Postage Timeline

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1464        Jun 19, French King Louis XI formed a postal service.
    (MC, 6/19/02)

1692        Feb, William and Mary granted a royal license for postal service in the American colonies. It empowered Thomas Neale "to erect, settle and establish within the chief parts of their majesties' colonies and plantations in America, an office or offices for the receiving and dispatching letters and pacquets, and to receive, send and deliver the same under such rates and sums of money as the planters shall agree to give, and to hold and enjoy the same for the term of twenty-one years.
    (Econ, 8/20/11, p.32)(

1711        Jun 1, The Queen Anne Act, known as The British Post Office Act of 1710, took effect in North America on June 1, 1711. It created a formula that was used to improve the colonial postal system and remained in effect in North America until 1789. Colonists came to view the postal rates set forth in the act as an excessive and unwelcome form of taxation. The rates were revised by a later act, which took effect on October 10, 1765.

1753        The British Crown appointed Benjamin Franklin postmaster of its American colonies.
    (Econ, 11/21/15, p.29)

1775        Jul 26, The Continental Congress established a postal system for the colonies with Benjamin Franklin as the first postmaster general.
    (AP, 7/26/97)(HN, 7/26/98)

1777-1791    Vermont became a country unto itself. It coined its own money, set up its own postal service and elected its own president.
    (SFC, 9/22/96, Z 1 p.2)

1789        Sep 22, The US Act 1 Stat. 70 temporarily established a post office and created the Office of the Postmaster General.
    (AP, 9/22/97)(

1789        Sep 26, George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood of Massachusetts as the first Postmaster General under the Constitution.

1792        Feb 20, President Washington signed an act creating the U.S. Post Office. [see Feb 20, 1789, May 8, 1794]
    (HN, 2/20/98)(AP, 2/20/98)

1835        Aug 31, Angry mob in Charleston, South Carolina, seized U-S mail containing abolitionist literature and burned it in public.
    (MC, 8/31/01)

1840        May 1, The 1st adhesive postage stamps, the" Penny Blacks" from England, were issued.
    (MC, 5/1/02)

1841        Britains Royal Mail set up a postal service for Hong Kong.
    (Econ, 10/24/15, p.42)

1842        Feb 15, The 1st adhesive postage stamps in US were made available by a private delivery company in NYC.
    (440 Intl., 2/15/99)

1845        Mar 3, Congress authorized ocean mail contracts for foreign mail delivery.
    (SC, 3/3/02)

1847        Mar 3, Post Office Department was authorized to issue postage stamps.
    (SC, 3/3/02)

1847        Jul 1, The faces of founding fathers Benjamin Franklin and George Washington were pictured on the first U.S. government-sponsored postage stamps. Following a Congressional directive, the Post Office issued a Franklin five-cent stamp and a Washington 10-cent stamp.
    (HNQ, 5/16/98)(HN, 7/1/98)

1847        Mauritius, a British ruled island nation, issued the two-pence Post Office Blue Mauritius postage stamp along with a similar one penny orange stamp. They became very rare and in 1904 Britains King George V acquired a Blue Mauritius for 1,450. In 2008 Helen Morgan authored Blue Mauritius: The Hunt for the Worlds Most Valuable Stamps.
    (WSJ, 8/9/08, p.W9)

1851        Apr 23, Canada issued its first postage stamp, the Three-Penny Beaver, which carried an image of the beaver.
    (CFA, '96, p.44)(Econ, 1/23/10, p.38)   

1853-1857    The 1st perforated postage stamps were made under the administration of Pres. Franklin Pierce.
    (WSJ, 2/11/03, p.A10)

1855        Mar 3, Registration of letters was authorized by Congress.
    (SC, 3/3/02)

1856        Jan 3, John Thompson (1827-1876), Norway-born immigrant, departed Placerville, Ca., with skies and snow shoes on his first mail run to Carson City, Nevada. By the spring of 1857 he made 31 crossings of the Sierra to deliver mail.
    (ON, 4/10, p.7)

1858        Mar 9, The mailbox was patented.
    (HN, 3/9/98)

1860        Apr 3, The US Pony Express mail system began when one horse and rider carrying a bulging mail pouch began the 10 1/2-day run from San Francisco, Calif., to St. Joseph, Mo. Riders left St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, Ca., at the same time. They averaged 12 mph over 75-100 mile segments between 153 (190) change stations. The freight company of Russell, Majors and Waddell began the service. The enterprise failed after only 18 months, however, due to mounting financial losses and competition from the ever-expanding telegraph network. Donald C. Biggs (d.2000 at 72), prof. of history at SF State, later authored ""The Pony Express: Creation of the Legend."
    (CL, 4/3/96)(SFC, 2/15/97, p.D4) (AP, 4/3/97) (HN, 4/3/98)(HNPD, 4/20/99)(SFC, 6/12/00, p.A24)(AH, 10/01, p.12)(MC, 4/3/02)

1860        Apr 13, 1st Pony Express reached Sacramento, Calif.
    (MC, 4/13/02)

1861        May 26, Postmaster General Blair announced the end of postal connection with South.
    (MC, 5/26/02)

1861        Jul 3, Pony Express arrived in SF with overland letters from NY.
    (MC, 7/3/02)

1868        Mar 17, Postage stamp canceling machine patent was issued.
    (HN, 3/17/98)

1869        Mar 1, Postage stamps showing scenes were issued for 1st time.
    (SC, 3/1/02)

1869        Oct 1, Austria issued the world's first postal card. The first postal card was suggested by Dr. Emanuel Herrmann and was accepted by the Hungarian government in the same year. The first regularly printed card appeared in 1870, a historical card, produced in connection with the Franco-German War. The first advertising card appeared in 1872 in Great Britain. The first German card appeared in 1874. Cards showing the Eiffel Tower in 1889 & 1890 gave impetus to the postcard heyday a decade later. A Heligoland card of 1889 is considered the first multi-colored card ever printed.

