advocated the first appropriation
for rural delivery. Chairman of the commission which bore his name,
constituted by Congress for administrative reforms in the conduct of
public business, and author of the act creating a new accounting system
for the Treasury Department and many other public measures which have
made his name familiar to the public and political life of the country.

James I. Blakslee, Fourth Assistant Postmaster General, was born
at Mauch Chunk, Pa., December 17, 1870. Public school education,
supplemented with special courses at Bethlehem Preparatory School,
Cheltenham Military Academy and High School, Pottstown, Pa.; was
connected with the Lehigh Valley and Pennsylvania railroads as
telegraph operator and assistant yardmaster; Lieutenant, Company E,
Eighth Regiment, National Guards, 1897; commissioned same rank and
regiment, U. S. Volunteers, and appointed quartermaster and commissary,
Reserve Hospital Corps, U. S. Army, during the Spanish-American War.
Removed to Lehighton in 1899. Chairman Democratic Committee of Carbon
County, 1905. Assemblyman, Pennsylvania Legislature, 1907-09 term,
and subsequently made Secretary Democratic State Committee, where his
organizing ability won him national recognition.



PREFACE


This little work on postal affairs aims to familiarize postal employes
and others with the operations of the Post Office Department in all
its varied and numerous details. No attempt was made to cover the wide
field of postal activity and inquiry for which a much larger book
and much greater space would be required. It is simply meant to be a
book of reference, a sort of hand-book on postal subjects for busy
people who may not care to read lengthy accounts or stories which a
few paragraphs might sufficiently explain, or care to wrestle with
columns of figures which are best given in official reports and chiefly
valuable to public men for legislative purposes, for comparison and
survey.

All necessary postal knowledge of immediate public interest is herein
set forth in such compact shape as to acquaint the reader with what
he might want to know, or direct his inquiry to sources of wider
information if the desire was not satisfied with the reference thereto
which this work might afford. In general it will be found amply
sufficient for all ordinary purpose as the scope of subjects is as wide
as the active operations of the Department at present include.

The special articles referring to subjects of general postal interest
cover a considerable range of inquiry and deal more fully with those
matters which are but briefly mentioned in that portion devoted to the
purely business details of the Department. Much of this material is
new and all of it treated so as to interest the reader. These articles
on general postal topics in connection with the other matter herewith
given, relating to the service, may please some one here and there and
perhaps justify the publication of this little contribution to the
literature of the time.

  L. M.

  Washington, D. C.

  March 15, 1917.



To Mr. Ruskin McArdle, late Private Secretary to the Postmaster
General, now Chief Clerk of the Department, whose friendly regard I
have long enjoyed and whose courteous and considerate treatment to all
with whom his official relations have brought him into contact, this
little volume is respectfully dedicated as a mark of appreciation and a
token of deep and lasting esteem.

  THE AUTHOR.



ORGANIZATION OF THE DEPARTMENT


The operations of the postal service are conducted by divisional
arrangement with the duties of each accurately and specifically
defined. Previous to this administration much of the work of the
various bureaus was found to be overlapping each other and exercising
a separate authority in correlated matters. These officially related
duties were each brought under a proper head, insuring prompt attention
and fixing a definite responsibility which has been found to be of
recognized benefit and value.


OFFICE OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL

  _Postmaster General._--ALBERT S. BURLESON, Texas.
  _Private Secretary._--ROBERT E. COWART, Texas.
  _Chief Clerk._--RUSKIN MCARDLE, Texas.
  _Assistant Chief Clerk._--WILLIAM W. SMITH, Tennessee.
  _Division of Solicitor._--
      _Solicitor._--WILLIAM H. LAMAR, Maryland.
      _Assistant Attorneys._--J. JULIEN SOUTHERLAND, North Carolina.
          WALTER E. KELLY, Ohio.
          EDWIN A. NIESS, Pennsylvania.
          JOHN A. NASH, Pennsylvania.
      _Bond Examiner._--HORACE J. DONNELLY, District of Columbia.
      _Law Clerk._--ARTHUR J. KAUSE, Ohio,
  _Division of Purchasing Agent._--
      _Purchasing Agent._--JAMES A. EDGERTON, New Jersey.
      _Chief Clerk._--FREDERICK H. AUSTIN, Missouri.
  _Division of Post Office Inspectors._--
      _Chief Inspector._--GEORGE M. SUTTON, Missouri.
      _Chief Clerk._--J. ROBERT COX, North Carolina.
  _Appointment Clerk._--Vacant.
  _Disbursing Clerk._--WILLIAM M. MOONEY, Ohio.


OFFICE OF THE FIRST ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL

  _First Assistant Postmaster General._--JOHN C. KOONS, Maryland.
  _Chief Clerk._--JOHN W. JOHNSTON, New York,
  _Division of Post Office Service._--
      _Superintendent._--GOODWIN D. ELLSWORTH, North Carolina.
      _Assistant Superintendent._--WILLIAM S. RYAN, New York.
  _Division of Postmasters’ Appointments._--
      _Superintendent._--CHARLES R. HODGES, Texas.
      _Assistant Superintendent._--LOREL N. MORGAN, West Virginia.
      _Assistant Superintendent._--SIMON E. SULLIVAN, Maryland.
  _Division of Dead Letters._--
      _Superintendent._--MARVIN M. MCLEAN, Texas.


OFFICE OF THE SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL

  _Second Assistant Postmaster General._--OTTO PRAEGER, Texas.
  _Chief Clerk._--EUGENE R. WHITE, Vermont.
  _Division of Railway Mail Service._--
      _General Superintendent._--WM. I. DENNING, Georgia.
      _Assistant General Superintendent._--GEORGE F. STONE, New York.
      _Chief Clerk._--CHASE C. GOVE, Nebraska.
  _Division of Foreign Mails._--
      _Superintendent._--ROBERT L. MADDOX, Kentucky.
      _Assistant Superintendent._--STEWART M. WEBER, Pennsylvania.
      _Assistant Superintendent at New York._--EDWIN SANDS, New York.
  _Division of Railway Adjustments._--
      _Superintendent._--JAMES B. CORRIDON, District of Columbia.
      _Assistant Superintendent._--GEORGE E. BANDEL, Maryland.


OFFICE OF THE THIRD ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL

  _Third Assistant Postmaster General._--ALEXANDER M. DOCKERY, Missouri.
  _Chief Clerk._--WILLIAM J. BARROWS, Missouri.
  _Division of Finance._--
      _Superintendent._--WILLIAM E. BUFFINGTON, Pennsylvania.
  _Division of Postal Savings._--
      _Director._--CARTER B. KEENE, Maine.
      _Assistant Director._--CHARLES H. FULLAWAY, Pennsylvania.
      _Chief Clerk._--HARRY H. THOMPSON, Maryland.
  _Division of Money Orders._--
      _Superintendent._--CHARLES E. MATTHEWS, Oklahoma.
      _Chief Clerk._--F. H. RAINEY, District of Columbia.
  _Division of Classification._--
      _Superintendent._--WILLIAM C. WOOD, Kansas.
  _Division of Stamps._--
      _Superintendent._--WILLIAM C. FITCH, New York.
  _Division of Registered Mails._--
      _Superintendent._--LEIGHTON V. B. MARSCHALK, Kentucky.


OFFICE OF THE FOURTH ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL

  _Fourth Assistant Postmaster General._--JAMES I. BLAKSLEE, Pennsylvania.
  _Chief Clerk._--J. KING PICKETT, Alabama.
  _Division of Rural Mails._--
      _Superintendent._--GEORGE L. WOOD, Maryland.
      _Assistant Superintendent._--EDGAR R. RYAN, Pennsylvania.
      _Chief Clerk._--LANSING M. DOW, New Hampshire.
  _Division of Equipment and Supplies._--
      _Superintendent._--ALFRED B. FOSTER, California.
      _Assistant Superintendent._--Vacant.
      _Chief Clerk._--Vacant.


OFFICE OF THE AUDITOR FOR THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT

  _Auditor._--CHARLES A. KRAM, Pennsylvania.
  _Assistant and Chief Clerk._--TERRENCE H. SWEENEY, Minnesota.
  _Law Clerk._--FABER STEVENSON, Ohio.
  _Expert Accountant._--LEWIS M. BARTLETT, Massachusetts.
  _Electrical Accounting System._--
      _Chiefs of Division._--
          LOUIS BREHM, Illinois.
          JOSHUA H. CLARK, Maryland.
          JAMES R. WHITE, District of Columbia.
  _Miscellaneous Division._--
      _Chief._--JASPER N. BAKER, Kansas.


LATEST FACTS OF POSTAL INTEREST Report of Postmaster General; Fiscal
Year Ending June 30, 1917

The long continued agitation between the railroads and the Post Office
Department over the method of payment for mail transportation is in
process of settlement by actual tests. The contention is whether
the basis of payment shall be by weight or by the space used. While
the space rate is the higher of the two it lends itself to rational
readjustment, and is therefore best for government needs. The tests
made show a saving of about $7,000,000 per annum by the space method.

The efficiency standard now required of Postmasters, has it is stated,
greatly improved the service and the announced policy of the Department
to reappoint all those who render meritorious service has been adhered
to and will be continued.

During the year ending June 30, 1917, 38 second class offices were
advanced to the first class; 135 third class to second, and 1,203
fourth class to third. Average annual salary of post-office clerks is
now $1,142 per annum, city carriers $1,126.50.

Removals of employees for cause are now rarely made, statistics show
less than one per cent in both the post office and city carrier service.

It is recommended that where because of unusual conditions, rural
carriers cannot be obtained at the maximum rate of pay, advertisements
be issued calling for proposals for the performance of such service.

Motor vehicle routes are now in operation on a total length of over
41,000 miles, averaging 54 miles per route, at an average cost of
$1,786.49 per route.

There are now 43,463 rural routes in operation, covering 1,112,556
miles. Cost of rural service decreased 0.011 per patron during the year
1917; cost per mile decreased 0.114 cent per mile.

The cost per mile of travel by star-route contractors is $0.1024. Cost
per mile of travel by rural carrier is $0.1510. This difference in cost
is receiving departmental consideration.

Shipment of parcel post packages increased 14 per cent in 1917,
the increase representing more than 25,000,000 pieces. Cooperation
of postmasters in bringing the insurance feature particularly that
of partial damage prominently to public notice, has resulted in an
increase of over 8,000,000 insured parcels over the showing of 1916.

Growing carelessness in addressing letter mail resulted in 13,000,000
letters being found undeliverable during 1917, an increase of 21 per
cent.

The report shows an audited surplus for the year of $9,836,211 the
largest in the history of the department. The increase over the
preceding year was 5.66 per cent, while the increase in cost was 4.45
per cent. The audited revenues for the year amounted to $329,726,116.

Remarkable growth in postal savings is shown. In 1917 there were
674,728 depositors with a total of $131,954,696 to their credit.
The average balance for each depositor was $195.57. This was an
increase over the previous year of 71,791 in the number of depositors,
$45,934,811 in the amount and $52.90 in the per capita balance.



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER I
                                                           PAGE

  Latest Facts                                                7
  General Postal History                                     11
  Beginning of Personal Communication                        12
  Postal History of England                                  12
  Penny Postage                                              13
  General Post Office in London                              14
  French and German Postal History                           15
  The American Colonial Period                               16
  Under the Continental Congress                             16
  The Crown Postmasters                                      17
  Post Offices and Post Roads Established                    18
  The Period of Progress                                     18
  Postage Stamps Introduced                                  19
  Progressive Steps Taken                                    19
  Historical Data                                            20


  CHAPTER II

  _Questions of Finance. Postal Revenue--How Derived and Expended_

  Revenues and Expenditures                                  21
  Method of Expenditure                                      21
  Appropriations                                             22
  Auditor                                                    23


  CHAPTER III

  _Departmental Operations--General and Detailed Descriptions and Cost
    of Service_

  History of Rural Free Delivery                             24
  Rural Delivery Defined                                     25
  The Struggle for Rural Delivery                            25
  The Advantages of Rural Delivery                           26
  Rural Delivery as Viewed by President McKinley             27
  First County Rural Delivery                                27
  Country-Wide Extension, Rural Delivery                     28
  How Rural Delivery Enhances the Value of Farm Land         28
  Per Capita Cost, in Rural Delivery                         29
  Some Necessary Conditions, Rural Delivery                  31
  Annual Cost per Patron by States and Pieces Handled        31
  Population and Extension, Rural Service                    32
  Motor Vehicle Routes, Rural Delivery                       32
  Village Delivery                                           34
  City Delivery                                              35
  Star Routes                                                35
  Postal Savings                                             35
  Money Order System                                         36
  Stamp Books                                                36
  Postal Cards                                               37
  Division of Stamps                                         37
  Classification                                             37
  Purchasing Agent                                           38
  Dead Letter Office                                         38
  Mail Locks                                                 39
  Mail Pouches                                               39
  Post Office Supplies                                       41
  Special Delivery                                           42
  Foreign Mail Service                                       42
  Topography Branch                                          43
  Division of Post Office Service                            44
  American Postal System                                     45
  Considerate Treatment of Newspaper Mail                    45


  CHAPTER IV

  _Special Articles_

  Stamp Manufacture, Bureau Engraving and Printing           46
  Post Office Inspectors                                     48
  Railway Mail Service                                       48
  Parcel Post, Opposition Thereto                            49
  Interesting Facts. Postmasters General                     53
  Withdrawal of Letters from the Mail                        54
  Handling of the Mail in Department                         54
  Cost Accounting                                            55
  Cleansing Mail Bags                                        55
  Farm-to-Table Movement                                     55
  Postal Service in Alaska                                   57
  Standardization of Post Offices                            58
  Postal Savings Circulars in Foreign Tongues                58
  A Patriotic Editor                                         59
  Damage, Parcel Post Mail                                   59
  Opinion of Daniel Webster on Mail Extension                60
  Blind Woman on Pay Rolls                                   61
  Wanamaker--Four Postal Reforms                             62
  The Rural Carrier as a Weather Man                         64
  New Box Numbering System, Rural Routes                     65
  Wireless Telephones, Rural Service                         68
  Parcel Post Exhibits at County Fairs                       70
  The Great Express Service of the Government                71
  The Telephone and Parcel Post in Cooperation               72
  Speeding up the Service--Rural Mails                       73
  Training Public Officials                                  74
  For the Benefit of the Fourth Class Postmasters            76
  Public Work and Private Control                            77
  Protecting the Public Records                              78
  Registry and Insurance Service, 1916                       78
  Readjustment Rate, Second Class Mail                       79
  Peculiar Customs, European Rural Delivery                  80
  What Was a Newspaper in 1825?                              81
  Women in the Post Office Department                        82
  Railroad Accidents, Construction of Cars                   83
  Public Ownership of Telegraph and Telephone--Burleson      83
  Liquor Carried by the Mails                                84
  How the Post Office Department Helps the Farmer            85
  Expediting the Mails on Star Routes                        87
  Abraham Lincoln Postmaster in 1837                         88
  A Central Accounting Office for Each County                88
  Millions of Money for Good Roads                           89
  $14,550,000 for Rural Post Roads                           91
  Mail Extensions by Air and Motor Truck Routes              92
  Care Required in Preparing Contracts                       93
  Birthday American Postal Service                           93
  List of Postmasters General                                94


  CHAPTER V

  _Miscellaneous Matters_

  General and Financial Summary                              95
  Items of Interest                                          97
  Old Laws and Regulations                                  104
  Queer Collection Holiday Mail                             108
  Feeding the Cats                                          110
  Couple of Distinguished Canines                           110
  Soldier’s Sister a Mail Clerk                             112

  INDEX TO ITEMS OF INTEREST                                112



THE AMERICAN POSTAL SERVICE



CHAPTER I

General Postal History


The need of communication was doubtless one of the earliest activities
of the Ancient World, not for public use but for government purpose.
In Holy Writ we learn that the Israelitish Nation made early use of
the means at hand. In the first Book of Kings it is stated that Queen
Jezebel wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed with the King’s seal,
and sent them to the elders and nobles in the city. In the Book of
Esther mention is made of sending letters by posts to all the King’s
provinces. There are also evidences that the Assyrian and Persian
nations established stations, or posts a day’s journey apart, at
which horses were kept ready saddled with waiting couriers for the
transmission of public orders and edicts. Xenophon mentions that Cyrus
employed posts throughout his dominions and Herodotus speaks of the
large structures erected for post stations. The mail service of China
dates far back into antiquity. It is said that in the fourteenth
century there were 10,000 mail stations in the empire. Peru, remarkable
for its early evidences of civilization, had according to the historian
Prescott, communication established from one end of the country to
the other. There is, however, nothing to show that ordinary human
affairs received any attention at this early period, the activities of
rulers being devoted entirely to governmental interest and concern.
The affairs of commerce and trade were probably carried on by personal
enterprise, by voyages of trade discovery by water or expeditions on
land.

The method of using couriers for transmitting intelligence was
evidently long continued, being the only means known by which such need
could be met, or the one which most naturally suggested itself. The
Romans employed couriers for the promulgation of military and public
orders to their scattered provinces, private letters being sent by
slaves or by such opportunity as occasion afforded. It is said that
Charlemagne employed couriers for public purposes, but the practice
was discontinued after his death, special messengers being used when
occasion required. England employed couriers for public purposes in the
thirteenth century, and in the fourteenth century Louis XI returned to
the practice of employing mounted couriers and established stations
but only for government purposes.


The Beginning of Personal Communication

As early as the beginning of the thirteenth century the need of
personal communication was recognized and the University of Paris
arranged for the employment of foot-messengers to bear letters from its
thousands of students to the various countries in Europe from whence
they came. This plan lasted until 1719. In the fifteenth century an
attempt was made and the custom prevailed for some time, of sending
letters by traveling tradesmen or dealers who made regular trips
in certain directions for barter, purchase or sale. The tremendous
stimulus given to the development of commercial conditions by the
crusades, made business intercourse necessary, and the post riders
who had surplus horses soon found use for them in the conveyance of
passengers and ultimately in the transmission of general information
which finally resulted in a fixed compensation and which method
remained in use for a considerable period.

The real beginning of letter posts for private and business purposes,
dates from the year 1516, when Roger, Count of Thurn, established
riding posts in the Tyrol, connecting Germany and Italy. A letter post
had been established in the Hanse towns in the thirteenth century,
but the actual commencement of such activities dates from the year
1516. The Emperor Charles V made these riding posts general throughout
his dominions and appointed Leonard, Count of Thurn, his postmaster
general. The Counts of Thurn and Taxis held this monopoly by regular
succession for many years afterward. The rapid growth of English
civilization made postal progress necessary for its people and this
brings us to the period of most interest to students as well as the
average reader.


The Postal History of England

As much of our postal system is naturally based on that of England from
our early Colonial dependence, it is of interest to note the various
steps of English progress and development in connection with the
subject.

The first English postmaster general of whom any account can be given
was Sir Brian Tuke, who is described on the records of the year 1533 as
“Magister Nuncrorum, Cursorum, Sire, Postarum,” but long subsequent
to this appointment of a postmaster general the details of the service
were frequently regulated by proclamation and by orders in council.
During the earlier years of Queen Elizabeth, most of the business of
the postal service to and from England was managed by the incorporated
“Merchant Strangers” who appointed special postmasters among themselves.

The accession of James I, necessitating more frequent communication
between London and Scotland, led to many improvements in the postal
service. It was ordered that the posts should travel not less than
7 miles an hour in summer and 5 miles in winter. In 1619 a separate
postmaster general for foreign parts was created. Thomas Witherings
was one of the successors in this office and entitled to rank as one
of the many conspicuous postal reformers in the continental service.
All letters were then carried by carriers or footpads 16 or 18 miles a
day. It required two months to get answers from Scotland or Ireland to
London. He directed that all northern mail be put into one “portmantle”
directed to Edinburgh and separate bags to such postmasters as lived
upon the road near to any city or town corporate, which was the first
step in the separation of mail since carried to such perfection here
and elsewhere.


Penny Postage Attempted

The income from the post office in 1643 was but 5,000 pounds.
Ultimately the posts both inland and foreign were farmed out to John
Manley for 10,000 pounds a year by an agreement made in 1653. About
this time an attorney of York, named John Hill, ventured upon the plan
of placing relays of post horses between that city and London and
undertook to convey letters and parcels at half the former charge. He
aimed to establish penny postage for England, two-penny postage for
Scotland, and a four-penny postage for Ireland. But the post office
was regarded in that day as a means of revenue and incidentally of
political espionage and government did not approve of such individual
enterprise. His letter carriers were literally trampled down by
Cromwell’s soldiers, and the enterprising attorney narrowly escaped
severe punishment. Another attempt at penny postage for London was
established by William Duckwra, a custom house employe, and Robert
Murray, a clerk in the excise office. Duckwra carried for a penny
and registered and insured, both letters and parcels up to a pound
in weight and $10 in value. He established hourly collections and
ten deliveries daily for the central parts of London and six for the
suburbs. The Duke of York had, however, a patent covering this service
and suits were laid against him which put an end to his enterprise.

The systematic employment of women in post office and telegraph service
was for a long time an experiment and a problem, but it afterwards
proved a success. Under new regulations in 1870, women were employed
as telegraphists for eight hours daily with pay according to age,
intelligence and practical experience. At the close of 1880, there were
a thousand women so employed in the cities of London, Edinburgh, and
Dublin, and nearly as many in minor postal positions throughout the
Kingdom.


General Post Office at London

The necessary authority for the establishment of a general post office
at London to cover the British dominions, including the American
Colonies, was given by act of Parliament in 1657. Under this act the
postal affairs of England were conducted for a great length of time
with but little if any improvement. It was not until the memorable
pamphlet of Sir Rowland Hill was issued in 1837 that any real progress
was made or any attempt made worthy of mention. Postal conditions were
so unsatisfactory that he made the whole subject a matter of profound
inquiry and his pamphlet on “Postal Reform” stirred the nation and
led to a complete reformation of the entire postal system and was the
beginning of the British post office as we see it today.

The important events in English postal history given above and that
which follows in chronological order are abridged from the Encyclopedia
Brittanica, 1891--1720, organization of cross roads and rural posts;
1753, establishment of post office in American Colonies under Benjamin
Franklin; 1774, improved mail coaches and organized mail routes; 1821,
first conveyance of mail by steam-packet; 1830, first mail coach by
railway; 1834, postage stamps invented by James Chalmers, Dundee,
Scotland; 1835, overland route to India; 1838, Postal money order
system; 1840, general and uniform penny postage (per half ounce); 1855,
first street letter boxes put up in London; 1856, Postal Guide issued;
1861, Postal Savings Banks instituted; 1870, transfer of telegraph to
state and postal cars introduced; 1881, postal orders issued; 1883,
parcel post established.


French and German Postal History

The French Postal System was founded by Louis XI in 1464. It was
largely extended by Charles IX, 1565, and generally improved under
Henry IV and Louis XIII. Napoleon abolished the board system by which
the French service was then conducted and recommitted the business
to a postmaster general as it had been under Louis XIII. Napoleon
greatly improved the service in all its details, and the measures he
adopted and the reforms he introduced in 1802 remained in force for
many years afterward and are probably in use now with such additions
as developments suggested. The most important reforms in French Postal
History were the extension of postal facilities to all the communes,
effected under Charles X, 1829; adoption of postage stamp, 1849, under
Louis Napoleon. Issue of postal notes to bearer, 1860; Postal Savings
Banks, instituted 1880.

The development of the Prussian or present German postal system was
mainly due to Dr. Stephan, who was also the chief organizer of the
International Postal Union. This Prussian system, incorporated into the
admirably organized post and telegraph service of the empire, began
with the Great Elector, 1646. In Strasburg a messenger code existed as
early as 1443. A postal service was organized at Nuremberg in 1570.
The first mail steam packet was built in 1821; the first transmission
of mails by railway was in 1847; telegraph service in postal affairs,
1849. A regular delivery by letter carriers attached to the state
postal system existed in Berlin as early as 1712.

These principal items of postal history concerning France and Germany
are condensed from the excellent articles upon the subject as found
in the Encyclopedia Brittanica, edition of 1891, as well as the
information on English postal history, for which acknowledgment is made
in its proper place relating to the Postal History of Great Britain.


The American Colonial Period

The earliest attempt to provide postal facilities for the colonies was
in 1672 when Governor Lovelace, of the New York colony, established
monthly service between New York and Boston. An office was later
established at Philadelphia from which weekly mail was received and
sent. By the signing of letters patent in 1691 the control of the
American posts was vested in Thomas Neale, commonly called the “Neale
Patent.” In that year Neale and the Royal Postmasters General appointed
Andrew Hamilton, Postmaster General of America. All the colonies except
Virginia cooperated with him in improving and extending the service.
A weekly post was established between Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to
Boston, Saybrook, New York, Philadelphia, Maryland and Virginia. Five
riders were engaged to cover each of the five stages twice a week.
In 1707 the crown purchased the good will of the American post and
continued John Hamilton, the son of Andrew, in that office at an annual
salary of 200 pounds. In the year 1737, Franklin became postmaster
at Philadelphia and generally supervised the other offices of the
colonies. In 1753 he was one of the deputy Postmasters General, but was
dismissed in 1774 by Governor Hutchinson, of Massachusetts, because of
his adherence to the patriotic cause.


