Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Same-Day Delivery Letters: The 1800s Version of Texting

If you read "The Courtship of Sarah's Parents" posted 20 June 2016, maybe you noticed that Robert J. Howe mailed a letter and packages to his fiance on the morning of their wedding day, knowing she would receive them that same afternoon.

Did you wonder how the mail could get to Alice so quickly?
Envelope of letter sent from Robert J. Howe to Alice Cost on 11 October 1882

In 1882, same-day deliver of residential mail was common in Cincinnati and other major cities. Robert wrote on the envelope of his letter to Alice that it was to be delivered by 2 p.m. This was the letter about packing their trunks for the honeymoon, and the wedding was to be at 7 p.m. that very day. Time was of the essence!

According to the United States Postal Service, letter carriers in major cities in 1880 were expected to make deliveries “as frequently as the public convenience . . . shall require,” Monday through Saturday. By 1905, carriers who worked out of New York City’s main post office made nine daily deliveries! Such service eventually became too expensive to continue. In 1950 the nation's postmaster general ordered postmasters to limit the number of deliveries in residential sections to one per day.


Lilian Magill said...

Australia Post should take lessons. Loving your blog

Frances Nelson Salyers said...

Thanks, Lilian. I'm looking forward to digging deeper into your Lilian's Tree site. I'm intrigued by your "Disclosure" tab. I had never thought of posting one. Also, I see a "GeneaBloggers" badge. How do I become a GeneaBlogger? (I assume I'll need to wait until I have more on my blog to do that.)