First Class: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy, and the Corporate Threat.

By Christopher W. Shaw

“The Postal Service is the crown jewel of the American experiment, our most efficient, trusted and beloved public service. With First Class: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy, and the Corporate Threat, Christopher Shaw makes a brilliant case for polishing the USPS up and letting it shine in the 21st century.”—John Nichols, national affairs correspondent for The Nation and author of Coronavirus Criminals and Pandemic Profiteers: Accountability for Those Who Caused the Crisis

How the Post Office Created America: A History
By Winifred Gallagher
A masterful history of a long underappreciated institution, How the Post Office Created America examines the surprising role of the postal service in our nation’s political, social, economic, and physical development.  Winifred Gallagher presents the history of the post office as America’s own story, told from a fresh perspective over more than two centuries.  Gallagher argues that now, more than ever before, the imperiled post office deserves this effort, because just as the founders anticipated, it created forward-looking, communication-oriented, idea-driven America. Available on Amazon. Read an excerpt here.

The Prairie Post Office: Enlarging the Common Life in Rural North Dakota
By K. Amy Phillips and Steven R. Bolduc
SAVE OUR POST OFFICE! This was the plea when the USPS determined to restructure or close post offices across the US, including 76 locations in North Dakota. In response, authors Amy Phillips and Steven Bolduc set out to explore the contemporary role of post offices in ND. The Prairie Post Office documents an essential institution and includes a history of northern Dakota Territory & North Dakota rural postal delivery by Kevin Carvell and 100+ color photos by Wayne Gudmundson. Available on Amazon.

Neither Snow nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service
By Devin Leonard

Neither Snow Nor Rain, journalist Devin Leonard tackles the fascinating, centuries-long history of the USPS, from the first letter carriers through Franklin’s days, when postmasters worked out of their homes and post roads cut new paths through the wilderness. Under Andrew Jackson, the post office was molded into a vast patronage machine, and by the 1870s, over 70 percent of federal employees were postal workers. As the country boomed, the USPS aggressively developed new technology, from mobile post offices on railroads and airmail service to mechanical sorting machines and optical character readers. Available on Amazon.

Preserving the People’s Post Office
By Christopher Shaw
This book exposes how numerous forces are intent on undermining an essential government agency’s public service commitment. “Through preferential postage rates for nonprofits the Postal Service facilitates civic involvement and a healthy democracy,” writes Shaw.  Read online here, and at Amazon here.

American Mail: Enlarger of the Common Life

By Wayne E Fuller (1972)

This book records and interprets the history of American postal service. It provides yet another means for viewing American history: showing the progress of technology (the impact of the railroad, the automobile, and the airplane) and presenting the debates over innovation (over the postage stamp, free home delivery, RFD, parcel post, and airmail).  Read review.

Preserving Historic Post Offices: A Report to Congress
By the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP)
This report finds that significant improvements to United States Postal Service planning and compliance for its historic preservation and disposal programs are needed.  The report results from congressional concerns that the USPS may not be fully meeting the requirements of Section 106 and other sections of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) when closing and disposing of historic post offices. Section 106 requires all federal agencies to consider the effects of their actions or undertakings on historic properties and seek ways to avoid, lessen, or mitigate any potential adverse effects.  Read here.

Post Offices in a Foggy World: Understanding the Value of the New Deal Post Office and its Public Art in the National Landscape
By Barrett E. Reiter

The one thousand New Deal era post offices with interior art (commissioned under the Treasury Department’s Section of Fine Arts) that are spread throughout the nation, are representative not only of architectural norms of the era but of social values. These resources are defined by a unique relationship between art, architecture, and community that demonstrate a concern for regional identity, state a belief in equal access, assert that citizens are entitled to aesthetically beautiful environments and cultural experiences, and stand as crucial remnants of an exceptional moment in American history. Yet today, recent divestments of post offices by the United States Postal Service (USPS) have cast doubt on the future of a number of these significant historic resources.  Read here.

There’s Always Work at the Post Office: African American Postal Workers and the Fight for Jobs, Justice, and Equality
By Philip Rubio
This book brings to life the important but neglected story of African American postal workers and the critical role they played in the U.S. labor and black freedom movements. Historian Philip Rubio, a former postal worker, integrates civil rights, labor, and left movement histories that too often are written as if they happened separately. Read an excerpt here.

Spreading the News: The American Postal System from Franklin to Morse
By Richard John
In the United States, the unimpeded transmission of information has long been hailed as a positive good. In few other countries has informational mobility been such a cherished ideal. Richard R. John shows how postal policy can help explain this state of affairs. He discusses its influence on the development of such information-intensive institutions as the national market, the voluntary association, and the mass party.  Available on Amazon here.

Going Postal: U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s husband sells post offices to his friends, cheap.
By Peter Byrne.
National award-winning investigative journalist Peter Byrne reports that the husband of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California has been selling post offices at bargain basement prices—often to his own business partners. Richard C. Blum is the chairman of CBRE Group Inc., the largest commercial real estate firm in the world. In 2011, the Postal Service awarded Blum’s company an exclusive contract to sell off postal real estate in cities and towns across America. Byrne’s in-depth investigation details the many apparent conflicts of interests driving the CBRE deals.  Available online from Amazon here.  Read excerpt.

At the Crossroads: An Inquiry into Rural Post Offices and the Communities They Serve
By Richard J. Margolis
For many small-town citizens the post office remains an essential institution, not only as a collector and distributor of the mails but also as a focal point of sociability and intimacy, as a news center, and as a provider of special neighborhood services and counseling. In order to provide data for the Postal Rate Commission (charged with reviewing appeals from patrons of post offices which the Postal Service has decided to close or consolidate), this research paper reports the sociological implications and community effects resulting from the closing of a post office in a small rural community. Read online here.

Understanding Postal Privatization: Corporations, Unions and “The Public Interest”
By Sarah Ryan
A thesis submitted to the School of Management and Labor Relations Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, January 1999. Read online here.

A history of public buildings under the control of the Treasury Department

Washington, DC, 1901

Read online here.