Profile America: July Mail Call

Sunday, July 31 —  The month of July has put its stamp on U.S. Postal Service history. In early July 1847, the first Post Office-issued stamps went on sale. Before then, there were no uniform stamps — a haphazard system of private postal services around the country had issued their own. In 1868, Congress authorized the Postmaster General to prescribe uniforms for mail carriers. This month in 1927, the first drive-up mailbox was installed in Houston. And in 1963, the postal service introduced the ZIP code to help speed mail service. That year, Americans sent nearly 68 billion pieces of mail. Lately, the Postal Service handles 154 billion pieces of mail annually, while over a half-million Americans work in 9,400 private courier and express delivery establishments.

Profile America is in its 20th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

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