1872        Oct 9, Aaron Montgomery started his mail-order business. Montgomery Wards, a pioneer of mail-order catalogs, was founded. The catalog of Aaron Montgomery Ward was the first to be called a "Wish Book." The 1871 Chicago fire destroyed his initial inventory.
    (SFC, 7/8/97, p.A1)(SFEC, 5/30/99, Z1 p.8)(SFC, 12/29/00, p.A12)(MC, 10/9/01)

1872        US Congress passed legislation forbidding advertisements on American currency and postage. The law regarding postage was amended in Jan, 2006.
    (SFC, 6/1/06, p.A1)

1873        Mar 3, US Congress authorized federal departmental postage stamps.
    (SC, 3/3/02)

1873        May 12, The penny postal card, issued by the Post Office Department, was first put on sale in Springfield, Mass., and in other cities a day later.

1873        The "franking privilege" of sending mail free of charge, initiated in 1776 and extended to war veterans, became too widespread and was abolished because it had become too widespread and abused. In 1874 Congress began to gradually reinstate to federal agencies and representatives.
    (HNQ, 9/19/00)

1874        Oct 9, In Switzerland the Universal Postal Union (UPU) was established by the Treaty of Bern. Prior to this each country had to prepare a separate postal treaty with other nations if it wished to carry international mail to or from them.

1885        A Swedish Treskilling Yellow postage stamp was printed with a one-of-kind error. In 1996 it sold for a record $2.3 million. In 2010 it was again sold but the price was not revealed.
    (SSFC, 5/23/10, p.A6)

1898        May 19, US Congress passed the Private Mailing Card Act which allowed private publishers and printers to produce postcards.

1900        Apr 16, US Post Office issued its 1st books of postage stamps.
    (MC, 4/16/02)

1908        Feb 18, The 1st US postage stamps in rolls were issued.
    (MC, 2/18/02)

1911        The first US experimental airmail flight took place on Long Island, a 3-mile journey between Garden City Estates and Mineola.
    (SFC, 9/12/08, p.B5)

1915        Sep 21, Anthony Comstock (b.1844), former US Postal Inspector and politician dedicated to ideas of Victorian morality, died. The anti-porn campaigner had used his position to seize 50 tons of books and 4 million pictures.
    (, 3/15/08, p.44)

1915        Nov 14, Booker T. Washington (b.1856), Black American educator, died in Tuskegee, Alabama. The former slave later founded the Tuskegee Institute (1881). Booker Taliaferro Washington later became the 1st black on a US postage stamp. His autobiography "Up From Slavery" was listed in 1999 as the 3rd best work of non-fiction in the English language in the 20th century by the Modern Library. In 2009 Robert J. Norrell authored Up From History: The Life of Booker T. Washington. 
    (AP, 5/5/97)(HN, 4/5/99)(SFC, 4/29/99, p.C5)(WSJ, 1/23/08, p.W10)

1918        May 13, The first US airmail stamps, featuring a picture of an airplane, were introduced. On some of the initial stamps the airplane was printed upside down; the "inverted Jenny," as it came to be called, became a collector's item. One sheet of 100 stamps got by inspectors. Four of the stamps were stolen from a collectors convention in 1955. In 2016 one of the four surfaced at a New York auction house.
    (SSFC, 11/12/06, p.A2)(AP, 5/13/08)(SFC, 4/16/16, p.A5)

1918        May 15, The U.S. Post Office and the U.S. Army began regularly scheduled airmail service between Washington and New York through Philadelphia. Lieutenant George L. Boyle, an inexperienced young army pilot, was chosen to make the first flight from Washington. Even with a route map stitched to his breeches, Boyle lost his way and flew south rather than north. The second leg of the Washington--Philadelphia--New York flight, however, took off and arrived in New York on schedule--without the Washington mail. The distance of the route was 218 miles, and one round trip per day was made six days a week. Army Air Service pilots flew the route until August 10, 1918, when the Post Office Department took over the entire operation with its own planes and pilots.
    (AP, 5/15/97)(HNPD, 6/15/99)(HNQ, 4/24/01)

1919        Apr 30, US postal workers discovered 30 booby-trap bombs in the national mail system, targeting several members of congress and other public figures. Investigators later implicated a network of anarchists and radicals who were rounded up and deported.
    (SFC, 5/1/09, p.B2)

1920        In Germany a Weimar 5 pfennig postage stamp of this year doubled in cost the following year. It jumped to 10 marks in 1922, 30 marks in January 1923, 1,000 marks in May and 800,000 marks in October. By the end of 1923 sending a letter cost 10 billion marks.
    (Econ, 6/16/12, p.64)

1921        Feb 22, The first US transcontinental airmail flight took off from Mineola, NY, to SF, Ca. By 1926 commercial airlines took over the flights and a year later all airmail was carried under contract.
    (SFC, 9/12/08, p.B5)

1921-1944    The Soviets allowed Tuva to call itself independent as the Tuvan Peoples Republic. Tannu Tuva stamps were issued by Moscow in odds shapes and they became collector's items.
    (WSJ, 4/1/06, p.A5)(Econ, 11/7/15, p.46)

1922        Britain decommissioned the HMS Ascension and the island became a dependency of St. Helena. Ascension Island issued its first postage stamps.
    (Econ, 12/18/10, p.160)(

