US Post Office, 1789 to 1875

Postmasters General

Don Heller, 23 April 2019






The dates given here are for
If the Senate is not in session, the President can make a "recess appointment", which is valid until the end of the Senate's next session.  The nomination is intended to be delivered as soon as the Senate reconvenes.

Notes (R), and (1) through (4), follow the table.  Continuing reappointments or reconfirmations are listed second.  Vacancies are not noted, unless filled ad interim.  The first column links to Wikipedia. 

Postmaster General appointment nomination confirmation beginning ending journals
Samuel Osgood Sep. 26, 1789 Sep. 25, 1789 Sep. 26, 1789 Sep. 26, 1789 Aug. 19, 1791 SEJ v.1 p.32-33
Letterbooks
Timothy Pickering
    USPS bio
(R) Aug. 12, 1791 Oct. 31, 1791 Nov. 7, 1791 Aug. 19, 1791 Jan. 2, 1795 SEJ v.1 p.86
SEJ v.1 p.88
Joseph Habersham Feb. 25, 1795 Feb. 24, 1795 Feb. 25, 1795 Feb. 25, 1795 Nov. 2, 1801 SEJ v.1 p.173-174
Gideon Granger (R) Nov. 28, 1801 Jan. 6, 1802 Jan. 26, 1802 Nov. 28, 1801 Feb. 25, 1814 SEJ v.1 p.400-405
Return J. Meigs, Jr. Mar. 17, 1814 Feb. 25, 1814 Mar. 17, 1814 Apr. 11, 1814 June 30, 1823 SEJ v.2 p.499
SEJ v.2 p.501
SEJ v.2 p.504
SEJ v.2 p.511
John McLean, or M'Lean (R) June 26, 1823 Dec. 5, 1823 Dec. 9, 1823 July 1, 1823 Mar. 9, 1829
Mar. 6, 1829
SEJ v.3 p.343-344
ASP p.328
SEJ v.4 p.6-7
Abraham Bradley (1)
---
---
---
Mar. 7, 1829
Mar. 10, 1829
Apr. 5, 1829
ASP p.328
ASP p.336
William T. Barry Mar. 9, 1829 Mar. 9, 1829 Mar. 9, 1829 Apr. 6, 1829 Apr. 30, 1835 SEJ v.4 p.8-9
ASP p.216
ASP p.328
Amos Kendall (R) May 1, 1835 Dec. 28, 1835 Mar. 15, 1836 May 1, 1835 May 25, 1840 SEJ v.4 p.498-499
SEJ v.4 p.522
John M. Niles May 19, 1840
eff. May 25, 1840
May 16, 1840 May 18, 1840 May 26, 1840 Mar. 3, 1841 SEJ v.5 p.284-285
Selah R. Hobbie (2) --- --- --- Mar. 4, 1841 Mar. 7, 1841
Francis Granger Mar. 6, 1841 Mar. 5, 1841 Mar. 6, 1841 Mar. 8, 1841 Sep. 13, 1841 SEJ v.5 p.369-370
Selah R. Hobbie (2) --- --- --- Sep. 14, 1841 Oct. 12, 1841
Oct. 11, 1841