Under the Continental Congress

But Franklin was not to remain idle for when the Continental Congress
met at its second session at Philadelphia, July 26, 1775, they resolved
to have a post office system of their own and he was selected to carry
on the work. A salary of $1,000 per annum was voted him with permission
to employ a secretary and a comptroller with a salary of $340 per
annum to each, and a line of posts ordered established from Falmouth,
New England, to Savannah, Ga., with postages 20 per centum less than
those afforded by parliament. However, Franklin’s great diplomatic
ability soon secured him a transfer to a wider field of usefulness and
his son-in-law, Richard Bache, who had been comptroller, was named
to succeed him. The ledger kept by this gentleman is still preserved
among the archives of the Department. It consists of about 3 quines of
foolscap, written over in a neat and legible hand. Ebenezer Hazard,
who had been the Constitutional postmaster at New York, so termed to
distinguish him from the British deputy at that place, was appointed
to succeed him. In 1782, an act was passed by the Colonial Congress
establishing a line of posts between New Hampshire and Georgia, the
salary of the deputies not to exceed 20 per cent of the revenues.
The rate of postage at that time on letters weighing not over 1
penny-weight and going not more than 60 miles was equal to 5½ cents and
a proportionate charge for greater weights and distances.


The Crown Postmasters

In a well-written article in the Washington, D. C., _Evening Star_, of
July 26, 1913, upon the occasion of the celebration of the one hundred
and thirty-eighth year of the American postal service, the activities
or self-assumed powers of the English or crown postmasters and its
effect in encouraging the independent sentiment of the time was stated
as follows:

 “These crown postmasters had, or at least they exercised, the right of
 ‘spying’ upon the mails intrusted to their care. This made it difficult
 and dangerous for the liberty-loving colonists to communicate with
 each other. The zealous representatives of England also professed to
 exercise a supervising care over the newspapers which were printed in
 the colonies, and made arbitrary rules and regulations against those
 who were too liberal or outspoken in their expressions of condemnation
 of things as they then were and who dared to urge the liberty and
 independence of the colonists. Some papers were shut out of the mails
 and some were forced to tone down their utterances. A pound sterling was
 demanded to carry 250 papers, 130 miles.

 “The post office led in the unification of the colonists. Paul Revere
 was the confidential post rider of Massachusetts. The tea party in
 Boston Harbor would have been but a neighborhood affair but for the
 agency of the post office and the patriotic publishers who spread the
 news up and down the Atlantic coast.

 “The postal service did more than any one other agency to unify and
 unite the colonists. It brought their interests and endeavors to a
 common meeting point. It brought the leading men and women to know and
 exchange ideas one with another. Printing presses were established about
 the same time that the postal service was begun in America. Postmasters
 enjoyed the privilege of sending their mail free of postage, so most
 postmasters became publishers. In this way the news of the doings of the
 various jealous colonists was disseminated and the opinions of these
 early postmaster-publishers were given wide circulation. It added an
 incentive to trade and intercourse. By making the colonists acquainted
 it dissipated jealousies. The growth of the post office from the humble
 beginning of a sturdy carrier from New York to Boston loaded with
 ‘divers letters and small portable packages’ (you see they had parcel
 post even in those days), solidified the colonists and made their
 independence possible.”


Post Offices and Post Roads Established

During the Continental Government, the receipts of all the post offices
did not exceed $35,000 and in 1789 were $10,000 less. February 20,
1792, an act was passed establishing post offices and post roads within
the United States, the first general law. The contracts made were to
run eight years and the salary of the Postmaster General was increased
to $2,000, and $1,000 for his Assistant. The original number of post
offices (that is for the first year) was seventy-five and the mail
routes less than 2,000 miles over which mails were carried by horse,
stage, or sailing packets. In 1795, the number of postoffices had
increased to 453, and the routes to over 13,000, and the net revenue to
over $42,000. This closes the period of Continental management, except
ordinary details and changes which bore no relation to any especial
object or purpose.


The Period of Progress

From 1801 dates the great advance in modern methods, ideas and
accomplishment. It then occupied forty days to get a letter from
Portland, Me., to Savannah, Ga., and bring back an answer, and
forty-four at Philadelphia for a reply to one addressed to Nashville,
Tenn. Ten years later the time had been reduced to twenty-seven and
thirty days. By 1810 there were over 2,400 post offices and the post
routes covered over 37,000 miles. Marked improvements began soon after
this period. The office of Second Assistant Postmaster General was
created and the scale of postages changed. Single letters of one piece
were charged from 8 to 25 cents, according to distance. Sunday delivery
of mail at post offices was inaugurated about that time in the face of
great objection from the religious bodies of the country, the strife
being kept up for many years.

In 1813 the mails were first conveyed in steamboats from one port
town to another, the Government paying 3 cents for each letter and 1
cent for newspapers. The postal laws of 1816 made a further change
in postage which lasted until 1845. The new scale charged letters
consisting of one piece of paper, not going over 30 miles, 6 cents; not
over 80 miles, 10 cents; not over 150 miles, 12½ cents, and not over
400 miles, 18¾ cents, and for greater distances, 25 cents. On the ninth
of March, 1829, Hon. William T. Barry, of Kentucky, was commissioned
Postmaster General by President Jackson, and called to a seat in his
Cabinet, being the first Postmaster General to receive that honor.


Postage Stamps Introduced

Early in 1836, pony expresses as they were called, were put into
operation on the principal turnpike roads of the Southern and Western
States for the purpose of carrying letters of persons desiring
greater expedition, press news and Government dispatches, at triple
the ordinary rates, but the experiment was abandoned, not proving
profitable. In July, 1838, the Department was reorganized and an
Auditor appointed. The office of Third Assistant Postmaster General
was also created at that time. Railroads were declared post routes
by act of Congress, in July, 1838, and the mails carried upon them.
Postage stamps of the five-and ten-cent denominations with the faces
of Franklin and Washington, respectively, were introduced in 1847.
Previously all postages were collected entirely in money, prepayment
being optional. July, 1851, a new series of stamps was adopted,
consisting at first of denominations of 1 and 3 cents, but afterwards
of larger amounts.


Progressive Steps Taken

Rapidly sketched for reference, the more important progressive steps
that followed show that during the administration of President
Tyler, while Hon. Charles A. Wickliffe, of Kentucky, was Postmaster
General, many reforms were instituted, such as cheapening the postage,
improving the manner of letting routes by contract, prohibiting
private expresses, and restricting the franking privilege. Prior to
this period, letters were not rated by weight but by enclosures. For
instance, a letter containing three banknotes for which the single
letter charge would be 18¾ cents for over 150 miles, was then charged
75 cents, the inclosure making it a quadruple letter. Under the new
system the rate was measured by the weight, all weighing not over
half an ounce were regarded as single letters and carried for 5 cents
for distances not over 300 miles and 10 cents for greater distances.
In 1850 the “foreign desk,” from which ultimately grew the admirable
arrangement of the Postal Union, was instituted by Hon. Horatio King,
of Maine. Through the efforts of Judge Hall, of New York, Postmaster
General under President Fillmore, the postage on letters was reduced
to 3 cents. The registration system came in under Postmaster General
Campbell, of Pennsylvania, during the administration of President
Pierce. The Free Delivery Service was inaugurated in 1863 by Hon.
Montgomery Blair, of Maryland, also the money order system in 1864, in
Lincoln’s administration. The Railway Mail Service dates from July,
1862, when Judge Holt, of Kentucky, ordered its establishment, the
first railway postoffice being from Quincy, Ill., to St. Joseph, Mo.,
on the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railway.


Historical Data

A summary of historical data covering some of the principal features of
postal progress may be given in chronological order as follows: Postage
stamps first issued at New York, July, 1847; stamped envelopes first
issued, June, 1853; letters registered, July, 1855; newspaper wrappers,
Act of Congress, February, 1861; Free City Delivery, July, 1863; Money
Order System, November, 1864; International Money Orders, October,
1867; Postal Cards, May, 1873; Postage reduced to 2 cents, October,
1883; Special Delivery, October, 1885; Rural Delivery, October, 1896;
Postal Savings, January, 1911; Parcel Post, January, 1913.

The maximum number of post offices in the United States, 76,945, was
reached in 1901, since which time by the introduction of rural delivery
the number has steadily declined, 21,011 having been discontinued.
July, 1916, there were 55,934 in operation. Extent of post routes in
miles in 1790 was 1,875. In 1915 the number was 1,672,169. The miles
of service performed in 1915 amounted to 617,527,795. The entire
compensation paid to postmasters in 1789 was $1,657. In 1916 the
estimated amount was $31,150,000.



CHAPTER II

Questions of Finance


Postal Revenue--How Derived

The revenues of the Post Office Department are derived from sales
of stamps, stamped envelopes, newspaper wrappers and postal cards,
second-class postage (pound rate) paid in money, box rents, money
order business, balances due from foreign postal administrations,
miscellaneous receipts, fines and penalties, and from unclaimed dead
letters and postal matter. Its greatest revenue is received from
postage paid on mail matter. The amount so received in the last fiscal
year was $287,001,495.13, or 91.97 per cent of the total revenue
received. Of this amount $20,174,973.93 was received from mailings of
second, third and fourth-class mail matter on which the postage was
collected in money, the remainder, $266,826,521.20, being the postage
paid by means of stamps. Entire revenue, 1916, $312,057,688.83.


Revenues and Expenditures

The audited revenues and expenditures of the Post Office Department
for the year 1916, show that the ordinary postal revenue yielded
$303,232,143.36; revenue from money order business $8,130,545.47,
and from postal savings business $695,000. Total revenue received,
$312,057,688.83. Expenditures: On account of the current year, 1916,
$297,637,128.87. On account of previous years, $8,566,904.27. Total
expenditure during the fiscal year 1916, $306,204,033.14. Excess of
revenue over expenditure, 1916, $5,853,565.69. Amount of losses by
fire, burglary, etc., $24,419.62. Surplus in postal revenue for fiscal
year 1916, $5,829,236.07.


Method of Expenditure

Expenses of the postal service are paid as follows:

_By Postmasters._--Postmasters are authorized to pay their own
salaries, the salaries of clerks and carriers attached to their
offices, rent, light, and fuel, and other expenses of their offices
from postal receipts.

_By Warrants Drawn upon the Treasurer of the United States._--These
warrants are in payment of the contracts for transportation of
mail, supplies, and other obligations that cannot be paid direct by
postmasters. The accounts are prepared for payment by journals in
the Bureau of the Post Office Department having jurisdiction over the
appropriations and certified to the Auditor, who reviews them and
forwards the journals to the Division of Finance. Warrants are then
drawn for the amounts due to contractors, countersigned by the Auditor
and mailed direct from the Department to the payees.

_By Disbursing Postmasters._--Certain payments may be authorized
by the Postmaster General to be made by postmasters designated as
disbursing officers. The Department authorizes and directs disbursing
postmasters, one in each State, to pay the monthly salaries of rural
delivery carriers. In addition thereto the Department authorizes other
postmasters who are designated as disbursing officers, to pay the
salaries of railway mail clerks, and in some instances the salaries of
postoffice inspectors and other employes of the postal service. When
the receipts of an office are not sufficient to meet the pay rolls
authorized by the Department, the postmaster is instructed to make an
estimate of the deficiency and forward a requisition to the Postmaster
General therefor. An accountable warrant drawn on the Treasurer of the
United States for the sum needed is then forwarded to the postmaster
who deposits the same in a depository bank and issues his check in
payment of such salaries.

_By Transfer Draft._--If a balance appears to be due a postmaster after
his term of office has expired and his accounts have been adjusted, the
Auditor certifies the amount due and upon this certification a transfer
draft issued by the Department and drawn on a postmaster in the State
in which the former postmaster resides, is forwarded in settlement of
the account.


How Appropriations Are Made for the Department

Appropriations for the Post Office Department are made by the Congress
upon estimates submitted to the Postmaster General by the heads of the
various bureaus according to the nature and needs of the service. After
examination and approval by the Postmaster General, these estimates
are sent to the Secretary of the Treasury where the estimates for
all Departments of the Government are assembled for transmission to
Congress. Hearings on the estimates submitted by the Postmaster General
are then held by the House Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads,
the members of which go over the items in detail, the various bureau
heads being in attendance to explain more fully, if need be, the public
necessity and requirements of the estimates submitted. The Postmaster
General may also be called upon to explain these estimates if the
Committee so desire. At the conclusion of these hearings, the result
of such inquiry and the recommendations of the Post Office Committee
are submitted to Congress and are considered in Committee of the Whole.
When the post office bill is under consideration and upon its passage
through the House of Representatives it is in charge of the Chairman of
the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads, who answers all inquires
made and defends the action of his committee in submitting these
estimates to Congress for its action and approval.


Auditor for the Post Office Department

All accounts of the Post Office Department are audited by the Sixth
Auditor of the Treasury, who is the Auditor for the Department. When
the Department was reorganized in 1836 this position was created for
the purpose of relieving the Postmaster General of the responsibilities
of this particular form of official duty. The statutes define these
duties which are numerous and important, the fiscal relations, owing
to the great growth of the postal service, being of such magnitude
and involving such an amount of detail that the office has become one
of the greatest of the auditing branches of the Treasury Department.
The annual reports of the Auditor to the Postmaster General show the
financial condition of the Department at the close of each fiscal year
and are a part of the Postmaster General’s report to Congress. A very
large force of clerks is required to conduct the operations of the
office and the most approved devices and methods are used to facilitate
the dispatch of business. For greater convenience the office of the
Auditor is lodged with the Post Office Department.



CHAPTER III

Department Operations--General and Detailed Descriptions and Cost of
Service


History of Rural Free Delivery

The subject of Rural Free Delivery occupies so much public attention
both in the press and among the people, and the Department has shown
such interest in the matter and done so much to make the service
popular and attractive as a public measure, that it is worthy of some
considerable space in a work devoted entirely to postal affairs. Aside
from tabular work which has no proper place in descriptive accounts of
departmental operations, a very good idea of what rural delivery is and
aims to accomplish, may be gathered from the articles which follow this
introductory reference.

The history of Rural Delivery dates from January 5, 1892, when Hon.
James O’Donnell, Member of Congress from Michigan, introduced the
first bill in Congress relating to the subject. This bill carried an
appropriation of $6,000 but failed of passage. March 3, 1893, Congress
appropriated $10,000 for experimental purposes but this sum together
with $20,000 appropriated July 16, 1894, for the same purpose, was
not used, Postmaster General W. S. Bissell, of New York, deeming the
amount insufficient. On June 9, 1896, $10,000 together with the prior
appropriation of $30,000 was made available, and experimental rural
free delivery service was established by Postmaster General Wilson, of
West Virginia, on October 1, 1896, simultaneously, on three routes in
that State--Charlestown, Uvilla and Halltown.

At the close of business June 30, 1916, there were 42,927 rural routes
in operation, 42,766 carriers covering 1,083,070 miles and serving
5,719,062 families, representing a total population of 26,307,686, and
at the cost of $51,715,616. Aggregate daily travel by rural carriers,
1,063,305 miles. Average length of rural routes, 24.96 miles. The first
complete county service was in Carroll County, Maryland. Available
reports show that between the years 1905 and 1909, delivery of mail
on rural routes increased 87 per cent. In 1913, 2,745,319,372 pieces
of mail were delivered; in 1915, 3,193,326,480; 1916, 3,022,755,601.
Cost of delivery per patron: 1915, $2.060; 1916, $1.966. Average annual
pay of carriers was $1,162.50, including motor vehicle service. For
horse-drawn routes the average was $1,155.48.


Rural Delivery Defined

The doubts, uncertainties and the delicate questions involved in
the early days of rural delivery when the subject was viewed with
concern, cautiously tested as an experiment and its extension in
various directions regarded as perhaps outside the bounds of original
intent and therefore to be approached with considerable reserve, is
well illustrated when petitions from Utah and other mining sections
of the West for the establishment of such service to supply isolated
communities devoted exclusively to mining, raised the question in the
administration of Postmaster General Charles Emory Smith as to the
proper definition of rural free delivery. It was held by the First
Assistant Postmaster General that the term “rural” meant communities
not included in cities or incorporated villages, and that it did not
necessarily imply that the persons so situated should be engaged in
farming pursuits.


The Struggle for Rural Free Delivery

The aim and purpose of rural delivery was to place the rural resident
on something like equal grounds with the dweller in the cities so far
as mail facilities were concerned, not exactly so, for conditions
were dissimilar, but to such reasonable extent as circumstances would
permit. For years there had been a growing discontent among farmers
and the people in the smaller towns and villages because of the postal
advantages afforded to the cities, and the more populous communities.
They felt themselves deprived of opportunities and benefits which
others enjoyed and could not understand why the accident of location
should make such a difference. Postal service was intended for all the
people, not a part, not merely for those who had chosen to live in
cities but for those outside as well. This desire to share at least in
the benefits so freely accorded to others became at length so outspoken
and insistent that recognition could no longer be denied and the matter
was finally introduced into Congress and an attempt made to secure
legislation upon the subject.

The magnified difficulties of such a proposition as rural delivery
contemplated had long deterred action, and when the attempt was finally
made, the question was viewed with such caution and approached with
such hesitation and the apprehension of an unknown and indeterminate
expense so bound up with possible failure of real benefit in proportion
to cost, that postal authorities hesitated to take the initial step.
Even when a sum of money was appropriated the task seemed too great
for successful accomplishment, and it was only when further delay was
vigorously opposed that the step was taken. Congress voted $40,000 to
make the experiment and with that to begin with active measures were
taken and the rest is postal history.


The Advantages of Rural Delivery

The question has frequently been asked to what extent and in what way
has rural delivery service benefited the country sections of the United
States. Many magazine articles have been written to show the general
advantages it affords in rendering rural conditions more tolerable
and enduring the inconveniences to which such life is subject. In one
particular at least, it has been of immense advantage and that alone
has secured it great public favor. It has given the farmer his daily
paper. This great educator of our modern civilization, an almost
indispensable necessity of our times, was practically denied the rural
resident before the advent of this service, but now the avenues of
communication are so far-reaching and the service so well conducted,
that publishers of daily papers have not only been able to greatly
extend their circulation in every direction, but actually to bring the
morning newspaper to the farmer’s door at an hour which places him on
an equal footing with his city neighbor in all the advantages which
early news can give, but which is of special advantage to the farmer
who has something to sell and is thus directed to the best market for
his purpose.

The combined opportunity which both publisher and subscriber now enjoy
in country sections reached by rural delivery and the use made of it
is forcibly illustrated in a recent statement published in a South
Dakota paper. A rural carrier stated that when he started service some
years ago there were but three farmers on his two routes who took daily
papers. There are now something like 200 dailies taken by patrons on
these routes, some farmers subscribing for two or three.

What rural delivery has done in other directions may be summed up
as follows: It has broadened the field of industrial opportunity,
touched as if with magic power the possibilities of human endeavor,
and transformed conditions to a degree almost marvelous. It has
brought special delivery almost to the door; secured good roads and
maintains them by official interest and concern; has attracted the
attention of the various States to this question and obtained results;
it has made farm lands more valuable and contributed to increased
production; it has abridged time by rapid communication; brightened all
environment, and made ordinary dull routine interesting and attractive;
it has lessened toil by the instructive suggestions which Government
experiment and inquiry affords, and has made the home a center of
influence and crowns domestic life with all that makes for peace and
contentment.


Rural Delivery as Viewed by President McKinley

The favorable opinion entertained of the advantages of the rural free
delivery service when it was yet in the experimental stage and doubts
were expressed as to its practical benefit, cost considered, is well
set forth by President McKinley in his annual message to Congress,
December 3, 1900.

 “This service ameliorates the isolation of farm life, conduces to good
 roads and quickens and extends the dissemination of general information.
 Experience thus far has tended to allay the apprehension that it would
 be so expensive as to forbid its general adoption or make it a serious
 burden. Its actual application has shown that it increases postal
 receipts, and can be accompanied by reductions in other branches of
 the service, so that augmented revenues and the accomplished savings
 together materially reduce the net cost.”


The First County Rural Service

The first full county service was inaugurated in Carroll County,
Maryland, and at a time when weather conditions made it something of
an undertaking. December 20, 1899, was the date selected and winter
with its storms and snow had put the roads in the worst possible
condition. Sixty-three post offices and thirty-five services by star
route contractors, were discontinued in one day and rural free delivery
service substituted. Westminster, then a third-class office, was
made the distributing center but postal stations were established in
villages where post offices had formerly been located.

Service started with four two-horse postal wagons and with a postal
clerk in each to issue money orders, register letters and cancel stamps
on the letter mail collected. These wagons supplied mail to twenty
rural carriers at designated points and brought all the territory
within easy and convenient reach. This initial service first covered
387 square miles of the 453 in the county, but soon afterward embraced
it all.

The inauguration of so great a change in postal service created
antagonism and a strong delegation came to Washington to enter protest.
But the manifest advantages which soon began to appear, silenced all
opposition, and the great majority of the protesting citizens withdrew
their opposition and bore convincing testimony to the efficiency and
value of the service. The cost of the service in the first three months
was $4,543, saving by service superseded, $2,805. Increase of postal
receipts was $1,501.75 leaving net cost of the whole county service for
three months at only $236.

This successful county experiment attracted wide attention and full
county service was thereafter rapidly established in many directions.


Country-wide Extension, Rural Delivery

The extension of rural delivery has increased from year to year and the
cost of the service has grown in corresponding proportion. The great
next step would be country-wide extension, which has been frequently
mentioned on account of the vast possibilities bound up in such a
measure. This would, however, involve a very considerable expense. It
is estimated that to extend this service to all rural patrons wherever
located would cost something like $100,000,000 more. While such
complete service is the logical conclusion of all rural delivery effort
and may be expected to engage public attention in the near future, as
it is the only means left by which the thousands of people now deprived
of such benefits can be reached and accommodated, such a tremendous
advance must be seriously considered before any definite steps can
be taken, but rural delivery will never reach the point of greatest
usefulness until this country-wide extension is an accomplished fact
and people everywhere are permitted to equally enjoy the benefit which
it confers.


How Rural Delivery Enhances the Value of Farm Land

Many arguments have been advanced by the friends of rural delivery
to show the almost immeasurable value of this service to the farming
communities of the nation, but there is one case which has come under
the notice of the publisher which presents an argument of such striking
force that it is worthy of special mention.

Mr. Marion F. Holderman, of Washington, D. C., states that in 1885 he
bought 135 acres of farming land three miles east of Rantoul, Ill., in
Champaign County, for $44 per acre, and that in 1901 rural delivery
was established enabling the delivery of the Chicago daily papers at
his gate in the morning, thus giving him all the advantages of the
Chicago market and the opportunity of the shipment of grain, stock,
and farm products the same day that these published market reports
appeared. This fact so greatly enhanced the value of the land through
these succeeding years that he was able to sell this property for
$225 per acre on March 1, 1917, thus netting him a profit of $24,435.
No improvements were made on the farm except necessary repairs and
painting of the buildings.

He states that if there had not been rural delivery he would have had
to go to the post office for his mail at least twice a week which at
the lowest estimate for the time of the person, vehicle, and the horses
would have cost him over $225 per annum, and as there are 105 families
on the route besides himself, the saving to the patrons of the route by
this service is over $23,850 annually, besides the value of the land
increase, and the many other advantages which have followed.

Taking his estimate of saving to each family along a route and allowing
for six families for each mile, three on each side of the road, and
there being 1,037,259 miles of rural delivery roads in the United
States, it can be seen what an aggregate wonderful saving this has
made, not counting the property, personal and educational value of such
a service to the people.

It will be seen that by this showing that the saving to the patrons of
1 mile of rural delivery service ($1,350) will more than pay what it
costs the Government for a 24-mile route at a rate of $1,200 per annum.


The Per Capita Cost in Rural Delivery

The per capita cost in the Rural Delivery Service has been a matter
of considerable interest to those who are following the progress and
extension of this branch of the public service. The great advance which
has been made in this service and the still greater extent to which it
is proposed to extend it, embracing ultimately all patrons wherever
located, naturally raises the question of cost as a whole and the cost
per patron.

Charles Emory Smith, Postmaster General in 1900, who was one of the
staunch friends of rural delivery in its early days, said the gross
cost could be estimated by three methods, cost per square mile, cost
per capita, and cost per county. Adhering to the subject in hand it may
be stated that he found the cost per capita at that time to be 92.7
serving a population of about 2,000,000 people on something less than
3,000 routes. There is no reliable data covering the period to 1910
upon this subject, but taking an estimate based upon close calculation,
it is found that notwithstanding the tremendous growth of this service
during that time reaching in 1910 over 41,000 routes and accommodating
over 20,000,000 patrons, the cost per capita had arisen to only 1.797,
and now with nearly 43,000 routes and serving over 26,000,000 people
as patrons, the cost per capita is but 1.966. No answer as to cost
considering the known value of such service could be illustrated more
forcibly than by the figures here presented. If the undeniable benefits
of rural service to the people can be given with ever-increasing
efficiency at a cost no greater than that, it can be reasonably assumed
that the people who live upon the farms of the United States and endure
the hardships of such life with its many attendant inconveniences are
certainly entitled to their share of public benefit, especially when
as shown, the cost is so small compared to the inmeasurable advantages
afforded.

