October 2015

This Day in History… October 1, 1885

U.S. #E1 – The trademark of the Special Delivery stamps was the running post office messenger, who was often referred to as the “running speedy boy.” He is one of the few postal figures who was modeled after a living person. During one session, the engraver was so engrossed in his work he didn’t realize the length of time the boy was forced to stand on one foot. Eventually, the boy became completely exhausted and collapsed to the floor.

Special Delivery Service Begins

On October 1, 1885, the Special Delivery service made its debut, and the U.S. Postal Department issued a 10¢ stamp to inaugurate its new service. Used in addition to the regular postage required, this stamp paid for an extra service – the immediate delivery of a letter within one mile of any other Special Delivery post office.

Assistant Postmaster General Frank Hatton first proposed the Special Delivery Service in 1883. At the time, the Postal Service delivered twice a day in major cities. Private companies were used for urgent business mail that couldn’t wait for those scheduled deliveries. Hatton believed the companies were cutting into the Postal Service’s profits. On March 3, 1885, Congress approved the Special Delivery Service Act.

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