1549a Registered Label Database

This project is the results of information contributed by many folks since 2004. We can now present it in data base form with images thanks to the Stamp Smarter team. Please add additional examples of the use of this 1549a label as you can.

The label show here is part of a customer prepared window receipt used only between 1907 and 1911. It was used only at a limited number of post offices with a high volume of registered mail. Its purpose was to have the person mailing a registered letter complete the return window receipt.

The postal clerk would then postmark this label, affix it to the item being mailed, and the receipt portion was returned to the customer. Its use was discontinued on January 1, 1911, when all post office markings on registered letters were moved to the back side of the item. This database documents all reported items bearing this label. A listing of labels found used as these specific post offices is found on the View Database page. The default listing is in date order. The user can sort on some of the other fields.

The current data includes examples of usage from about half of the post offices which were authorized to use this Form 1549a label. Postmasters were also free to provide these labels to other requesting post offices. We invite all visitors to add new information to this cover database. Please contact the Administrator for instructions on how to add covers or provide covers for entry into the database.       

The History of the 1549a Label

By Russ Ryle

The post office department was being overwhelmed by the slow, laborious documentation of the custody of registered mail. At least six different forms had to be prepared by hand in this pen and ink era to document the safe travel of a registered item from its sender to its addressee. Patrons were annoyed at the time it took to enter a registered item into the mails at a postal window.
Prior to July 1, 1900 there were no registry assistant superintendents, and subsequent to that date there had never been any conference of all assistant superintendents until 1907, when a conference was ordered to promote the interests of the public and of the registry service. Accordingly, the assistant superintendents, with the superintendent of the Division of Registered Mails, began their conference session on May 1 and continued until June 30, 1907. This conference resulted in thirty-one specific recommendations to improve the registry system. Action began to be taken on these recommendations by the postmaster general as reported in his Fiscal Report for the year ending June 30, 1907 as follows:


Subsequent to the close of the fiscal year 1907, a new form of window registration book, designed to relieve the public of having to wait any considerable length of time to register letters or parcels, was prepared and put into operation at the post-office at Washington, D. C., to be tested. It is expected to furnish this special form to a few of the larger offices at an early date, to be tested before the same is put into general use. The new design contemplates the pasting of a registration label bearing the number and the date of registration, with the name of the post office of mailing on the letter or parcel, as well as the class of the registered piece, and at the same time a printed coupon receipt bearing the same number, name of post-0ffice, State, and date of registration, is required to be detached from the label and handed to the sender. This sender’s window registration receipt does not bear the name and address of either the sender or the addressee, and the time usually occupied by the registry clerk in writing these names and addresses is saved to the public, the description 0 the pieces registered being recorded after the sender has left the window. This design of receipt will preclude the necessity of having to postmark the registered pieces, as the label pasted to them answers the same purpose. The innovation will be thoroughly tested during the current year with the idea of extending the use of the new form to such offices as need it.

The first style of detachable label was used at Washington, D.C. In November of 1907.

Form 1549A as more widely distributed has been seen used in 1907 at Washington, Boston, and New York. It was adopted for wider distribution thereafter. It was eventually replaced by Form 3806 in 1915. The Postmaster General reported in his Fiscal Report for the year ending June 30, 1908 as follows:

… The fiscal year ended June 30, 1908 has been prolific in improvements in the registry service and in the extension of improvements previously begun. The following improvements or modifications are particularly noteworthy:
(u) Introduction of a new form of window receipt designed to relieve the public of having to wait at post-offices windows any considerable length of time to register letters or parcels.
(v) The revision of the sender's registry return receipt, form 1548, so as to require the mailing office to use but one side of the card and to write thereon only the original registration number and the name and address of the sender.
(w) Amendment to the stub of window registration book, form 1549 so as to preclude the necessity for a transit book at post offices having no transit matter, stations, or rural or city carriers, by providing spaces for a record of the dispatch and the witness of dispatch of registered mail of local origin.

Not all post offices were authorized to use this new “quick” window registration form. Excerpt from The Daily Postal Bulletin Friday, November 20, 1908 Vol. XXIX No. 8761 issued from the office of The Postmaster General:


To the Postmasters Concerned: A new form of window registration receipt, known as Form 1549A, designed to relieve the public from having to wait any considerable length of time in securing registration of letters and parcels, and thereby avoiding congestion at receiving windows, has been prepared for use at post offices where the conditions warrant. This form was used on trial at a number of post offices during the Christmas Holiday season of 1907, and with such success that it has been decided to authorize continuous use thereof at offices desiring it, and to extend the use to a greater number of large post offices during rush periods. Postmasters at the offices hereinafter named who have not been authorized to use Form 1549 A continuously are hereby directed to put the form into use at their offices, beginning Dec. 1,1908, and continue the same during the month of December. Postmasters at offices named who have received authority to use this form continuously will put the same Into use immediately upon receipt of the supplies. The Fourth Assistant Postmaster General, Division of Supplies, has been requested to send each office the number of sheets of eight receipts each shown opposite the name of the post office. If the supply sent is not sufficient, requisition should be made immediately upon the Fourth Assistant Postmaster General for the additional number of sheets needed.
The form should be introduced not only at main offices, but also at stations where the number of registrations and other conditions warrant. If the supply of the form is not received by December 1st, It should be put into use immediately upon receipt so that it may be in operation during as large a part of the month as possible. As soon as practicable after January 1,1909, all postmasters who use the new Form 1549 A are requested to send this office such comments and suggestions, briefly stated, in regard to the form and its use as may be prompted by their experience, and to state specifically whether or not the form is desired for use continuously at their offices in the future, OT only during rush periods. Also statement is requested of the number of sheets of Form 1549 A, if any, which may be on band unused at the close of December, and the number necessary for such future use during a year or less period as may be desired.
In making requisitions for Form 1549 A, care should be taken to state the number of sheets of eight receipts each desired, in order to prevent confusion arising as to whether a number given in a requisition refers to sheets or to receipts.
Requests from postmasters at offices other than those named in the accompanying list, who desire to use the new form of receipt, will be entertained.

Albany, N. Y
750 Jacksonville, Fla 500 Portland, Oregon 1,250
Altoona, Pa. 250 Jersey City, N. J. 1,250 Providence. R.I. 2,250
Atlanta, Ga. 1,600 Kansas City, Mo.
2,000 Richmond, Va.
Atlantic City, N. J.
600 Los Angeles, Cal. 8,000 Rochester, N. Y. 
Baltimore, Md
3,260 Louisville, Ky.
1,000 Sacramento, Cal.
Birmingham, Ala
600 Lynn, Mass. 500 Saint Louis, Mo.
Boston, Mass. 14,000 Memphis. Tenn. 1,000 Saint Paul, Minn. 1.000
Bridgeport, Conn.
500 Milwaukee, Wis.
1,500 Salem, Mass.
Brooklyn. N. Y.
7,500 Minneapolis, Minn.
2,000 Salt Lake City, Utah
Buffalo, N. Y.
2,250 Muskogee, Okla.
500 San Francisco, Cal.
Chicago. Ill.
22,000 Nashville, Tenn.
500 San Francisco, Cal.
Cincinnati, Ohio 7,750 Newark, N. J.
2,500 Schenectady, N. Y.
Cleveland, Ohio
2,500 New Haven, Conn.
1,000 Scranton, Pa.
Columbus, Ohio
500 New Orleans, La.
2,000 Seattle, Wash.
Dallas, Tex.
750 New York, N. Y.
12,500 Spokane, Wash.
Denver, Colo.
6,250 Norfolk, Va.
750 Springfield, Mass.
Des Moines, Iowa 1,000 Oakland, Cal.
1,500 Syracuse, N. Y.
Detroit, Mich.
2,250 Oklahoma, Okla.
1,250 Tacoma, Wash.
Duluth, Minn.
500 Omaha, Nebr.
1,000 Toledo. Ohio
Goldfield, Nev.
500 Philadelphia. Pa.
11,000 Washington, D. C.
Hartford, Conn.
1,000 Pittsburg, Pa.
12,500 Waterbury, Conn.
Indianapolis, Ind.
1,000 Portland, Maine
1,250 Worcester, Mass.

This form is a combination of registration label and sender's registration receipt, and is designed primarily for use during rush periods to permit a more rapid acceptance of matter presented for registration, thereby admitting of a material increase in the number of pieces that can be accepted in a given time, and lessening the time required on the part of the public, both at the window and while standing in line. The form is furnished in unbound and unnumbered sheets of eight receipts each, and should be used at main office and stations wherever, and at times when, conditions Justify and convenience to the public demands. The following instructions should be observed in its use:
Each receipt and label must be numbered alike and to correspond with the numbers in the window registration book, Form 1549, in connection with which this special form of receipt is to be used. This new form is prepared so that it may be commenced at any time, at any office or station, by numbering the labels and sender's receipts to correspond with the numbers on the window registration book.
Each receipt and label must be postman ed with the regular registry postmarking stamp of the post office, showing the name of the office and date of mailing, as well as the word " Registered."
Excerpt from The Daily Postal Bulletin Friday, November 20, 1908 Vol. XXIX No. 8761 (continued)
The class of the article should be written on the label and the sender's receipt, and the name or initials of the receiving clerk should also be placed on the sender's receipt in the space provided therefor. No other writing is required before the receipt is given to the sender.
Upon presentation of a letter or parcel for registration, the registry clerk will attach the label, which is specially gummed for the purpose, to the piece and at the same time tear off and deliver to the sender as his receipt the right- hand portion, on the reverse side of which the latter is expected to write the name and address of the addressee.
The usual complete description of each registered letter or parcel is to be made in the window registration book. Form 1549, which should be numbered in advance to correspond with the numbers on Form 1549 A. When used in connection with Form 1549 A, carbon copies should of course not be made in Form 1549, since such copies are not necessary, but red and black sheets should both be used in making entries and should both remain in the book as permanent records. The description of the piece on the window registration book, Form 1549, should be made by some clerk other than the one waiting on the public, unless of course the window clerk has sufficient time to do so without causing any delay at the window.
In cases where the quantity of mail registered at windows by use of this special Form I549 A justifies it, the window registration book. Form 1549, after the receipts therein have been appropriately numbered, may be temporarily unbound so that several clerks may enter articles at one time, provided the leaves are afterwards carefully assembled in consecutive order and rebound for permanent filing.
Receipts may be given to the window clerk by numbers on the blank stub of special Form 1549 A, or other appropriate record, and likewise receipts may be given the clerk using the window registration book on stub of that book, or other appropriate record.
The writing on the label, sender's registration receipt and the window registration book should be done with pen and ink, or indelible pencil.
The number and postmark on the label which is attached to the registered piece will be the number and postmark of the piece to which it is attached. If it is impracticable to attach the label because of its size, the number and postmark should be plainly placed on the registered piece with pen and ink.
Offices authorized to use this special form of receipt (1549 A) should maintain a window registration book. Form 1549, for use in Issuing receipts to patrons who may demand the usual descriptive receipt for registered mail, and in connection with the furnishing of bulk receipts as heretofore. A separate series of numbers may be used for this purpose