1923        Jun 21, Marcus Garvey was sentenced to 5 years for using mail to defraud.
    (MC, 6/21/02)

1924        Jul 1, A regular transcontinental airmail service formed between NYC and SF.
    (MC, 7/1/02)

1924        Jul 2, The 1st day of transcontinental airmail service brought news to SF mailed from New York after 34 hours and 45 minutes.
    (SFEC, 12/26/99, p.W7)

1927        The first living person to be honored on a U.S. postal stamp was pioneering pilot Charles Lindbergh. A 10-cent stamp was issued, showing Lindbergh's airplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, in which he had made his historic flight from New York to Paris.
    (HNQ, 11/14/98)

1928        Mar 28, J.L. Rutledge, Pacific Air Transport pilot, ran out of fuel and parachuted from his plane near Orinda, Ca. The plane crashed nearby and he retrieved the mail and delivered it to the Orinda post office.
    (SFC, 3/28/03, p.E8)

1937        May 25, 1st airmail letter to circle the globe returned to New York.
    (SC, 5/25/02)

1939        May 20, Regular trans-Atlantic air mail service began as a Pan American Airways plane, the Yankee Clipper, took off from Port Washington, N.Y., bound for Marseilles, France.
    (AP, 5/20/97)(

1943        May 5, Postmaster General Frank C. Walker invented the Postal Zone System.
    (MC, 5/5/02)

1954        The Alaska town of North Pole began Operation Santa, a volunteer program to respond to childrens letters sent to Santa Claus. The US Postal Service dropped the program in 2009.   
    (SFC, 11/20/09, p.A9)

1957        Apr 13, Due to lack of funds, Saturday mail delivery in US was temporarily halted.
    (MC, 4/13/02)

1957        Apr 15, Saturday mail delivery was restored after Congress gave the PO $41 million.
    (MC, 4/15/02)

1959        Jun 11, Postmaster General banned D.H. Lawrence's book, "Lady Chatterley's Lover." Charles Rembar (d.2000 at 85) began a 7-year fight against obscenity laws when he contested the US postmaster generals ban on Lady Chatterleys Lover. In 1968 Rembar authored "The End of Obscenity." In 1980 he authored a history of American law: "The Law of the Land."
    (SFC, 10/28/00, p.A25)(SC, 6/11/02)

1963        Jul 1, The U.S. Post Office inaugurated its five-digit ZIP codes. The Zoning Improvement Plan was initially developed by Robert Aurand Moon (d.2001 at 83).
    (AP, 7/1/97)(HN, 7/1/98)(SFC, 4/16/01, p.A22)

2015        The US cut direct mail service with Cuba. In late 2015 a deal was struck to re-establish direct mail service.
    (SFC, 12/12/15, p.A2)

1964        Jan 10, The US Post Office released a new stamp showing Texas pioneer Sam Houston with a rifle. Its initial Dec 13 release was withheld due to the assassination of Pres. Kennedy.
    (SSFC, 12/15/13, p.42)

1964        Dec 11, US Postmaster General John A. Gronouski ordered postal inspectors observation stations ripped out of the mens rest rooms of some 5,000 US post offices.
    (SSFC, 12/7/14, DB p.46)

1965        May 24, Supreme Court declared a federal law allowing the post office to intercept communist propaganda as unconstitutional.
    (MC, 5/24/02)

1966        Sep 13, Lou Jacobs, US clown (d.1992), was featured on a US postage stamp.
    (MC, 9/13/01)

1966        Pres. Johnson named Lim Poon Lee as postmaster of San Francisco. To date this was the highest federally appointed position ever held by a Chinese American.
    (SFC, 11/5/09, p.C3)

1967        Jul 1, The United States Postal Savings System, signed into law by President William Howard Taft and operated by the United States Post Office Department, went out of service.

1968        A portrait of Walt Disney was featured on a new US stamp.
    (SFC, 6/24/04, p.B3)

1970        Mar 18, The US Postal Service was paralyzed by the first postal strike. A walkout of letter carriers in Brooklyn and Manhattan set off a strike that involved 210,000 of the nations 750,000 postal employees. Pres. Nixon declared a state of national emergency and assigned military units to NYC post offices.
    (HN, 3/18/98)(SFC, 10/4/02, p.A17)

1971        Jul 1, The US Post Office Department was transformed into the US Postal Service as an independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States. The US government changed the Post Office to a quasi-government body with a mandate to be financially self-sustaining.
    (SFEC, 9/29/96, C13)(, 7/1/01)

1974        Mar 2, US 1st class postage stamps rose from 8 cents to 10 cents.

1976        Jun 9, James A. Farley (b.1888), US Postmaster General (1932-1940), died.

1977        The US Mail service began Express Mail in response to private competition.
    (SFC, 6/7/97, p.A6)

1977        San Francisco Postmaster Lim Poon Lee (d.2002) established a post office at 867 Stockton St., in Chinatown. In 2009 US Congress voted to name the office in honor of Lee.
    (SFC, 11/5/09, p.C2)

1978        Feb 1, Harriet Tubman became the 1st black woman honored on a US postage stamp.

1978        May 29, The US Postal Service issued the first alphabet stamp, the A stamp, when the first-class rate went from 13 to 15 cents, after being 13 for 3 years. The series ended with the H stamp in 1999 with rates up to 33 cents.
    (SFC, 4/20/00, p.A7)(

