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Posts Tagged ‘ZIP codes’

On July 1, 1963, the United States Postal Service introduced ZIP codes, a system of postal codes for efficiently delivering mail within the US.  ZIP is short for “Zone Improvement Plan” and the codes consist of a unique sequence of 5-digit numbers assigned to specific delivery points across the country.  When first announced, the USPS urged Americans to “use ZIP code” by developing a series of promotional stamps, signs, and even a cartoon mascot named Mr. ZIP, but the system remained voluntary until 1967.

Mailmen receiving mail order catalogs in Vernal, Utah a few year before the introduction of ZIP codes. Image courtesy of the Uintah County Library Regional History Center.

Opening History has a wealth of primary sources relating to the history of the United States Postal Service, including a set of films documenting mail collection and delivery in the Edison Motion Pictures collection, and a collection of mailbox photographs from the 1960s and 1970s in the Fife Slide Collection of Western U.S. Vernacular Architecture.

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