The 1549A window registration form proved to be very popular with postal employees. They still had to fill out all the information required for accepting an item into the registered mails but not while the postal patron stood at the window. This resulted in the following statement being published.
Excerpt from The Daily Postal Bulletin Tuesday, August 24, 1909 Vol. XXIX No. 8990 issued from the office of The Postmaster General:

New Form Window Registration Receipt (Form 1549-A.)
WASHINGTON, D. C. Aug. 21,1909.

To All Postmasters:
Numerous requests have been received from postmasters to be allowed to use the new form Window Registration Receipt (1549-A) at offices where the number of paid registrations does not appear to warrant the use of this form.
Postmasters are therefore advised that the use of the new form Window Registration Receipt is not ordinarily authorized at offices where the number of paid registrations is less than 16,000 per annul. Requests for the use of this new form should therefore not be made unless the number of paid registrations reach 15,000 a year, or unless there are some exceptional conditions existing which would make the use of the receipt especially desirable, in which case the conditions should be set forth in the application for authority to use the form.

Order No. 5113 issued November 25, 1910 effectively ended the need for the attachment of the gummed label portion of the 1549a label to a registered item although some have been found used subsequently to this date. The excerpt affecting this change follows:

ORDER NO. 5113. Beginning January 1,1911, registered mail snail be dispatched without registered-package and tag envelope. Before dispatch each registered article shall be plainly marked on the face so as to indicate that It is registered, and letters and other sealed matter shall be postmarked twice on the back by the office, of origin. All regulations inconsistent with this order are hereby modified accordingly.

…. 5. Before dispatch, the impression of the postmarking stamp must be placed twice on the back of each letter and other sealed article, as nearly as practicable at the crossings of the upper and lower flaps. First-class matter should not be postmarked on the face. All other matter should be postmarked as heretofore.

Database Field Definitions

Data Field Description Edit Permission
Cover Front The bitmap (.jpg, .bmp. .gif, .png) image of the front side of the cover. Preferred scan is 300dpi Contributor
Cover Back The bitmap (.jpg, .bmp. .gif, .png) image of the back or reverse side of the cover. Preferred scan is 300dpi Contributor
Census ID Unique Identifier for this cover, assigned by the Administrator Admin
City Post Office of mailing Contributor
Label Num The registration number on the Form 1549A label Contributor
Branch Branch office if not from main Post Office Contributor
State Uses standard USPS 2 letter abbreviations Contributor
Date Date cover was mailed; use format MM/DD/YY. Use “?” for digits not known. Contributor
PostmarkYear 4 digit number the postmark year if known. Has to be between 1906 and 1914, partial years not supported  Contributor
PostmarkMonth 1 or 2 digit number the postmark month if known. Has to be between 1 and 12 Contributor
PostmarkDay 1 or 2 digit number the postmark day if known. Has to be between 1 and 31 Contributor
Destin City City where cover is addressed to and sent Contributor
Destin State State where cover is addressed to and sent; For foreign destinations, this field may be blank Contributor
Destin Country Country where cover is addressed to and sent Contributor
Ex Office The USPOD Exchange Office which issued the exchange label on covers to foreign destinations. Contributor
Ex Office Num The registration number on the exchange label. Contributor
Comments User provided notes about the cover, special features, etc. Contributor
Released Flag that indicates the Administrator has reviewed and approved the cover record Admin
ID Internal system Identifier for each record System
Contributor Name of DB User who enters a record. System