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About the Project

The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum has embarked on a venture to tell the story of American’s Mailing Industry. This research project investigates the 200 year-old partnership between private industry and the United States Postal Service, who together provide efficient and effective communication and commerce channels to consumers and businesses across the United States and the world.

Pie chart of mailing industry segments including Catalogs and Mail Order; DM Marketing; Ad Agencies;  Designers; Envelope Manufacturers; Equipment Manufacturers; Financial Services; Forest and Paper; Fulfillment and Parcel Shippers; Letters and Mail Shops; Lists, Data, Software, and Documents; Logistics and Transportation; Magazine Publishers; Newspaper Publishers; Nonprofit Organizations; and Printing and Printers.
Mailing industry segments

The Mailing Industry, over 200 years old, is comprised of public and private companies that create and produce mail and parcels as the core of their business operations. The industry supports over 8 million US jobs, generates over $1.3 trillion in sales revenue and comprises 8% of the US GDP.

The museum's launch of the online exhibit will be followed by a series of rotating physical exhibits in the future.

Stories of the Mailing Industry will focus on how companies, entrepreneurs and multi - generational family businesses – in partnership with the U.S. Postal Service – helped to enhance and grow the commerce and communications channels in the United States. Inventors and innovators will be explored and showcased from all major components of the industry.


Helping to identify stories to be told and the experts to tell them is vital to the success of this project. The National Postal Museum welcomes suggestions, questions or comments regarding its “America’s Mailing Industry” virtual exhibition. Please send via email to: NPMMailingIndustry@si.edu.

America’s Mailing Industry