Mail Delivery

1988 Railroad Mail Car stamp
July 7, 1838

Railway Mail

On July 7, 1838, Congress approved an act that declared all United States railroads as post roads.  This would lead to a dramatic increase in the use of railroads to deliver mail.

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1992 V-mail Delivers Letters from Home stamp
June 15, 1942

Start of V-Mail Service

On June 15, 1942, the Post Office Department inaugurated its V-Mail service.  During World War II, letters bound for service personnel were photographed and transferred to microfilm.  This special process enabled letters to take up a fraction of their usual space on planes going to war zones, allowing more room for crucial supplies. 

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1895 Franklin on double-line watermarked paper
April 29, 1895

U.S. Stamps Printed on Watermarked Paper

On or around April 29, 1895, the US Post Office began issuing postage stamps with watermarks. The practice was introduced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) and only lasted a little over 20 years.

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1916 $2 Madison
March 22, 1917

High-Value Stamps Rushed into Use for WWI

On March 22, 1917, the US Post Office rushed to issue two new stamps to meet an urgent need. These high-value stamps were needed quickly for use on packages going to Europe.

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Se-tenant booklet pair
March 11, 1977

First Se-Tenant Booklet Stamps

On March 11, 1977, the USPS issued its first se-tenant stamps in booklet form.  The stamps had two different denominations, one to meet the first-class rate and one to meet the postcard rate.  This issue also included the first multi-color booklet stamp.

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First US Postage Due stamp
March 3, 1879

Postage Due Stamps

On March 3, 1879, an Act of Congress authorized the use of Postage Due stamps. These stamps were unique, since they were the first US stamps that didn’t prepay for the delivery of mail. Instead, they denoted the amount of postage to be collected by the person receiving the mail because it was insufficiently prepaid.

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 US #4740 – First Global Forever Stamp
January 28, 2013

Global Forever Series 

On January 28, 2013, the USPS issued the first stamp in its Global Forever Series.  These stamps are used on international mail.

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 US #2135 – from the Transportation Series
January 8, 1963

Alaska’s Final Dog Sled Mail Route 

On January 8, 1963, Chester Noongwook made his final trip delivering mail in Alaska via dog sled.

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 US #2530 – from the Mini-scapes Series
January 7, 1785

First Known Mail Delivered by Air 

On January 7, 1785, mail was carried by an air vehicle for the first time.

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