1981        Mar 22, Postage rates went from 15 cents an ounce to 18 cents an ounce.
    (HN, 3/22/97)

1986        Aug 20, Postal employee Patrick Henry Sherrill (44) went on a deadly rampage at a post office in Edmond, Okla., shooting 14 fellow workers to death before killing himself. This incident is credited with inspiring the American phrase "going postal".
    (WSJ, 8/7/97, p.A12)(AP, 8/20/06)(

1992        Marvin Runyon (d.2004), former auto executive, took over as head of the US Postal Service and served until 1998. He trimmed 23,000 management jobs and added letter carriers to improve service.
    (SFC, 5/4/04, p.B7)

1995        Jan 3, The US Postal Service raised the price of a first-class stamp to 32 cents.
    (AP, 1/3/05)

1998        Feb 3, A new 32-cent postage stamp in honor of John Muir was to be issued at the Martinez, Ca. post office.
    (SFC, 1/8/98, p.A19)

1998        Jul 30, The US Post Office began selling a 40-cent breast cancer stamp. Eight cents from every stamp will go to breast cancer research sponsored by the NIH and the Dept. of Defense.
    (SFC, 5/9/98, p.A1,14)(SFC, 7/30/98, p.A1)

1998        Walt Disneys Snow White was featured on a new US stamp.
    (SFC, 6/24/04, p.B3)

1999        Jan 20, The Malcolm X postage stamp, the 22nd in the Black heritage series, went on sale.
    (SFC, 1/21/99, p.A3)

1999        The US Postal Service issued a 33 cent stamp in honor of writer Ayn Rand.

2000        May 16, In Oregon ballots were counted in the nations first regular primary election conducted by mail. Estimated response was 47%.
    (SFC, 5/17/00, p.A8)

2001        Sep 1, The US issued a 34 cent stamp featuring Arabic calligraphy that says Eid Mubarek, a greeting used to celebrate the 2 holiest Islamic holidays, Aid al-Fitr for the end of Ramadan fasting, and Eid al-Adha for the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
    (SFC, 11/30/01, p.A8)

2001        Oct 21, Thomas L. Morris Jr. (55), a DC postal worker diagnosed with the deadly inhalation form of anthrax, died. Officials began testing thousands of postal employees.
    (SFC, 10/23/01, p.A1)(WSJ, 10/24/01, p.A1)(AP, 10/22/06)

2001        Oct 22, DC postal worker, Joseph P. Curseen (47), died from anthrax. .
    (SFC, 10/23/01, p.A1)(WSJ, 10/24/01, p.A1)

2001        Oct 23, Traces of anthrax were found at an off-site facility that handled mail for the White House.
    (SFC, 10/24/01, p.A1)

2003        Jan 22, Bill Maudlin (b.1921), WW-II era cartoonist, died in Newport Beach, Ca. In 1945 he won a Pulitzer Prize for his war cartoons and authored "Up Front," a collection of cartoons and an essay on war. A 2nd Pulitzer followed in 1958. He was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame on May 19, 1991. In 2008 Todd DePastino authored Bill Maudlin: A Life Up Front. On March 31, 2010, the US Post Office released a first-class denomination ($.44) postage stamp in Mauldin's honor depicting him with WWII characters Willie & Joe.
    (SFC, 1/23/03, p.A2)(WS, 2/22/08, p.W6)(

2003        Apr 24, A new Cesar Chavez stamp was issued by the US postal service.
    (SFC, 4/25/03, A27)

2003        Oct 27, A new US stamp dedicated to Theodore Geisel (d.1991), creator of Dr. Seuss, was introduced at the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in Springfield, Mass.
    (SFC, 10/16/03, p.E13)

2004        Apr 3, The US Postal Service unveiled a new John Wayne commemorative postage stamp for its annual "Legends of Hollywood" issue at a private fund-raiser. Previous honorees in the "Legends of Hollywood" series including Marilyn Monroe (1995), James Dean (1996), Humphrey Bogart (1997), Alfred Hitchcock (1998), James Cagney (1999), Edward G. Robinson  (2000), Lucille Ball  (2001), Cary Grant (2002) and Audrey Hepburn (2003).
    (AP, 4/5/04)

2004        Jun 23, The US issued 4 new 1st class stamps, part of a series featuring Disney themes. This set was titled The Art of Disney.
    (SFC, 6/24/04, p.B3)

2004        Jul 30, A new Austrian postage stamp featuring a likeness of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger went on sale on his birthday.
    (AP, 7/30/04)

2004        Oct 1, The U.S. Postal Service canceled a brief experiment that allowed ordinary people to make postage stamps using images of their dogs, babies and even, it turned out, outlaws such as the Unabomber.
    (AP, 10/4/04)

2005        Feb 9, Ceremonies were scheduled for a first-day-of-issue stamp commemorating Pres. Ronald Reagan (1911-2004).
    (SFC, 10/7/04, p.B3)

2006        Jan 25, Hattie McDaniel, the first black actress to win an Academy Award, was honored with a U.S. Postal Service commemorative stamp. McDaniel became the 29th person honored in the Postal Service's long-running Black Heritage stamp series.
    (AP, 1/26/06)

2006        May 3, The US Postal Service said it wants to raise the price of a first-class stamp by 3 cents to 42 cents, and proposed a "forever" stamp that people could use as hedge against future rate increases.
    (AP, 5/3/06)

2006        May 16, The US Postal Service approved a one-year trial that allows businesses to purchase custom postage from private companies that contract with the Postal Service.
    (SFC, 6/1/06, p.A1)

2006        Jul 20, The US released new postage stamps featuring Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and a half dozen other superheroes.
    (AP, 7/20/06)

