Postal Workwear

A blue-grey women’s fitted jacket with four gold buttons down the front, two side pockets with gold buttons.
Letter carrier jackets, 2013.2015.1. Jacket worn by Ann Salisbury, a letter carrier and clerk, who started her 34-year postal career in March 1968 at the Seekonk Post Office in Seekonk, Massachusetts.

The Postal Workwear oral history project seeks to document the experiences of current and past postal workers in order to learn about what they wear on the job and how they feel about it; how workwear is selected, designed, and produced for postal jobs; and how workers choose and adapt clothing to fit their daily needs. As we launched this project during the Covid-19 pandemic, the necessity of safety protocols and protective equipment is one of the topical areas considered for some interviews. The project began in 2021 and collecting is ongoing.

The project emerged through a collaboration between the National Postal Museum and New York University’s master’s program in Costume Studies, wherein dress is interpreted as central to the creation of professional, community, and personal identities.

Museum staff and New York University participants are currently contacting narrators and the first of these interviews will be posted in late 2023.

a wool, bright red beret style hat with black leather trim along the edge. In the center is a patch with a blue background, a horse and rider embroidered in white, with a white ring around the edge.
Uniform beret, Louisville, KY, 1999.2006.10. Rita Richie, a letter carrier from Louisville, wore this hat as part of her uniform in the 1960s. Although she felt it looked “very smart,” it was very hot to wear and did not stay on well. Hats were a mandatory part of the letter carrier uniform at the time.