The city delivery service of the nation with its 34,000 carriers
costs now over $43,000,000. No computation of cost per capita in this
service has ever been made and relative comparison cannot be given
but such figures as are available show that in 1911 the per capita
cost of serving the people in the cities of the country was $1.40 and
that in 1916 this cost had increased to $1.75. When the comparatively
comfortable conditions under which city delivery is conducted is
considered, and the proportionate difference in appropriation taken
into account, it will appear that the excess of cost in rural delivery
is no greater than might naturally be expected from the peculiar
nature of the service, the territory to be covered, and the almost
insurmountable conditions with which it has to contend. Indeed, it is
a matter of surprise that the cost of service per capita under the
circumstances is so small.

To keep down the public expense to so low a figure while extending this
service to millions of people heretofore denied this privilege, should
be a matter of congratulation and encourage the hope, as well as assure
the ultimate end towards which all rural delivery aims and activities
are directed, viz., country-wide extension.


Some Necessary Conditions of Rural Delivery

England, France and Germany antedate us in the establishment of rural
delivery, but the service there is bureaucratic, originating always
with the post office officials and dominated by red tape requirements.
Ours is democratic and cooperative. It is established upon petitions
sent through Representatives in Congress, irrespective of party
affiliation. However, any application received from a postmaster, or
individual, showing reasonable warrant for the establishment of a rural
route in any community will be given careful consideration by the
Department. It is absolutely free, the only conditions the Government
makes in establishing and maintaining service is that those who desire
to avail themselves of its beneficent provisions shall do their part
towards rendering it of public advantage, viz., by mending their roads,
building bridges over unbridged creeks and streams, see that the
county commissioners give prompt attention to such needs and provide
themselves with suitable receiving boxes, conveniently placed along the
roadside that the carrier can readily deposit and collect mail without
alighting from his conveyance. Patrons can do much towards aiding the
Government in this matter and they doubtless do their bit in a willing
and accommodating spirit.


Annual Cost Per Patron, and Pieces Handled in Rural Delivery Service

A study of the annual cost per patron in the rural delivery service
for the year 1916, shows that in the States of California and Utah,
and in the District of Columbia, it was less than $1 each. In the
States of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware,
Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts,
Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode
Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West
Virginia, it was more than $1 and less than $2. In Illinois, Indiana,
Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska,
Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Vermont,
Wisconsin and Wyoming, it was more than $2 and less than $3, and in
North and South Dakota it was over $3 and less than $4. Annual cost of
service for patron decreased from 2,066 in 1915 to 1,966 in 1916.

The annual cost per piece of mail handled on rural routes was lowest in
the States of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode
Island, Utah, and the District of Columbia, and highest in Arkansas,
Florida, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee. Annual
cost per price handled was .0144 in 1915 and .0150 in 1916.

The States which had the largest number of patrons served on rural
routes (over a million in each) were Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa,
Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania,
Tennessee, and Texas. The States which had less than 100,000 patrons
served were Arizona, Delaware, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode
Island, Utah, Wyoming and the District of Columbia.


Population and Extension of Rural Service

Relative to the provision in the act making appropriations for the
rural service for the fiscal year 1917, “that rural mail delivery
shall be extended so as to serve as nearly as practicable the entire
rural population of the United States,” it should be stated that rural
delivery service covered, at the end of the fiscal year 1916, 1,037,259
miles of roads, while star-route service was operated upon 139,634
miles.

It is estimated that there are 2,199,646 miles of public roads in the
United States, so that there remain 1,022,753 miles or roads on which
no mail service is in operation.

At the end of the fiscal year 1916 an estimated population of
26,307,686 was served by rural routes, 520,000 by star routes, and
approximately 10,000,000 by fourth-class post offices. The total rural
population in the United States is placed at 43,991,722. It will be
seen, therefore, that while 83 per cent of the rural population is
receiving convenient mail service, 47 per cent of the rural road
mileage is uncovered.


Speeding Up the Rural Service by Motor Vehicle

This is a time of intense activity. Action is demanded everywhere and
“get there” is the cry of the day. Brevity and speed are in close
fellowship in the business world and competition spurs on towards
the greatest possible endeavor in any direction where advantage
lies. Expedients no longer serve. Only that which is best and in the
highest degree efficient, can hope to survive. The introduction of the
motor car in transforming conditions and producing wonderful changes
is characteristic of this pushing age. Time is money. The motor has
demonstrated its value, and dominates the field of all far-reaching
enterprise. Business men recognize its tremendous possibilities
and advantageous help in saving time and abridging distance. It
spells efficiency in commercial life and men strain a point to
bring themselves up alongside their pushing and wideawake neighbors
in availing themselves of this great modern aid to the completest
equipment. The farmer realizing what it can accomplish in his peculiar
domain, has hastened to supply himself with what will contribute to
his profit, and he finds in this great adjunct to energetic industrial
life the means of increasing his business and enlarging his vision of
opportunity and desire.

Motor vehicle service is of course an innovation upon the 24-mile
horse-drawn route, and as any innovation upon old-established custom
may expect to meet objection in the administration of public affairs,
especially when such an innovation contemplates a readjustment of
routes and a possible reduction of carriers, objection was raised in
some quarters, but the desire to secure all the benefit which the
parcel post could give by the opportunity afforded by zone extension,
was a determining factor in the case, and the Postmaster General,
availing himself of the power vested in him by act of Congress,
ordered its establishment, due regard being had to the limitations and
conditions under which it could be operated. Experience has justified
the wisdom of such action. Motor vehicles were accordingly introduced
into the rural service in 1915 to meet this demand for greater
expedition in service and the transportation of increased amounts of
parcel post and mail matter on extended routes and principally from
the larger cities. These routes must, however, be 50 miles in length
and the compensation is fixed at not more than $1,800 per annum, the
carriers to furnish and maintain their own motor vehicles. On June
30, 1916, 500 of such routes were in operation with a total length of
26,878 miles, averaging 53.756 miles per route, with an annual cost
of $877,824, or an average of $1,755.65 per route. These motor routes
superseded horse-drawn vehicle service formerly costing $1,093,106 a
year, or an annual saving of $515,282. Motor routes are of especial
benefit in sections where railroad facilities are lacking. The greater
distance covered by motor routes makes it possible for a much larger
number of persons in given localities to communicate with one another
on the same day, eliminating the necessity for taking the mail to
postoffices for redispatch and in some instances transshipment over
one or more railroads. Better facilities are also afforded for the
transportation of products of the farm. Indianapolis, Ind., is a
conspicuous example of the efficiency of this service in reducing
postage; a 20-pound package mailed on a rural route from one office
in Marion County addressed to a patron of a rural route on another,
which would have cost 24 cents, can now be carried for 15 cents, and
a 50-pound package from one point to another, the cost of which would
have been 54 cents will now cost but 30 cents.


Village Delivery

In furtherance of the desire of the Government to do everything in its
power to oblige and accommodate the people of the country and enlarge
every privilege which could advance their interests or provide for
their comfort, the question of the extension of village delivery, for
which there has been considerable demand, but which has heretofore
received little encouragement, was taken up with a view of securing
such action from Congress as would allow further extensions to be made,
the original appropriation being too limited for the purpose.

Between the very great facilities afforded the dwellers in the cities
and the almost equally great accommodation shown to those in the rural
sections, village delivery was but imperfectly considered and the
benefits and advantages which a more direct attention to these needs
could have secured, was allowed to remain in abeyance, or at least not
given the attention it deserved.

But the claim of the residents of small towns to equal privileges with
more favored localities was at length recognized and village delivery
which was established and put into operation in 1912, was extended
until 280 of such towns now have this accommodation, employing 400
carriers. The entrance salary paid village delivery carriers is at the
rate of $600 per annum, and increased to $690 per annum after twelve
months of satisfactory service. Only communities where the annual post
office receipts amount to $5,000 are entitled to this service.

Carriers appointed at third class offices are not subject to civil
service rules as such offices are not classified. When the receipts
amount to $8,000 per annum, the office is advanced to second class and
the village delivery carriers are given a civil service status.


City Delivery

In 1864 the number of city delivery offices was 66, number of carriers
685, cost of service, 1864, $317,063.20. In 1916 the number of
offices was 1,864, number of carriers 34,114, and the cost of service
$43,136,818. Average annual salaries of carriers for the past four
years has increased from $1,080.22, to $1,115.46. Carriers enter the
service at a salary of $800 per annum and are promoted annually on
their service record through the various grades until they reach the
salary of $1,100 at first class offices, and $1,000 at offices of the
second class, after which promotion depends upon their exceptional
efficiency.


Star Routes

June 30, 1916, the number of star routes was 11,187, length in miles,
147,167, average cost per mile of length of routes $54.16, per mile of
travel $0.1026. In the renewal of contracts on certain routes in the
western States under new form of advertisement there was a reduction in
the cost of operation of $130,000.

Star routes are so-called because originally, a “star” appeared on the
advertisements for contract bidding to distinguish them from other
contracts and because of the words “with due celerity, certainty and
security” which appeared in connection with such contract service. The
purpose of star route service is to serve post offices off the line
of railroad travel and incidentally such families as may live between
those post offices who erect boxes or hang out satchels to receive
their mail, also to collect mail where proper provision has been made
for the purpose.

No bid submitted under an advertisement for star route service will be
considered unless the bidder shall agree in his bid that in the event
of the contract being awarded to him he will reside on or contiguous to
the route and give his personal supervision to the performance of the
service.


Postal Savings

The postal savings system was inaugurated January 3, 1911. In June,
1916, the number of depositors was 602,937 and the balance to the
credit of depositors was $86,019,885.00. The denominations of postal
notes or certificates are $5.00, $10.00, $20.00, $50.00 and $100.00,
and they may be purchased at any postal depository. The interest
allowed by the Government is 2 per cent. These deposits may be
exchanged in amounts of $20.00 and multiples thereof, for 2½ per cent
U. S. Postal Savings, registered or coupon bonds. Postal certificates
are made at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.


Money Order System

Dr. Charles F. Macdonald, who had been greatly interested and had taken
an active part in the establishment of the money order system, was
upon its inauguration in May, 1864, appointed as superintendent. He
is often called the “father of the money order system” and doubtless
with some considerable justice. He labored untiringly to make it a
success, and upon his death in 1902 it was found that he had bequeathed
$2,000 to the United States to be used by the Postmaster General in
the improvement of that service, and Congress by act of October 22,
1913, accepted the gift, and the commission appointed by the Postmaster
General in furtherance of the act recommended that a vignette of Dr.
Macdonald be placed on the money order draft forms. This recommendation
was approved by the Postmaster General and carried into effect. Orders
issued: 1916, 121,636,818. Amount, $719,364,950.46. Orders paid and
repaid: number, 122,379,113. Amount, $720,584,719.58. Net money order
revenue for 1916, $6,821,499.75.


Stamp Books

The need for some convenient way of handling postage stamps when
more were purchased than immediately required and which need was
long felt and operated as a bar against the purchase of stamps in
any considerable quantity for occasional use, led the Hon. Edwin C.
Madden, Third Assistant Postmaster General, to consider some method
of remedying this lack, and on March 26, 1900, after considerable
experiment with paper of various kinds to suit the purpose, devised
the stamp book now in use of which millions of copies are annually
sold. In 1916, the Department issued 28,005,930 of these books and
the demand for them is constantly increasing. These books are made in
six different kinds--books containing 24 and 96 stamps of the 1-cent
denomination; 12, 24 and 48, of the 2-cent denomination, and a book
containing both 1-cent and 2-cent stamps, viz., 24 1-cent, and 24
2-cent.

In this connection it may be but just to divide the credit of the
origin of the stamp book with Captain Bain of the Bureau of Engraving
and Printing, who, it is said, had the project in mind for some time
previous to its inauguration as a public accommodation. Mr. Madden
is usually given the credit but, as stated, the credit may perhaps
be fairly divided, as it is understood that both these gentlemen
collaborated in the perfection of the project.


Postal Cards

The postal cards now so generally used at once sprang into public favor
when adopted in this country in 1873. Their use has not only been a
means of carrying intelligence in easy and convenient form, but has
contributed to commercial enterprise in many forms, and many directions
as the growing demand for them in the business world amply indicates.
The number issued to postmasters in 1916 was 1,047,894,800 and the
value of these cards was $10,784,307.00.


Division of Stamps

  Postage stamps and other stamped paper
    on hand in post offices, July 1, 1915     $104,035,823.48
  Stamped paper charged to postmasters         287,352,176.84
  Sales by postmasters, July 1, 1915, to
    June 30, 1916                              277,728,025.20
  Stamped paper on hand in post offices,
    June 30, 1916                              112,332,714.66

The reduction in stamp sales which followed the outbreak of the war in
Europe and the gradual recovery is shown in the increases, viz., for
the quarter ending September 30, 1915, the percentage of increase was
3.01; for December 31, 1915, it was 9.04; for March 31, 1916, it was
9.87; for June 30, 1916, it was 11.25.

Interesting information concerning the manufacture of stamps, etc., is
given in the article relating to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing
on page 46.


Division of Classification

This division is charged with the consideration of all questions
relating to the classification of matter admitted to the mails,
intended or deposited for mailing, including the determination of the
admissibility of publications to the second class of mail matter,
the limit of weight and size of mail, penalty envelopes and the
franking privilege. This office is in the Bureau of the Third Assistant
Postmaster General to whom all questions upon this and kindred subjects
should be addressed.


Purchasing Agent

Under the direction and control of the Postmaster General, this officer
has the supervision and purchase of all supplies for the Department,
whether under contract or not, for the Post Office Department proper or
for any branch of the postal service. The Postal Laws and Regulations
provide that a Bureau officer controlling an appropriation, may
authorize postmasters and other postal officials to purchase supplies
chargeable to that appropriation subject to the approval of the
purchasing agent in each instance.


The Dead Letter Office

All undeliverable mail matter comes within two classes, unmailable
and unclaimed. The first comprises such as is not sufficiently
prepaid or so incorrectly, insufficiently or illegibly addressed
that the destination could not be discovered. All letters of this
class containing matter of value is classified and recorded and a
considerable amount of money can thus be returned to the owner. The
larger part of such unmailable matter contains articles of merchandise,
photographs, etc. The undeliverable letters are those that though
properly prepaid and correctly addressed are unclaimed, not taken out
of the office, though effort had been made by advertisement to find the
owner.

Letters and parcels received for 1916 amounted to 10,839,890. Of this
number 3,677,194 pieces were delivered, 101,485 filed, 7,019,436
destroyed and 41,775 under treatment. Checks, drafts, money orders and
other valuable papers of the face value of $2,303,119.56 were found
in undelivered letters, practically all of which was restored to the
owners. The net revenue from the sale of undeliverable articles of
merchandise and currency found loose in the mails, etc., aggregated
$53,665.69. Advertised letters returned from the Dead Letter Office now
require the payment of 1 cent, the revenue of this for the past six
months amounted to $11,000, making net revenue $64,665.69, or within
$10,000 of the whole amount required to conduct the operations of the
office.

Formerly all dead matter came to Washington for examination and
disposition. Now there are twelve large cities in the country
geographically arranged, to which dead matter is sent in addition to
what is received in Washington. This has made it possible to largely
reduce the force in the Washington office. The establishment of the
Dead Letter Office dates back to 1825.


Mail Locks

There are four kinds of locks used by the Department, in protecting
the mails, the brass padlocks seen on letter and package boxes, the
iron lock used on mail pouches, the inside letter box lock, and the
registered lock used to protect the more valuable mail. The locks and
keys are made by the Government in the equipment shops at Washington.
Of the iron lock there are something like a million in use. These locks
are made at a cost of 8½ cents each and weigh but 2-4/5 ounces, the
lightest and best lock ever used for the purpose. Locks previously
in use cost a great deal more to make and keep in repair and were
much heavier. The study of economy in various forms during the past
four years has made it possible to introduce many reforms in the
manufacture of locks of which the above is a significant example. Steel
is now largely used in all lock equipment on account of the high cost
of brass. All equipment used in mail transportation is made by the
Government.

Mail locks and keys were formerly made by contract, but during the
administration of Postmaster General Dickinson it was decided to do
this work under Government supervision. Public policy, no less than
economy dictated this course. While the manufacture of Government locks
was surrounded with all possible safeguard and precaution there could
be no absolute assurance that the mechanism would be kept secret, would
be safe from imitation, so the Government, both for security to the
mails and for economic reasons, decided to have the work done under its
own direction.


Mail Pouches and Sacks

In the general scheme of mail bags used in the postal service the term
“pouch” is used to apply to all mail bags designed for locking by
means of mail locks, and the term “sack” is used to apply to all mail
bags used in the postal service which are designed for closing but not
locking.

Under the term “pouch” may be mentioned those bags used for inclosing
through registered mail, saddle bags, designed for transportation of
mail on horseback; inner registered bags, used for holding registered
matter and inclosed in another receptacle; and the ordinary pouches for
first class mail matter such as letters, etc.; also the mail catcher
pouch, the use of which is restricted to the exchange of mails with
moving trains.

Under the term “sacks,” which are designed for closing, as a rule, but
not locking, comes the ordinary sack for newspapers and parcel post
matter, and bearing a cord fastener which bears a label case and also
serves for closure purposes. The standard bag is made of No. 8 canvas,
of best quality, and withstands usage for several years. The sacks used
for foreign mails, ordinary and registered, are not provided with a
closure device but are tied with a string and secured with a lead seal,
but it is expected in the near future these classes of bags will be
equipped with a locking contrivance.

During the last ten years the weight of pouches used for ordinary
service has been rapidly diminishing. The average weight of pouches in
1907, largest size, was about 9 pounds 5 ounces each, while those now
being introduced into the service weigh 2½ pounds each. This reduction
in weight being due largely to the elimination of leather parts. Many
old-style pouches are still in use, viz., made of a heavy canvas body,
leather bottom and a light weight top; costing about $2.16 each; the
“1908” pouch made of a heavy canvas bottom with leather band and a
lighter weight canvas top and body, costing about $1.44 each. These
pouches are now being rapidly replaced with the all-canvas pouch
costing less than 70 cents each. Catcher pouch used in the exchange
of mails on moving trains costs 80 cents each. Wherever possible, the
Department has eliminated expensive leather and other parts in the
production of its equipment.

There are approximately 600,000 pouches and 4,000,000 sacks available
to the service at present. The all-canvas pouch which the Department
now furnishes costs between 69 and 70 cents, while the largest size
domestic standard sack cost a little less than 73 cents, smaller
sizes in proportion. Pouches and sacks are purchased by contract but
kept in repair by the Government. New pouches of new types are also
manufactured by the Government, nearly 80,000 being made in the Mail
Bag Repair Shop during the past year.

The principal movement of mails is from the east to the west, from the
great commercial centers to the less densely populated districts. This
ebb and flow is natural in ordinary times, but is greatly increased
both in volume and quantity when the immensely stimulated holiday trade
changes conditions in all directions and calls for the exercise of
administrative ability in meeting extraordinary demands and supplying
suddenly developed needs. These conditions are met by a system of
distribution devised to meet just such needs, whereby congestion is
relieved at one point and pressing demands accommodated at another, the
various mail bag depositories under capable management rendering such
necessary aid. The whole supply of bags has been handled as much as ten
times in one year through these depositories without which the peculiar
conditions of the service could not be met. Mountain carriers in the
northwest require special pouches especially in the sections where snow
shoes are needed. The carriers in Alaska with their dog-teams have also
special makes of pouches and thus all conditions are met where peculiar
needs require it.


Post Office Supplies

In June, 1872, Congress authorized the establishment of a blank
agency for the purpose of supplying the smaller post offices with
blanks and stationery. The appropriation was $132,500. In 1883 the
scope of this enactment was enlarged and the Department undertook
the tremendous task of supplying all the post offices of the country
with stationery and all the office equipment and appliances needed in
the conduct of public business. The amount of a recent appropriation
for the purpose was about two and a half million dollars. From this
blank agency has grown the Division of Supplies, which furnishes all
supplies needed except mail bags, locks and keys, which come under the
equipment branch, of which this division is a part. Supplies are sent
to postmasters upon requisitions made out upon blank forms furnished
for the purpose. These requisitions are carefully revised by clerks and
allowances made conformably to practice and customs. Money order and
postal note requisitions are also handled in this division. Supplies
are required in enormous quantities for public use. In twine alone the
required amount for 1916 was 2,000,000 pounds, or 680,000 miles of it.
Ink 15,000 gallons. Facing slips more than a billion; pencils, pens,
blanks, envelopes and paper in staggering amounts. The utmost economy
is practiced in sending out these immense supplies that waste may be
prevented and the money appropriated used to the best advantage. The
capable management of the Superintendent and those in charge of the
Division of Equipment and Supplies, has produced gratifying results
in all directions and rendered service which has been recognized and
appreciated.


Special Delivery

Special delivery was authorized by Act of March 3, 1885, during the
administration of Postmaster General Vilas. Established October 1,
1885. At first restricted to free delivery offices in towns of 4,000 or
more inhabitants. August 4, 1886, it was extended to all free delivery
offices. Special delivery service is made to all persons within the
carrier limits of city delivery and to patrons of rural service who
reside more than 1 mile from post offices, but within half a mile of
rural routes. Deliveries are made at all first and second class post
offices on Sundays and at other offices if open on Sunday, and at all
offices on holidays. Auditor’s report shows that for the quarter ending
September, 1916, the amount expended for this service was $633,713.21.
The number of pieces delivered was nearly 8,000,000, or a yearly
average of something like 32,000,000.


Foreign Mail Service

The foreign mail service of the United States dates back to 1868, when
James H. Blackfan was chief clerk of the Department. This service was
then in charge of the chief clerk and when the office of Superintendent
of Foreign Mails was created he was placed in charge of it. These
mails are carried under the Act of 1891. All mails not carried by the
mileage basis under this act are carried by non-contract vessels on the
weight basis. The total cost of this service in 1916 was $2,228,341.
The rate of compensation allowed under the general statute for the sea
conveyance of United States mails by steamers of American register, not
operated under the ocean mail Act of 1891, is not exceeding the full
postage of the mails conveyed. The two principal offices from which
foreign mail is dispatched are New York and San Francisco. Clerks are
assigned to this service as need requires. Under the regulations of the
Universal Postal Convention, mail matter other than parcel post, may
be dispatched whether fully prepaid or not, but as double the amount
of postage is collectable when not fully prepaid, postmasters in this
country have been instructed whenever practicable to notify senders
of short-paid letters that such double expense might be avoided. On
registered articles and parcel post packages, full prepayment is
compulsory. Rate of postage is 5 cents for the first ounce or fraction
of an ounce, and 3 cents for each additional ounce or fraction thereof.
Letter postage for England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British
possessions goes at 2 cents an ounce. International parcel post rate is
12 cents per pound or fraction of a pound.


Topography Branch

The impetus given to this branch of the service, the making of maps,
by the rapid growth of rural delivery, the reorganization of which
made the completion of county maps an almost immediate necessity, has
considerably stimulated activity in this direction and been productive
of great benefit generally. Recompilations of State maps have been
made, old drawings brought up to date and diagram maps replaced by
those of the regular edition. The making of maps has developed into
quite an industry in recent years owing to the greatly increased need
for such matter. Few people realize how necessary such aid is in
determining questions of administrative concern, especially in such
vast areas of public enterprise as the growth and extension of the
rural delivery and star route service involves.

These public maps are very largely used for post routes and altogether
this branch occupies quite an important place in Department operations.
Of the post-route class 43,258 were printed during the year of 1916,
1,545 were sold to the public, together with 5,983 county and 1,963
local center maps (blueprints) the balance having been distributed to
the postal service, to other Departments and to Members of Congress. In
the blue-printing plant 7,964 county maps, 13,330 local center maps,
and 10,347 miscellaneous plans, forms, etc., were made.

Of the 3,010 counties in the United States there are 2,630 in which
rural delivery service is in operation. Accurate maps, showing
rural service in 984 of these counties, have been completed, while
preliminary maps for 755 others, giving similar information, have been
drawn. Base maps and other data are in hand which will be used in the
compilation of maps of 432 additional counties. Active steps are being
taken to procure information from every possible source for use in
compiling maps of the 459 remaining counties.

These maps of every county in the United States in which rural
service has been established, are made on a scale of 1 inch to the
mile. They show all public roads, rural routes, post offices, houses,
school-houses, churches and streams. Negative prints are sold at 35
cents each by application to the Third Assistant Postmaster General.
Lists are furnished on request showing maps completed.