2006        Dec 20, The US Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) became effective. It required the USPS to prepay a large share of future retirees' health benefits, a burden imposed on no other federal agency.
    (, 8/8/20, p.21)

2007        Jan 10, The US Postal Service honored Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996), the First Lady of Song, with her own postage stamp.
    (AP, 1/10/07)(SFC, 1/10/07, p.E8)

2007        Apr 12, The new US forever postage stamp was scheduled to go on sale. The cost for first class mail was set to rise to 41 cents on May 14.
    (SFC, 4/11/07, p.A3)

2007        May 14, The cost of first-class US letters went up 2 cents to 41 cents.
    (AP, 5/14/07)

2008        Jan 8, Britain's Royal Mail issued a set of stamps commemorating James Bond to mark 100 years since the birth of his creator, Ian Fleming.
    (AP, 1/8/08)

2008        May 12, The US Postal Service increased first-class postage a penny to 42 cents.
    (SSFC, 5/11/08, p.A4)

2008        Jul 16, The US Postal Service released a series of stamps honoring black cinema.
    (SFC, 7/16/08, p.E3)

2009        Feb 9, The US postal service released 4 new 42-cent stamps in Springfield, Ill., highlighting the personal history of Abraham Lincoln.
    (SFC, 2/9/09, p.A6)

2009        Feb 10, The US Postal Service announced that the price of a first-class stamp will rise to 44 cents on May 11. The Postal Service said it lost $2.8 billion last year and, unless the economy turns around, is headed toward much larger losses this year.
    (AP, 2/10/09)

2009        Sep 17, In Britain the Communication Workers Union called for a national walkout following a rolling program of local postal strikes that began in July. The strikes over higher pay and job security have already caused a backlog of 20 million letters and parcels, about a quarter of the Royal Mail's daily volume.
    (AP, 9/17/09)

2009        Oct 8, Britain's postal workers agreed to launch a nationwide strike after months of rolling regional strikes over pay and job security. The Communication Workers Union said that 76% of more than 80,000 union members voted in favor of the action. The union was required to give seven days notice before any strike.
    (AP, 10/8/09)

2010        May 23, The Swedish 1885 Treskilling Yellow postage stamp retained its title as the worlds most expensive stamp following an auction in Geneva. In 1996 it had sold for a record $2.3 million. The price this year was not revealed.
    (SSFC, 5/23/10, p.A6)

2010        Sep 2, The US Postal Service issued a new 44 cent stamp recognizing Mother Teresa (1910-1997) for her humanitarian work.
    (SFC, 9/3/10, p.A4)

2010        Sep 29, In Puerto Rico 7 US Postal Service workers were indicted on charges they shipped thousands of parcels of heroin, cocaine and marijuana through the mail.
    (AP, 9/29/10)

2010        Dec 28, The US Postal Service unveiled its first-class commemorative stamps for 2011. All were marked with the word "forever" instead of the current rate of 44 cents.
    (AP, 12/29/10)

2011        Jan 21, Cuba suspended indefinitely all mail service to the United States, extending a ban announced in November and expanding it to cover letters as well as packages. Deliveries were suspended in November following a US decision to increase security measures following last year's failed terror threat involving packages mailed from Yemen.
    (AP, 1/22/11)

2011        Apr 5, The Pacific nation of Niue has printed unusual commemorative stamps for Britain's royal wedding: an image of Prince William and Kate Middleton with perforations that split the couple down the middle.
    (AP, 4/5/11)

2011        Jun 3, In Canada picket lines went at Canada Post mail processing plant in Winnipeg as part of a limited rotating strike around the country.
    (Reuters, 6/3/11)

2011        Jun 14, Canada Post locked out all its employees, saying more than a week of rotating strikes by unionized letter carriers and other postal workers had cost it too much money.
    (Reuters, 6/15/11)(Econ, 7/2/11, p.30)

2011        Jun 26, Canadas Senate endorsed back-to-work legislation ending the labor dispute that shut down the postal service.
    (Reuters, 6/26/11)

2011        Aug 5, The US Postal Service posted a net loss of $3.1 billion in its third quarter and warned again it would default on payments to the federal government if Congress did not step in. USPS cut work hours during the quarter by 3.1 percent compared to the previous year, when quarterly net losses were $3.5 billion.
    (Reuters, 8/5/11)

2011        Sep 26, The US Postal Service abandoned a long-standing rule that stamps cannot feature people still living and asked the public for suggestions.
    (SFC, 9/27/11, p.A8)

2011        Oct 18, The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service announced a one-cent increase in the cost of mailing a letter, starting in January.
    (Reuters, 10/18/11)

2012        Jan 13, Sri Lanka reacted furiously to a spate of "personalized" foreign postage stamps bearing the image of slain Tamil Tiger rebel supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran.
    (AFP, 1/13/12)

2012        Mar 27, British Royal Mail announced that stamp prices will shoot up to record highs of 60p for first class and 50p for second class effective April 30.
    (AFP, 3/27/12)

2012        Aug 9, The US Postal Service reported losses of $57 million per day in the last quarter and warned it will miss another payment due to the US Treasury. A week earlier it defaulted on a payment for future retiree health benefits.
    (SFC, 8/10/12, p.A5)

2012        Oct 1, The US Postal Service defaulted on a $5.6 billion payment, the 2nd time it has missed a deadline this year. It expected operating losses of $15 billion for the fiscal year ending Sep 30.
    (SFC, 10/2/12, p.A4)

2012        Nov 15, The struggling US Postal Service reported an annual loss of a record $15.9 billion and forecast more red ink in 2013. Much of the red ink in 2012 was due to mounting mandatory costs for future retiree health benefits, which made up $11.1 billion of the losses.
    (AP, 11/15/12)

