Playing Post Office Mail in Urban Space

in The Postal Age

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780226327204
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226327228 | DOI:
Playing Post Office Mail in Urban Space

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This chapter considers some of the public settings in which the postal revolution unfolded. Especially before 1863 (when the United States inaugurated free home delivery in large cities), urban post offices were uniquely public spaces, places where letters, correspondents, and expectant users of the mail all came into contact. While they were highly visible symbols of an abstract communications network, post offices also facilitated various (and sometimes unsettling) forms of face-to-face interaction in local communities. They became classic sites of public life and evocative models of heterogeneous and promiscuous intermingling.

Keywords: postal revolution; post offices; public spaces; face-to-face interaction; public life; communications network

Chapter.  11320 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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