United States Postmaster General

The Postmaster General of the United States is the chief executive officer of the United States Postal Service; Megan Brennan is the current Postmaster General.

Appointed members of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service select the Postmaster General and Deputy Postmaster General, who then join the Board.

United States Postmaster General
Seal of the United States Department of the Post Office
Seal of the former Post Office Department
Megan Brennan USPMG at 225th Anniversary of U.S. Coast Guard stamp event
Megan Brennan

since February 1, 2015
United States Postal Service
StyleMadam Postmaster General
StatusChief executive
Seat475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, D.C.
AppointerBoard of Governors
Term lengthNo fixed term
First holderBenjamin Franklin
DeputyDeputy Postmaster General


The office, in one form or another, is older than both the United States Constitution and the United States Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin was appointed by the Continental Congress as the first Postmaster General in 1775, serving just over 15 months.

Until 1971, the postmaster general was the head of the Post Office Department (or simply "Post Office" until the 1820s).[2] During that era, the postmaster general was appointed by the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the United States Senate.[3] From 1829 to 1971, the postmaster general was a member of the President's Cabinet.

The Cabinet post of Postmaster General was often given to a new President's campaign manager or other key political supporter, and was considered something of a sinecure. The Postmaster General was in charge of the governing party's patronage, and was a powerful position which held much influence within the party.

In 1971, the Post Office Department was re-organized into the United States Postal Service, an independent agency of the executive branch. Therefore, the Postmaster General is no longer a member of the Cabinet and is no longer in the line of presidential succession. The postmaster general is now appointed by nine "governors," appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The governors, along with the postmaster general and the deputy postmaster general, constitute the full Postal Service Board of Governors.[3][4]

The Postmaster General is the second-highest paid U.S. government official, based on publicly available salary information, after the President of the United States.[5]

Postmasters General under the Continental Congress

Name Date appointed
Benjamin Franklin July 26, 1775
Richard Bache November 7, 1776
Ebenezer Hazard January 28, 1782
Samuel Osgood (1747–1813)

Postmasters general over the U.S. Post Office Department, 1789–1971

As non-Cabinet department, 1789–1829

Name State of Residence Date appointed President(s) served under
Samuel Osgood (pictured right) Federalist Massachusetts September 26, 1789 Washington
Timothy Pickering Federalist Pennsylvania[6] August 12, 1791 Washington
Joseph Habersham Independent Georgia February 25, 1795 Washington, Adams, Jefferson
Gideon Granger Democratic-Republican Party Connecticut November 28, 1801 Jefferson, Madison
Return J. Meigs, Jr. Democratic-Republican Party Ohio March 17, 1814 Madison, Monroe
John McLean Democratic-Republican Party Ohio June 26, 1823 Monroe, J. Q. Adams