2012        The Vatican's Philatelic and Numismatic Office, which sells commemorative coins and stamps featuring popes, saints and the like, began offering a special 20 ($26) stamp and certificate package to help offset a recession-induced drop in corporate sponsors for the restoration of the colonnade surrounding St. Peters Square.
    (AP, 11/27/12)

2013        Feb 6, The financially struggling US Postal Service said it will stop delivering mail on Saturdays, beginnin g in August, but continue to disburse packages six days a week.
    (AP, 2/6/13)

2013        Mar 20, The US Congress foiled the financially beleaguered Postal Service's plan to end Saturday delivery of first-class mail when it passed legislation requiring six-day delivery.
    (Reuters, 3/21/13)

2013        Apr 16, A letter was intercepted in Washington DC, postmarked from Memphis and mailed to Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker's office. It contained the toxic substance ricin, forcing the temporary closure of a Senate post office and prompting a federal investigation.
    (SFC, 4/18/13, p.A9)

2013        Apr 17, FBI agents in Corinth, Ten., arrested Paul Kevin Curtis (45). He was accused of mailing letters containing ricin to Pres. Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mis). Curtis had claimed to have uncovered a conspiracy while working at a local hospital from 1998-2000, when he discovered a refrigerator full of dismembered body parts and organs in a morgue.
    (SFC, 4/18/13, p.A9)

2013        Apr 23, Paul Kevin Curtis, the Mississippi man charged with sending poisoned letters to President Barack Obama, a US senator and a state judge, was released from jail. The reason for the release wasn't immediately clear.
    (AP, 4/24/13)

2013        May 14, In Washington state two letters containing the deadly poison ricin were intercepted in Spokane.
    (SSFC, 5/19/13, p.A7)

2013        Jun 7, In Texas Shannon Richardson (35), a pregnant Texas actress, was arrested and charged with orchestrating a ricin letter scheme. She had told FBI agents that her husband had sent ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. On Dec 10 she pleaded guilty in a deal to cap her prison time at 18 years.
    (AP, 6/7/13)(SFC, 12/11/13, p.A8)

2013        Sep 12, Britain's government officially launched plans to privatize more than half of Royal Mail, saying an initial sale of shares in the state-run postal service would occur within weeks.
    (AFP, 9/12/13)

2013        Sep 16, The United States and Cuba sat down in Havana for a second round of talks on re-establishing direct mail services between the two countries after a 50-year ban.
    (Reuters, 9/16/13)

2013        Oct 11, Shares in newly-privatized Royal Mail soared on their stock market debut, bolstering criticism that the company which traces its five-century history back to King Henry VIII was undervalued by the British government.
    (AP, 10/11/13)

2013        Nov, The US Postal Service unveiled plans to open 84 post offices in Staples stores around the country, but they would not be staffed by USPS union members.
    (SFC, 12/3/13, p.D5)

2013        Dec 11, Canada's postal service said it will phase out door-to-door mail delivery in response to falling mail volumes and big financial losses. Canadians will instead have to collect their mail from corner community mailboxes that are to be set up in cities nationwide.
    (AFP, 12/11/13)

2013        Dec 24, US postal regulators approved a temporary two-year increase of 3 cents for the first class stamp. The 49 cent rate will be effective as of Jan 26, 2014.
    (SFC, 12/25/13, p.A7)

2014        Jan 26, The cost of a US first-class stamp rose 3 cents to 49 cents.
    (SFC, 1/27/14, p.A4)

2014        Feb 11, South Africa issued a black-and-white commemorative stamp to celebrate the life and legacy of anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela who died last year.
    (AFP, 2/11/14)

2014        Mar 25, Royal Mail, Britain's main postal operator, said it plans to axe 1,600 jobs under a fresh cost-cutting program, six months after its controversial part-privatization by the government.
    (AFP, 3/25/14)

2014        Apr 3, Germanys Deutsche Post said it is no longer accepting letters bound for Crimea after its Ukrainian counterpart told the Geneva-based Universal Postal Union (UPU) that delivery to the region was no longer guaranteed.
    (Reuters, 4/3/14)

2014        Apr 24, US postal workers in cities large and small rallied against a US Postal service pilot program to open counters in Staples stores.
    (SFC, 4/25/14, p.A6)

2014        May 22, US politicians, federal officials and gay activists celebrated the first day issue of a US Postal Service stamp in honor of Harvey Milk, on what would have been his 84th birthday.
    (SFC, 5/23/14, p.A1)

2014        Nov 10, The US Postal Service said it has been hacked potentially compromising sensitive information on its employees, which numbered over 800,000 workers.
    (SFC, 11/11/14, p.A6)

2014        Nov 14, The US Postal Service named Megan Brennan as its first female postmaster general. She will succeed Patrick Donohue, who will retire in February.
    (SFC, 11/15/14, p.A6)

2014        Indias Tamil Nadu state launched a postcard program as a way of tracking the education of some of the more than 10 million children who are estimated to migrate with their families to different parts of India every year.
    (Reuters, 7/20/16)

2015        Nov 13, The US Postal Service reported a $5.1 billion loss for the just-completed 2015 fiscal cycle, a slight improvement over last year.
    (AP, 11/13/15)

2015        Dec 11, The US and Cuba announced they have struck a deal to re-established direct mail service, which was cut in 1963.
    (SFC, 12/12/15, p.A2)

2016        Mar 10, In Nevada a drone made by Flirtey successfully delivered a package to a residential location in Hawthorne in what was reportedly the first fully autonomous urban drone delivery in the US.
    (AP, 3/26/16)

