Our May speaker, Ed Siskin, delivered a fascinating PowerPoint presentation on the “Postal History of the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1789.”
Ed’s talk started with the status of the Parliamentary Post in 1774 and the negative impact of the Boston Tea Party and Benjamin Franklin’s firing. He then discussed Goddard’s limited attempt to start an American post office, but that only a number of governmental local posts and subscription posts were established. Finally, in mid-1775, Congress appointed Franklin as the first postmaster of the new U.S. postal system. Ed illustrated his talk with a number of covers free-franked by Franklin.
This was followed by a discussion of the changing postal rates during the Revolutionary War and was illustrated by many folded letters showing the various postal rates, including the impact of high inflation during this period. Ed also discussed the Declaration of Independence and showed examples of free franks of some of the signers. He also discussed the subsequent postmaster generals and illustrated covers franked by various political figures.