History Spotlight

  • May 2023

    May 20, 2023

    The U.S. Postal Inspection Service in WWII
    During World War II, more than 225 Postal Inspectors were drafted or enlisted to serve in the Armed Forces. But that didn’t stop the Inspection Service from carrying out its’ important mission.

    May 13, 2023

    APO and Military Mail History
    Postal Inspectors helped create the Army Post Office system during WWI to ensure soldiers received their mail. While minor adjustments are made for the location of conflict, the APO system is still used to deliver military mail today.

    May 6, 2023

    William “Bill” Kenyon
    William Kenyon had a long history with the Postal Service. Starting as a young man cleaning mail bags, Kenyon would proceed to become a highly respected Postal Inspector and organizer of the Army Postal Offices during WWI.

  • April 2023

    April 29, 2023

    David B. Parker
    When mail service became unreliable during the Civil War, Lieutenant D.B. Parker ensured his soldiers’ vital communications were delivered. Parker would go on to become a Postal Inspector and a pioneer in the Bell Telephone Company.

    April 22, 2023

    Allan Pinkerton
    Allan Pinkerton created on of the most successful security and detective agencies in the world, but before he did this, he was a Postal Inspector.

    April 8, 2023

    Rondout Train Robbery
    The DeAutremont brothers robbed a mail train in 1923 known as the “Last Great Train Robbery.” However, the largest and most lucrative train robbery in the U.S. actually took place the following year in Rondout, Illinois.

    April 1, 2023

    Weird Postal Inspection History
    Postal Inspectors have been investigating mail crimes for a long time. From mail-eating cows to hypnotizing thieves, they have seen all sorts of strange cases over the years.

  • March 2023

    March 25, 2023

    Stagecoach Robber Implicated by His Own Diary
    The 1870s and 1880s were plagued by stagecoach, mail, and bank robberies. In a vast and growing country, criminals were often able to escape. ham White, however, had documented proof of his crimes when captured in 1877.

    March 18. 2023

    Today’s Women of the Inspection Service
    Women have long played support roles with the Postal Inspection Service, but it wasn’t until 1971 that the first female was appointed a Postal Inspector. Coincidently, that year was when the Security Force was established – and included women in the first class. Today, women from all backgrounds can be found in every position at the United States Postal Inspection Service.

    March 11, 2023

    Kate “Ma” Barker
    After being abandoned by her husband of 35 years, Kate “Ma” Barker encouraged her sons’ criminal lifestyle and became the mastermind of the infamous Barker-Karpis gang of Chicago.

    March 3, 2023

    Women in the U.S. Postal Inspection Service
    While the Postal Inspection Service has long been inclusive, it wasn’t until 1971 that women were appointed to the position of Postal Inspector. When the first women joined, they were among the first employed as federal agents in any U.S. agency.

  • February 2023

    February 25, 2023

    The Green Book
    Victor H. Green, a letter carrier & WWI veteran, created a travel guide to help African Americans travel safely during the Jim Crow era. The “Green Book” was updated regularly from 1936 to 1967 & helped thousands during its publication.

    February 18, 2023

    African Americans in the Inspection Service
    Postal Inspectors have a proud history of hiring talented individuals of all backgrounds. This Black History Month, we turn our attention to some of the influential African American figures in our agency’s history

    February 11, 2023

    The Ages of Fraud Part 2
    Like putting old wine in a new bottle, the same scams have reappeared in new forms as technology has progressed. But Postal Inspectors are keen to adapt to scammers’ changing methods.

    February 4 , 2023

    The Ages of Fraud Part 1
    The Mail Fraud Statute of 1872 gave Postal Inspectors the ability to prosecute scammers. This led to several time periods that saw different kinds of fraud & the downfall of criminals, such as Charles Ponzi & Joseph “Yellow Kid” Weil.

  • January 2023

    January 28, 2023

    History of Mail Fraud Statute
    Since the birth of the Postal Service, scammers have tried to abuse the mail system in order to make a quick buck. Congress passed the Mail Fraud Statute in 1872, making it illegal to use the mail in any attempt to defraud or scam someone.

    January 21, 2023

    “Black Hand Gang”
    For more than 20 years, the Black Hand Gang terrorized citizens across the country with threatening letters of violence, murder, and extortion. But their threats didn’t intimidate the Postal Inspectors.

    January 15, 2023

    “Boy Wonder” of Forgery
    After a decade of forgery & fraud, Jerome Poster intentionally blinded himself in order to stop. But even blindness couldn’t keep him from a life of crime.

    January 7, 2023

    First Postal Surveyors
    Before modern roads, Postal Surveyors had to find the safest & most efficient routes to transport the mail. These Surveyors laid the foundation for today’s Postal Service and the Inspection Service.