Research Sources

See also U.S. Postal Service, Sources of Historical Information on Post Offices, Postal Employees, Mail Routes, and Mail Contractors, Publication 119, listed in the bibliography and available online at


American Philatelic Research Library

100 Match Factory Place

Bellefonte PA 16823-1367

The American Philatelic Research Library, the library of the American Philatelic Society, is the largest public philatelic library in the United States. The library publishes a quarterly journal, Philatelic Literature Review.


Corporate Library

United States Postal Service

475 L’Enfant Plaza SW

Washington DC 20260-1540

The Postal Service’s Corporate Library has a collection of historical material, including the Annual Report of the Postmaster General since 1789, Postal Laws and Regulations since 1794, the United States Official Postal Guide from 1874 to 1954, and the Postal Bulletin since 1880. (Exact titles vary.) While the library does not lend out its historical material, its collection is open to the general public during regular business hours. The library also has secondary sources on postal history, including many listed in the bibliography of this publication.



United States Postal Service

475 L’Enfant Plaza SW

Washington DC 20260-0012

The historian maintains Postmaster Finder, the Postal Service’s national
historic record of postmasters by Post Office, online at The historian’s staff can provide guidance in researching specific aspects of postal history. Upon request, the historian’s staff can provide the names and appointment dates of postmasters who have served at particular Post Offices, Post Office establishment and discontinuance dates, and the dates of any Post Office name changes. Response time varies with the number of requests received.


Library of Congress

101 Independence Avenue SE

Washington DC 20540-0002

The Library’s Geography and Map Division has early post route, railroad, and other historical maps. Some of these maps have been digitized and can be viewed or downloaded from their Web site. From, search for “map collections.”


National Archives and Records Administration

700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington DC 20408-0001

The National Archives houses postal records prior to 1971. Some of the records most useful in researching local postal history have been reproduced on microfilm, including National Archives Microfilm Publication M1131, Record of Appointment of Postmasters, October 17891832; Publication M841, Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832September 30, 1971; and Publication M1126, Post Office Department Reports of Site Locations, 18371950. For more information on these and other records, write to the National Archives or visit its Web site.


National Personnel Records Center

Civilian Records Facility

111 Winnebago Street

St. Louis MO 63118-4126

The Civilian Records Facility has personnel records for many postal employees whose service ended after 1910. Researchers should provide as much identifying information as possible about the former employee and his/her place and dates of employment. The Civilian Records Facility also houses rural route cards, filed by Post Office, which provide details on rural routes and carriers.


National Postal Museum Smithsonian Institution

2 Massachusetts Avenue NE

Washington DC 20002-9997

The National Postal Museum offers exhibits tracing the history of the postal system in the United States. It houses nearly six million postal-related items — mostly stamps, but also postal station-ery, greeting cards, covers and letters, mailboxes, postal vehicles, handstamps, metering machines, patent models, uniforms, badges, and other objects related to postal history and philately. The museum’s library, with more than 40,000 volumes and manuscripts, is open to the public by appointment.


Railway Mail Service Library

117 East Main Street

Boyce VA 22620-9639

The Railway Mail Service Library has artifacts, mail route schedules, schemes of mail distribution, and publications relating to the railway mail service/postal transportation service. The library is open by appointment but handles most requests by mail. n


Pony Express Resources


Lexington Historical Museum

112 South 13th Street

Lexington MO 64067-1402


Pony Express Museum

914 Penn Street

St. Joseph, MO 64503-2544


Patee House Museum

1202 Penn Street

P.O. Box 1022

St. Joseph MO 64502-1022


St. Joseph Museum Library

3406 Frederick Avenue

P.O. Box 8096

St. Joseph MO 64508-8096


The Huntington Library

1151 Oxford Road

San Marino CA 91108-1218


The Wells Fargo Bank History Museum

420 Montgomery Street

San Francisco CA 94104-1205, then search for “museum”