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Postal Pioneers – USPS Celebrates Women’s History Month

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March is Women’s History Month, and the U.S. Postal Service® proudly celebrates the accomplishments of women who have helped shape the organization.

USPS® employs about 289,500 women, which is more than 45 percent of the postal workforce. Throughout our 242-year existence, women have contributed to our success across all areas including mail delivery and processing, transportation and leadership.

The contributions women have made to the Postal Service™ are too vast for one post, so we are highlighting just a few of the pioneering women who have helped make the organization what it is today. We also spotlight the diversity of women whose accomplishments are celebrated yearly on U.S. postage stamps.

Female Letter Carriers

Sarah Black is the first known woman appointed to carry mail in the United States. She was appointed on April 3, 1845, and her Charleston, MD, mail route garnered her a whopping $48 per year salary.

Mary Fields, known as “Stagecoach Mary,” is the first known African-American woman to carry mail. Born a slave, Fields was freed after the Civil War and eventually settled in Cascade, MT, where she began driving a mail wagon at age 63.

Female Airmail Carriers

In 1913, Katherine Stinson became the first known woman to carry mail by airplane when she dropped mailbags from her plane at the Montana State Fair. In 1918, she became the first woman to fly the mail on a regular airmail route.

Female Postmasters

By the end of the 19th century, women managed about 10 percent of the country’s 70,000 Post Office™ locations. Pennsylvania had 463 female postmasters — more than any other state. Virginia was a close second at 460.

In January 1923, Elizabeth Barnard became the highest paid female Postmaster at that time when she was appointed to the job in Tampa, FL, with a $6,000 annual salary. For comparison, the average annual salary for postal employees during that time was $1,870.

During World War II, the number of female Postmasters increased significantly to more than 17,500 out of 42,680 in 1943.

After World War II, the overall number of women postmasters decreased slightly as men returned from the war and reclaimed their jobs. In August 1949, more than 40 percent of the nation’s 41,575 postmasters were women.

Female Postmaster General

In February 2015, Megan J. Brennan became the first woman to be appointed Postmaster General and the chief executive officer of the world’s largest postal organization.

Women on Stamps

Since 1893, women and their contributions to the world have been celebrated on U.S. postage stamps.

Notable stamps include:

Eleanor Roosevelt, issued in 1998, honors the vocal and progressive First Lady who became a champion for social reform.

Sacagawea, issued in 1994, pays tribute to the only woman to accompany Lewis and Clark’s expedition through the Pacific Northwest.

Women in Military Service stamp, issued in 1997, celebrates the nearly 2 million women who have served in the armed forces.

Amelia Earhart, issued in 1963, celebrates the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Mexican-American singer Selena  was celebrated on a stamp in 2011 for her role in popularizing Tejano music and breaking gender barriers.

Read more interesting stories about Women on Stamps here.

2018 Women on Stamps

The Postal Service’s 2018 stamp offerings include two women who made strides in their respective fields.

On January 30, the Postal Service dedicated the Lena Horne stamp, the 41st entry into the Black Heritage® stamp series. Horne was an iconic performer who also inspired people as both an entertainer and civil rights activist. #LenaHorneForever #BlackHeritageStamps

On May 23, USPS will issue the Sally Ride Forever® stamp to honor the life and legacy of Ride who made history in June 1983 by becoming the first woman to fly into space. #SallyRideForever #AstronautStamps

You can learn also more about women postal pioneers at the Postal History  page.

 

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

 

TAGS: USPS, POSTAL SERVICE, WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH, WOMEN ON STAMPS, POSTAL WOMEN

 

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