United States Postmaster General

Postmaster General of the United States
Chief Executive Officer of the United States Postal Service
Megan Brennan

since February 1, 2015
United States Postal Service
Appointer Board of Governors
Term length Indefinite
Inaugural holder Benjamin Franklin
Formation 1775
Deputy Ronald A. Stroman
Salary $276,840[1]
Website about.usps.com/leadership

The Postmaster General of the United States is the chief executive officer 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 in 1775, serving just over 15 months.

Until 1971, the postmaster general was the head of the Post Office Department (or simply "Post Office" until the 1820s).[2] From 1829 to 1971, he was a member of the President's Cabinet.

The Cabinet post of Postmaster General was often given to a new President's campaign manager or other key political supporter, and was considered something of a sinecure. The Postmaster General was in charge of the governing party's patronage, and was a powerful position which held much influence within the party.

In 1971, the Post Office Department was re-organized into the United States Postal Service, an independent agency of the executive branch. Therefore, the Postmaster General is no longer a member of the Cabinet and is no longer in Presidential succession.

The Postmaster General is the second-highest paid U.S. government official, based on publicly available salary information, after the President of the United States.[3]

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 (1747–1813)

Postmasters general over the U.S. Post Office Department, 1789–1971

As non-Cabinet department, 1789–1829

Name State of Residence Date appointed President(s) served under
Samuel Osgood (pictured right) Massachusetts September 26, 1789 Washington
Timothy Pickering Pennsylvania[4] 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

As cabinet department, 1829–1971

Name State of Residence Date appointed President(s) served under
William T. Barry Kentucky March 9, 1829 Jackson
Amos Kendall Kentucky 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 Dickinson 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 District of Columbia 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 Virginia 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 Pennsylvania 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 Massachusetts 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 Pennsylvania September 10, 1940 F. Roosevelt, Truman
Robert E. Hannegan Missouri May 8, 1945 Truman
Jesse M. Donaldson Missouri December 16, 1947 Truman
Arthur E. Summerfield Michigan January 21, 1953 Eisenhower
J. Edward Day California 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 over the U.S. Postal Service, 1971–present

Name Date appointed[5]
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 Travis Runyon July 6, 1992
William J. Henderson May 16, 1998
John E. Potter June 1, 2001
Patrick R. Donahoe January 14, 2011
Megan Brennan February 1, 2015

Living former Postmasters General

As of July 2016, there are seven living former Postmasters General, the oldest being W. Marvin Watson (1968–1969, born 1924). The most recent Postmaster General to pass away was Preston Robert Tisch (1986–1988), on November 15, 2005.

NameTerm of officeDate of birth
W. Marvin Watson 1968–1969 June 6, 1924
Benjamin F. Bailar 1975–1978 April 21, 1934
Paul N. Carlin 1985–1986 August 25, 1931
Anthony M. Frank 1988–1992 May 31, 1931
William J. Henderson 1998–2001 June 16, 1947
John E. Potter 2001–2010 1956 (age 5960)
Patrick R. Donahoe 2011–2015 c. 1955 (age 6061)

See also


  1. O'Keefe, Ed (May 10, 2011). "Salaries of top Postal Service executives revealed". Washington Post. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
  2. Publication 100 – The United States Postal Service: An American History 1775–2006. United States Postal Service, May 2007. Also available in PDF format.
  3. Michael B. Sauter and Jon C. Ogg. "The 10 Highest-Paid Government Jobs". 24/7WallSt.com. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
  4. Since July 1, 1971, the Postmaster General has been appointed by and serves under the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service.
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