As cabinet department, 1829–1971


  No party   Federalist   Democratic-Republican   Democratic   Whig   Republican

Political Party Name State of Residence Date appointed President(s) served under
10 William T. Barry Kentucky March 9, 1829 Jackson
11 Amos Kendall Kentucky May 1, 1835 Jackson, Van Buren
12 John M. Niles Connecticut May 19, 1840 Van Buren
13 Francis Granger New York March 6, 1841 W. H. Harrison, Tyler
14 Charles A. Wickliffe Kentucky September 13, 1841 Tyler
15 Cave Johnson Tennessee March 6, 1845 Polk
16 Jacob Collamer Vermont March 8, 1849 Taylor
17 Nathan K. Hall New York July 23, 1850 Fillmore
18 Samuel Dickinson Hubbard Connecticut August 31, 1852 Fillmore
19 James Campbell Pennsylvania March 7, 1853 Pierce
20 Aaron V. Brown Tennessee March 6, 1857 Buchanan
21 Joseph Holt Kentucky March 14, 1859 Buchanan
22 Horatio King Maine February 12, 1861 Buchanan
23 Montgomery Blair District of Columbia March 5, 1861 Lincoln
24 William Dennison Ohio September 24, 1864 Lincoln, A. Johnson
25 Alexander W. Randall Wisconsin July 25, 1866 A. Johnson
26 John A. J. Creswell Maryland March 5, 1869 Grant
27 James W. Marshall Virginia July 3, 1874 Grant
28 Marshall Jewell Connecticut August 24, 1874 Grant
29 James N. Tyner Indiana July 12, 1876 Grant
30 David M. Key Tennessee March 12, 1877 Hayes
31 Horace Maynard Tennessee June 2, 1880 Hayes
32 Thomas L. James New York March 5, 1881 Garfield, Arthur
33 Timothy O. Howe Wisconsin December 20, 1881 Arthur
34 Walter Q. Gresham Indiana April 3, 1883 Arthur
35 Frank Hatton Iowa October 14, 1884 Arthur
36 William F. Vilas Wisconsin March 6, 1885 Cleveland
37 Donald M. Dickinson Michigan January 6, 1888 Cleveland
38 John Wanamaker Pennsylvania March 5, 1889 B. Harrison
39 Wilson S. Bissell New York March 6, 1893 Cleveland
40 William L. Wilson West Virginia March 1, 1895 Cleveland
41 James A. Gary Maryland March 5, 1897 McKinley
42 Charles Emory Smith Pennsylvania April 21, 1898 McKinley, T. Roosevelt
43 Henry C. Payne Wisconsin January 9, 1902 T. Roosevelt
44 Robert J. Wynne Pennsylvania October 10, 1904 T. Roosevelt
45 George B. Cortelyou New York March 6, 1905 T. Roosevelt
46 George von L. Meyer Massachusetts January 15, 1907 T. Roosevelt
47 Frank H. Hitchcock Massachusetts March 5, 1909 Taft
48 Albert S. Burleson Texas March 5, 1913 Wilson
49 Will H. Hays Indiana March 5, 1921 Harding
50 Hubert Work Colorado March 4, 1922 Harding
51 Harry S. New Indiana February 27, 1923 Harding, Coolidge
52 Walter F. Brown Ohio March 5, 1929 Hoover
53 James A. Farley New York March 4, 1933 F. Roosevelt
54 Frank C. Walker Pennsylvania September 10, 1940 F. Roosevelt, Truman
55 Robert E. Hannegan Missouri May 8, 1945 Truman
56 Jesse M. Donaldson Missouri December 16, 1947 Truman
57 Arthur E. Summerfield Michigan January 21, 1953 Eisenhower
58 J. Edward Day California January 21, 1961 Kennedy
59 John A. Gronouski Wisconsin September 30, 1963 Kennedy, L. Johnson
60 Lawrence F. O'Brien Massachusetts November 3, 1965 L. Johnson
61 W. Marvin Watson Texas April 26, 1968 L. Johnson
62 Winton M. Blount Alabama January 22, 1969 Nixon

Postmasters General over the U.S. Postal Service, 1971–present

Name Date appointed[7] President(s) served under
Winton M. Blount July 1, 1971 Nixon
E. T. Klassen January 1, 1972 Nixon, Ford
Benjamin F. Bailar February 16, 1975 Ford, Carter
William F. Bolger March 15, 1978 Carter, Reagan
Paul N. Carlin January 1, 1985 Reagan
Albert Vincent Casey January 7, 1986
Preston Robert Tisch August 16, 1986
Anthony M. Frank March 1, 1988 Reagan, H.W. Bush
Marvin Travis Runyon July 6, 1992 H.W. Bush, Clinton
William J. Henderson May 16, 1998 Clinton, Bush
John E. Potter June 1, 2001 Bush, Obama
Patrick R. Donahoe January 14, 2011 Obama
Megan Brennan February 1, 2015 Obama, Trump

Note that, while the above table indicates the President under which each postmaster general served, these postmasters general were appointed by the governors of the Postal Service and not by the President.

