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Owney the Dog

Owney, a homeless mutt, was beloved by Postal clerks across the country in the late 1880’s.

After being adopted by the Albany, New York clerks, he grew fond of the texture and scent of the mailbags and followed them everywhere, eventually onto mail trains that left Albany.

Railway Mail clerks considered Owney a good luck charm. Whenever he rode on a train, no one in the mail car was ever hurt in an accident during the trip.

Over time, postal workers marked Owney’s travels by attaching metal tags on his collar identifying his visits. How many tags do you think Owney collected? The museum has over 300 tags and there were probably more!

Owney, the dog who was the unofficial mascot of the Railway Mail Service in the 1890s, posed in the doorway of a mail car. Four unidentified mail clerks stand outside the car.
Owney was a mongrel dog who became the unofficial mascot of the Railway Mail Service in the 1890s. He traveled on mail trains all through the United States and even made a trip around the world on mail steamers. He is shown here posed with an unidentified mail carrier.