Additional resources

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.

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.

The historian also manages the Postal Service's 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.) The collection is open to the public by appointment.

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 1789–1832; Publication M841, Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832–September 30, 1971; and Publication M1126, Post Office Department Reports of Site Locations, 1837–1950. For more information on these and other records, write to the National Archives or visit its Web site.

National Personnel Records Center
National Archives and Records Administration
ATTN: Archival Programs
Post Office Box 38757
St. Louis, MO 63138-0757

The National Personnel Records Center 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 Center also houses rural route cards, filed by Post Office, which provide details on rural routes and carriers prior to 1971. Note: To request the personnel records of an employee whose service ended after 1951, write to the National Personnel Records Center, Annex; 1411 Boulder Boulevard; Valmeyer, IL 62295-2603.

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 stationery, 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.

Want More USPS History Resources?

See our 16-page illustrated booklet Sources of Historical Information on Post Offices, Postal Employees, Mail Routes, and Mail Contractors

Printable Booklet

Image of the cover of the printable postal history booklet.

Our 12-page history booklet is the perfect size to print and share, in either color or black and white. Available as RTF and in two PDF formats:

  • Desktop Printing PDF RTF
  • Professional Printing PDF RTF

Note: Desktop print settings vary. In Adobe Reader, try "actual size," "print on both sides," "flip on short edge," and "landscape." Please preview and test before printing multiple copies.

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