Living former Postmasters General

As of November 2017, there are four living former Postmasters General, the oldest being Anthony M. Frank (1988–1992, born 1931). The most recent Postmaster General to die was Paul N. Carlin (1985-86), on April 25, 2018. The most recently serving Postmaster General to die was Marvin Travis Runyon (1992–2000), on May 3, 2004.

Name Term of office Date of birth
Anthony M. Frank 1988–1992 May 31, 1931 (age 87)
William J. Henderson 1998–2001 June 16, 1947 (age 71)
John E. Potter 2001–2010 1956 (age 62–63)
Patrick R. Donahoe 2011–2015 c. 1955 (age 63–64)

See also


  1. ^ O'Keefe, Ed (May 10, 2011). "Salaries of top Postal Service executives revealed". Washington Post. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
  2. ^ Publication 100 – The United States Postal Service: An American History 1775–2006. United States Postal Service, May 2007. Also available in PDF format.
  3. ^ a b United States Postal Service. "Postmasters General". about.usps.com. Retrieved 2018-05-18.
  4. ^ United States Postal Service. "About the Board of Governors". about.usps.com. Retrieved 2018-05-18.
  5. ^ Michael B. Sauter and Jon C. Ogg. "The 10 Highest-Paid Government Jobs". 24/7WallSt.com. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
  6. ^ "Wayback Machine". 2 February 2017.
  7. ^ Since July 1, 1971, the Postmaster General has been appointed by and serves under the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service.

External links

Albert S. Burleson

Albert Sidney Burleson (June 7, 1863 – November 24, 1937) was a conservative Democrat and United States Postmaster General and Representative. He is known for gaining cabinet support for instituting racial segregation in the US Post Office, which President Woodrow Wilson applied to other federal agencies.

Albert Vincent Casey

Albert Vincent Casey (February 28, 1920 – July 10, 2004) was a United States Postmaster General, publisher of The Los Angeles Times, and an attendee of the Bohemian Grove. He received two degrees from Harvard University in 1948.

Casey was born in Arlington, Massachusetts. He served in the United States Army for four years during World War II. He served on the New York State Financial Control Board when it was first formed in 1975. He spent eight years as President of Times Mirror Company and was CEO of American Airlines from 1974 to 1985. He was a Distinguished Executive at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He died at his home in Dallas, Texas.

Anthony M. Frank

Anthony Melchior Frank (born May 31, 1931) served as the United States Postmaster General from March 1, 1988 to July 6, 1992.

Benjamin F. Bailar

Benjamin Franklin Bailar (April 21, 1934 – February 20, 2017) served as the United States Postmaster General from February 16, 1975 to March 15, 1978. He took office on February 16, 1975, succeeding Elmer T. Klassen. Previously, he had served as Senior Assistant Postmaster General, Chief Financial Officer, and Deputy Postmaster General.

Ebenezer Hazard

Ebenezer Hazard (January 15, 1744 – June 13, 1817) was an American businessman and publisher. He served in a variety of political posts during and after the American Revolutionary War: as Postmaster of New York City; in 1776 as surveyor general of the Continental Post Office; United States Postmaster General where he served from 1782 to 1789.

In 1792 he published the first English translation of A Short Account of the Mohawk Indians, their Country, Language, Figure, Costume, Religion, and Government (1644), compiled from letters written by Dutch minister Johannes Megapolensis to friends about his years of ministry near present-day Albany, New York.

Frank Comerford Walker

Frank Comerford Walker (May 30, 1886 – September 13, 1959) was an American lawyer and politician. He served as the United States Postmaster General between 1940 and 1945. He also served as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1943 until 1944.

Frank Hatton (U.S. politician)

Frank Hatton (April 28, 1846 – April 30, 1894) was an American politician and newspaperman. He was a Union Army veteran of the American Civil War, served as United States Postmaster General, and later edited The Washington Post.

Granger, New York

Granger is a town in Allegany County, New York, United States. The population was 538 at the 2010 census. The town was named after Francis Granger, United States Postmaster General.