Division of Post Office Service

On the first of July, 1916, a new division was created in the office
of the First Assistant Postmaster General to be known as the Division
of Post Office Service. This new division absorbs the duties formerly
performed by the City Delivery and the Division of Salaries and
Allowances. All persons employed directly in post offices as well as
the city carriers will now come under the control of this division.
It will also include every function relating to the handling and the
moving of the mails in the cities and towns of the country. More
efficiency and better results generally are confidently expected to
follow this change which is in line with the general policy of placing
all closely related duties under the same jurisdiction and control.



CHAPTER IV

Special Articles on Postal Subjects


The American Postal System

The genius of the American Postal System is found in the harmonious
cooperation of its several parts, in direction and in operation; wise
policy and purpose as seen in the formulation of plans, with willing
assistance in operation to render such plans effective. The Postmaster
General directs the policy, the bureau heads execute what is determined
upon and the benefit or failure is seen in practical administration.
All alike share in achievement, the mind that conceives, the heads that
direct, and the force upon whose faithful and intelligent effort the
outcome depends.

A form of Government democratic in all its parts and tendencies
requires fidelity and patriotic purpose in performance from every one
to whom any trust is committed, and in every successful accomplishment
of any given plan or purpose, the measure of success is always in
proportion to the interest taken or the industry with which such plan
or purpose is pursued. Loyalty alike to administrative endeavor or the
public welfare is imperatively required and unless this is faithfully
and ungrudgingly given no plan can succeed, even the best devised must
surely fail. There is such a thing as patriotic devotion to public duty
and no man is fit to hold an office of trust no matter how small it may
be who does not consider this as an obligation to be met and honestly
discharged. If any one thing has contributed to make our postal
establishment prosperous and great it is the conscious acceptance
of the full meaning of such an obligation. This has distinguished
Americans in all public employment, emphasizing the stirring words
of Lord Nelson, England’s great naval commander, whose injunction to
patriotic response upon a memorable occasion deserves to be remembered
in civil life as well, for loyalty and patriotism are as much in
accord there, as much demanded in ordinary civil functions as in the
more heroic, but not less honorable and useful pursuit common to our
national life.


Considerate Treatment of Newspaper Mail

When General Gresham was Postmaster General in President Arthur’s
administration, the Washington correspondent of the _Louisville
Courier-Journal_ complained to him about the non-delivery of
newspapers mailed by private individuals. “What do you think is the
reason?” asked General Gresham. “I attribute the failure,” said
the correspondent, “to the carelessness of post office officials.
A newspaper in their mind is a very small thing and it is handled
accordingly. If the address is the least unintelligible no effort is
made to decipher it and it is tossed on the floor and if the wrapper
happens to be torn it shares the same fate, and I believe that
newspapers are often torn open and read without any conscientious
scruples whatever.”

“I am glad you told me about the alleged carelessness that exists in
post offices in the country,” said General Gresham. “I shall give the
matter prompt attention. If I cannot work out a reform in that respect,
I would remove a postmaster for breaking the wrapper of a newspaper or
making away with it as quick as I would if he had torn open a letter.
One is as sacred as the other.”

Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Stamp Manufacture

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing in which all the postage stamps
used by the Government are manufactured is a wonderful institution
every way. Every known appliance and all that the mechanical skill and
ingenuity of the Director, Hon. Joseph E. Ralph, and his very capable
expert and designer, Mr. B. R. Stickney, could devise, have been
brought into requisition for the purposes the Bureau is intended to
serve.

The various operations required in printing postage stamps alone, of
which such enormous quantities are annually required, would seem a
great undertaking, but when to this is added the printing of all the
paper money, bonds and securities used by the Government, the magnitude
of the task may be understood. Between four and five thousand people
find employment within the Bureau, the greatest establishment of its
kind in the world. Thousands of visitors annually witness the wonders
therein displayed and come away impressed with the marvels they have
seen in the adaption of means to a definite purpose. The care and
comfort of the employes is a matter of deep concern to the Director
and every possible method of providing for both, by approved means
of sanitation and ventilation, is availed of. The air is washed and
strained to cleanse it of all impurities and full hospital provision
made for those who may need medical care and attention. Nothing seems
to have been forgotten or overlooked in this most wonderful of all
government establishments and the result is that under favorable
working conditions the utmost that may be expected is fully realized.

The ordinary postage stamps are in denominations of from 1 cent to $1
and of nineteen kinds. The output is 40,000,000 daily, or something
like thirteen billions per annum, with a face value in 1915 of
$221,875,000. They are printed in sheets of 400 each, which are divided
and subdivided until the sheet contains 100 stamps in which amount they
are sent to the post offices for public use. The various processes used
in manufacture, the printing, gumming and perforating, are separately
performed on the sheets of stamps; those intended for slot machines
are printed and perfected on a rotary press which performs all the
operations at once. This press, the invention of Mr. Stickney, after
seven years of labor, will save 65 per cent of the cost of printing
stamps per annum or $280,000, and will completely revolutionize stamp
printing from intaglio plates. It combines twenty-three operations in
one. It prints, gums and perforates the stamps, cuts them into sections
of 100 stamps each, or will finish the stamps in coils of 500 and 1,000
stamps per coil. It turns out the finished product ready for shipment
to the postmasters of the country. As an object lesson to further show
the tremendous proportions of this postage stamp industry, it may be
stated that the daily output would cover approximately eight acres of
land if laid flat or make a chain of stamps 703 miles long if laid end
to end. The sheets of 100 stamps each sent to post offices in 1915,
piled up one upon another, would make a shaft over 6 miles high, and
placed end to end would make a strip over 16,000 miles long and as
there are ten rows of stamps on each sheet, a strip of single stamps
would be more than 160,000 miles long, enough to girdle the earth six
times with something over.

The paper required to print these stamps for the year 1915 amounted to
1,200,000 pounds, and to make this paper and to obtain this amount,
3,500 spruce trees were ground to a pulp. Converted into lumber this
would have built fifty houses complete. The amount of ink required was
670,000 pounds.

When the post office inspectors, unannounced, visited the Bureau at
the close of the fiscal year of 1915 to check up the accounts, they
were found correct to the last one-cent stamp, a high compliment to the
excellent accounting system in practice at that institution.

Orders for stamps are received daily from the Office of the Third
Assistant Postmaster General and shipped by the Bureau.


Post Office Inspectors

The Division of Post Office Inspectors is in many ways one of the
most interesting in the postal service. The duties are varied and of
especial importance, as the Post Office Inspector when on duty for the
Department is the official representative of the Postmaster General and
clothed with all due official authority. The purpose of such officials
is to have ready at hand reliable men for confidential work. Unusual
capacity is required, tact, judgment, patience and courage. The duties
of an inspector are not measured by the ordinary hours of employment,
but depend altogether upon the nature of the work he is called upon
to perform, day and night in successive order, being synonymous terms
when especial service is required. Complaints are generally the basis
of inquiry and operation, but the scope of duties takes a wide range,
involving special work of any kind and in any direction. Irregularities
in the service form the principal basis of complaints, but violations
of postal laws, frauds and depredations upon the mails furnish a
proportionate share.

The inspectors are assigned to duty in geographical divisions of the
country under an inspector-in-charge, with the Chief Inspector at
Washington in general control. As a rule inspectors do duty in their
divisions, but under the orders of the Postmaster General they may be
sent anywhere. They are expected to be familiar with the Postal Laws
and Regulations and conduct their inquiries in accordance therewith.
The division is directly under the Postmaster General and in the
classified civil service, and the selections made for this important
service represent men of intelligence and integrity. Volumes could
be written of the strategy employed and methods pursued in tracing
criminal operations. The more agreeable duties, however, require an
equal amount of skill though attended with less danger and difficulty.
The force of inspectors has been largely increased in recent years
because of postal growth and development in all directions.


The Railway Mail Service

The Railway Mail Service of the United States, the most splendid of
all the branches of the postal service, owes its origin to Hon. S.
R. Hobbie of New York, First Assistant Postmaster General in the
administration of President Jackson. Upon his return from Europe in
1847, he made a report to the Department giving his impression of the
traveling post office in England. The Department was then struggling
with many difficulties in the distribution and bagging of the mails and
one plan after another was tried with but indifferent success. Finally
Judge Holt, Postmaster General in 1862, determined to try the English
system and the first railway post office was introduced in the postal
service of the country. The overland mails were then carried by stage
coaches from the west side of the Missouri River to California and the
immense accumulation of mail matter at Saint Joseph, Mo., destined for
the Pacific Coast and the intermediate States, induced the Postmaster
General to establish the first railway post office on the Hannibal and
St. Joseph Railroad (Quincy, Ill., to St. Joseph, Mo), the pioneer
road in Railway Mail Service history. The growth of the Railway Mail
Service has been marvelous and its achievements unequalled in modern
progressive developement. Three thousand five hundred railroad mail
routes, aggregating 502,937,359 miles of service and employing nearly
19,000 postal clerks and supervisors with salaries amounting to over
$26,000,000 attest the strength and greatness of this magnificent arm
of the postal service. Of the 14,369,582,586 pieces of mail matter
distributed and re-distributed during the past year, 14,367,325,426
pieces, or 99.984 per cent, were handled correctly--a record which
should be a matter of pride to every man who wears the badge of the R.
M. S. The fifteen divisions in which the whole service is divided each
complete in itself, but responsive to central control and direction in
Washington, has brought the system to such a state of perfection that
but little remains for further experiment.


The Parcel Post and the Opposition to Its Establishment

The splendid showing made in the recent reports of the Postmaster
General touching the growth and development of the Parcel Post in this
administration must be of interest to the people of the country for
whose benefit this measure has been so successfully conducted. Its
admitted usefulness brings forcibly to mind the struggle through which
this measure passed before the force of public opinion and the evident
advantage it foreshadowed, secured its ultimate adoption.

While in the American Republic history is rapidly made and startling
changes are not of infrequent or uncommon occurrence, it is, however,
true that subjects which provoke discussion because cherished interests
are endangered or settled opinions of public policy liable to be
overthrown, require time in which to adjust themselves to changing
conditions.

The student of political economy will be interested to note how these
changes of time and condition affect the opinion and views of men
identified with public affairs. What seems wisdom and good judgment in
one generation is opposed and set aside in another, both acting for the
general welfare and inspired by patriotic purpose.

The proper scope and purpose of government, in its relation to the
people whom it serves, is always a matter of deep concern, not only as
to the views held by those appointed to administer public affairs, but
also in the opinions and ideas of the people themselves. While a great
principle may remain in many minds the same, unchanged and reluctant to
change, conditions may operate to produce views entirely dissimilar and
completely at variance with those of another and previous period.

Two greatly divergent and distinctive opinions have divided the
thinkers and the statesmen of our country as to the proper functions of
such a government as this. This difference arising from the educational
environment of many leaders of public opinion, easily became a matter
of accepted political or party belief between those who held to the
limitations of delegated authority and those who inclined to wider
power and greater privilege. Both have had earnest and strenuous
advocates, but the tendencies of the times conclusively point to the
growing acceptance of the latter as more suited to a great and growing
nation whose needs may not be fettered by tradition or obstinate
blindness to the march of progress, but must recognize the paramount
interests of the people whose welfare should always be the chief
concern.

The Parcel Post is now a recognized benefit to the country. All classes
and conditions profit by its mutual advantage. Its gigantic strides
to popular favor cannot be measured or adequately described. The
burdensome exactions of the high tariffs, which corporate enterprise
so long interposed, have been lifted and closer relation established
between buyer and seller, by which both are the gainer. As no
compromise was possible where monopoly was concerned, it remained for
the Government to set aside the question of limited powers and give
the people of the country the benefit to which they were entitled, but
which monopoly denied, viz., the opportunity to profit by the use of
the facilities which were at hand and which have proven so thoroughly
effective. Two names stand out prominently in this connection, the
statesman whose thorough knowledge of the subject and whose earnest
and intelligent efforts shaped and directed this great public measure,
and the public official whose hearty cooperation assured its success.
Hon. David J. Lewis, of Maryland, and Hon. Albert S. Burleson, the
Postmaster General, deserve the thanks of the country for their work in
this beneficial enterprise and the meed of praise will not be withheld.

The old-time belief in the necessity of curbing the ambitious designs
of those who were striving to open the way to an enlargement of
government privilege is strikingly seen in the attitude of Postmaster
General Jewell in his annual report to Congress in 1874. In referring
to the activity then already seen to widen the scope of the Post Office
Department and engage in enterprises held by many at that time and the
Postmaster General in particular, as foreign to the sphere of duties
and intended purposes and powers of the Department, Mr. Jewell said:

 “I would suggest that the time has come when a resolute effort should be
 made to determine how far the Post Office Department can properly go in
 its efforts to accommodate the public, without trespassing unwarrantably
 upon the sphere of private enterprise. There must be a limit to
 governmental interferency and happily it better suits the genius of
 the American people to help themselves than to depend on the State. To
 communicate intelligence and disseminate information are the primary
 functions of this Department. Any divergence from the legitimate sphere
 of its operations tends to disturb the just rule that, in the ordinary
 business of life, the recipient of a benefit is the proper party to
 pay for it, since there is no escape from the universal law that every
 service must in some way be paid for by some one. Moreover, in a country
 of vast extent like ours, where most of the operations of the Department
 are carried on remote from the controlling center, the disposition to
 engage in lateral enterprises, more or less foreign to the theory of
 the system, may lead to embarrassments whence extrication would be
 difficult.”

Although the advocates of the privileged rights of private enterprise
have ever resisted the entrance of government into the field of
national endeavor, the triumphant progress of the Parcel Post under
Departmental direction has silenced all captious objection, for its
admitted adaptation to the needs of the country and its growing
popularity among the people, attests the fact that no limitations can
be wisely set in public affairs which bars the progress of an intended
benefit.

An attempt was later made in 1901 to check the growth of public
sentiment favorable to the establishment of the Parcel Post, for which
a bill has been introduced into Congress, by a concerted movement, by
whom originated is not known, which aimed to arouse the merchants in
rural sections in opposition thereto, a widespread propaganda, the
object of which was to flood President McKinley with a stereotyped
circular signed by these rural merchants all over the country, in order
that such measure might not meet with his approval because of the wreck
and ruin it would be sure to create. To what extent this movement
was carried or what attention it received from President McKinley is
not known, but the fears of Postmaster General Jewell or the alarm
of the rural merchants were not borne out in the light of subsequent
events, as the successful progress of the Parcel Post has abundantly
demonstrated.

This popular measure was, however, not to be secured for the public
good without strenuous effort, even in these later days when its early
adoption was so clearly foreseen. It still had to encounter opposition,
the lingering echo of previous struggle. Its friends had to meet and
combat resistance, within and without the halls of legislation and it
was only by determined purpose and a concert of effort that criticism
was finally silenced and the measure written into the statutes of the
nation. Congress passed the act, August 24, 1912, and the struggle of
nearly half a century was at an end with the popular will triumphant.

First recommended in 1892. Law passed by Congress August 2, 1912.
Became operative January 1, 1913. It is in operation on 45,000 rural
routes and a billion parcels are carried annually. Parcels may be sent
C. O. D., may be insured, 3 cents for parcels valued up to $5 or less
and a low graduated scale up to $100. Indemnity is paid for partial
loss or damage. Rate is charged by weight in pounds and by zones. Books
are now admitted and all classes of proper merchandise accepted. Weight
is limited to 50 pounds for first and second zones (150 miles) and to
20 pounds beyond. Postmasters will give all necessary information.


Interesting Facts about the Postmasters General

Excluding the border States, the South, properly speaking, has had but
two men in the office of Postmaster General since the days of Benjamin
Franklin--Joseph Habersham, of Georgia, and Albert Sidney Burleson,
of Texas. The more populous States of the east, with their political
power and material advantages, have had the greatest number of such
appointments, 23 of the 48 men who have held that office having come
from that section. The border States have had 15 and the west only
8. It was not until 1866 that the west was at all recognized in the
appointment of such cabinet officer, when Alexander W. Randall, of
Wisconsin, was chosen by President Johnson. Subsequently that State
furnished three more Postmasters General, viz., Howe, Vilas and Payne.
In 1829 the Postmaster General became a member of the cabinet by the
action of President Jackson, his first appointee to that position, Hon.
William T. Barry, of Kentucky, receiving that honor.

In considering the States of the Union which have been most fortunate
in appointments to this office, it is found that Pennsylvania and New
York have each had 6 to their credit; Connecticut, Kentucky, Tennessee,
and Wisconsin, 4 each; Massachusetts, Maryland, and Ohio, 3 each,
and the remainder scattered among the 18 States from which all the
Postmasters General have been selected.

The term of service was, it seems, much longer in the olden days than
at present. From 1775 to 1850--75 years--there were only 17 men in
that position, Gideon Granger, of Connecticut, having served 13 years
and 8 months, and Return J. Meigs, of Ohio, 9 years and 3 months. From
1850 to 1913--63 years--there have been 31 men in that office. Whether
the shifting currents of political life and expediency, or other
causes, have operated to make changes in this office, it appears that
many occurred in the administrations of some of our chief executives.
Roosevelt, for instance, had four Postmasters General; Grant, Arthur,
and Cleveland (in the latter’s two terms) also had 4 each; Washington
and Buchanan, 3; Jackson, Fillmore, Lincoln, Hayes, and McKinley, 2
each. The remainder of the Presidents evidently retained the men they
had originally appointed.


Withdrawal of Letters from the Mail

It may not be generally known that a letter once mailed can be
withdrawn. Such is, however, the case. Letters may be withdrawn from
the mails at the office of mailing by satisfactory identification, a
written address in the same handwriting, if address was written, or
such other evidence as will satisfy the postmaster of the applicant’s
right to withdrawal. If letter has already been dispatched the
postmaster may telegraph to the point of destination for withholding
such letter from delivery, or to a railway postal clerk in whose
custody the letter is known to be, carefully describing the same and
requesting its return. A sum must be deposited with the postmaster
sufficient to defray all expenses incurred.


Handling of the Mail

Official mail comes to the Department addressed to the several
Bureaus. It is then opened, assorted to the various divisions and
redistributed to the clerks according to the subjects named or special
duties assigned to each. The divisions are supervised by the official
in charge, under whose direction the work is done and by whom the
responsibility is assumed. He advises with and suggests methods of
operation, and in important matters involving special correspondence,
assumes direct charge himself. Letters written by clerks are submitted
to the chief for examination before being initialed for mailing, or for
the signature of the Bureau heads where such signature is required.
Letters are answered according to date of receipt all reasonable
promptness being enjoined. Filing is done according to the nature and
duties of the various bureaus and the character of correspondence
and papers in use. Approved systems are followed and metal filing
cases generally employed. In the Bureau of the Fourth Assistant where
monthly reports are received in connection with the regular mail,
during the month of January, 1917, the amount so received aggregated
72,000 pieces, and 46,000 pieces of mail were dispatched. Ordinary
hand work could not dispose of such amounts with the force assigned,
therefore mechanical devices for opening and sealing mail are employed
for the purpose. Messengers gather the outgoing mail by regular rounds
and it is dispatched as soon as brought to the mailing room. A work
of considerable magnitude in this Bureau is now being conducted,
viz., the purging of the accumulated rural and star route files and
correspondence which had so grown in bulk as to make both search and
handling difficult. It was a much needed reform and will be found of
especial value in filing operations.


Cost Accounting

By means of an accurate cost-keeping system devised for the equipment
shops, but which can be adapted to any form of clerical expense, great
improvements have been made and savings effected. All mail equipment is
now supplied at a greatly reduced cost and in improved form. Supplies
for post offices are judiciously and economically handled under the
system now in operation, all discoverable waste checked and the service
greatly benefited. The direct, the indirect and the overhead charges
can now be clearly ascertained in any form of manufacturing enterprise
and the cost in any direction definitely known. It was a long felt need
in economical administration and its introduction in the Post Office
Department has been of decided advantage.


Cleansing Mail Bags

The life of a mail bag is about six years and after being dragged about
on railroad platforms and other places they accumulate an amount of
dust and dirt which renders them unfit for handling when returned to
the bag shop for repair. The old practice was to shake them out by
hand, but in the hurry and haste of business this was but imperfectly
done and there was constant complaint among the operators and clamor
for a better system. After many experiments and various tests a method
was at length devised which cleans them thoroughly and does away with
the discomfort under which the work was done. The method finally
adopted consists of large tumbling barrels or cages made of wood with
slats and fashioned in the shape of a star, holding several hundred
bags each. Driven rapidly by electric power the bags are thoroughly
shaken, the escaping dust confined in a tightly constructed room
and carried off by blowers into an immense canvas bag resembling a
dirigible balloon when inflated. At stated intervals the end of this
bag is opened and the dirt and dust removed. Four thousand bags a day
are now successfully treated by this process.


The Farm-to-Table Movement

As the farm-to-table movement is now attracting a great deal of public
attention and is directly connected with the postal service by its
afforded means of communication, some observations upon the subject may
be worthy of mention.

There are four fundamental facts connected with the subject, viz., the
points of production, places of consumption, methods of operation and
means of communication. Production is upon the farm, consumption in the
cities and towns, methods, to be determined by experience, and the mode
and means of conveyance, a government function.

Regarding the first of these divisions, certain facts are apparent.
The balance of trade, eight to one is against the farmer at the
point of production; he receives very much more than he sends. Why
this disproportion? It is caused either by lack of interest in the
subject, or because of lack of practical experience in the successful
management of such business enterprise. The remedy in either case
is in his hands. If interest is wanting he should cultivate it; if
he has made experiments and they have failed of proper results, he
should not become discouraged but try again. High prices in the cities
lead the residents there to seek relief by direct dealings with the
producer. The consumer will reach him if he puts himself in touch
with the man who is seeking, and the desire to sell his goods and do
business, should lead the producer to inquire how best it can be done.[
The postmaster can help him by advice and counsel and it should be a
pleasurable duty for the postmaster to advise and confer with, and put
the producer (who is his patron), in the way of profitable business
intercourse with the man in the city who needs him and is only too
anxious to find who he is, where he lives, and what he has to sell.

While the country postmaster at the point of production has a duty
to perform in advising with the producer (for the postmaster is to
all intents and purposes the “middleman” in this connection) the city
postmaster has also a duty to perform in assisting the resident there
to find the most convenient places of production and how such places
can be easily reached and what can be procured there that the city
resident wants and needs. Many postmasters are now paying especial
attention to this matter on account of the urgent necessity which the
high prices, and diminished quantities of provision that come to the
cities, render so necessary, but conditions require that many more
should be engaged in that direction to afford all the benefit this
great measure of the Government was intended to give.

The methods, the best methods to obtain the end desired, both at the
point of production, where the supply is found, and at the point
of consumption to which this supply is to be transported, must be
discovered by the actual results which the various methods that have
been tried have produced, or were found to be most advantageous and
most successful. Many plans have been suggested and tried out, but it
must remain for experience to demonstrate and determine which of these
is best and most likely to secure advantageous benefits.

The remaining question is the part the Government is called upon to
perform to reap the most possible results and make the farm-to-table
movement popular and profitable. The Government is more ready to act
than either producer or consumer seem to be; to extend every privilege
and afford every accommodation which postal enterprise or the public
purse can provide, that this, in some sense paternal relation of
government to people in benevolent provision for their welfare, may
secure all that its most sanguine projectors ever hoped to accomplish.
It has the support of Congress, and the Postmaster General has omitted
no word or act which could in any manner contribute to its success
and stands ready to do the utmost that his great office and his great
opportunity afford, to make this measure a benefit and a boon to all
the people.

The readjustment of prices will come, and the remedy appear, when the
elimination of so much handling, packing, repacking and distributing
with its consequent loss and its increased cost, decreases the cost
which the consumer has to meet for all this added labor, and for which
he pays the price, and from which burden the parcel post by its direct
and better system of exchange aims to free and relieve him.


Postal Service in Alaska

Alaska is so far off that its interests do not commonly concern the
people to any great extent. The Government, however, takes a more
paternal view of its only territorial possession in North America,
and has paid particular attention to its progress and development,
especially in postal affairs and the means of communication among
the people. Alaska has now 170 post offices of which 45 have money
order facilities. It has 21 star routes with an aggregate length of
4,544 miles and an annual travel of 249,331.10 miles. Annual rate
of expenditure, $260,518.50. Average rate of cost per mile traveled,
$1.04. Average number of trips per week, 52.


Standardization in Post Office Methods

During this administration a very important change was made in the
management and conduct of the larger post offices of the country.
It was found that the delivery of parcel post matter by vehicle was
costing from 1 to 6 cents each. Investigation showed that this varying
cost was largely due to lack of uniformity in methods and equipment
and that the need of standardization extended to every branch of post
office service. Postal experts were accordingly sent to all sections of
the country to study existing methods and recommend necessary changes.
As a result, unnecessary independent divisions in post offices were
eliminated and two divisions established, one in charge of records,
accounts and financial services, the other to have charge of the
mail handling operations. The personnel of the offices also received
attention, that as far as possible, clerks could be assigned to the
duties for which they were best fitted. Subsequent investigation
confirmed the advantage of such standardization, and the large post
offices which handle 75 per cent of the nation’s mail, have now been
brought under such improved control that the benefit which such
intelligent methods, properly carried out, should naturally develop,
has been abundantly shown.


