The Heritage Series: On Postal Uniforms

Like most things in the Postal Service, city letter carriers’ uniforms have a long history. The first official uniforms were introduced in 1868, and required that a full coat and pants be worn at all times. Over the years, the uniform was expanded to allow more authorized options like shorts and short-sleeved shirts.The blue-grey fabric used helped identify a letter carrier at first glance, and items like badges and, later, emblem patches, provided further identification.Though women make up more than 44 percent of USPS employees today, at one time the uniform requirement actually prevented their employment as city letter carriers.

In 1917, when women were first tested as city letter carriers, they wore men’s regulation coats and caps with their own skirts.

Women could not wear pants in public because the simple act of doing so could lead to ridicule, or even arrest in some places. During the world wars, when women temporarily filled positions typically held by men, the rules were “quietly ignored” to allow them to deliver in skirts. Starting in the 50s, skirts were formally made part of the uniform and a few years later, pants were allowed, further opening the door for women city letter carriers.Besides removing some of the harsher restrictions, today’s uniform looks a bit different and allows even more options for comfortable delivery. But the postal blue in your neighborhood remains the same!For more postal history — including more on uniforms — visit “Who We Are: Our History.” uniform2By 1967, uniform regulations included garments tailored specifically for women.

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Seal Of Delivery

Several Logos, Mottos have Represented USPS Through the YearsThe Postal Service’s iconic blue and white eagle isn’t the only insignia that has represented the organization throughout its history.In 1782, Postmaster General Ebenezer Hazard chose Mercury, the Greek messenger of the gods, to represent the organization.Hazard placed the divine deity on top of a globe, with his right hand raised, and gave wings to his feet, helmet and staff. He was encircled with the Latin inscription, “Seal of the Office of the General Messenger.”Fifty-five years later, the seal changed to portray a “Post Horse in speed.” The image depicted a mail carrier riding a horse with mailbags, surrounded by the words “Post Office Department, United States of America.” Postmaster General Amos Kendall wanted the seal to be a modern representation of human effort.The “Post Horse” seal served as the official logo until 1970, when President Nixon signed the Postal Reorganization Act and the familiar bald eagle claimed the spotlight. The eagle is pictured in flight above the inscription “U.S. Mail®” with nine five-pointed stars at the base and “United States Postal Service®” around three sides.In 1993, Postmaster General Marvin Runyon introduced a new corporate logo — a white eagle’s head on a blue background. However, the traditional 1970 eagle remains the Postal Service’s official seal.Contrary to popular belief, USPS® doesn’t have an official motto.The familiar saying, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” was written by Herodotus, describing postal couriers during the expedition of the Greeks against the Persians around 500 B.C.It’s inscribed on the front of the James A. Farley Building in New York City, formerly the home of the city’s main Post Office™.Of course, just because the motto isn’t official doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

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