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The United States Postmaster General is the executive head of the United States Postal Service. The office, in one form or another, is older than both the United States Constitution and the United States Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin was appointed by the Continental Congress as the first Postmaster General, serving slightly longer than 15 months.

Until 1971, the Postmaster General was the head of the Post Office Department (or simply "Post Office" until the 1820s). From 1829 to 1971, he was a member of the President's Cabinet.

The Cabinet post of Postmaster General was often given to a new President's campaign manager or other key political supporter, and was considered something of a sinecure. The Postmaster General was in charge of the governing party's patronage, and was a powerful position which held much influence within the party. For example, James Farley used his position as Postmaster General during Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal administration to reward party loyalists within Congress who supported Roosevelt's initial "100 days" legislation with federal patronage for their states. Federal appointments, except for a small handful, were screened by Farley before the President could approve the appointments due to the patronage position of the Postmaster General.

In 1971, the Post Office Department was re-organized into the United States Postal Service, a special agency independent of the executive branch. Thus, the Postmaster General is no longer a member of the Cabinet and is no longer in line to be President.During the Civil War, the Confederate States of America also had a Confederate Post-Office Department, headed by a Postmaster General, John Henninger Reagan.

The current Postmaster General is also CEO of the U.S. Postal Service.

Postmasters General under the Continental Congress

Name Date appointed
Benjamin Franklin July 26, 1775
Richard Bache November 7, 1776
Ebenezer Hazard January 28, 1782

Samuel Osgood (1747-1813)

Postmasters General under the U.S. Constitution, 1789–1971

Name State of Residence Date appointed President served under
Samuel Osgood (pictured right) New Yorkmarker September 26, 1789 Washington
Timothy Pickering Massachusettsmarker August 12, 1791 Washington
Joseph Habersham Georgiamarker February 25, 1795 Washington, Adams, Jefferson
Gideon Granger Connecticutmarker November 28, 1801 Jefferson, Madison
Return J. Meigs, Jr. Ohiomarker March 17, 1814 Madison, Monroe
John McLean Ohiomarker June 26, 1823 Monroe, J. Q. Adams

Cabinet-level Postmasters General

Name State of Residence Date appointed President served under
William T. Barry Kentuckymarker March 9, 1829 Jackson
Amos Kendall Massachusettsmarker May 1, 1835 Jackson, Van Buren
John M. Niles Connecticutmarker May 19, 1840 Van Buren
Francis Granger New Yorkmarker March 6, 1841 W. H. Harrison, Tyler
Charles A. Wickliffe Kentuckymarker September 13, 1841 Tyler
Cave Johnson Tennesseemarker March 6, 1845 Polk
Jacob Collamer Vermontmarker March 8, 1849 Taylor
Nathan K. Hall New Yorkmarker July 23, 1850 Fillmore
Samuel D. Hubbard Connecticutmarker August 31, 1852 Fillmore
James Campbell Pennsylvaniamarker March 7, 1853 Pierce
Aaron V. Brown Tennesseemarker March 6, 1857 Buchanan
Joseph Holt Kentuckymarker March 14, 1859 Buchanan
Horatio King Mainemarker February 12, 1861 Buchanan
Montgomery Blair Marylandmarker March 5, 1861 Lincoln
William Dennison Ohiomarker September 24, 1864 Lincoln, A. Johnson
Alexander W. Randall Wisconsinmarker July 25, 1866 A. Johnson
John A. J. Creswell Marylandmarker March 5, 1869 Grant
James W. Marshall Pennsylvaniamarker July 3, 1874 Grant
Marshall Jewell Connecticutmarker August 24, 1874 Grant
James N. Tyner Indianamarker July 12, 1876 Grant
David M. Key Tennesseemarker March 12, 1877 Hayes
Horace Maynard Tennesseemarker June 2, 1880 Hayes
Thomas L. James New Yorkmarker March 5, 1881 Garfield, Arthur
Timothy O. Howe Wisconsinmarker December 20, 1881 Arthur
Walter Q. Gresham Indianamarker April 3, 1883 Arthur
Frank Hatton Iowamarker October 14, 1884 Arthur
William F. Vilas Wisconsinmarker March 6, 1885 Cleveland
Donald M. Dickinson Michiganmarker January 6, 1888 Cleveland
John Wanamaker Pennsylvaniamarker March 5, 1889 B. Harrison
Wilson S. Bissell New Yorkmarker March 6, 1893 Cleveland
William L. Wilson West Virginiamarker March 1, 1895 Cleveland
James A. Gary Marylandmarker March 5, 1897 McKinley
Charles Emory Smith Pennsylvaniamarker April 21, 1898 McKinley, T. Roosevelt
Henry C. Payne Wisconsinmarker January 9, 1902 T. Roosevelt
Robert J. Wynne Washington, D.C.marker October 10, 1904 T. Roosevelt
George B. Cortelyou New Yorkmarker March 6, 1905 T. Roosevelt
George von L. Meyer Massachusettsmarker January 15, 1907 T. Roosevelt
Frank H. Hitchcock Ohiomarker March 5, 1909 Taft
Albert S. Burleson Texasmarker March 5, 1913 Wilson
Will H. Hays Indianamarker March 5, 1921 Harding
Hubert Work Coloradomarker March 4, 1922 Harding
Harry S. New Indianamarker February 27, 1923 Harding, Coolidge
Walter F. Brown Ohiomarker March 5, 1929 Hoover
James A. Farley New Yorkmarker March 4, 1933 F. Roosevelt
Frank C. Walker Montanamarker September 10, 1940 F. Roosevelt, Truman
Robert E. Hannegan Missourimarker May 8, 1945 Truman
Jesse Monroe Donaldson Illinoismarker December 16, 1947 Truman
Arthur E. Summerfield Michiganmarker January 21, 1953 Eisenhower
J. Edward Day Illinoismarker January 21, 1961 Kennedy
John A. Gronouski Wisconsinmarker September 30, 1963 Kennedy, L. Johnson
Lawrence F. O'Brien Massachusettsmarker November 3, 1965 L. Johnson
W. Marvin Watson Texasmarker April 26, 1968 L. Johnson
Winton M. Blount Alabamamarker January 22, 1969 Nixon

Postmasters General under the U.S. Postal Service, 1971–present

Name Date appointed
Winton M. Blount July 1, 1971
E. T. Klassen January 1, 1972
Benjamin F. Bailar February 16, 1975
William F. Bolger March 15, 1978
Paul N. Carlin January 1, 1985
Albert Vincent Casey January 7, 1986
Preston Robert Tisch August 16, 1986
Anthony M. Frank March 1, 1988
Marvin Travis Runyon July 6, 1992
William J. Henderson May 16, 1998
John E. Potter June 1, 2001

See also


  1. Publication 100 - The United States Postal Service: An American History 1775-2002
  2. Since July 1, 1971, the Postmaster General has been appointed by and serves under the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service.

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