Postal Savings Circulars in Foreign Tongues

The Government has for years been anxious to reach citizens of foreign
birth residing in the United States for the purpose of informing them
relative to our Postal Savings System. Circulars have now been issued
in the mother tongue to Bohemian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Danish,
Norwegian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Magyar, Italian,
Japanese, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Ruthenian, Serbian,
Slovak, Sloverian, Spanish, Swedish, and Yiddish people here which have
been widely distributed and are expected to be of considerable service.
The foreign born population in this country, according to the census of
1910, numbers over 13,000,000 and it is believed that the business of
the Postal Savings System would be greatly increased if the attention
of these people could be properly directed to its advantages, and
these circulars in their own language are intended for that purpose.


Postal Enterprise of a Patriotic Maryland Editor

It seems from old records on the subject as mentioned in the
_Washington Evening Star_, that some of the editors of the colonial
period of our history had quite a good deal to say and took a very
active part in shaping political events, particularly in postal
affairs. One Maryland editor, Goddard by name, when his papers were
refused in the mails on account of his outspoken views, set about
establishing what he called “A Constitutional American Post Office.”
He issued a circular, July 2, 1774, announcing his plan, and went
about the colonies soliciting support. Committees were appointed and
subscriptions of money secured, postmasters designated, riders secured
and service established, which was instantly patronized. Crown post
riders found the roads unsafe and resigned. Goddard was printer of the
_Maryland Journal_, printed at Baltimore, and by the early part of 1775
he had thirty offices and nine post riders, covering the territory from
Massachusetts to Virginia, including Georgetown-on-the-Potomac.

It was a private service, operated in opposition to the still
existing British service. Goddard had declared his desire to have the
Continental Congress assume charge and administer this service for all
the people.

The Continental Congress took up the matter and appointed a committee
composed of Mr. Franklin, Mr. Lynch, Mr. Lee, Mr. Willing, Mr. Adams,
and Mr. P. Livingston, who brought in their report July 25, 1775.

The report was taken up and considered the next day, July 26, 1775,
when it was resolved, that a Postmaster General be appointed for the
United Colonies. The record of the Continental Congress on that day
(postal independence day), then closes with the unanimous election of
Benjamin Franklin to be Postmaster General.


Damage in Handling Parcel Post Mail

A study of 4,219 reports received at the headquarters of the various
Railway Mail Service Divisions during a thirty-day investigation, held
recently to discover the amount of damage in handling parcel post mail
and the causes of such damage, it was found that in 52.31 per cent of
the cases damage was caused by improper preparation of the parcels by
senders. The result of this investigation may be summarized as follows:

  Cases of damage caused by improper preparation
    of sender                                     2,207
  Cases of damage caused by improper handling
    by postmaster                                   107
  Cases of damage caused by improper handling
    by Railway Mail Service employes                 43
  Cases of damage caused by improper handling
    by railroad employes                             54
  Cases of damage from miscellaneous causes         188
  Cases of damage from unknown causes             1,620
                                                 ------
          Total                                   4,219

  Cases of damage to--
    Eggs                                    355    8.41
    Butter                                   99    2.35
    Hats                                    119    2.82
    Paint                                    20     .47
    Powders                                  59    1.40
    Preserves                               129    3.06
    Liquids                                 925   21.92
    Foodstuffs                              575   13.63
    Merchandise                           1,002   23.75
    China and glass                         368    8.72
    Liquids                                 925   21.92
    Fruit                                   194    4.60
    Poultry                                  51    1.21
    Flowers                                  53    1.26
    Other articles                          270    6.40
                                         ------  ------
                                          4,219  100.00
  Damage cases insured                      137    3.25
  Damage cases on star routes               304    7.21


An Opinion by Daniel Webster on Mail Extension

In this period of unprecedented postal growth and activity when
history is rapidly made and great achievements are born in a day, it
is interesting to recall that in 1835, during the discussion of a
measure in the United States Senate to establish a post route from
Independence, Mo., to the mouth of the Colorado River, the learned
Daniel Webster closed his speech in opposition with the following
language:

 “What do we want with this vast worthless area; this region of savages
 and wild beasts, of deserts, shifting sands, and whirlwinds of dust;
 of cactus and prairie dogs? To what use can we hope to put these great
 deserts or those endless mountain ranges, imposing and covered to their
 very base with eternal snow? What use have we for such country? Mr.
 President, I will never vote 1 cent from the Public Treasury to place
 the Pacific Coast 1 inch nearer to Boston than it now is.”

“I can safely venture,” said Hon. D. C. Roper, late First Assistant
Postmaster General in his speech at the Denver, Colo., Convention of
the National Association of Postmasters, in July, 1913, from which
this extract is made, “that were Mr. Webster to return to earth and
accompany me on this western trip he would confess in chagrin that in
no expression made during his long career as a public speaker was he
wider of the mark.”


A Blind Woman on the Pay Roll

It is wonderful how the blind, those who have been denied by nature
or accident of the most priceless of all human faculties, can adapt
themselves to conditions whereby the means of support may be obtained.
All communities and great centers of population have doubtless
such cases, especially where opportunities are afforded by private
munificence or public appropriation, but there are perhaps few cases
where, in Government service, it is possible for a blind person to find
an opportunity to earn a living. The Mail Bag Repair Shop at Washington
furnishes such a case and it is worthy of notice.

Twenty-six years ago a blind girl, Miss Hattie Maddox, called to see
Postmaster General Wanamaker and asked for a place in the bag shop. She
said, “You give seeing people a two months’ trial at the work, will
you give me that much time to prove that I can do it?” She then went
to Colonel Whitfield, Second Assistant Postmaster General, who had
charge of such work, and showed him some crocheting she had done and
the opportunity she sought was given her. She is there today busy with
a pile of mail bags, stringing them with new cords, finding weak spots
and repairing them with needle and thread and does the work as well as
any of those around her. An attendant from her home brings her to her
daily task and calls for her, and she is one of the most contented and
happy women on Uncle Sam’s pay roll.


Mr. Wanamaker’s Four Great Postal Reforms

Marshall Cushing, private secretary to Postmaster General Wanamaker,
says in his book “The Story of Our Post Office,” published some
years ago, that Mr. Wanamaker had in mind and frequently discussed
with public men, four great postal propositions, one of which this
administration is now vigorously pushing forward, while the other
three are still in abeyance. These propositions were the postal
telegraph, the postal telephone, rural free delivery and house-to-house
collections of mail. He regarded them as simple and easy business
propositions.

The first proposed that the thousands of letter carriers of the
Department should help the telegraph companies collect and deliver
messages, and that a few clerks in a central bureau at Washington could
manage the stamp department and do the book-keeping for this part of
the business of the companies. Telegrams were to be written on stamped
paper, sold by the Department, or upon any sort of paper provided with
stamps sold by the Department, and be deposited as in the case of
letters whether on the streets or attached for collection and delivery
purposes at house doors. These postal telegrams were to be collected by
carriers on their regular tours of collection and telegraphed to the
destinations and taken out and delivered in the first delivery. Answer
to be sent off exactly in the same way.

Telegraphic business was thus to be cheapened to the public because of
the lessened cost to the companies by this Government aid, commonly
estimated at about one third of their whole operating expenses. The
gain to the Government would be not only the 2 cents for postage
rates proposed for telegrams under this scheme but also the impetus
given by general correspondence. The gain to the companies would be
the additional patronage which lower rates and regular collection and
delivery would give, also the saving of this expense and the office
use, clerk hire, etc., and other expenses incidental thereto. This
scheme was in no wise to interfere with the use of the quicker form
of telegraphing for those who preferred it. It was simply intended
to bring together in concerted action the two great machines for
conveying intelligence, the telegraph plant of the companies and the
free delivery operating forces of the Department. This, in brief, was
his idea, but much more extensively elaborated in further supporting
arguments in its favor and in meeting objections where doubts of its
practicability might be supposed to exist.

This proposition has been widely mentioned, has had many advocates,
and it is interesting to note in this connection that Postmaster
General Burleson entertains a somewhat similar idea, and has in three
annual reports to Congress urged the matter, however, with this
difference. Wanamaker’s plan did not contemplate taking over the
telegraph companies, simply entering into a mutual business arrangement
with them, while Postmaster General Burleson goes a step farther by
the incorporation of the telephone and telegraph into the postal
establishment. The opposition to the postal telegraph was as strong
then as now, its constitutionality being questioned by those who
oppose it. Mr. Wanamaker held that the powers granted to Congress by
the Constitution were not merely confined to the facilities known at
the time, but were to keep pace with the progress of the country, and
Mr. Burleson says, operation of these facilities inherently as well
as constitutionally, belongs to the postal service. Both are thus in
accord, differing only in method. The question is one of interest and
its future development will be watched with considerable concern by all
who wish to see further progress in this direction.

As the second of Mr. Wanamaker’s propositions, the postal telephone,
with its tremendous opportunities and possibilities, especially
in connection with rural delivery and parcel post advantages, the
magnitude and success of which even the enthusiastic and optimistic
Pennsylvanian did not then foresee, is bound up in General Burleson’s
plan, and the third, the rural free delivery, is making such strides
towards country-wide extension that it is only a matter of time when it
may be brought near, the fourth of Mr. Wanamaker’s propositions remains
only to be mentioned.

This is the use of letter boxes for the collection as well as the
delivery of mail from and to everybody’s door in every city, town,
village and farming community of the country. This means such an
immense convenience to everybody that he does not argue the case,
but simply points out its admitted advantages as a sufficient reason
for its early adoption. A disk at the door-box when mail was to be
collected would summon the carrier on his daily rounds, even if no
mail was to be delivered; trips to the letter box on the corner would
then be no longer necessary, and the ease and certainty with which
collection would be made, would in Mr. Wanamaker’s opinion, give an
impulse to letter writing and increase the public revenue to a very
considerable extent. It would mean two great conveniences to the
family, the safe delivery of letters at their door and the equally safe
collection of mail therefrom. Of course to obtain this service, letter
boxes would have to be provided by the householders, but Mr. Wanamaker
believed that this complete accommodation would induce people to go to
that trifling expense in order to gain such an evident advantage. It
was tried in St. Louis in his time, and worked exceedingly well.

Postmaster General Wanamaker was an official with a far-seeing vision
and actively alive to all postal possibilities, and the present
Postmaster General is fully abreast of him in every form of public
enterprise which makes for the utmost in postal accomplishment (See
page 83, for Postmaster General Burleson’s views regarding Postal
Telegraphs and Telephones).


The Rural Carrier as a Weather Man

It is said that the most common topic among mankind everywhere is the
weather. It follows nearly every greeting and salutation, introduces
conversation, is always a subject of interest and affords opportunities
of discussion upon which people can agree and disagree without exciting
the least disturbance whatever.

It has so much to do with the temper, the disposition the pleasures and
the material affairs of life that its compelling interest is admitted
and the winds and clouds are ever objects of our daily attention. The
Government recognizes this fact and has brought scientific knowledge to
bear upon the subject for the benefit of the man who tills the soil,
for the mariner upon the sea and they who dwell in the cities, and for
whom wind and weather has also its peculiar interest and concern.

Weather maps are common in the crowded cities and commercial centers,
but are not as convenient of access in the country districts, and aside
from the reports in the morning papers, the farmer has no particular
way of acquainting himself with the provision the Government has made
in this respect.

It has been suggested that an easy and simple way of interesting and
informing the rural residents of the daily weather forecasts would be
for the carriers on rural routes who can obtain this information to
make it known by means of little flags attached to their vehicles,
for example, a white flag when the weather will be clear, a red flag
when rain is indicated, a yellow flag for snow and a blue flag when
a cold wave is coming. This would be a daily guide, a matter of but
little trouble to the carrier, and give his daily visits an additional
interest to all the patrons whom he serves.


New Box Numbering System for Rural Routes

In the cities of the country the streets are named and the houses are
numbered by the authorities. The Department uses these numbers and
street names in its mail deliveries. A letter to be properly addressed
to a person or a firm needs only the number of the house or building
and the name of the street. This method is very simple and the mail is
speedily and successfully handled.

In the country districts there are four systems in use by the
Department, the railroads, and the express companies. The first
system is where patrons erect boxes at their places of residence for
the collection and delivery of mail. The letter or parcel is simply
addressed to the post office, to the patron and the rural route is
given. The second is where a letter or parcel is addressed to the
patron at a post office, with the number of the route, the box number,
the side of the road, and the miles from the office being embodied in
the box number. The third is where a letter or parcel is addressed to
a patron at a post office giving the route number and the number of
the patron’s box. The fourth system is where mail is addressed to the
patron at an office giving the section and township where the patron
lives. This latter system is used by the railroads relative to freight
and express matter and definitely locates a person in any part of the
United States. The addition of the rural route number and box makes the
most complete designation possible.

There has been an ingenious plan suggested (if it can be practically
employed), a newer and more complete method of numbering the boxes
along rural delivery routes indicating and locating the patrons thereon
which will identify the patron with his place of residence, simplify
assorting, and afford in many ways advantages not offered or included
in the old method.


The Present Method

[Illustration]


The Suggested New Method

The diagram on the following page, which is intended to illustrate the
suggested new plan, shows that in any given three numbers, such as 111,
the first figure at the left would be the route number, the second
figure the number of the box, the third the distance from the supplying
office.

_Explanation_: The first figure as indicated denotes the rural route
number, the second figure denotes the box and its location on the mile,
the third or more figures denotes the miles from the supplying post
office. Each mile is divided into four quarters for box designation,
those on the right have the odd figures 1, 3, 5, 7, and those on the
left even figures 2, 4, 6, and 8. If there is more than one box in
a quarter, the other boxes are given the first box number in that
quarter with the addition of a small letter _a_, _b_, _c_, _d_, etc.,
after the mile figure or figures. The patron if he lived at the first
quarter of a mile would be addressed--John Williams, Rayville, Ill.,
Rural Delivery 111. This would show that John Williams lives on rural
route number one, at the first quarter mile on the delivery part of
the route, and that it is the first box on the first mile. If he
lived on the second mile at the third quarter he would be addressed
Rural Delivery 152, and his box would be so numbered. If he lived on
the second mile at the second quarter, and on the left-hand side of
the road, his box number would be 142. Where automobile routes are
established a capital letter can be used instead of the first figure.
If it is desired, the section number can be used instead of the miles
figure or figures, and would then show where the patron lived in the
township.

[Illustration]

It is understood that the Department has under consideration the
question of locating the boxes on the right-hand side of the road for
the convenience of the carrier. The above system can be used whether
all the boxes are located on the right side of the road or not. The
question of entirely abandoning the practice of numbering boxes
is also being considered and if adopted, this suggested method of
additional identification would of course be useless. It is simply
mentioned here as an idea to aid in readily assorting mail in the
office and as a more complete method of identification than under the
present system. If the Department decides that the name of the owner on
the box is sufficient, this suggested new plan has no further value and
can be regarded as one of the many novel ideas in connection with the
rural service which come up from time to time.

It may, however, be said that a box once located and numbered always
retains its identity and no matter how many persons live at, or move to
or from that locality, the box number retains its identity the same as
a house retains its identity in a city.


Wireless Telephones in the Rural Service

From that memorable day in June, 1875, when Alexander Graham Bell
discovered a faint sound emanating from the curious little machine over
which three years of patient labor had been spent, until today, when
the world is debtor to this great man for one of the marvels of the
age, the telephone has been a constant wonder and especially so at this
time, when its adaptability for the common uses of life has made it of
value wherever civilization extends. Mr. Bell was a professor at Boston
University and his honors came to him at an early age, for he was but
twenty-nine when the patent that was to make him famous was granted by
the Government.

He exhibited his invention at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition
with but indifferent success; no attention was paid him until Dom
Pedro, Emperor of Brazil, a visitor at the fair, who knew the young
inventor, placed the receiver to his ear while Professor Bell, in an
adjoining room, spoke into it and, listening to it a moment, looked up
with the exclamation, “My God, it talks!” Recognition by the judges was
then hurriedly given and future success assured.

The fortieth anniversary of the award of this patent was fittingly
celebrated at the annual dinner of the National Geographic Society in
Willards Hotel, Washington, D. C., March 7, 1916. The account of what
occurred there, the splendid tributes paid to Professor Bell by the
distinguished men present, appears in the March number of the _National
Geographic Magazine_, 1916, and presents a story of achievement of
which every American can be justly proud, but is not a matter of pride
to American genius alone, but shared alike wherever men do homage to
intellectual worth and greatness.

But what of the future? Can the telephone be brought to still other
uses than already known? Can it be made adaptable for field use, for
rural purposes in the country districts of the United States? _The
Electrical Experimenter_, for April, 1917, discusses a practical
possibility in this direction, not for civil pursuits but for military
needs. It mentions a wireless telephone set, mounted on a motorcycle
for army purposes by means of radiophonic communication in connection
with a military aeroplane. This is of course intended for military
purposes only, but shows the great possibilities involved and
advantages that may follow fuller investigation of wireless methods.
All questions of wireless development for military needs, however, may
now be safely left in the hands of those directly concerned. Perhaps
the greatest interest centers at present in its possibilities in the
field of the rural delivery service where its successful introduction
would work a most tremendous change. If, for instance, it could be
used by a rural carrier, what a field of opportunity it would open in
connection with such service.

Is there a possibility of such accomplishments? It would seem that
there is from the investigation and discovery of a young electrician,
Earl Hanson, of Los Angeles, Cal. He recently demonstrated to the
mayor of Los Angeles and the president of the telephone company
that his apparatus could send music, talk of any kind, whispers and
signals without wires. His device is so light and small and yet so
effective that when attached to a bicycle used by a policeman, constant
communication could be maintained with the laboratory. One or one
thousand receivers can be attached, and each hears as distinctly as
if they were in the room from which the sounds proceeded. The only
explanation of this marvelous process given is that the inventor used
very low frequency wireless waves in a new way. The great drawback to
wireless telephony and telegraphy has always been that the air is one
great “line” and always busy. Hanson’s plan aims to overcome this, to
send messages though the air is split up around him by the operation of
other stations!

All this is wonderful and may require more demonstration to prove
its adaptability, but science is at work and it is not improbable
that wireless telephones for rural use and purpose may ere long be
successfully accomplished.

The Jasper, Fla., _News_, voices this prophetic hope in a well-written
article which recently appeared in that paper, and we take pleasure
in presenting that portion herewith as a compliment to editorial
enterprise and a far-seeing vision of coming events.

 “An improvement, which we confidently look forward to as being made in
 the not far distant future, will be the establishment of a wireless
 telephone system at every county seat in connection with the rural free
 delivery service.

 “By means of this wireless telephone, the carrier would be enabled to
 communicate with the post office from any point while serving his route,
 and the post office could call any carrier desired and deliver a message
 which the carrier would get without even stopping his automobile.

 “The advantage of an arrangement of this kind can be easily seen. The
 farmer could meet the mail at his number and over the wireless, could
 call a doctor, send a telegram, inquire about the market direct with
 the buyer, have Uncle Sam to run his errands, and many other things too
 numerous to mention.

 “Truly, we are living in a wonderful age, but more wonderful things are
 coming.”


Parcel Post Exhibits at County Fairs

One of the methods by which the Department is bringing the advantages
of the parcel post to the attention of the people of the United
States is by means of exhibits at State and county fairs and other
civic expositions. While there is no appropriation available for such
purpose, postmasters who are interested in this government experiment
to bring producer and consumer together and so reduce the cost of
living expense have shown such desire to aid in this matter and their
efforts have been so generally successful in this direction that
space has been freely given and great benefits have followed in all
communities where this plan has been tried.

From reports at hand it appears that ninety-four of such displays have
been held in various States and that thirty additional fairs were
yet to be held at which such parcel post exhibits were to be made a
special feature. By tens of thousands, both city and rural populations
have been afforded an opportunity to see working demonstrations of the
farm-to-table service and been enabled to profit thereby.

These exhibits are generally so instructive to the people, the farmers
so willing to show by card or samples of goods what they can furnish,
and the postmasters so ready to cooperate in every way to make these
postal exhibits a success by showing different styles of containers,
the best method of packing, etc., that no opportunity should be lost
where county fairs are held to secure space for such exhibits and
make the most creditable display possible. The postmasters are the
proper parties for carrying out the purposes of the Government in this
connection and the Department is anxious that such opportunities be
availed of that the advantages thus offered may be utilized to their
fullest extent.


The Great Express Service of the Government

The parcel post, the great express service of the Government, is now
used so generally and for so many purposes that the mention of some of
the things that are being shipped may be of interest. For instance,
at the Lincoln County fair at Merrill, Wis., some time ago, there was
an exhibit of a take-down house all the parts of which had been sent
to Merrill by parcel post. Indeed the shipment of lumber by parcel
post is not now an uncommon thing, due attention being paid to postal
requirements.

At Gridley, Cal., a patron entered the office with several small sacks
of some heavy material and asked to have them forwarded. The clerk
after weighing them regarded the sacks with some suspicion and upon
inquiry of the shipper learned that the sacks contained dirt, soil from
a farm, which he was sending to the State University for analysis.
Another patron appeared at the office in the morning with a package of
meat under his arm and posted the parcel to a family in Marysville,
Cal., remarking at the time that Mrs.---- ordered this meat for supper!

An enterprising farmer at Burke, Va., advises the Postmaster at
Washington, D. C., that he would kill a steer on December 1, and would
sell the cuts of meat at one-third less than Washington retail prices.
His offer was advertised in a farm list and in a parcel post trade
paper and before the steer was killed the meat had all been engaged.
The cuts were sent to the customers in market baskets and containers.
The farmer was offered $35 for the steer on the hoof, but realized $45
by individual sales and the hide paid for help in parting and dressing
for market. Orders came from Washington, Baltimore, and even from Long
Island, N. Y.

The postmaster of Denver, Colo., reported that on Thanksgiving Day,
1914, more than 1,000 perishable parcels, 80 per cent of which
contained turkeys, were received at the Denver office and delivered in
good condition.

The list of possible shipments of every conceivable kind and character
could be indefinitely extended, for it is known that the scope of
subjects that can be handled by the parcel post is practically
limitless and only awaits proper enterprise for productive profit to
those who will engage in it.

The parcel post is without question a great success. There is no other
measure of interest connected with the service which presents so many
economic possibilities. Its great advantage over the private carriers
is apparent and the benefits quickly seen in practical operation. The
United States mail goes everywhere throughout the length and breadth of
the country. Private expresses are governed by the avenues of profit.
The Government is not concerned about profit but regards service as of
paramount importance, hence it directs its activities to all regions
alike, going where there are no express offices or ever likely to be.
This is the great distinguishing feature of the parcel post and its
benefits as can be plainly seen, are chiefly for the rural sections
who would be denied these advantages were there no such service in
operation.

The whole effort of the parcel post aims to furnish an exceedingly
reasonable method of interchanging commodities between the farm and
city home, something which no private corporation has ever attempted or
would undertake to do, all such enterprises being purely for gain and
profit. The farmer can now find the opportunity he has been seeking. By
some little care and attention to the conditions that assure favorable
results, such as putting himself in touch with his customers, properly
packing and furnishing a good article at a reasonable price, he can
develop a profitable market for what he produces, reduce the cost of
living to others while reaping an advantage for himself.


The Telephone and Parcel Post in Cooperation

Elsewhere attention is called to the future possibilities of the
wireless telephone for rural uses, but in the meanwhile the many uses
to which the telephone can be put in the common affairs of life is
being industriously employed in all the rural sections of the country.
The farmers have learned to make daily use of this convenience and it
is doubtless employed to almost as great an extent there as in the
cities and commercial centers. The farmers wife can talk to the village
store, or the more ambitious establishments at the county seat, or
perhaps reach a neighboring city for her wants, and Uncle Sam is so
anxious to oblige her and has made such ample provision for the purpose
that her wants can receive instant attention and be promptly supplied,
a matter gratifying alike to the customer and the merchant as well.

It was altogether different before these conveniences were available.
It probably meant in those days a visit to the city or town, or if
the need was not pressing the friendly aid of neighborly interest and
concerns in seeing her wants supplied. In the hurry and rush of modern
life taking everything for granted and considering nothing uncommon, we
are apt to pay little heed to the many comforts we now enjoy, and of
which this Government provision for speedily supplying our wants and
needs forms no inconsiderable part.

The local merchant also comes in for his share of advantage to which
the telephone and parcel post so greatly contribute. The scope of his
patronage is now broadened and enlarged. One hundred and fifty miles
of territory have been added to and is now tributary to the field of
his industrial enterprise, and he can fairly compete with mail order
houses by the lower rates of postage within this zone--quite an item in
his favor--for it is practically a rate of 1 cent a pound or but little
more, which with some business ability and advertising push will give
him a field of opportunity wherein he can enter with every prospect of
at least an equal chance with any of his competitors.


