Government Dealings

Things have been pretty interesting around here. Last week I tried calling the Postal Service Historian. Turns out, there’s no number for that person, so I called the general USPS number. Needless to say, the many people I talked to on the phone told me that even if I went up through the totem poll, I’d never get to the historian. Also, they didn’t even know that there was such a thing as a Postal Service Historian. I also tried the call the National Archives with no luck, though they did tweet back at my complaint and told me to email or write them. I am still waiting for a response to my email. Today however, I called the Library of Congress’ maps division with a question regarding a postal map from 1850 I’m working with. The legend is one of the clearest I have seen. It clearly distinguishes the postal roads from the rail roads, canals, and telegraphs. However, when all three are present on the map at the same time I cannot tell when one stops or when only two are present. The other confusing thing is that the topographer outlined, as he did with the canals, some sections of railroad combined with another tr4ansportation route in brown. I can’t figure out why this is or the purpose. Neither could the woman I spoke to at the Library of Congress, but at least I was able to talk to a human. She also said she would talk to some other people and get back to me. Here’s to hoping.


Update: The Library of Congress did call me back. The reason some lines are brown is simplistic, the topographer didn’t finish coloring the map.

Disturnell’s new map of the United States and Canada by Henry A. Burr, Topographer to the Postal Service 1850, (Source: Library of Congress)