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Women in the U.S. Postal System

 
CHAPTER 1:

Women in Postal History

Women as Mail Carriers

“Never!” Cry Indignant Alexandrians at Proposed Innovation.”1

Postmaster’s Announcement That Women May Participate in Test Brings Forth Storm of Protest.

Let Paris no longer flaunt her women letter carriers as the last cry in feminine emancipation; for Alexandria, the far-famed Pompeii of the Potomac, now comes to the fore with a proposal to have women letter carriers.

Not for years has the town known such excitement as that created by the announcement. People who get within four blocks of McGlue’s saloon Saturday night thought the town had a “sure thing” tip that Bryan was going to be elected.

The commotion was stated by an innocent-looking paragraph in a local paper which said:

“Announcement is made that the local board of civil service examiners will hold an examination at the city postoffice October 14 next for the position of clerk-carrier. Both male and female candidates are eligible.”

An hour later the entire masculine population stood in the streets to discuss the matter. To a man they denounced the proposed innovation. Everybody had something to say about it, and by midnight there wasn’t a dry eye or a dry throat in Alexandria.

“Compared to the blow at the town,” said Col. Yancey, “even Dick Byrd’s latest was but a lovepat.”

“Lives there a man with soul so dead,” shouted the colonel, when he had got beyond the point of expressing his feelings in prose, “that be would permit his mail to be carried by a female mail carrier?”

The consensus of opinion was that it was “worse than reconstruction.”

“For a long time,” continued Col. Yancey, “I have been persuaded that our fair republic is on the toboggan, but this last blow at the rights of her noblest citizens have convinced me that she is worse than corrupt Rome was, and the sooner she falls lie that empire the better.”

Even the picture which a few hardy optimists drew of the feminine letter carriers in natty uniforms failed to reconcile the conservative Alexandrians.

No arrangements have as yet been made for a formal mass meeting to protest against the proposed petticoated letter carriers.

Endnotes

1 Washington Post, September 21, 1908.