Training Public Officials

The following editorial article from the Washington, D. C., _Post_,
while not relating to postal affairs particularly but treating of
the public service generally, has yet its peculiar significance to
postal affairs as 80 per cent of all public employees are in some way
connected with the postal service. This very thoughtful and clearly
expressed editorial contains so much of value upon a subject to which
but little attention has been given, that the matter may well occupy
a share of public concern in a country such as ours where so large a
proportion of its people occupy public position.

The _Post_ says:

 There has been a steady increase in the number and variety of Government
 activities. As industry has become more complex more Government
 agencies have been created for the purpose of regulation and control.
 Unfortunately, improvement in methods has not kept pace with the
 addition of new agencies.

 Touching upon this condition, Prof. Charles A. Beard, of Columbia
 University, supervisor of the training school for public service,
 recently asked:

 “How can we educate the public up to an appreciation of the necessity
 for trained and expert service in every branch of the Government? How
 can we order our public service so that it will attract the ablest men
 and women and guarantee progressive careers to those who prove loyal and
 efficient? How can we develop our civil service commissions into genuine
 recruiting agencies capable of supplying the Government with exactly the
 type of service needed for any given movement and of maintaining a loyal
 and efficient personnel?”

 If promotions were more certain in the Government service there would
 be no dearth of competent men to fill the places higher up. To solve
 this particular phase of the problem, however, it will be necessary to
 have the Government pay higher salaries. Better pay is now available
 in private industry than in the public service, and the Government has
 not yet reached the point where there is any general realization of the
 sound principle that it is better in the long run to pay high salaries
 to efficient men than to employ mediocre men at smaller salaries.

 The universities and colleges can do their part in training young men
 who seek elective offices, but a man well trained for office might lack
 the qualities which make for political success. Many foreign cities are
 run by experts. A large city frequently hires its chief executive from
 some neighboring town. A competent manager in a small city knows that
 he has an excellent chance of attracting attention by good work and
 getting a promotion. This system has been tried out in a small way in
 the United States, where a number of cities have hired managers to take
 full charge, with indifferent results. While progress toward efficiency
 is apt to be slow, the increased discussion of the problem is certain to
 bear good results eventually.


For the Benefit of the Fourth Class Postmaster

While the public concern has received the utmost attention, there are,
however, some questions of interest affecting the welfare of postal
employees which should be given consideration. It is but common justice
to consider the present method of payment to fourth-class postmasters,
for it allows them but small returns for their labor. If the same high
standard of efficiency is expected of them which should obtain in the
service generally, they should have their labor properly compensated.
At present the law restricts the salaries to be paid according to the
volume of outgoing mail at their office. The rural carrier who works
under the postmaster is under no such restrictions, is better paid,
and has more holiday privileges. The fourth-class postmaster may have
to work half days on holidays and Sundays and has no leave of absence.
The rural carrier has both. The position of postmaster may therefore
be said to be less desirable than that of the carrier, though his
official responsibility from the nature of his duties is greater. At
the recent State convention of third and fourth-class postmasters,
held at Sunbury, Pa., the question was brought up and a reform urged
in the matter. There is much to be said in favor of a more equitable
adjustment, and the subject can be approached without detriment to the
carrier by a wider and more comprehensive view of the duties of the
postmaster and a corresponding improvement in the method of payment.

The introduction of the parcel post as a great common carrier is
an added feature in connection with this subject. The fourth-class
postmaster receives much more mail than he sends out. This inequality
which affects his pay can be largely corrected if the postmasters in
cities would adopt some practical measures towards stimulating orders
from city patrons for farm produce which could be shipped by mail.
The organic act passed by Congress contemplated such advantageous
interchange for the benefit of the fourth-class postmaster as well
as the city consumer, and a steady and persistent effort in that
direction by the city postmasters would greatly assist in carrying
out the intention of Congress in this respect and popularize the plan
in the rural sections by the reciprocal advantages it would confer.
The fourth-class postmaster could, however, greatly benefit himself,
even under present methods, by making an earnest and industrious
effort to develop the parcel post idea in his community, embracing the
opportunities of his official relation to the service by encouraging
and taking an active part in every detail of postal management, of
which, just now, the parcel post is so conspicuous a feature and
whose more extended use among the people would so greatly advance his
official as well as his personal interest.


Public Work and Private Control

It is sometimes asked why the Post Office Department cannot be managed
as if it were in the hands of a private corporation. Many reasons might
be given, but a few will serve to explain the difference and perhaps
enlighten the public who may expect more than the Department can
perform.

In the first place, the service is throughout closely controlled by
Congress through its committee on Post Offices and Post Roads, and no
important variations in the system or the methods of administration
can be initiated without their concurrence, and even if any particular
or significant change is proposed by such committee, it is not always
possible to obtain full congressional consent. Differences between the
administrative heads of the Department and Congress as to the necessity
or advantage of certain plans or methods, are not uncommon, especially
when any proposed changes antagonize existing usage or clash with
party policy or expediency. When proposed changes invade the domain
where private enterprise has interests more or less valuable already
established, influence may be brought to bear to counteract the reforms
proposed, based on honest grounds of dissent as to the real benefit
or practical advantage to be gained by the adoption of such measures.
Unless it can then be shown that public interests would be benefited by
the changes proposed, the Department might have difficulty to overcome
this opposition.

In the next place, corporate control moves within narrower limits and
exercises its power in more direct fashion. In theory a corporation is
composed of its stockholders, a majority of whom nominate the board of
directors. This board in turn appoints the permanent officials and they
exercise full control in operation. Wide powers are given to these men
and the policies advanced for extending influence and gaining profit
are generally adopted. It is quite different dealing with Congress.
New policies are not always accepted, sometimes rejected or ignored.
It therefore follows that private concerns, having a freer hand and
no complicated management to contend with, can institute experiments
and try methods, and if well conceived, obtain results which a more
restricted authority could only perhaps with difficulty secure.

A striking contrast between public and private control is seen in
the appropriation system by which the Departments are governed.
Aside from the difficulty often experienced in securing additional
help when required, which would be readily given in great private
concerns because of expected advantages to follow, Department needs
are sometimes left unsupplied and the dispatch of business hindered by
delay in this respect, or in the installation of mechanical appliances
so generally used now, and which have in recent years to a very large
extent, taken the place of human agencies in the business world.

Perhaps one of the greatest difficulties which obtains in public work
aside from what has been already mentioned and which has hampered more
rapid progress in the Post Office Department, was the tendency and
practice to adhere to old-established rules and precedents. These lax
methods, which were particularly apparent in the business customs and
official procedure of the Department, were so firmly imbedded in its
official life that it required a firm hand and a positive purpose to
dislodge them. The present Postmaster General had both the courage and
the desire to sweep away these relics of a bygone period and substitute
newer and more suitable methods to meet progressive conditions and the
Department is now conducted as it should be, and public complaints
caused by these obsolete and unsuitable measures is now largely avoided.

These are some of the things that confront and have confronted the
Department in its efforts towards greater efficiency. Conditions must
be taken into account and understood. The Department must always be a
public function and under Government control and be conducted, more
or less, according to public usage. While red-tape rules and customs
will to some extent remain, great progress has been made in many
directions and public methods, by skilful management, brought nearer
to the successes of business life, and the time is near at hand when
the answer to the interrogatory first propounded, may be made in the
affirmative.


Protecting the Public Records

Among the many useful and necessary reforms accomplished by the
Postmaster General may be mentioned the institution of a hall of
records for the protection of the files and valuable papers which
belong to the Department. These records contain the history of postal
administration from the beginning and deserve the most careful
attention, not only on account of their sentimental but their
historical value as well. The rise and progress of this index to our
developing greatness in postal progress from the days of Benjamin
Franklin to our own times, is recorded in the volumes which form the
great official library of the Department. The opinions, acts and State
papers of every Postmaster General are found here and a complete
history of the whole postal administration could be compiled from these
records.

It is a matter of some surprise that preceding administrations paid so
little attention to the care and proper housing of these valuable files
and papers. For years they were stored in the garrets and attic of the
old Post Office Building, inconvenient of access, and so limited in
space that any semblance of order was next to impossible. Lying there
for years practically undisturbed, a prey to the ravages of dust and
decay, it is a wonder that they are in any condition of preservation
whatever. The traces of neglect and ill-usage has left its marks
visibly upon these old volumes, and but for the quality of the material
then used and the care in binding then demanded for public documents,
they would be of but little service now.

To Postmaster General Burleson belongs the credit of rescuing these
valuable archives of his Department from ultimate destruction.
Space was found on the first floor of the building for storage and
arrangement. A force of clerks from each Bureau was detailed for this
work. The books and papers were removed from the nooks and corners to
which they were relegated and under careful supervision located in the
place provided for them. Accumulations of dust brushed off, bundles
of documents neatly arranged and tied anew, frayed edges and loosened
covers attended to, and the more important historical records set
apart for rebinding when necessary. Protected now from danger, easy of
access and convenient for reference, with space and light to assist
in general preservation, these records can now be readily consulted,
time is saved in search and conditions in every way made serviceable
and satisfactory. With an elaborate and carefully devised system of
indexing, this official record is perhaps the most complete of any of
the Departments of the Government.


Registry, Insurance, and Collect-on-Delivery Services for the Fiscal
Year 1916

The number of pieces of mail registered, insured, and sent collect on
delivery during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1916, is shown in the
following statement:

            _Registered_                          1916
  Paid registrations:
      Domestic letters and parcels               29,091,506
      Foreign letters and parcels                 5,179,325
                                                 ----------
      Total paid registrations                   34,270,831
  Free registrations--official                    4,965,738
                                                 ----------
      Total paid and free                        39,236,569

  Amount collected for registry fees          $3,427,083.10

            _Insured_
  Fourth-class (domestic parcel post):
      Total pieces insured (3-, 5-, 10-,
        and 25-cent fees)                         24,936,082
      Total fees                               $1,067,192.29

            _Collect on Delivery_
  Fourth-class (domestic parcel post) pieces       6,300,546
      Fees                                       $630,054.60


Readjustment of Rate for Second-Class Mail

One of the vexatious problems with which the Department has to deal is
that relating to second-class mail matter which costs the Government
several times over what is received therefrom in the way of revenue.
In March, of 1911, Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing
the appointment of a commission to investigate the subject and make
a report thereon. The president selected Mr. Justice Hughes, of the
Supreme Court, President Lowell, of Harvard University, and Mr.
Harry A. Wheeler, of Chicago. This commission found that the cost to
the Government of handling and transporting this mail was about 6
cents a pound for which the Government received but 1 cent a pound.
The Department recommended an increase to 2 cents a pound which was
approved by the commission. February 22, 1912, the report was submitted
to Congress by the President, who urged favorable consideration, but
so far no action has been taken. Suggestions as to desirable changes
in relation to second-class mail matter have been made to Congress
by Postmaster General Burleson, in which several ideas as to a more
equitable arrangement were proposed, by which the Government would get
a compensation more nearly in accord with the expense of this service,
but without result, and the whole subject remains undisposed of with
the prevailing rate still in force. This class of mail increased
93,184,891 pounds over that of the year 1915, notwithstanding the
higher cost of paper and material. The readjustment of rates is held
to be necessary in view of the disproportion of revenue to the cost of
handling and transportation.

Postmaster General Charles Emory Smith in his annual report to Congress
in 1900, referring to the cost of carrying second-class mail matter as
hindering the progress of rural delivery extension, said:

 “In my last annual report it was shown that if a class of publications
 which now, under an evasion of the purpose of the law, pay the
 second-class rate of postage, were really made to pay the third-class
 rate, as they ought to do, it would bring an additional revenue to the
 Government of $12,343,612. This amount is lost through an abuse that can
 be and ought to be rectified. It is a public contribution without any
 public advantage for the sole benefit of a few private interests.... If
 it is a question between favoring a very limited number of publishers
 and favoring twenty-one millions of people who live on the farms of
 the United States, there ought to be no hesitation in serving the
 many rather than the few. The abuse should be uprooted as a public
 duty, the national delivery service should be undertaken as a public
 policy, and when through the overthrow of the wrong the right can be
 established without the slightest additional burden, the appeal becomes
 irresistible.”


Peculiar Customs of European Rural Delivery

Some years ago at the request of Postmaster General Gary, the Secretary
of State addressed a letter to each of our ambassadors and ministers
in Europe, asking for information touching the extent and character
of rural delivery in the countries to which they were accredited. In
the answers received it was shown, for example, that in Great Britain
there was substantially a house-to-house rural delivery, only the most
inaccessible domiciles being left unvisited. The English rural postman,
traveling chiefly on foot, walks from 15 to 18 miles a day, for an
average pay of 18 shillings, or $4.50 a week. A paternal government
provides him with a uniform, gives him $5 a year to buy shoes,
furnishes him medical attendance when sick, and permits him to retire
on a small pension after ten years of faithful service.

In France rural carriers, who also travel on foot, are paid a mileage
of 7¼ centimes a kilometer, or not quite 2½ cents a mile, for the
distance they cover. The average length of a route is from 10 to 15
miles, and they are required to cover it every day in the year, Sunday
included. They receive an allowance for clothing, and may retire on a
pension at the end of fifteen years. The service extends into every
commune, and practically all France is covered by rural free delivery.

In Germany the delivery of mails in remote rural districts is not
exactly free. Extra postage is charged, part of which goes to the
carrier and part to the government. The pay of carriers, outside
of this allowance, is from 700 to 900 marks a year, with 100 marks
additional for house rent (a German mark being equivalent to 24 cents
of our money).

In Austria-Hungary the rural carrier is hired by the postmaster of the
local office to which he is attached and paid by him. He is authorized
to collect a fee of half a cent on all letters and an eighth of a cent
on all newspapers delivered by him. His average pay is about $120 a
year. To earn this sum he travels 10 miles a day, always on foot.
Before he can enter upon his duties he has to make a deposit of $80
(or two-thirds of a year’s salary) with the postmaster as security for
carrying out his contract.

The Belgian rural carrier makes a daily round trip of 15 or 16 miles on
foot, and is paid a salary which varies according to the supposed cost
of living in the district where he serves, but which seldom exceeds
$250 a year. He is denied the right to vote, and prohibited from taking
part in politics.


What Was a Newspaper? Act of 1825

During the administration of Postmaster General Wickliffe of Kentucky
the question was raised what in the meaning of the postal law, Act of
1825, constitutes a newspaper. _The Shipping and Commercial List_ and
_New York Price Current_ claimed that it was a newspaper and entitled
to the newspaper rate. It had been so regarded prior to 1837, but
afterwards as subject to letter postage. The Postmaster General wanted
light upon the subject and the question was submitted to the Attorney
General, Hon. H. S. Legare for an opinion. As his spirited reply may
interest newspaper men of today as well as others, the principal parts
of the opinion are subjoined:

 “The only light, a very uncertain one, is the use of the word,
 ‘newspaper’ in common parlance or in the English Stamp Acts. According
 to the statute it must be (1) periodically published; (2) at intervals
 not exceeding two days; (3) must contain public news or remarks thereon;
 (4) that it contain not more than two sheets. Thus it may be admitted
 that the paper must be published at short intervals, but what is a short
 interval? There are many weekly newspapers, why not monthly? It may be
 doubted whether the intervals need be exactly stated. The passing events
 may be diversified according to the tastes, the fancies, the wants or
 convenience of mankind. The monthly catalogue of new publications will
 be of interest to a scholar, proceedings of tribunals to a lawyer,
 theaters or new fashions in dress to the idle and the gay, etc.,
 bulletins of battles to a soldier, price currents to a merchant, etc. A
 newspaper is more likely to please a majority of readers which meets all
 tastes. Why should a devout man be annoyed by puffs of opera dancers,
 members of a total abstinence society with tempting sales of wines and
 liquors, a plodding man of business with dissertations on books, or a
 bookish man with columns of business advertisements?”

The decision states in conclusion that “_The Shipping and Commercial
List_ to be treated as a newspaper must be sent open and without any
written signature or note.”


Women in the Post Office Department

The women of the United States owe an everlasting debt of gratitude
to Frances E. Spinner for opening to them the door of opportunity for
employment in the public service. Salmon P. Chase was Secretary of
the Treasury in the administration of President Lincoln and General
Spinner was the Treasurer of the United States. Many of the clerks of
the Treasury had joined the army, and General Spinner suggested to the
Secretary the employment of women in their stead. Though his suggestion
met with considerable opposition at the time, the wishes of General
Spinner finally prevailed, and Secretary Chase gave his consent to the
appointment of women, and the avenues of public employment were opened
to them.

Since that time the employment of women in the public service has
become general, and they may now be found in all the Departments, in
post offices and as mail carriers on the post roads of the United
States. The most recent register of employees in the Post Office
Department shows that it had upon its pay rolls for the Department
proper, sixty-two women receiving $1,200 per annum, thirty-two at
$1,400 per annum, ten at $1,600 per annum, three at $1,800, forty-three
at $1,000 per annum, besides many more at lesser salaries. The act of
General Spinner in opening the door of the public service to women
doubtless had its general effect in private employment as well, for
from the close of the Civil War the entrance of women into the business
relations of the country may be safely dated.

Many of the women in the Departments occupy positions of responsibility
and importance, and fill such positions with credit to themselves and
the service as well.


Railroad Accidents and the Construction of Mail Cars

There were 163 railroad accidents during the fiscal year, 1916, of
which 155 resulted in injuries to clerks, and eight, exclusive of those
in which clerks were injured, resulted in loss or damage to mail.

The following table shows the kind and construction of the mail cars in
which accidents to clerks occurred:

  -----------+----------+-------+---------+----------+---------+---------
  Kind of car| Number   | Number| Clerks  | Clerks   | Clerks  | Total
             | of cars  | of    | killed  | seriously| slightly| clerks
             | in       | clerks| or died | injured  | injured | injured
             | accidents| in    |   as    | in these | in these|   and
             |          | these | result  |  cars    |   cars  | killed
             |          | cars  |   of    |          |         | in these
             |          |       | injuries|          |         |  cars
  -----------+----------+-------+---------+----------+---------+---------
  Wood       |    57    |   76  |    1    |    18    |    42   |    61
  Wood-steel |          |       |         |          |         |
   reenforced|    18    |   25  |         |    12    |     9   |    21
  Steel      |    67    |  258  |    1    |    28    |    86   |   115
  Steel      |          |       |         |          |         |
   underframe|    22    |   57  |         |     9    |    21   |    30
             +----------+-------+---------+----------+---------+---------
  Total      |   164    |  416  |    2    |    67    |   158   |   227
  -----------+----------+-------+---------+----------+---------+---------


Public Ownership of Postal Telegraphs and Telephones

Opinion of Postmaster General Burleson

Postmaster General Burleson, in his annual report to Congress for 1916,
made the following statement regarding Postal Telegraphs and Telephones:

“As the former reports pointed out, the private ownership of telephone
and telegraph utilities places in private hands the control of
important vehicles for the transmission of intelligence, and therefore
infringes upon a function reserved by the Constitution to the National
Government. Operation of these facilities inherently as well as
constitutionally belongs to the Postal Service. Attention again is
called to the legal precedents and the attitude of former postmasters
general, as briefly stated in my report for 1914:

“That it has been the policy of this Government to ultimately acquire
and operate these electrical means of communication as postal
facilities, as is done by all the principal nations, the United States
alone excepted, is evidenced by the fact that the first telegraph line
in this country was maintained and operated as a part of the Postal
Service, and further by the Act of July 24, 1866, which provided for
the Government acquisition of the telegraph lines upon the payment of
an appraised valuation, and again by the act of 1902, which directed
the Postmaster General ‘to report to Congress the probable cost of
connecting a telegraph and telephone system with the Postal Service by
some feasible plan.’

“‘It is an interesting fact that, whereas policies of Government have
been advocated and some adopted, the constitutionality of which have
been seriously questioned, the principle of Government ownership and
control of the telegraph and telephone finds its greatest strength
in the Constitution. This opinion has been shared by practically all
Postmasters General of the United States, who have held that the
welfare and happiness of the nation depend upon the fullest utilization
of these agencies by the people, which can only be accomplished through
Government ownership.’”


Liquor Carried by the Mails

In view of the rapid spread of prohibition sentiment in the country
during the past few years, it may be of interest to know that the
activities then already apparent to check in every possible way
convenient access to this demoralizing evil, found in a limited sense
the aid and support of the Post Office Department.

There was a growing suspicion that traffic in the carrying of liquor
from one point to another on the lines of the star-route service
by carriers was being conducted, and this suspicion afterwards
developed into loud and persistent complaints which finally reached
the Department and attracted official attention. It was stated that
liquor was being conveyed by these carriers to points in local option
territory and even distributed among the Indians, a practice which the
Government was particularly anxious to prevent. The matter was finally
brought to the attention of Postmaster General Von Meyer who at once
took steps to interfere with this traffic. After some consultation as
to the best means of stamping out this evil, a clause was inserted
in the advertisement for star-route service and later embodied in
every contract upon which awards were made. This statement says: “It
is further agreed that the contractor or carrier shall not transport
intoxicating liquor from one point to another on this route while in
the performance of mail service.”

This positive Governmental interference with the traffic in liquor by
means of the mails may not be generally known, and it is mentioned here
that credit might be given to Postmaster General Von Meyer for an act
which destroyed a growing evil, covertly conducted, and put a stop to a
practice which was doing damage in a great many sections.

By Act approved March 3, 1917, providing for appropriations for the
Post Office, no letter, postal card, circular, newspaper, etc.,
containing any advertisement of spirituous, vinuous, malted, fermented
or other intoxicating liquor of any kind, or containing a solicitation
of an order for said liquors, shall be deposited in or carried by
the mails of the United States, or be delivered by any postmaster or
letter carrier addressed and directed to any person, firm, corporation
or association at any place or point in any State or territory of the
United States, at which it is by the law in force in such State and
Territory at that time unlawful to advertise or solicit orders for such
liquors or any of them respectively.


How the Post Office Department Helps the Farmer

Of all the great Executive Departments, the Post Office comes closest
to the people and is of particular interest to the farmer living
away from the great avenues of postal service supply. The Postmaster
General, from his service in Congress, where the needs of the farmer
are known, coupled with the opportunities of his present position,
was able to render him a great service, and that he has done so, that
his administration has shown his successful efforts in this direction
cannot be questioned nor denied.

The Parcel Post with all its beneficent possibilities and advantages
received early consideration. It meant so much to the farmer that
zealous and persistent attention was wisely directed to obtain the
utmost that could be accomplished. Weight limits were extended,
postage reduced by zone expansion, and the project put upon such
practical basis that great benefits are already assured and further
progress only waits legislative sanction. City and country are now
brought together. Suburban express, the result of motor service, gives
the farmer an easily reached and remunerative market and the consumer
finds upon his daily table the fresh products which this rapid means of
communication from the farm can so readily supply. The Parcel Post is
one of the most popular measures of this administration and everything
possible has been done to foster and perfect it.

The Rural Free Delivery with its millions of patrons, of which over
650,000 were added within the past three years, tells the story of
administrative accomplishment. The great success of rural delivery is
peculiarly the farmers triumph. He is now on a par with his neighbor in
the cities in all that enterprising postal service can give. Taken both
together, the widely admitted success of the Parcel Post as well as
the rural delivery, a chapter of achievement has been written of which
the Department is justly proud and against which criticism can find no
ground for righteous complaint.

But this is not all that this administration has done for the man in
the country. The energetic application of the experimental legislation
appropriating $500,000 for participation in the construction of
improved highways has brought forth an additional appropriation of
$75,000,000, which will be expended by the Federal Government, in
cooperation with the States, for the improvement of roads over which
mail delivery is performed, or on which it may be located hereafter.
The Rural Credit and Good Roads bills are subjects of profound
interest which even partisan prejudice cannot minimize or obscure.
The tremendous advantage which these two great measures afford the
farmer will be readily admitted and recognized when seen in practical
operation. The need of such beneficent help has long been felt and
these two bills should make the lot of the farmers much easier. They
have been getting reasonably good prices for their products and are
generally prosperous, but the fact remains that but few hold their land
free of incumbrance. Complete ownership will now be possible. With
federal aid to road construction and this new rural credits law, it
should not be long until the greatest prosperity the country sections
have ever known should be an accomplished fact.


Expediting the Mail on Star Routes

Attention is called elsewhere to the benefit of motor vehicle service
in rural delivery, and it is now proposed to introduce this advantage
in the star-route service as well. Until a short while ago there was
no authority for any particular form of conveyance to be used in this
connection. With the advent of automobiles and other motor vehicles, it
became evident that great opportunities presented themselves by which
the transportation of mails on this class of routes could be measurably
expedited and during the present administration the law was so amended
that the mode of transportation could be specified.

