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, uniform manufacturers, and uniform distributors. We want to record what postal workers wear on the job and the role of management, unions, manufacturers and distributors in shaping the experience of uniforms and workwear. The goal is to use discussions about clothing to learn about postal careers and work cultures. Lines of inquiry may include questions about how workers—both those who have uniforms and those who do not have regulations for clothing—feel about it; how they select and adapt their workwear clothing to fit their daily needs; and how suppliers select, design, produce, and sell uniforms and wearable equipment.

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. 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.

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

For further information about this project and to volunteer to participate as a narrator of your own oral history, contact:


  • Sheehan, Paul
    Oral history interview with Paul Sheehan, 2022 March 5
    Working as a clerk across Boston-area post offices, Paul Sheehan retired in 2017 after a 43-year career, which included jobs as a letter sorting machine (LSM) operator and window clerk with special assignments such as new stamp issue events.
  • Stankrauff, Alison
    Oral history interview with Alison Stankrauff, 2023 January 23
    Alison Stankrauff began working as a letter carrier in Detroit, Michigan, in April 2021. The interview describes beginning work during the Covid-19 pandemic, work culture, and acquisition of workwear pieces and equipment.
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.