When the original Constitutional Post Office Department (known at the time as the General Post Office) was established in 1789, all official records were kept by hand in a series of bound Ledgers. The most important of these was a series of Ledgers identified as the Letter Books of the Postmaster General. Over 500 of these Ledgers were prepared for the years between 1789 and 1952, and these are now preserved in the National Archives as part of NARA Record Group 28. The early ledgers consisted of duplicate handwritten copies of all outgoing correspondence prepared by the Postmaster General, or by clerks at his direction. The entries in the later volumes were duplicated in a variety of ways: wet transfer, typed and tipped in, etc. Most of the correspondence had to do with post offices, postmasters, mail routes, and postal laws, regulations, and instructions.
During the 1960s, these ledgers were microfilmed, and a few intrepid postal historians began to examine these for new information about the early operations of the postal system. In 2016, the United States Philatelic Classics Society (USPCS) arranged for the first 86 of these Ledgers to be digitized from the microfilms, and placed versions of the digitized copies on their website in their Resources section. The ledgers here represent only a small subset of those on the USPCS website, but these have been reformatted and annotated to improve access to their contents.
Three different groups of Ledgers are presented here on this Library Bookshelf. The First group is a series of the first eleven of the Letter Books of the Postmaster General, which cover the years 1789 through 1803. The second group is a series of three Letter Books of the First Assistant Postmaster General, which covers the years 1793-1800. I believe that these three Ledgers are either the only ones prepared or only ones which survived. Finally, there is a third series of Ledgers which are known as the Orders of the Postmaster General, which comprise instructions sent to all post offices. While this series consisted of an unknown number of Ledgers prepared during the years from 1835 to 1953, for some reason, only the nine ledgers dated between 1848 and 1853 were digitized, and these are included here.
To view the second and third groups of these ledgers, simply scroll down the page. Please report any problems encountered to me at the email address found in each PDF file.