The demand of the day is for the rapid conveyance of mails in every
direction and people are no longer satisfied to put up with the
practices and methods of other days. That mails have been conveyed
in this service with “due celerity, certainty and security” was not
enough. Money is paid for service and the best that can be given is
required. So it was decided to expedite star-route service. While there
are a number of routes on which automobiles are now used in view of the
provision of law as covered by the order of the Postmaster General,
August 14, 1916, amending section No. 1424 to correspond with the law
as amended, steps are now being taken in connection with the award of
contracts for the four-year term beginning July 1, 1917, which includes
the contract section from Maine to West Virginia, to require the use of
motor vehicles wherever the importance of the route seemed to warrant
and weather conditions would permit the use of such conveyance. One
hundred and forty advertisements are now pending for such service in
this contract section.

This is going to be a great accommodation for all routes where such
service can be employed and will give the people the best mail
facilities that can be devised. It will hasten the receipt and dispatch
of mails by means of rural carrier connections, be of great advantage
to the business men along such routes, expedite newspaper delivery and
in many cases save twenty-four hours over the present method. Every
effort will be made to introduce this more rapid service as quickly and
widely as the laws will permit. If it is found to work well in this
first contract section where it is to be tried, it will be extended to
others in regular succession until the star-route service everywhere
has the benefit of this improved means of communication.


Abraham Lincoln Postmaster in 1837

So much has been said and written about Abraham Lincoln that it would
seem as if nothing new could be mentioned. In fact his history and
biography are as well known to the school children as that of George
Washington, but it is probably not generally known to the postmasters
of the country that he was at one time in the postal service as a
postmaster, and in a book devoted entirely to postal affairs it may be
of interest to state the fact that this additional incident in his life
and public career may be added to what is already known.

Mr. T. H. Bartlett, in the Boston _Transcript_, says:

 It will interest Lincoln lovers to learn that, as far as known, probably
 the first time that Abraham Lincoln’s name was mentioned in print was in
 the United States Biennial Register for 1837. It was in the Post Office
 Department, as “Postmaster at New Salem, Ill., Abraham Lincoln, 1 quar.,
 10-19-48.” The Register contained the names of every officer and employe
 for that year.

So people who keep scrap books in which to note peculiar events and
occurrences in the lives of great men may add this little item to their
collection, for everything connected with the life of Abraham Lincoln
is worthy of notice.


A Central Accounting Office for Each County

A very notable and far-reaching measure of public administration in the
conduct of the Post Office Department was enacted in the past session
of Congress by which, in order to promote economy in the distribution
of supplies and in auditing and accounting, the Postmaster General was
authorized to designate districts and central offices in such districts
through which supplies shall be distributed and accounts rendered. This
means in other words that one postmaster in a county is hereafter to
distribute supplies for the other post offices and render an account
to the auditor for all the offices in a certain county or district,
thus simplifying the whole subject and placing the business involved
at each of these offices under one central control. This is, however,
not to give such central office authority to abolish offices, to change
officers or employees in offices included in such district.

The law goes into effect July 1, 1917, and the Postmaster General will
appoint a committee, of which the First Assistant Postmaster General
will probably be chairman, to establish the system and select the
central office in each district or county to which the other offices
are to report, and under whose general control this plan is to be
conducted.


Millions of Money for Good Roads

That good roads are an important factor in the spread of civilization
is a statement which no one will dispute. Imperial Rome in the zenith
of its power perfectly understood this. The marvellous genius and
industry which constructed its great highways of commerce and travel,
works which have been the admiration of all succeeding ages, are yet
splendid even in their decaying greatness. Prescott, the historian,
in his romantic history of Peru, tells of the wonderful engineering
skill displayed in the reigns of the early Peruvian rulers in the
building of their great military roads, which served alike the purpose
of a peaceful people as well as the rapid assembling of its armies for
warlike action. No nation now neglects this very important part of its
economic life, and the United States having become a power in universal
civilization is fully alive to all the measureless advantages which
good roads afford.

Material prosperity waits upon road development and land values rise
in proportion to road improvement. A few striking instances may be
mentioned as illustrating this fact. _Wallace’s Farmer_ has stated that:

“In Franklin County, New York, where 24 miles of good roads have been
built, eight pieces of land selected at random increased 27.8 per
cent in value. In Lee County, Virginia, which built eighty-four miles
of roads, land advanced 25 per cent in value. Spottsylvania County,
in the same state, improved forty-one miles of roads, and the land
adjoining sold for $44.75 where previous to the improvement it had been
bought for just $20 less per acre. After Manatee County, Florida, had
constructed sixty-four miles of macadam and shell highway, the land
along the road increased more than $20 per acre in less than two years,
and the land a mile away from the road showed an increase of $10 an
acre. In Wood County, Ohio, where land has been drained and bounded by
limestone pikes, the values have risen from $70 to $250 per acre.”

The _New York Journal of Commerce_ says “there are few agencies that
are so fruitful of economic good, social and political solidarity,
and even national spirit.” The very great desire of the Post Office
Department to extend and improve the rural delivery service is an ever
present argument in favor of good roads, without which no extensions
or improvements are possible. The life of the country church, the
country school, the whole question of intensive and scientific farming
is involved in the subject of good roads, and in its wider and broader
aspect the question takes on a new and a very significient meaning.
Originally intended to promote and foster the arts of peace, military
needs now claim national attention. Quoting again from the _Journal of
Commerce_: “Mobilization, defense, and the transportation of troops,
munitions, and supplies, are in a large part dependent upon an adequate
system of highways, especially along the sea coasts and national
borders. The experience of all the warring nations of Europe in the
present conflict, are ample proof of this. Only the future will show
whether or not these objects have been kept in view when the national
appropriation is spent.”

The Government has set aside for the year ending June 30, 1919, the
sum of $14,550,000 as an apportionment to the States to aid in the
construction and maintenance of rural post roads in accordance with
the provision of the Federal aid roads law. $20,000,000 will be
apportioned for 1920, and $25,000,000 for 1921. This is the third
apportionment under the law, $4,850,000 having been apportioned for
1917 and $9,700,000 for 1918. The Bureau of Public Roads states that
the expenditures for road and bridge building in the United States have
increased from about $80,000,000 a year in 1904 to $282,000,000 in
1915, or more than 250 per cent.

These figures are as amazing as they are impressive, and they must
carry to the mind of the reader the solicitude of his government for
all that makes for national prosperity and advancement. There was a
time when good roads were a luxury and only a few States in the East
paid any attention to this question. With the advent of the automobile
came a great change. Rides for pleasure as well as for gainful pursuits
required better conditions, and for both purposes good roads became
everywhere a question of paramount importance. The farmer whose
improved surroundings permitted this now common luxury, wanted the
benefit of it, and the demand for better road conditions found its way
into the halls of legislation in the States, and in the Congress of
the Nation, and the answer to this demand upon the part of the Federal
government is the magnificent appropriation which is now available and
to be expended for this far reaching purpose.

Rural delivery in which the rural resident is so greatly interested
will profit most by this liberal government provision, it being
originally intended for post road purposes, of which rural delivery
is now the principal and most important part. The rural life of the
country is to be bettered in every way by the spread of this means
of postal communication. The Post Office Department is always ready
to listen to every suggestion which makes for greater comfort and
convenience in this direction, and to act promptly when resulting
advantages can be shown. Therefore, the sections where rural delivery
is not as fully introduced and developed as it might be, or inviting
fields for exploration and administrative action are not yet reached,
the people for whose benefit this money is to be used should get
in touch with the Department and bring to its attention whatever
information upon the subject they may possess which might be fashioned
into useful results. The Department has many eyes but cannot see all
and know all, and this is where outside assistance can be of great
advantage, and would be most gladly welcomed. Postal patrons are
the working partners of the Postmaster General in all that concerns
the improvement and extension of the service, and if they will take
the same active interest that he does and cooperate with the Fourth
Assistant Postmaster General, in whose Bureau this rural delivery work
is centered, great advances in all directions may be readily made.


$14,550,000 for Rural Post Roads

Apportionment to the States from government funds to aid in the
construction and maintenance of rural postroads in accordance with the
Federal aid roads law for the year ending June 30, 1919, is as follows:

  Alabama         $313,456      Ohio             558,043
  Arizona          205,540      Oklahoma         346,489
  Arkansas         250,018      Oregon           236,332
  California       456,167      Pennsylvania     690,145
  Colorado         257,278      Idaho            182,471
  Connecticut       92,216      Illinois         658,323
  Delaware          24,411      Indiana          406,230
  Florida          170,723      Iowa             434,653
  Georgia          403,909      Kansas           429,131
  Maryland         130,871      Kentucky         292,984
  Massachusetts    221,261      Louisiana        203,755
  Michigan         435,356      Maine            144,807
  Minnesota        425,865      Rhode Island      34,972
  Mississippi      268,751      South Carolina   215,014
  Missouri         508,603      South Dakota     243,175
  Montana          298,520      Tennessee        340,663
  Nebraska         319,445      Texas            876,986
  Nevada           193,229      Utah             170,763
  New Hampshire     62,610      Vermont           68,128
  New Jersey       177,357      Virginia         298,120
  New Mexico       238,634      Washington       216,530
  New York         749,674      West Virginia    159,713
  North Carolina   342,556      Wisconsin        382,707
  North Dakota     229,585      Wyoming          183,805


Mail Extensions by Air and Motor Truck Routes

As the result of a recent conference between Postmaster General
Burleson and Secretary of War Baker, and with the approval of the
President, Congress has been asked to authorize the Secretary of War
to turn over to the Post Office Department all military aeroplanes and
motor vehicles not serviceable for military purposes, or which after
the war may be dispensed with for military service.

As soon as any aeroplanes are turned over to the Post Office
Department, aeroplane mail routes will be established in the country,
as they now are in Italy and France.

Italy has an aerial mail route from her coast to Sardinia, and is able
to deliver 500 pounds of mail in two hours. France has a similar aerial
route between her coast and Corsica.

The motor trucks procured from the War Department at this time or
at the close of the war will be available for the parcel post truck
service. In the view of the Postmaster General, the operation of these
motor-truck routes would add 100 per cent to the value of the parcel
post service in the vicinity of the cities where established.

The cost of living will be reduced, it is stated, by eliminating
useless and expensive operation in the postal means of communication
between producer and consumer; will permit the producer to continue
production and the labor incident thereto, instead of suspending
production or labor while conveying produce to consumers, and will
extend the postal zone of collection-and-delivery service in the
vicinity of large cities to the point where the actual farmer-producer
is domiciled rather than where only suburban residents and nonproducers
live.


Care Required in Preparing Contracts

Among the most important duties which a postmaster is called upon to
perform is seeing that contracts for star-route service are properly
filled out before being sent to the department. These contracts are
of a legal nature and while the necessary provisions are plainly
stated and simple enough to be easily understood, extreme care must be
exercised to see that the instructions are complied with. Spaces for
the signatures of the contractor, the sureties and witnesses properly
filled out, dates given, names plainly written wherever required and
the contractor should personally examine the contract to see that all
this is carefully done. Failure to note these necessary details causes
the return of the contract for correction, delaying its acceptance
and imposing extra and unnecessary work upon the contract clerk. It
may also be stated that as failure to perform service on the part of
the contractor is liable to bring these contracts into courts of law
for judicial determination, it becomes of the highest importance that
nothing required to be done is omitted in preparation and the contract
be correct in form and in every particular.


Birthday of the American Postal Service

On the twenty-sixth of July, 1917, the postal service of the United
States can celebrate the one hundred and forty-third anniversary of
its establishment. It was on July 26, 1775, nearly a year before the
independence of the colonies was proclaimed, that the freedom of postal
affairs was made an accomplished fact. The British control had existed
for eighty-three years, from 1692 to 1775. There was only one line
then in existence along the coast with but few branches and those far
between. This service was first managed by private interests under a
patent from William and Mary, but afterwards directly by the English
crown. The fullness of time had at length arrived, had brought the
auspicious day, and postal independence was born!

Patriotic sentiment is not wanting in this country of ours, and the
flag is ever the object of sincere and heartfelt devotion. The great
strides in postal development from that day to this should make the
pulse of every citizen, particularly every postal employe, great or
small, quicken with civic pride as each successive anniversary of our
great postal establishment brings the date to mind. Postmasters might
well signalize the day by conspicious display of the flag under which
such tremendous progress has been made not only in postal affairs but
in national greatness and glory.


List of Postmasters General

  _Continental Congress_
                       Benjamin Franklin,    Pennsylvania,  July 26, 1775
                       Richard Bache,        Pennsylvania,  Nov. 7, 1776
                       Ebenezer Hazard,      New York,      Jan. 28, 1782

                                                               _Date of
  _Presidents_       _Postmasters General_     _State_       Appointment_
  Washington,          Samuel Osgood,        Massachusetts, Sept. 26, 1789
      ”                Timothy Pickering,    Pennsylvania,  Aug. 12, 1791
      ”                Joseph Habersham,     Georgia,       Feb. 25, 1795
  Jefferson,           Gideon Granger,       Connecticut,   Nov. 28, 1801
  Madison,             Return J. Meigs, Jr., Ohio,          April 11, 1814
  Monroe,              John McLean,          Ohio,          July 1, 1823
  Jackson,             Wm. T. Barry,         Kentucky,      April 6, 1829
    ”                  Amos Kendall,         Kentucky,      May 1, 1835
  Van Buren,           John M. Niles,        Connecticut,   May 26, 1840
  Harrison, W. H.,     Francis Granger,      New York,      Mar. 8, 1841
  Tyler,               Chas. A. Wickliffe,   Kentucky,      Oct. 13, 1841
  Polk,                Cave Johnson,         Tennessee,     Mar. 6, 1845
  Taylor,              Jacob Collamer,       Vermont,       Mar. 8, 1849
  Fillmore,            Nathan K. Hall,       New York,      July 23, 1850
     ”                 Samuel D. Hubbard,    Connecticut,   Sept. 14, 1852
  Pierce,              James Campbell,       Pennsylvania,  Mar. 7, 1853
  Buchanan,            Aaron V. Brown,       Tennessee,     Mar. 6, 1857
     ”                 Joseph Holt,          Kentucky,      Mar. 14, 1859
  Lincoln,             Horatio King,         Maine,         Feb. 12, 1861
    ”                  Montgomery Blair,     Dist. of Col.  Mar. 9, 1861
  Johnson,             Wm. Dennison,         Ohio,          Oct. 1, 1864
    ”                  Alex. W. Randall,     Wisconsin,     July 25, 1866
  Grant,               John A. J. Creswell,  Maryland,      Mar. 5, 1869
    ”                  Jas. W. Marshall,     New Jersey,    July 7, 1874
    ”                  Marshall Jewell,      Connecticut,   Sept. 1, 1875
    ”                  Jas. N. Tyner,        Indiana,       July 12, 1876
  Hayes,               D. M. Key,            Tennessee,     Mar. 13, 1877
    ”                  Horace Maynard,       Tennessee,     Aug. 25, 1880
  Garfield and Arthur, Thos. L. James,       New York,      Mar. 8, 1881
                 ”     T. O. Howe,           Wisconsin,     Jan. 5, 1882
                 ”     W. Q. Gresham,        Indiana,       April 11, 1883
                 ”     Frank Hatton,         Iowa,          Oct. 14, 1884
  Cleveland,           Wm. F. Vilas,         Wisconsin,     Mar. 7, 1885
      ”                Don M. Dickinson,     Michigan,      Jan. 17, 1888
  Harrison,            John Wanamaker,       Pennsylvania,  Mar. 6. 1889
  Cleveland,           Wilson S. Bissell,    New York,      Mar. 7, 1893
      ”                William L. Wilson,    West Virginia, April 4, 1895
  McKinley,            James A. Gary,        Maryland,      Mar. 6, 1897
     ”                 Charles Emory Smith,  Pennsylvania,  April 22, 1898
  Roosevelt,           Henry C. Payne,       Wisconsin,     Jan. 15, 1902
     ”                 Robert J. Wynne,      Pennsylvania,  Oct. 10, 1904
     ”                 Geo. B. Cortelyou,    New York,      Mar. 7, 1905
     ”                 Geo. Von L. Meyer,    Massachusetts, Mar. 4, 1907
  Taft,                Frank H. Hitchcock,   Massachusetts, Mar. 6, 1909
  Wilson,              Albert S. Burleson,   Texas,         Mar. 5, 1913



CHAPTER V

Miscellaneous Matters


General and Financial Summary

  _Revenue_:
    Entire receipts, 1916                                $312,057,688.83
    Ordinary postal revenues                              303,232,143.36
    From money order business                               8,130,545.47
    Postal savings                                            695,000.00

  _Expenditures_:
    On account of current year, 1916                     $297,637,128.87
    On account of previous years                            8,566,904.27
                                                         ———————————————
      Total expenditure                                  $306,204,033.14
    Excess of revenue over expenditure, 1916                5,853,655.69

  _Rural free delivery_, 1916:
    Cost per patron, 1915                                         $2,060
    Cost per patron, 1916                                          1,966
    Annual cost, 1916                                      51,715,616.00

  _City delivery_, 1916, 34,000 _carriers_:
    City delivery, cost of, 1916                             $43,000,000
    Cost per capita (estimated)                                     1.75

  _Star route_, 1916:
    Annual cost                                            $7,726,975.00

  _Postal savings_:
    Number of depositors, 1916                                   602,937
    Balance to credit of depositors, 1916                 $86,019,885.00

  _Money orders_:
    Orders issued, 1916                                      121,636,818
    Amount                                               $719,364,950.46

  _Stamp books_:
    Number issued, 1916                                       28,005,930

  _Postal cards_:
    Number issued, 1916                                    1,047,894,800
    Value                                                 $10,784,307.00

  _Dead letters_:
    Letter and parcels received, 1916                         10,839,890
    Money value found in undelivered letters               $2,303,119.56
    Net revenue from sale of undeliverable articles           $53,665.69

  _Mail bags_, 1916:
    Number pouches available                                     600,000
    Number sacks available                                     4,000,000
    Cost of pouches                                                $0.70
    Cost of catcher pouches                                          .80

  _Mail locks_, 1916:
    Number general mail locks in use                          1,000,000
    Cost, each 8½ cents; to repair, 3 cents

  _Division of supplies_:
    Appropriation, blanks, stationery, etc., 1916         $2,500,000.00

  _Special delivery_:
    Amount expended for service, 1916                       $633,713.21
    Number of pieces delivered yearly                        32,000,000

  _Railway mail service_, 1916:
    Number of clerks                                             19,000
    Number of mail routes                                         3,500
    Salaries paid                                        $26,000,000.00
    Correct handling of mail                            99.984 per cent
    Cost of transportation                                  $57,900,000

  _Star routes_:
    Number, 1916                                                 11,187
    Length of miles                                             147,167
    Average cost per mile, length                                $54.16
    Average cost per mile of travel                             $0.1026
    Annual cost                                           $7,726,975.00
    Routes on which there is found rate service                     195
    Number pounds carried, 1917                              23,411,604
    Cost                                                    $280,738.08
    Cost per hundred pounds                                       $1.20
    Number of Star routes discontinued on account
of rural delivery service from Jan., 1904, to
June, 1917                                                  7,450
    Cost                                                     $2,577,728
    Length in miles                                              72,340

                                          1900                 1917
    Number of routes                    22,834              11,208
    Cost mile of length                 $19.02               $54.56
    Cost mile of travel                   3.83 cents        10.24 cents
    Cost per route                      $224.81           $723.00

  _Registration and insurance_:
    Total registration, paid and free                        39,236,569
    Amount collected fees                                 $3,427,053.10
    Insured parcel post, total pieces                        24,936,082
    Total fees                                            $1,067,192.29
    C. O. D. pieces                                           6,300,546
    Fees                                                    $630,054.60


Items of General Interest

Statistics show that although 70 per cent of parcel post matter comes
from the fifty largest cities of the country, these cities only receive
17 per cent of parcels for delivery. The smaller post offices which
receive 65 per cent of the parcels, dispatch only 9½ per cent.

       *       *       *       *       *

The annual readjustment of the salaries of presidential postmasters,
will, according to the provisions in the postal appropriation bill
for 1917, be based on the gross receipts for the four quarters ending
December 31, instead of March 31, as heretofore.

       *       *       *       *       *

Eligibles for fourth-class postmaster places are selected in the order
of their civil service rating unless good and sufficient reasons to the
contrary are submitted to the Department. Of 32,000 of such eligibles,
89.5 of those whose names appeared first on the list were appointed. In
8 per cent the second highest were selected, and in 2.5 per cent, the
third.

       *       *       *       *       *

The number of postmasters in the United States are, according to
classes, 567 in the first, 2,211 in the second, 6,414 in the third, and
46,742 in the fourth class. Total, 55,934.

       *       *       *       *       *

Custer County, Montana, has one of the longest mail routes in the
United States. This line runs from Miles City to Stacey, Olive,
Broaddus, Boyer, Graham, and Biddle. It is said to be 126 miles long
and some contend that it is longer.

       *       *       *       *       *

The longest star route in the United States is from Helper to Vernal,
Utah, 116 miles, and the price the Government pays is $38,678.70 per
annum. The longest route in Alaska, is overland, Barrow to Kotzbue, 650
miles. The shortest route is in Pennsylvania, from Keiser to Natalie,
65/100. There is one route in New York, Delhi to Bloomville, 8 miles
and back, twelve times a week, for which the contractor receives but 1
cent per annum, no doubt considering the advantage of carrying the mail
as a sufficient compensation for taking the job at such a rate.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are 3,010 counties in the United States, 984 have rural service
and steps are being taken to see what can be done with the remainder,
though any considerable progress in such direction must be slow as a
great deal of preliminary work must be done before any real action can
be taken.

       *       *       *       *       *

That fractions count in a great business organization such as the Post
Office Department, will be seen when it is stated that postmasters
during the year, 1916, accounted for a total of $131,625.90, arising
from gains in fractions of a cent where stamped envelopes and wrappers
were sold in odd quantities.

       *       *       *       *       *

The annual per capita of expenditure for postage in the United States
has increased since 1912 from $2.58 to $3.04, and the gross postal
revenue from $246,744,015 to $312,057,688. In the fiscal year of 1857,
the first full year in which prepayment of postage by means of stamps
was compulsory under the Act of March 3, 1855, the per capita use of
stamps was but 19 cents. The increase of population in this period has
been 257 per cent. Of postage stamp consumption 4,968 per cent.

       *       *       *       *       *

The sales of postage stamps and other stamped paper for the fiscal year
1916 aggregated $277,728,025.20, an increase of $21,521,481.49, the
greatest sales and the largest increase ever recorded, exceeding the
entire sales of the fiscal year 1873, which amounted to $20,324,817.50.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Post Office Department was removed to Washington, D. C., first
Monday in December, 1800, the seat of Government being changed to the
District of Columbia at that time.

       *       *       *       *       *

Over 100 years ago the question of patronage was already a disturbing
feature in the management of public affairs. Gideon Granger, of
Connecticut, Postmaster General in 1814, who had been an active and
efficient official in the administration of President Madison, lost his
place on account of some disagreement with the President, regarding the
appointment of postmasters. It is not clear whether he resigned or was
displaced, but the differences of opinion with President Madison led to
his retirement from the service.

       *       *       *       *       *

Joseph Habersham, of Georgia, Postmaster General in the administration
of General Washington, 1795, was the first one of the long line of
Postmasters General to sit in the Capital of the Nation, he coming to
Washington when the seat of Government was established there in the
year 1800.

       *       *       *       *       *

Post route and rural delivery maps made by the Government are on a
scale of 1 inch to the mile. These maps show all public roads, rural
routes, school houses, churches, streams, etc., and negative prints can
be purchased at 35 cents each by application to the Third Assistant
Postmaster General.

       *       *       *       *       *

The number of claims filed with the Solicitor for the Post Office
Department in 1916, for the value of postage stamps lost by burglary of
post offices, was 690, amounting to $144,440.54, as compared with 720
claims, amounting to $197,011.88, filed in 1915. It will be seen that
while the number of claims is approximately the same, the amount is
$52,571.34 less.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was the custom in 1857 and prior thereto, to publish the names of
the postmasters in connection with the post offices as is indicated
by an old Postal Guide published by D. D. T. Leech at that time. This
was then easily enough done, for the offices then numbered but 13,600
and changes were not as frequent as at present. The First Assistant
Postmaster General had in his Bureau 18 clerks, the Second Assistant,
26, the Third Assistant, 25, and the Chief Clerk of the Department, who
had charge of the Inspection Service, had 18. There were then but 11
distributing offices in all of New England including Pennsylvania, 8 in
Virginia, and the Carolinas, 3 in Georgia, 4 in Ohio, 2 in Illinois,
Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana,
Arkansas, and Iowa, and 1 each in Maryland, Michigan, Indiana, Texas,
and California. Aaron V. Brown, of Tennessee, was the Postmaster
General. The abbreviation for Massachusetts was then “M.S.” as is seen
by an old dating stamp of that period.