OR 1843
Charles A. Wickliffe Sep. 13, 1841 Sep. 13, 1841 Sep. 13, 1841 Oct. 13, 1841
Oct. 12, 1841
Mar. 6, 1845 SEJ v.5 p.443
OR 1843
Cave Johnson Mar. 6, 1845 Mar. 5, 1845 Mar. 5, 1845 Mar. 7, 1845 Mar. 5, 1849 SEJ v.6 p.425-426
Selah R. Hobbie (2) --- --- --- Mar. 6, 1849 Mar. 7, 1849
Jacob Collamer Mar. 8, 1849 Mar. 6, 1849 Mar. 7, 1849 Mar. 8, 1849 July 22, 1850 SEJ v.8 p.68,70,71
Nathan K. Hall July 23, 1850 July 20, 1850 July 20, 1850 July 23, 1850 Sep. 13, 1852 SEJ v.8 p.205
Samuel D. Hubbard Aug. 31, 1852 Aug. 31, 1852 Aug. 31, 1852 Sep. 14, 1852 Mar. 7, 1853 SEJ v.8 p.451
James Campbell Mar. 7, 1853 Mar. 7, 1853 Mar. 7, 1853 Mar. 8, 1853 Mar. 6, 1857 SEJ v.9 p.51-52
Aaron V. Brown (4) Mar. 6, 1857 Mar. 6, 1857 Mar. 6, 1857 Mar. 7, 1857 Mar. 8, 1859 SEJ v.10 p.224
Horatio King (2) --- --- --- Mar. 9, 1859 Mar. 13, 1859
Joseph Holt Mar. 14, 1859 Mar. 9, 1859 Mar. 9, 1859 Mar. 14, 1859 Dec. 31, 1860 SEJ v.11 p.95
Horatio King (2) --- --- --- Jan. 1, 1861 Feb. 11, 1861 [House Doc.]
Horatio King Feb. 12, 1861 Feb. 1, 1861 Feb. 12, 1861 Feb. 12, 1861 Mar. 9, 1861 SEJ v.11 p.256
SEJ v.11 p.271
Montgomery Blair Mar. 5, 1861 Mar. 5, 1861 Mar. 5, 1861 Mar. 9, 1861 Sep. 30, 1864 SEJ v.11 p.289-290
William Dennison, Jr. (R) Sep. 24, 1864 Dec. 5, 1864
Dec. 8, 1864
Oct. 1, 1864 July 16, 1866 SEJ v.14 p.1,5
Alexander W. Randall (2) --- --- --- July 17, 1866 July 24, 1866
Alexander W. Randall July 25, 1866 July 14, 1866 July 25, 1866 July 25, 1866 Mar. 4, 1869 SEJ v.14 p.922
SEJ v.14 p.967
SEJ v.14 p.1052
St. John B.L. Skinner (2) --- --- --- Mar. 4, 1869 Mar. 5, 1869
John A.J. Creswell Mar. 5, 1869 Mar. 5, 1869 Mar. 5, 1869 Mar. 6, 1869 July 6, 1874 SEJ v.17 p.3-4
James W. Marshall (3) (R) July 3, 1874 --- --- July 7, 1874 Aug. 31, 1874
Marshall Jewell (R) Aug. 24, 1874 Dec. 7, 1874 Dec. 15, 1874 Sep. 1, 1874 July 12, 1876 SEJ v.19 p.373
SEJ v.19 p.432
James N. Tyner July 12, 1876 July 11, 1876 July 12, 1876 July 13, 1876 Mar. 12, 1877 SEJ v.20 p.279-280
David M. Key
Mar. 12, 1877
Mar. 7, 1877
Mar. 10, 1877
Mar. 13, 1877
Aug. 24, 1880
SEJ v.21 p.3,6-7
Horace Maynard
June 2, 1880
May 19, 1880
June 2, 1880
Aug. 25, 1880
Mar. 7, 1881
SEJ v.22 p.335,345
Thomas L. James
Mar. 5, 1881
Oct. 27, 1881
Mar. 5, 1881
Oct. 27, 1881
Mar. 5, 1881
Oct. 27, 1881
Mar. 8, 1881
Jan. 4, 1882
SEJ v.23 p.3,4
SEJ v.23 p.150,157
Timothy O. Howe (4)
Dec. 20, 1881 Dec. 20, 1881 Dec. 20, 1881
Jan. 5, 1882
Mar. 25, 1883
SEJ v.23 p.218,219
Frank Hatton (2)
---
---
---
Mar. 26, 1883
Apr. 10, 1883

Walter Q. Gresham
(R) Apr. 3, 1883
Dec. 5, 1883
Dec. 11, 1883
Apr. 11, 1883
Sep. 24, 1884
SEJ v.24 p.3,27
Frank Hatton (2)
---
---
---
Sep. 25, 1884
Oct. 13, 1884

