Out of the Mails

December 14, 2006 – January 31, 2008

National Postal Museum
2 Massachusetts Ave., NE
Washington, DC

Art of Cards and Letters Gallery, Lower Level, Northwest

See on Map Floor Plan

As hostilities between the colonists and the Crown grew, many people began protesting high postage rates by sending their letters "out of the mails." By sending letters by private courier or by abusing a free franking privilege, people avoided what many Americans considered an undesirable tax. This exhibition explores how Americans circumvented the official post during the Revolutionary War era. Highlights include an example of Benjamin Franklin abusing his free franking privilege, a letter from the encampment at Valley Forge requesting supplies, and a letter hand-carried through the Rebel lines surrounding Boston to avoid censorship by the King's post after the battle of Lexington-Concord.