2016        Jun 1, Dutch prosecutors raided a string of locations and seized cash and hundreds of thousands of fraudulent letters in an investigation into worldwide mail scams. The next day US law enforcement authorities said the scams had defrauded "elderly and vulnerable" Americans out of tens of millions of dollars.
    (AP, 6/2/16)

2016        Dec 19, British postal workers began what could become the longest strike in the Post Office's 300-year history as part of a wave of industrial action that is also threatening Christmas travel chaos.
    (AFP, 12/19/16)

2017        Oct 27, The late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos was commemorated with a national stamp to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth on September 11, as part of a series of stamps marking presidents' 100th birthdays.
    (AFP, 10/27/17)

2018        Feb 20, The US Postal Service unveiled a new Year of the Dog stamp to help celebrate the Lunar New Year.
    (AP, 2/20/18)

2018        May 19, American pop artist Robert Indiana (89), born in Indiana as Robert Clark, died at his island home off the coast of Maine. His "LOVE" print, first created for the Museum of Modern Art's Christmas card in 1965, was the basis for his 1970 Love sculpture and the widely distributed 1973 United States Postal Service "LOVE" stamp.
    (SFC, 5/23/18, p.D6)

2018        Aug 19, The Palestinians said Israel has withheld delivery of post shipments to the Palestinian territories through its national postal service since 2010. In recent days the Palestinian postal staff in Jericho has been sorting through tons of undelivered mail in a room packed with letters, boxes and even a wheelchair. The one-time release of the ten and a half tons of mail was a "gesture".
    (AP, 8/19/18)

2018        Oct 18, China criticized Washington's decision to leave the UN treaty that regulates international postage. President Donald Trump has said the 144-year-old Universal Postal Union (UPU) puts US businesses at a disadvantage and is used by shippers of the narcotic fentanyl to the US from China.
    (AP, 10/18/18)

2018        Oct 22, Canada Post workers went on a rotating strike, affecting mail deliveries in four cities after nearly one year of stalled contract negotiations.
    (AFP, 10/22/18)

2019        Apr 1, Philippine customs officials opened nicely gift-wrapped boxes of cookies and oatmeal flown in all the way from Poland and found 757 of live tarantulas at a mail exchange center near Manila's international airport. A Filipino man was later arrested when he tried to claim the venomous spiders.
    (AP, 4/3/19)

2019        Sep 25, The UN agency coordinating postal systems worldwide reached a compromise to reform its fee structure, proposed by the United States, that would avert the Trump administration leaving the global network.
    (Reuters, 9/25/19)

2019        Nov 13, Britain's Communication Workers Union said that postal company Royal Mail had won a high court injunction to block potential strikes by the union.
    (Reuters, 11/13/19)

2019        Sierra Leone issued 1,566 different postage stamps this year with the help of Stamperija, a Lithuania-based outfit that designs and prints stamps.
    (Econ., 8/22/20, p.40)

2020        Feb 9, The United Arab Emirates restored mail services to Qatar, frozen for more than two years amid a diplomatic rift, after a regional meeting attended by both Gulf states and the United Nations postal agency.
    (Bloomberg, 2/10/20)

2020        Mar 28, Poland's parliament passed a law early today allowing postal voting for senior citizens and those in quarantine or self-isolating as the government looks to press ahead with May presidential elections which opposition parties want postponed.
    (Reuters, 3/28/20)

2020        Apr 3, The US Postal Service announced a new series of stamps in honor of San Francisco sculptor and arts education advocate Ruth Asawa (1926-2013).
    (SFC, 4/8/20, p.E1)

2020        May 8, The US Postal Service said it lost $4.5 billion in the quarter ending in March, more than double its loss over the same period last year, and warned COVID-19 could severely hurt its finances over the next 18 months.
    (Reuters, 5/8/20)

2020        Jul 15, It was reported that US Mail deliveries could be delayed by a day or more under cost-cutting efforts being imposed by the new postmaster general. The plan eliminates overtime for hundreds of thousands of postal workers and says employees must adopt a "different mindset to ensure the Postal Services survival during the coronavirus pandemic.
    (AP, 7/15/20)

2020        Aug 7, US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said the USPS faces a "dire" financial position even as it posted a slightly narrower third-quarter loss amid soaring package demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
    (Reuters, 8/7/20)

2020        Aug 14, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said NJ will mail a ballot to every voter in the state for November's elections, as well as hold in-person voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.
    (Reuters, 8/14/20)
2020        Aug 14, The 300,000-member National Association of Letter Carriers said that the union's executive council had endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president, warning "the very survival" of the US Postal Service is at stake.
    (Reuters, 8/14/20)

2020        Aug 16, More than 100 demonstrators converged outside the North Carolina mansion of postmaster general Louis DeJoy, protesting the cutbacks, delays and other changes to the USPS that have created fears for mail-in voting ahead of the November presidential election.
    (AP, 8/17/20)

2020        Aug 17, President Donald Trump denied trying to undermine the Postal Service's ability to handle a flood of mail-in ballots ahead of the November US election, as Democrats prepared to move against changes his administration has set in motion.
    (AP, 8/17/20)

2020        Aug 18, Several Democratic state attorneys general said they will announce legal action against President Donald Trump's administration over Postal Service changes that may affect mail-in voting in the November US presidential election.
    (Reuters, 8/18/20)
2020        Aug 18, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said that he would suspend cost-cutting measures and operational changes at the Postal Service until after the November election.
    (NY Times, 8/19/20)