Frank Hatton
(R) Oct. 14, 1884
Dec. 2, 1884
Dec. 4, 1884
Oct. 14, 1884
Mar. 6, 1885
SEJ v.24 p.347,358
William F. Vilas
Mar. 6, 1885
Mar. 5, 1885
Mar. 6, 1885
Mar. 7, 1885
Jan. 16, 1888
SEJ v.25 p.3,5
Don M. Dickinson
Jan. 16, 1888
Dec. 6, 1887
Jan. 16, 1888
Jan. 17, 1888
Mar. 5, 1889
SEJ v.26 p.3,141
John Wanamaker
Mar. 5, 1889 Mar. 5, 1889 Mar. 5, 1889
Mar. 6, 1889
Mar. 6, 1893
SEJ v.27 p.4
Wilson S. Bissell
Mar. 6, 1893 Mar. 6, 1893 Mar. 6, 1893
Mar. 7, 1893 Apr. 3, 1895
SEJ v.28 p.407,408
William L. Wilson
Mar. 1, 1895 Feb. 28, 1895
Mar. 1, 1895
Apr. 4, 1895
Mar. 5, 1897
SEJ v.29 p.954,960
James A. Gary
Mar. 5, 1897 Mar. 5, 1897 Mar. 5, 1897
Mar. 6, 1897
Apr. 21, 1898
SEJ v.30 p.439,441
Charles Emory Smith
Apr. 21, 1898
Mar. 5, 1901
Apr. 21, 1898
Mar. 5, 1901
Apr. 21, 1898
Mar. 5, 1901
Apr. 22, 1898 Jan. 14, 1902
SEJ v.31 p.700,702
SEJ v.32 p.727
Henry C. Payne (4)
Jan. 9, 1902
Jan. 7, 1902
Jan. 9, 1902
Jan. 15, 1902
Oct. 4, 1904
SEJ v.33 p.224,236
Robert J. Wynne
(R) Oct. 10, 1904 Dec. 6, 1904
Dec. 7, 1904
Oct. 10, 1904

SEJ v.35 p.364,383
George B. Cortelyou
Mar. 6, 1905 Mar. 6, 1905
Mar. 6, 1905
Mar. 7, 1905

SEJ v.35 p.549,560
George von L. Meyer
Jan. 15, 1907 Dec. 3, 1906
Dec. 13, 1906
Jan. 15, 1907
Mar. 4, 1907

SEJ v.37 p.35,38
SEJ v.37 p.67,69
SEJ v.37 p.119
Frank H. Hitchcock
Mar. 5, 1909 Mar. 5, 1909
Mar. 5, 1909
Mar. 6, 1909

SEJ v.39 p.251,254
Albert S. Burleson
Mar. 5, 1913 Mar. 5, 1913
Jan. 23, 1918
Mar. 5, 1913
Jan. 24, 1918
Mar. 5, 1913

SEJ v.46 p.3,5
SEJ v.52 p.306-307
Will H. Hays
Mar. 5, 1921 Mar. 4, 1921 Mar. 4, 1921 Mar. 5, 1921

SEJ v.57 p.3,5
Hubert Work
Mar. 4, 1922 Mar. 2, 1922
Mar. 2, 1922
Mar. 4, 1922

SEJ v.59 p.444,450
Harry S. New
Feb. 27, 1923 Feb. 27, 1923
Mar. 5, 1925
Feb. 27, 1923
Mar. 5, 1925
Mar. 4, 1923

SEJ v.61 p.326-327
SEJ v.64 p.3-4
Walter F. Brown
Mar. 5, 1929 Mar. 5, 1929 Mar. 5, 1929 Mar. 6, 1929

SEJ v.68 p.3-5
James A. Farley
Mar. 4, 1933 Mar. 4, 1933
Jan. 22, 1937
Mar. 4, 1933
Jan. 22, 1937
Mar. 4, 1933

SEJ v.74 p.3,5
SEJ v.78 p.91-92
Frank C. Walker
Sep. 10, 1940 Sep. 5, 1940
Jan. 23, 1941
Jan. 22, 1945
Sep. 6, 1940
Jan. 27, 1941
Feb. 5, 1945
Sep. 11, 1940

SEJ v.82 p.970,975
SEJ v.83 p.32,41
SEJ v.87 p.31,49
Robert E. Hannegan
May 8, 1945 May 2, 1945
May 7, 1945
July 1, 1945

