News & information

The Postal Record: Older than NALC

(From Carriers in a Common Cause)

The Postal Record, NALC’s official monthly journal, is slightly older than the union itself.

First published in 1887 as a private enterprise by Alvin G. Brown of Massachusetts, the Record was devoted chiefly to the concerns of letter carriers, but also carried material of interest to all postal workers.

John F. Victory (right), a letter carrier elected NALC national secretary at the 1890 convention, purchased The Postal Record from Brown in 1891. A talented writer, Victory edited the magazine and built up its subscribership during his term of office.

NALC bought The Postal Record from Victory on Dec. 1, 1893, acting on a resolution of the Kansas City, MO convention that year.

“Raffles” was the name given by irreverent NALC members to the drawing of the rakish-looking postman which appeared on every cover of The Postal Record for 31 years.

Then, in August 1938, Editor Michael T. Finnan came out with a new cover. It was still the same blue-gray color but “Raffles” was replaced by a drawing of a vigorous-looking modern carrier.

“Son of Raffles” only lasted 41 consecutive issues, replaced by photographs starting in January 1942.

This “modernization” of The Postal Record cover occurred only months before the union, in keeping with a resolution passed by the Los Angeles Convention of 1941, began mailing the magazine to every member’s residence instead of delivering it in “club bundles” to union halls and post office workrooms for members to retrieve.

Today, copies of the magazine also land on the desks of important decision-makers in Washington, DC, and throughout the international labor movement.

In a concession to the realities of the internet age, selected features and columns are also posted on the union’s website.

In 2012, NALC commemorated the magazine’s 125th anniversary with—appropriately—a special story in The Postal Record.