Monday, December 24, 2012

Neither Rain Nor Sleet Nor Snow

This unidentified Middleborough letter carrier braves the snow to deliver mail about 1900.  He wears the blue-gray double-breasted winter overcoat which was authorized by U. S. Postal Laws and Regulations in 1893 (though he appears to be missing a button as well as the badge from his woolen cap).  Underneath, he wears a heavy sweater to protect him from the cold.  Secured to his top overcoat button is a long chain on the end of which was most assuredly a whistle.  Not until about 1912 were urban customers required to provide a mail slot or mailbox for delivery.  Consequently, early letter carriers were required to knock and wait at doors, or whistle, a circumstance which delayed them considerably on their rounds.  The leather postal satchel is filled, requiring the carrier to secure letters outside the bag with a leather strap.  At a time when most residents knew their letter carrier by name, one thoughtful homeowner seems to have provided the intrepid mailman with a bit of cake according to the caption he wrote in the margin of the card.

Real Photo Postcard, c. 1900.
Included in a collection of other images of Middleborough, the post card is believed to depict a Middleborough letter carrier, though he remains unidentified.


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