SEJ v.87 p.255
SEJ v.87 p.263-267
Jesse M. Donaldson
Dec. 16, 1947
Feb. 8, 1949
Nov. 26, 1947
Jan. 31, 1949
Dec. 15, 1947
Feb. 7, 1949
Dec. 16, 1947
Jan. 20, 1953
SEJ v.89 p.3327
SEJ v.89 p.3389
SEJ v.91 p.735
SEJ v.91 p.775
Arthur E. Summerfield
Jan. 21, 1953 Jan. 20, 1953
Jan. 23, 1957
Jan. 21, 1953
Feb. 4, 1957
Jan. 21, 1953

SEJ v.95 p.67-73
SEJ v.99 p.245,275
J. Edward Day
Jan. 21, 1961 Jan. 20, 1961
Jan. 21, 1961
Jan. 21, 1961

SEJ v.103 p.216,218
John A. Gronouski
Sep. 30, 1963 Sep. 10, 1963
Feb. 17, 1965
Sep. 24, 1963
Feb. 17, 1965
Sep. 30, 1963

SEJ v.105 p.892,934
SEJ v.107 p.234,261
Lawrence F. O'Brien
Nov. 3, 1965 Aug. 30, 1965
Sep. 1, 1965
Nov. 3, 1965

SEJ v.107 p.793,806
W. Marvin Watson
Apr. 26, 1968 Apr. 10, 1968
Apr. 23, 1968
Apr. 26, 1968

SEJ v.110 p.176,186
Winton M. Blount
Jan. 22, 1969 Jan. 20, 1969
Jan. 20, 1969 Jan. 22, 1969

SEJ v.111 p.102,104

US Postal Service, appointments by the USPS Board of Governors
Postmaster General
beginning
Winton M. Blount July 1, 1971
E.T. Klassen
Jan. 1, 1972
Benjamin F. Bailar
Feb. 16, 1975
William F. Bolger
Mar. 15, 1978
Paul N. Carlin
Jan. 1, 1985
Albert V. Casey
Jan. 7, 1986
Preston R. Tisch
Aug. 16, 1986
Anthony M. Frank
Mar. 1, 1988
Marvin T. Runyon
July 6, 1992
William J. Henderson
May 16, 1998
John E. Potter
June 1, 2001
Patrick R. Donahoe
Dec. 6, 2010
Megan J. Brennan
Feb. 1, 2015
Notes
(R) recess appointment; nomination and confirmation delayed until the Senate reconvened
(1) Assistant Postmaster General, acting Postmaster General
(2) First Assistant Postmaster General, interim appointment
(3) First Assistant Postmaster General, temporary appointment (see below)
(4) died in office
Biographies of the Postmasters General may be found in Wikipedia (linked above), Ellsworth (1960), in the series of articles by Daniel Meschter (2002-2012), and in the books by Grossman (2000), Smith (1925), Sobel/Sicilia (1971, 1977, 1990, 2003), and Vexler (1975), which cover the entirety of Cabinet officers.  The various editions of the Biographical Directory (1859 to 2005) are useful for the PMGs who were also members of the House or Senate.

There is a "last day in office" letter from John McLean, Mar. 9, 1829; Richard Frajola auction, Sep. 10, 1983, lot 54, http://www.rfrajola.com/catalogs/rcf10.pdf

The transition from Creswell to Marshall to Jewell is nicely explained by Fowler (1943, p. 150-152).  Pres. Grant announced that Creswell had resigned, much to Creswell's surprise.  Jewell was Ambassador to Russia, and not able to return immediately.  Marshall was First Assistant PMG, but could not legally hold the interim PMG position for more than 10 days (18 Stat. 28, sec. 180), so he was appointed PMG without a nomination being sent to the Senate, and he returned to the First Assistant's position on Jewell's arrival.

Reconfirmations not listed in the main table,



References, official and semi-official
References, not official
References, history of the Post Office Department
Postmasters General, individual (auto)biographies
Contemporary news reports, from Readex/Newsbank, America's Historical Newspapers Political attacks, or, Vigorous discussions of corruption, take your pick
Further references, not yet incorporated



Assistant Postmasters General, and Auditor of the Treasury for the Post Office Department, see separate file



Legal provisions
Confirmation trivia
Terminology



Last changed 23 April 2019

Timeline of Philatelic Literature, 1830-1875

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