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United States Postmaster General

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The United States Postmaster General is the executive head of the United States Postal Service. The office, in one form or another, is older than both the United States Constitution and the United States Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin was appointed by the Continental Congress as the first Postmaster General, serving slightly longer than 15 months.

In 1971, the United States Post Office Department was re-organized into the United States Postal Service, a special agency independent of the executive branch. Thus, the Postmaster General is no longer a member of the Cabinet and is no longer in line to be President.

Postmasters General under the Continental Congress

Name Date appointed
Benjamin Franklin July 26, 1775
Richard Bache November 7, 1776
Ebenezer Hazard January 28, 1782
Samuel Osgood was the first Postmaster General under the U.S. Constitution.

Postmasters General under the U.S. Constitution, 1789–1971

Name State of Residence Date appointed President(s) served under
Samuel Osgood New York September 26, 1789 Washington
Timothy Pickering Massachusetts August 12, 1791 Washington
Joseph Habersham Georgia February 25, 1795 Washington, Adams, Jefferson
Gideon Granger Connecticut November 28, 1801 Jefferson, Madison
Return J. Meigs, Jr. Ohio March 17, 1814 Madison, Monroe
John McLean Ohio June 26, 1823 Monroe, J. Q. Adams

Cabinet-level Postmasters General

Name State of Residence Date appointed President(s) served under
William T. Barry Kentucky March 9, 1829 Jackson
Amos Kendall Massachusetts May 1, 1835 Jackson, Van Buren
John M. Niles Connecticut May 19, 1840 Van Buren
Francis Granger New York March 6, 1841 W. H. Harrison, Tyler
Charles A. Wickliffe Kentucky September 13, 1841 Tyler
Cave Johnson Tennessee March 6, 1845 Polk
Jacob Collamer Vermont March 8, 1849 Taylor
Nathan K. Hall New York July 23, 1850 Fillmore
Samuel D. Hubbard Connecticut August 31, 1852 Fillmore
James Campbell Pennsylvania March 7, 1853 Pierce
Aaron V. Brown Tennessee March 6, 1857 Buchanan
Joseph Holt Kentucky March 14, 1859 Buchanan
Horatio King Maine February 12, 1861 Buchanan
Montgomery Blair Maryland March 5, 1861 Lincoln
William Dennison Ohio September 24, 1864 Lincoln, A. Johnson
Alexander W. Randall Wisconsin July 25, 1866 A. Johnson
John A. J. Creswell Maryland March 5, 1869 Grant
James W. Marshall Pennsylvania July 3, 1874 Grant
Marshall Jewell Connecticut August 24, 1874 Grant
James N. Tyner Indiana July 12, 1876 Grant
David M. Key Tennessee March 12, 1877 Hayes
Horace Maynard Tennessee June 2, 1880 Hayes
Thomas L. James New York March 5, 1881 Garfield, Arthur
Timothy O. Howe Wisconsin December 20, 1881 Arthur
Walter Q. Gresham Indiana April 3, 1883 Arthur
Frank Hatton Iowa October 14, 1884 Arthur
William F. Vilas Wisconsin March 6, 1885 Cleveland
Donald M. Dickinson Michigan January 6, 1888 Cleveland
John Wanamaker Pennsylvania March 5, 1889 B. Harrison
Wilson S. Bissell New York March 6, 1893 Cleveland
William L. Wilson West Virginia March 1, 1895 Cleveland
James A. Gary Maryland March 5, 1897 McKinley
Charles Emory Smith Pennsylvania April 21, 1898 McKinley, T. Roosevelt
Henry C. Payne Wisconsin January 9, 1902 T. Roosevelt
Robert J. Wynne Washington, D.C. October 10, 1904 T. Roosevelt
George B. Cortelyou New York March 6, 1905 T. Roosevelt
George von L. Meyer Massachusetts January 15, 1907 T. Roosevelt
Frank H. Hitchcock Ohio March 5, 1909 Taft
Albert S. Burleson Texas March 5, 1913 Wilson
Will H. Hays Indiana March 5, 1921 Harding
Hubert Work Colorado March 4, 1922 Harding
Harry S. New Indiana February 27, 1923 Harding, Coolidge
Walter F. Brown Ohio March 5, 1929 Hoover
James A. Farley New York March 4, 1933 F. Roosevelt
Frank C. Walker Montana September 10, 1940 F. Roosevelt, Truman
Robert E. Hannegan Missouri May 8, 1945 Truman
Jesse Monroe Donaldson Illinois December 16, 1947 Truman
Arthur E. Summerfield Michigan January 21, 1953 Eisenhower
J. Edward Day Illinois January 21, 1961 Kennedy
John A. Gronouski Wisconsin September 30, 1963 Kennedy, L. Johnson
Lawrence F. O'Brien Massachusetts November 3, 1965 L. Johnson
W. Marvin Watson Texas April 26, 1968 L. Johnson
Winton M. Blount Alabama January 22, 1969 Nixon

Postmasters General under the U.S. Postal Service, 1971–present

Name Date appointed[1]
Winton M. Blount July 1, 1971
E. T. Klassen January 1, 1972
Benjamin F. Bailar February 16, 1975
William F. Bolger March 15, 1978
Paul N. Carlin January 1, 1985
Albert Vincent Casey January 7, 1986
Preston Robert Tisch August 16, 1986
Anthony M. Frank March 1, 1988
Marvin T. Runyon July 6, 1992
William J. Henderson May 16, 1998
John E. Potter June 1, 2001
Patrick R. Donahoe December 6, 2010


  1. Since July 1, 1971, the Postmaster General has been appointed by and serves under the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service.