2020        Aug 20, It was reported that at least 4,800 chicks shipped to Maine farmers through the US Postal Service have arrived dead in recent weeks after rapid cuts hit the federal mail carrier's operations.
    (AP, 8/20/20)

2020        Aug 21, US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told lawmakers that mail-in ballots in the Nov. 3 election would be delivered on time, despite concerns that cost-cutting measures could result in widespread delays and millions of uncounted ballots. DeJoy earlier this week suspended all mail service changes until after the election, but said today he did not plan on returning decommissioned sorting machines to service before Nov. 3. The Postal Service had planned to remove 671 mail sorting machines nationwide, including 502 delivery barcode sorting machines capable of processing 35,000 pieces of mail per hour, by Sept. 30. As of Aug. 16 it had already decommissioned 95% of its target.
    (Reuters, 8/21/20)
2020        Aug 21, Six states led by Pennsylvania sued the US Postal Service and the new postmaster general, saying service changes in recent weeks have harmed the ability of states to conduct free and fair elections.
    (Reuters, 8/21/20)

2020        Aug 22, The US House passed legislation that would provide $25 billion to the United States Postal Service, while also banning any operational changes to the agency like the removal of mail-sorting machines and collection boxes and reversing already-enacted measures. It was unlikely the bill will pass the Republican-controlled Senate.
    (The Week, 8/23/20)

2020        Sep 4, Mail balloting in the presidential election began as North Carolina started sending out more than 600,000 ballots to voters responding to a massive spike in requests that has played out across the country as voters look for a safer way to cast ballots during the pandemic.
    (AP, 9/4/20)

2020        Sep 17, A US judge blocked controversial Postal Service changes that have slowed mail nationwide.
    (SFC, 9/18/20, p.A7)

2020        Sep 18, A federal judge in Nevada dismissed a lawsuit by President Donald Trump's re-election campaign that sought to block the state from sending mail-in ballots to every registered voter, a legal victory for Democrats ahead of November's election. The order was made public on Sept. 21.
    (Reuters, 9/21/20)

2020        Sep 21, A federal judge in New York ordered the Postal Service to reverse operational changes that have slowed mail delivery in recent months and to prioritize election mail, the latest legal rebuke to Louis DeJoys management of the agency.
    (NY Times, 9/21/20)

2020        Sep 24, The US Attorney's Office in the Middle District of Pennsylvania said that nine ballots had been found in a dumpster next to the elections building with seven cast for Trump and the other two resealed inside their envelopes. A day later Luzerne County Manager said a temporary independent contractor, who was assigned to sort mail at the elections bureau "incorrectly discarded into the office trash UMOVA ballots," which is an acronym for ballots from military and overseas voters.
    (ABC News, 9/25/20)

2020        Oct 12, It was reported that Nicholas Beauchene (26), a US postal worker in New Jersey, has been arrested after he threw almost 2,000 pieces of mail, including election ballots, in dumpsters. Some 1,875 pieces of mail were recovered, including 600 first-class items and 99 ballots for November's election.
    (AP, 10/12/20)

2020        Oct 14, The US Postal Service agreed to reverse changes that slowed mail service nationwide, settling a lawsuit filed by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock during a pandemic that is expected to force many more people to vote by mail.
    (AP, 10/14/20)

2020        Oct 23, The US Postal Service (USPS) told a US judge it has returned 137 mail processing machines to service since August and approved thousands of daily extra delivery trips this month as it works to deliver millions of ballots.
    (Reuters, 10/23/20)
2020        Oct 23, The Austrian Post said it has united two aspects of the coronavirus pandemic in a stamp printed on toilet paper that people can also, at a push, use for social distancing. The 2.75 euro "corona stamp" comes in sheets 10 cm wide.
    (Reuters, 10/23/20)

2020        Oct 26, The US Department of Justice announced that DeShawn Bojgere (30), a former US Postal Service worker in Kentucky, has been charged "with the delay or destruction of mail." He was accused of throwing away "approximately" 111 absentee ballots along with other mail in a construction dumpster in early to mid-October.
    (AP, 10/27/20)

2020        Nov 5, The US Postal Service (USPS) said about 1,700 ballots had been identified in Pennsylvania at processing facilities during two sweeps today and were being delivered to election officials.
    (Reuters, 11/5/20)
2020        Nov 5, The Washington Post reported that more than 150,000 ballots were caught in US Postal Service processing facilities and not delivered by Election Day. As a result, some ballots could arrive after their states deadlines.
    (NY Times, 11/6/20)

2021        Mar 23, The US Postal Service (USPS) outlined a proposed 10-year strategic plan that would slow current first-class delivery standards and raise some prices to stem $160 billion in forecasted red ink over the next decade.
    (Reuters, 3/23/21)

2021        Apr 23, It was reported that Judges have quashed the convictions of 39 former postmasters after the UK's most widespread miscarriage of justice.
    (BBC, 4/23/21)

2021        May 25, Spain's state-owned Correos Espana issued a set of four stamps in different skin-colored tones on the anniversary of George Floyd's death in Minnesota. The "Equality Stamps" stirred backlash as they were priced by skin color with the darker stamps priced lower than the lighter ones.
    (SFC, 5/29/21, p.A3)

2021        Jul 1, Yogi Berra became the first player in nine years to appear on a USPS stamp.
    (NY Times, 7/2/21)

2021        Aug 25, It was reported that the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a UN agency in charge of the world's postal policies, has voted to block the use of UK stamps from the Chagos Islands. All post to and from the remote archipelago must now bear stamps from Mauritius.
    (BBC, 8/25/21)

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