Rural Postal Carrier’s Christmas Postcard, 1915

On Dec. 21, 1915, Rural Free Delivery letter carrier, John S. Mac Ilroy, sent this Christmas postcard to William Taylor, a patron on his Pittstown, N.J., route. The back of the postcard has a printed five-stanza poem titled “If” that includes the verse,

“When packages due don’t come on time
And those who are sending don’t raise their sign
It sure would save anxiety
If I knew you and you knew me.”

Many rural letter carriers left holiday postcards for their patrons, though few went as far as Mac Ilroy in creating specialty cards such as this one.

Fortunately for Mac Ilroy, he remembered to place a stamp on this postcard. Carriers who simply placed postcards in their patrons’ mailboxes without stamps were subject to disciplinary measures for misuse of the mailbox.

This item is one of 137 million artifacts, works of art and specimens in the Smithsonian’s collection. It is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

Posted: 22 December 2011
About the Author:

Jessica Porter Sadeq has worked in the Central Office of Public Affairs since June 2007. In August 2008 she joined the Internal Communications department as an internal communications coordinator.