The town lies on the county's northern border and is northwest of Hornell, New York.

Harry Stewart New

Harry Stewart New (December 31, 1858 – May 9, 1937) was a U.S. politician, journalist, and Spanish–American War veteran. He served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee, a United States Senator from Indiana, and United States Postmaster General.

James Campbell (postmaster general)

James Campbell (September 1, 1812 – January 27, 1893) was a politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He served as Attorney-General of Pennsylvania and United States Postmaster General during the presidency of Franklin Pierce.

James William Marshall

James William Marshall (August 14, 1822 – February 5, 1910) was a United States Postmaster General under President Ulysses S. Grant as well as a government administrator in several capacities for presidents Lincoln, Grant, and Hayes. Marshall was the third to last surviving cabinet member of the Grant Administration.

Jesse M. Donaldson

Jesse Monroe Donaldson (August 17, 1885 – March 25, 1970) was the first United States Postmaster General to have started his career as a letter carrier.

John A. Gronouski

John Austin Gronouski, Jr. (October 26, 1919 – January 7, 1996) was the Wisconsin state commissioner of taxation and served as the United States Postmaster General from 1963 until 1965 under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

John Milton Niles

John Milton Niles (August 20, 1787 – May 31, 1856) was a lawyer, editor, author and politician from Connecticut, serving in the United States Senate and as United States Postmaster General 1840 to 1841.

Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy

The Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy is the championship trophy awarded annually by the National Basketball Association (NBA) to the winner of the NBA Finals. The name of the trophy was the Walter A. Brown Trophy until 1984.

The current design, depicting a basketball over a hoop and basket, was first awarded in 1977 still under its original name, which was changed in honor of former NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien who served from 1975 to 1984. Before joining the NBA, O'Brien was the United States Postmaster General under President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1965 to 1968.

Postmaster General

A Postmaster General, in many countries, is the chief executive officer of the postal service of that country, responsible for oversight over all other Postmasters. The practice of having a government official responsible for overseeing the delivery of mail throughout the nation originated in England, where a Master of the Posts is mentioned in the King's Book of Payments, with a payment of £100 being authorised for Tuke as master of the posts in February 1512. Belatedly, in 1517, he was officially appointed to the office of Governor of the King's Posts, a precursor to the office of Postmaster General of the United Kingdom, by Henry VIII. In 1609 it was decreed that letters could only be carried and delivered by persons authorised by the Postmaster General.Other examples include:

Postmaster General of Canada, beginning in 1867

Postmaster-General's Department, Australia, beginning in 1901

Postmaster-General of New Zealand, 1858–1989

Postmaster General of Sri Lanka, beginning in 1815

Postmasters General of Ireland, 1784–1831

Postmaster General for Scotland, 1616–1707 then as Deputy Postmaster General for Scotland, 1710–1831

United States Postmaster General, beginning in 1775

Postmaster General of Hong Kong, beginning in 1860

Postmaster General of Army of the Republic of Nicaragua, beginning February in 1856, Colonel Alex P. Jones

Robert E. Hannegan

Robert Emmet Hannegan (June 30, 1903 – October 6, 1949) was a St. Louis, Missouri politician who served as Commissioner of Internal Revenue from October 1943 to January 1944. He also served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1944 to 1947 and United States Postmaster General from 1945 to 1947. After his political career, in 1947, Hannegan and partner Fred Saigh purchased the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball. But Hannegan, ill with heart disease, sold his share in the team to Saigh a few months before his death.

Thomas Lemuel James

Thomas Lemuel James (March 29, 1831 – September 11, 1916) was an American journalist, government official, and banker who served as the United States Postmaster General in 1881.

William J. Henderson

William J. Henderson (born June 16, 1947) served as the United States Postmaster General from May 16, 1998 to June 1, 2001.Henderson is a director of LiveRamp. His total 2010 remuneration for this role was $100,000.

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