       *       *       *       *       *

In 1868 money orders were issued at the rate of 10 cents for all
orders not exceeding $20. By act approved June 8, 1872, the rate was
reduced to 5 cents for all orders not exceeding $10. By this change
the Government lost, in the two succeeding years on account of this
reduction, 2.84/100 on every order issued on the 5-cent basis, showing
that such rate at that time was too low.

       *       *       *       *       *

There were 2,405 rural carriers separated from the service during the
year 1915, of which number 1,228 resigned, 232 died, and 618 were
removed. In 1916, there were 2,602 changes, 1,844 carriers resigned,
208 died and 550 were removed.

       *       *       *       *       *

Almost the entire expense incident to the operation of the rural mail
service is in the compensation paid to carriers. On account of their
unusual duties, which include the sale of stamps and stamped paper,
registration of mail, transaction of money-order business, etc., duties
not required of city delivery carriers, it is stated that carriers
maintaining a motor vehicle of the capacity required by the Department,
who work eight hours a day and carry perhaps as much as 50,000 pieces
of mail a month, should receive not less than $2,000 per annum.

       *       *       *       *       *

The total number of miles of railroad in the United States in 1830
was 23, and 634 miles in 1834, on which mail covering 78 miles, was
carried. In 1844 the mileage had increased to 4,377 and mail carried
on 3,714 miles. In 1854 the mileage was 16,720, in 1864, 35,085, in
1874, 70,278, and in 1882, 104,813, with corresponding increase of mail
carriage. There are now 3,479 railroad mail routes with a length in
miles of 234,175.13 and an annual travel of 502,937,359.43 miles.

       *       *       *       *       *

The decision of President Wilson to place all postmasters of the
country under the civil service law will take away $16,587,300 of
public patronage from the customary method of disposal. At the first
of the year there were 567 first-class offices in the country paying
salaries ranging from $3,000 to $8,000, or a total of $2,014,300.
Included in this list were the post offices in New York, Chicago, St.
Louis, Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Indianapolis,
Kansas City, Detroit, Cleveland, Toledo Columbus, Atlanta, and other
large cities. There were 2,213 second-class offices, salaries ranging
from $2,000 to $2,900, or a total of $5,235,500. Third-class, 7,437
paying from $1,000 to $1,900 yearly, or a total of $9,337,500.
Fourth-class postmasters are already under the civil service law.

       *       *       *       *       *

From 1816 to 1845, a letter carried not over 30 miles paid 6¼ cents,
over 80 and under 150 miles, paid 12½ cents, and if the letter weighed
an ounce, four times these rates were charged. In 1851 the 3-cent rate
was reached for distances less than 3,000 miles, and in 1853 distance
limit was abolished and the rate made uniform. This system led to a
deficiency in 1860 amounting to over $10,000,000. The restriction of
service during the Civil War, it being then confined to the densely
populated States of the north, allowed a surplus to appear amounting
in 1863 to $2,800,000. After the war, deficiencies became the rule for
many years, diminishing, however, from year to year as the country
became more thickly settled.

       *       *       *       *       *

By official order it is stated that the Department commends and will
give record credit marks to rural carriers whose efforts result in
greater quantities of farm products being transported through the mails.

       *       *       *       *       *

Notwithstanding the growth of the service together with the added
work of the postal savings system and the parcel post, the Department
service in Washington has been reduced by 200, with a resultant saving
of over $166,000 per annum because of the adoption of methods of
operation which develop efficiency, and permit the changes so necessary
to progressive improvement.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is estimated that the cost of extending rural free delivery service
throughout the entire country will be $100,000,000, additional. This
seems like a vast sum for one form of public service, but country-wide
extension is also a vast proposition and its benefits would be so
immeasurably great if it could be accomplished, that the nation might
consider the money well spent for such a purpose.

       *       *       *       *       *

It may not be generally known that fully 80 per cent of all civil
service employees of the Government are in one way and another
connected with the postal service. This shows how vast and widely
extended this service must be and how intimately connected with the
public welfare.

       *       *       *       *       *

The objectionable use to which window-delivery service in the cities
of the country may be subjected, has led to an active and vigorous
campaign by the Department to check the possibility of making this
public accommodation a channel for unworthy purposes, and this active
effort has, it is believed, been productive of great good in such
direction.

       *       *       *       *       *

The danger to life and limb by service in postal cars, to which
attention is called elsewhere, has led to increased effort to provide
cars of all-steel construction for better protection in this naturally
hazardous service. One thousand of this pattern have within a recent
period been added to those already in use and a liability law enacted
for the relief of employes. The risks which must be taken in this
service demand that the best possible protection that can be given
should be afforded that the dangers of the rail may be lessened to the
least degree.

       *       *       *       *       *

The mails of the United States were first carried on steamboats from
one post town to another in 1813, the Government paying not over 3
cents for each letter and 1 cent for newspapers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Railroads were declared post routes by act of Congress in July, 1838,
and the mails carried thereon.

       *       *       *       *       *

This administration is certainly doing all it can to save money in
various directions. An opportunity was presented in the motors returned
to the Department for repair. These motors have been neglected in many
instances through indifference or lack of mechanical knowledge on the
part of postal employes. Each returned motor is now given careful
examination by an expert electrician and from the knowledge thus
gained, additional instructions as to proper handling of this class of
equipment will be sent out. The same is true of old cancelling machines
which have lain idle for a number of years but by the adoption of newly
designed mechanical attachments have been converted into serviceable
equipment at a nominal cost.

       *       *       *       *       *

The increase in expenditure for rural delivery by periods was as
follows: 1897, first year, $14,840. Third year, 1900, increased to
$420,433. In 1905, to $20,864,885. In 1910, to $36,914,769, and in 1916
to $51,715,616.

       *       *       *       *       *

Revision of the rural delivery service to eliminate duplication,
unnecessary retracing and unjustifiable special facilities was
conducted in 329 counties in twenty-nine States during the fiscal year
of 1916, at a reduction in cost of $1,359,162. This saving with that
made in readjustments in the fiscal year of 1915, made it possible
to grant all applications for new service and extensions where the
requirements have been met. It is estimated that the whole territory
now covered by rural service, with such necessary revision, could be
operated at a reduction in cost of $3,500,000.

       *       *       *       *       *

The commercial shortage in the paper industry is being to some extent
remedied, at least so far as the Post Office Department can aid and
assist, by urging the cooperation of every employe in the conservation
of the waste paper in all of the larger post offices of the country.
Paper-baling machines are now supplied to the postmasters for this
purpose, which not only contributes to economy in use and adds to
the visible supply, but is a matter of revenue as well, for what was
formerly regarded as waste, and destroyed, is now made a matter of
profit.

       *       *       *       *       *

The numberless curiosities gathered from unmailable and unreclaimed
articles which found their way into the Dead Letter Office from time
to time, together with the many articles of postal interest to those
who delight in antiquities--the old mail coaches used in the west, the
dog sledges used in the Alaskan service, the carriers in uniform of all
nations and the many features of interest too tedious to enumerate here
and which formed a veritable collection of postal wonders and delighted
thousands of people when gathered for display purposes on the first
floor of the Post Office Department are now, in part at least, in the
National Museum at Washington and are well worthy a visit when people
come to the Capital City on a sight-seeing tour.

       *       *       *       *       *

The period of greatest activity in extension and general progress of
Rural Delivery was from 1900 to 1905, the appropriations running from
$450,000 in 1900 to $21,116,000 in 1905. On February 1, 1902, the rural
letter carriers were placed under the civil service by executive order.

       *       *       *       *       *

Salary increases in the Rural Delivery service have been as follows:
August 1, 1897, $300; July 1, 1898, $400; July 1, 1900, $500; March
1, 1902, $600; July 1, 1904, $720; July 1, 1907, $900; July 1, 1911,
$1,000; September 30, 1912, $1,100; July 1, 1914, $1,200.


Some Old Laws and Regulations

 NOTE.--In some old postal publications dating back to 1843 and 1857, a
 number of curious laws and regulations appear which may be of interest
 to people who delight in antiquarian research. Where no date or Act of
 Congress is mentioned in the paragraphs following, they refer to laws or
 regulations prior to 1843 or between that date and 1857. These items are
 published simply as indicating the peculiar views and opinions of the
 time, and are not to be taken as an official guide for the present day,
 for changes may have been made in some cases, amendments in others, some
 superseded by later enactment and all more or less affected by later
 conditions and needs. No attention can therefore be given them except
 as phases of other days, unless indeed existing laws and regulations
 make them, or some of them still operative and in force, which may be
 determined by consulting the laws and regulations of today.

       *       *       *       *       *

To Senators and Members of Congress, the franking privilege was
originally limited to 2 ounces in weight, excess to be paid for. Act of
March 3, 1825.

       *       *       *       *       *

The sum of 4 cents was allowed for advertising each letter remaining
unclaimed in a post office if published in more than one newspaper.
Section 35, Act July 2, 1836, Act of 1825, Section 26, allowed but 2
cents for each letter, published three times.

       *       *       *       *       *

Newspaper publishers could have printed or written notice sent to
subscribers stating the amount due on subscription, which shall be
attached to paper and the postmaster shall charge for such notice the
same postage as for a newspaper. Act of 1825.

       *       *       *       *       *

No ship or vessel arriving at any port in the United States shall make
entry or break bulk until the mails are delivered to the postmaster by
the master of such ship or vessel. Penalty was $100. Act of 1825.

       *       *       *       *       *

Section 1, Act of March 2, 1847, permitted deputy postmasters whose
compensation for last preceding year did not exceed $200 to send
letters written by himself, and to receive through the mail written
communications addressed to himself in his private business which shall
not exceed ½ ounce, free of postage. Regulation 293, allowed every
deputy postmaster to frank and receive free all his letters, public and
private, subject to the ½-ounce weight. This privilege did not extend
to his wife or any other member of the family.

       *       *       *       *       *

Paid letters might be forwarded by private opportunity to places where
no post offices were established.

       *       *       *       *       *

Postmasters were not allowed to give credit for postage, but if it was
done, letters addressed to such persons on which postage was paid or
tendered by him could not be detained.

       *       *       *       *       *

Act of August 31, 1852, allowed letters enclosed in _stamped envelopes_
to be sent out of the mail.

       *       *       *       *       *

By joint resolution of February 20, 1845, the Postmaster General could
make contracts with railroads for carrying the mail without advertising
for bids as was then the custom.

       *       *       *       *       *

The postmaster, or one of his assistants, was required, before office
was swept or otherwise cleaned of rubbish, to collect and examine all
waste paper in order to guard against possibility of loss of letters
or mail matter by falling to the floor or mingling with waste paper.
Observance of rule was strictly enjoined, its violation constituted a
grave offense. They were also admonished in mailing letters or packets
to use all wrapping paper fit to be used again, and the sale of such
paper was strictly forbidden.

       *       *       *       *       *

As late as 1843, postmasters were officially known as “Deputy”
postmasters following the old custom from the beginning.

       *       *       *       *       *

If a newspaper began to arrive at the office in the course of the post
office quarter, deputy postmasters should demand postage in advance of
the subscriber up to the end of that quarter. At the end of a quarter,
they might refund postage on so many of the newspapers as had not
arrived during the quarter. Advance payment of postage was invariably
demanded and unless complied with no papers should be delivered even
though the postage was tendered on them singly. (Act, 1825.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Carriers were required to receive and convey a letter (and the money
for its postage when tendered) if delivered more than a mile from a
post office and to hand it with the money, if paid, into the first post
office at which carrier arrived. A penalty of $50 attached on failure
to do so. (Act of 1825).

       *       *       *       *       *

Postmasters were forbidden to show any preference between one person
and another in the arrival or delivery of mail by the unlawful
detention of any letters, packages, pamphlet or newspaper. A fine not
exceeding $500 was the penalty and the person was forever prohibited
from serving as postmaster. (Act of July 2, 1836.)

       *       *       *       *       *

A ferryman who by wilful neglect or refusal to transport mail across
a ferry thereby delaying the same, was to be fined $10 for every ten
minutes of such delay. (Act of March 3, 1825.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter carriers employed at such post offices as the Postmaster
General may direct, were allowed to collect 2 cents for each letter
they delivered. For letters lodged at the post office by direction
of the individual, the postmaster was to receive 1 cent; newspapers
and pamphlets ½ cent; letters received by carrier for deposit in a
post office, 2 cents, to be paid to the postmaster for a fund for
compensation of carriers. This was known as the “penny post” and was in
vogue until the day of free delivery.

       *       *       *       *       *

Section 38, Act of March 3, 1825, provided that: Any person confined
in jail on any judgment in a civil case obtained in behalf of the Post
Office Department, who makes affidavit that he has a claim against the
General Post Office, not allowed by the Postmaster General, and shall
specify such claim in the affidavit, that he could not be prepared for
trial by lack of evidence, the court being satisfied in those respects,
may be granted a continuance by the court until the next term, and
the Postmaster General authorized to have such party discharged from
imprisonment if he has no property, of any description, but such
release shall not bar a subsequent execution against the property of
the defendant.

       *       *       *       *       *

A postmaster was not allowed to receive free of postage, or frank any
letter or packet, composed of, or containing anything other than paper
or money. (Sec. 36; Act of July 2, 1836.)

       *       *       *       *       *

According to the Postal Laws and Regulations of 1843, only a free
white person could carry the mail and any contractor who employed or
permitted any other than a free white person to convey mail was subject
to a penalty of $20.

       *       *       *       *       *

At post offices where the mail arrived between 9.00 o’clock at night
and 5.00 in the morning, the postmaster was allowed a commission not
to exceed 50 per cent on the first $100 collected in any one quarter
(Act of March 3, 1825), but the commission was afterwards increased
to 70 per cent. (Act of June 22, 1854.) No allowance on this account
was, however, to be made unless accompanied by a certificate signed by
postmaster upon a prescribed form.

       *       *       *       *       *

Post riders and other carriers of mail collecting way letters on which
postage had been paid, were allowed 1 cent each for such service by the
postmaster when such letters were delivered at the post office.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Express mail service” could be established by the Postmaster General
if deemed expedient, for the purpose of conveying slips from newspapers
in lieu of exchanges, or letters, except such as contained money, not
exceeding ½ ounce in weight, and public dispatches, marked as above, at
triple rates of postage.

       *       *       *       *       *

Employment of extra clerks was permitted and authorized when actually
needed to answer some information called for by Congress. Copyists,
etc., were paid at the rate of $3 a day; other service $4 when actually
and necessarily employed. (Act of August 26, 1842.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Section 442, Chapter 60, says: “Every deputy postmaster will consider
himself the Sentinel of the Department in regard to its affairs in
his immediate vicinity; and he will carefully observe and promptly
report to it everything tending to affect its interests or injure its
reputation.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Section 445 says: “If a mail carrier having the mail in charge becomes
intoxicated, the Deputy Postmaster will instantly dismiss him, employ
another at the expense of the contractor and report the facts to the
Department.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Section 382, Chapter 53. “Deputy postmasters are in the habit of
settling their printer’s bills only once in two or three years and then
forwarding the advertising account for several quarters at once. This
must not be done. All such accounts must be forwarded with the returns
to which they belong.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Section 379. “No allowance for furniture will be made to any post
office when the net proceeds do not amount to $20 per year.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Act of 1825, Section 39, and Act of 1863, Section 41, says the carriers
of the “United States City Dispatch Post” in New York, and other city
dispatch posts, wherever established, are authorized to charge and
collect 3 cents on each letter deposited in any part of the city, and
delivered at another.

       *       *       *       *       *

Act of 1825, Section 38, states a deputy postmaster will not open, nor
suffer to be opened, any packet of newspapers, not addressed to his
office, under a penalty of $50. A penalty of $20 was to be imposed on
any person not authorized to open mails, who shall open any packet of
newspapers not directed to himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

Regulations 324 and 325 says that the franking privilege travels with
the person possessing it and can be exercised in but one place at
the same time, and prohibited deputy postmasters or other privileged
persons from leaving their frank behind them upon envelopes to cover
public or private correspondence in their absence.


Queer Collection in Holiday Mail

Some years ago, the Cincinnati, Ohio, post office, gave an account
of the queer combinations and collections of articles found loose
in the mails at the Christmas season owing to the carelessness of
senders. These articles vary from value to worthlessness, utility to
uselessness. Money, jewelry, articles of dress, dainty ribbons to
choice silk patters, tableware, and even to “corn shellers.” Many of
the articles named were doubtless in combinations and sent to one
address, but being carelessly wrapped or addressed, they could not be
assembled for identification or identified singly for delivery in the
great majority of cases. The list is given for the benefit of readers
who delight in curious things. These articles were held for a week for
possible identification and then sent to the Dead Letter Office. No
attempt has been made at classification as more interest is excited by
taking them as they come. Some of the combination must have been very
amusing. List is as follows:

A cabinet photograph, pair rubber sleeves, 2 silver quarter-dollars,
sewing machine shuttle, piece of white swiss goods, 2 dimes, a brass
key, package common tea spoons, 5 cents and 8 childs’ cards from
Beamsville, Ont., for Mrs. J. Carl, Tallahassee, Ala., and sent to the
postmaster of that place for delivery. Two unstamped letters, one to
Mrs. Rebecca Washington, the other to Wm. Cummings; 65 cents, plated
butter knife, gold plated lead pencil, silver quarter, 2 combination
tools, 2 pen knives, lot photographs, pension affidavit of Jasper
Acres, pair knit stockings, 6 books, false mustaches, pearl pen holder,
box of pills, patent corn sheller, 2 electrotype plates of “Sellers
Cough Syrup,” yellow and purple knit hoods. Christmas cards, studs,
2 small drills, peacock feather, fountain pen, ladies brooch, butter
knife, felt soles, letter in match box addressed to postmaster Berlin,
sugarspoon, celluloid, ring, sleeve buttons, 25 cents, hair switch,
open letter to J. Lyon, Red, Ky., Ind., which was delivered to him.

Two pen knives, dime, box violin strings, ladies fashion bazaar,
bottle “Fruit Laxative,” plain gold ring, ear rings, breast pin, and
thimble (snide), paper needles, book “Bad Boy’s diary,” pencil, large
pen knife, 70 cents, unstamped letter to Adelaide Long, iron hook, toy
knitting machine, 2 tops of sleeve buttons, hair chain, lot crayons,
chalk, letter to P. O. Wickley, Augusta, Me., unstamped, containing 70
cents in stamps, child’s book “The Proud Little Lady,” magic lantern,
watch chain, masonic charm, ½-dozen teaspoons, paper needles, childs
mits, comforter and doll, 2 harmonicons, Bible, child’s gingham dress,
2 sticks of candy. A wallet containing a gold double eagle, $20
bill, 9 $5 bills, 3 $10 bills, found by F. A. Montague, in a pouch
from Lewisburg, Tenn., and returned to postmaster of that town to be
delivered upon receipt to the sender.

Gold plated pencil, unaddressed envelope, containing pair of lisle
thread gloves, black and white stamped ribbon, uninclosed letter
containing $1 marked from “Joe to Gus,” two-cent piece, gold and jet
pencil holder, butter knife, tidy, white apron, pair baby socks, blank
check book, dominoes, black cord and tassel, red worsted shawl, tidy.
Wooden box, lot of candy, assortment of rubber sheep. Letter from R.
MacFeeley, Washington, D. C., to Capt. A. M. Corliss, without envelope,
one cent, German picture cards, meerschaum cigar holder, woman’s head
design. Three plain rings, four watch charms, compass, horseshoe cigar
cutter, two lanterns, pearl handled table knife, billiard ball, silver
quarter sewed in some knit work, whisk broom, a false tooth, two black
ties, three New Year cards, hair switch, curry comb, vanity case,
stuffed Aunt Dinah, game “Old Maid,” box Mason’s blacking with brush,
fiddle strings.


Feeding the Cats

It is perhaps not generally known that cats are kept and fed at the
public expense in some of the larger post offices of the country. Some
years ago (and it may still be the custom) an appropriation of from
$80 to $100 was annually made for this purpose for the benefit of the
New York post office, and $30 to $40, spent for like service at the
Philadelphia office. In an article in the _Philadelphia Record_ it was
stated that a man in that city had a contract for keeping these feline
employes of the office in provisions, and it was also mentioned that
there are about 1,000 of these useful domestic animals in the employ of
the Post Office Department and they are paid for their services by food
and shelter. It is estimated that about $1,000 per annum is expended in
this way at the principal post offices and large public buildings of
the country.

Ferrets are also often employed for this purpose in the great public
buildings in Washington when the rodents get too numerous and damage
to papers and files likely to occur. The common practice of eating
lunches in these government buildings tends to the spread of this
annoying condition and the cats in the public service are held to be a
useful and necessary convenience in hunting down and interfering with
the nibbling propensities of this pest to domestic as well as public
economy.


A Couple of Distinguished Canines

Mention is made in another article of the employment of cats in post
offices as “mousers,” and they doubtless contribute their share towards
public benefit. The dog, man’s most faithful friend, so eulogized in
song and story, has also, it seems, his part in public interest and
concern. For many years the postal clerks of the country paid great
attention to “Owney” an adventurous terrier dog who attached himself to
the Railway Service and whose exploits as a traveler and companion on
many postal trips and runs made him a familiar and welcome acquaintance
wherever he established his temporary domicile. His faithfulness,
friendship and fellowship, in his way of showing it, was the topic of
discourse when he made his occasional visits and his praises were told
in many a newspaper story and he wore the numerous decorations and
medals with which he was bedecked, the gift of admiring friends, with
all the dignity and grace becoming a dog so honored and esteemed.

“Owney” had an humble imitator and counterpart in canine sagacity and
wisdom in a dog at Mount Carmel, Pa., whose watchful guardianship of
the office mail and general fidelity won him such deserved recognition
at home as a remarkable example of what a dog can be taught to do, that
his fame spread abroad, was brought to public attention at Washington
and the post office people awarded him special recognition in the shape
of a handsome collar, raised by subscription. He got his name in the
newspapers, but whether all this honor and glory turned his head and
his attention elsewhere, or some evil-minded person, jealous of the
costly collar he wore, appropriated it and the dog also, is not known,
but after being thus honored and decorated and set apart from the rest
of the canine fraternity, this famous dog suddenly disappeared and was
never heard of again.


Soldier’s Sister a Mail Carrier

President Wilson has issued an executive order allowing the Postmaster
General to appoint as temporary rural mail carrier, during the absence
of the regular carrier on military duty, the person on whom the support
of the dependents of the regular carrier devolves, without regard to
civil service requirements, if the substitute is found competent. The
first appointment under the order is that of Miss Edith Strand, of
Princeton, Ill., whose brother was called into the military service,
leaving her to care for the family.


Notice

In a pamphlet giving a brief history of the postal service, compiled by
Mr. Stanley I. Slack during the administration of Postmaster General
Charles Emory Smith from which a few general facts are taken relating
to our early postal history, appears a statement that use had been
made of the following works--Journal kept by Hugh Finlay, 1773-74,
Brooklyn, 1867. Joyce “History of the British Post Office; The Early
History of the Colonial Post Office by Mary E. Wooley; Leech and
Nicholson’s History of the Post Office Department, Washington, 1879,
and the contributions of the Postal History of the United States by C.
W. Ernst of Boston in Vols. XX, 1895, and XXI, 1896; Journal of the
Postal Union.” As none of these authorities have been consulted in
the publication of this work, or access had to any of them for such
purpose, this explanation is made so that if anything from the above
mentioned publications appears herein, drawn from Mr. Slack’s pamphlet,
the necessary acknowledgment might hereby be made and due credit given.


                      INDEX TO ITEMS OF INTEREST

  Annual readjustment salaries, 93
  Claims for stamps lost by burglary, 95
  Credit marks for rural carriers, 97
  Cost, country-wide extension rural delivery, 97
  Difference in dispatch parcel post matter, 93
  Department force at Washington reduced, 97
  Eligibles, fourth-class postmasters, 93
  Expenditure rural delivery by periods, 98
  First Postmaster General to sit at Capital, 94
  Gain to Department in fractions of a cent, 94
  Increase rural carriers’ pay, 96
  Longest mail route, 93
  Longest star route, 93
  Loss to Government by low money order rate, 95
  Mails first carried on steamboats, 98
  Number of counties having rural service, 93
  Names of postmasters mentioned in 1857, 95
  Number of postmasters affected by order of President, 96
  Per capita expenditure for postage, 94
  Patronage 100 years ago, 94
  Period of greatest activity, rural service, 99
  Post routes, rural delivery maps, 95
  Postal employes in public service, 97
  Paper baling machines, 99
  Postal curiosities in National Museum, 99
  Postmasters by classes, 93
  Postage stamp sale, 1916, 94
  Railroads declared post routes, 98
  Rural carriers separated from service, 1915-1916, 96
  Rates of postage, 1816 to 1853, 96
  Revision of rural service, 98
  Shortest postal route, 93
  Salary increases, rural carriers, 99
  Saving money by motor repairs, 98
  Sale postage stamps, 1916, 94
  Total railroad mileage, 1830, 96
  Window delivery service, 97
  When the Department was moved to Washington, 94



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber’s note:

--Obvious errors were corrected.





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