1 Reply Latest reply on Oct 19, 2021 4:11 PM by Jason Atkinson

    Seeking pay information about Postmasters

    Susan Riley Newbie

      The 1863 Register which lists all US employees and their pay, lists compensation for postmasters and the balance due the US.  What does each of these columns mean?  At this time, did postmasters still receive a certain percentage of the stamps that they sold?  Is this why compensation varied so much from year to year?  Is this compensation for one fiscal year?  And what does balance due the US mean?

        • Re: Seeking pay information about Postmasters
          Jason Atkinson Ranger

          Dear Ms. Sternlieb,

          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located Letters Sent, 10/3/1789 - 12/31/1952 and Letters Received, 1844 - 1908 in the Records of the Post Office Department (Record Group 28) that includes correspondence of the Postmaster General and may provide information regarding the official policies during this time period. For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at archives1reference@nara.gov.


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          Also, we searched online and located the following article that address this topic of postmaster compensation: https://twelvekey.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/ngsmagazine2007-01.pdf


          In answer to your questions, during this time period, postmasters were paid based on a certain percentage of the revenue from stamps sold. This is why compensation can vary widely based on the year and the location. The amount listed as “Compensation” in the Official Register is the amount earned by the postmaster in a single fiscal year.  The amount marked as “Balance due

          The US” is the amount the postmaster needed to remit to the Postmaster General in Washington, DC.  The total sales for the individual post office should be the total of the two numbers (compensation + balance due).


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!


          [information provide by Claire Kluskens, subject matter expert]