America’s Journey from Fairbanks’ Tavern: A History of the United States Postal Service

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In the more than two centuries since Benjamin Franklin was appointed as the first Postmaster General in 1775, the United States Postal Service has grown and changed with America, boldly embracing new technologies to better serve a growing population.

During this conversation with Lynn Heidelbaugh, Curator of the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, we engage in a lively exploration of the United States Postal Service’s history and institutional significance, from its Colonial-era predecessor based in a Boston tavern to today.

Lynn Heidlebaugh is a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum where she specializes in the history of the U.S. Postal Service, military mail, and the material culture of letter writing. She has served as lead curator for several exhibitions including, Behind the Badge: The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (2014), and My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I (2017), for which she received a Smithsonian Secretary’s Research Award. She recently submitted a manuscript to Indiana University Press for a co-authored book about Civil War letters exchanged between soldiers and their family on the Indiana home front.

Title image courtesy of the National Postal Museum, Smithsonian Institution

October 24, 2020