This collection contains copies of records from the United States Post Office Department related to Illinois as well as Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Missouri.
Sometime prior to 1958, Wilbur Duncan, of Decatur, Illinois, and founding editor of the Illinois Postal Historian, visited the National Archives located in Washington, D.C., to find information on Illinois post offices. This collection is comprised of his copies and transcripts of records as well as his requested microfilm from the National Archives.
The collection is arranged by type of material: microfilm, typescripts and transcripts, and index cards.
The microfilm (1 reel) contains two sets of records: Mail route registers (1814-1859) and Postmaster appointment records (1832-1930). States included in the mail route registers are Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Missouri. The registers also contain the names and routes of mail deliverers. Also included on the microfilm is a list of postmaster appointments for the states of Illinois and Kentucky. The list is organized by county.
The collection includes three sets of typescripts and transcripts. The first set is a 494 page typescript of postmaster appointment records (1832-1930) found on the microfilm reel. Also included in the collection are transcripts of correspondence sent to the Postmaster General's office (1856-1861). The correspondence contains reports and mail service requests from Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. The collection also contains transcripts of correspondence sent from the Postmaster General's office (1789-1893) to post offices in Illinois and across the Midwest. The letters discuss issues relating to the mail service, such as regulations, personnel, routes, schedules, and other matters.
Also included in the collection are index cards listing information about post offices in Illinois from 1800-1917. Information on each card includes the location of the post office, date of establishment, first postmaster, date if discontinued, and any change in name.
Two DVDs created by Chester ("Chet") M. Smith, Jr. (1936-2013) of Pine Grove Mills, PA were added to the collection. The DVDs contain indices organized by post office number, county, date, and place name which correspond to the content found in Duncan's 494 page typescript and index cards.
In 1958, Wilbur Duncan donated this collection to the Illinois Historical Survey, the predecessor of the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections (IHLC). In 2008, Chester ("Chet") M. Smith, Jr. donated the two DVDs to the IHLC.