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FG 18 (Post Office Department)

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Scope and Content Note

The Postal Service was created when Benjamin Franklin became the Postmaster General in 1775, under the Continental Congress. Its purpose was to convey letters and intelligence throughout the continent. The Post Office's mission has remained relatively unchanged. In 1872, the Post Office Department became an executive department. In 1949, the Reorganization Plan gave the Postmaster General full authority for administration of all Post Office Department functions. The Postal Policy Act of 1958 (39 U.S.C. 2301) states, "Postal establishment was created to unite more closely the American people, to promote the general welfare and to advance the national economy." Until 1970, the Postmaster General was head of an Executive Department. He reported directly to the President and was responsible for the direction and supervision of all activities of the department. At that point, the United States Postal Service (USPS) was created as an independent agency of the Executive branch by Section 2 of the Postal Reorganization Act of August 12, 1970. The USPS began operations on July 1, 1971.

Frequent correspondents include President Richard M. Nixon, Dwight Chapin, Postmaster General Winton Blount, H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, Peter Flanigan, William Timmons, Herb Klein, James Holland of the Post Office Department and the Secretary of the Cabinet John C. Whitaker.

The terms Executive and General precede each FG 18 file designation. The Executive file category contains correspondence from President Nixon, administration and postal officials concerning proposed legislation, job appointments, and administration programs. The General file category contains correspondence of administration and postal officials with members of Congress, postmasters, postal workers, and concerned citizens. This correspondence includes such topics as Post Office patronage, job recommendations, and mail delivery. The files are further subdivided by job appointments (/A) and numerically by state (/ST).

A variety of topics is present throughout this collection: issuance of commemorative stamps, the Postal Reform Bill, new procedures for selection and appointments of postmasters and rural carriers, open competitive exams, and the abolition of the political advisory system. Also of interest is the Postal workers' request for a pay increase and the Postal Strike of 1970.

Since the Post Office Department was reorganized during the Nixon administration, materials relating to the Postal Service from 1971-1974 are subsequently filed under the United States Postal Service. Further information may also be found in the following subject categories:

FG 295 United States Postal Service
FI 4 Budget Appropriations
PL 4 Patronage
PO 3 Postal Services-fees/rates
PR 5 Photographs


Included here is information on the Post Office Department such as the appointment of Winton Blount to Postmaster General, visits to the Post Office Department from the President, Postal Service Act, arrangements for cabinet members' use of Camp David, White House Dinner lists, and Blount's testimony before the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee.


This subject category contains correspondence between the White House and the Post Office Department, such as birthday greetings, advice, and special messages.


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This subject category includes materials on the Postmaster General, Post Office appointments, letters to the President on the removal of patronage, postal reorganization, the selection of rural carriers and postmasters, letters of congratulations/consolation from the President to postal workers.

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