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Rural Postal Carrier’s Christmas Postcard, 1915

Smithsonian's National Postal Museum

Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum

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.

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