National Postal Museum September 11 Story

With today being September 11, 2017, we are looking back at 2011 The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum September 11 Story. It was a four part history series on their blog reflecting “the postal history of that terrible day 10 years ago.“   

First, here are links to my previous September 11 blog posts; this one is for 2015, and this for 2016.

2011 Smithsonian National Postal Museum Blog – September 11 Story – Four part series

The sensitivity and care that went into this four part article series are very special. All four of the posts are by Nancy Pope, Historian. I’m not going to attempt to paraphrase her articles, instead, I’m including the beginning text from each of the posts.  The photos that are included with each post are beautifully presented.

The image showing upper left is from the “Collecting Tragedy” post. “A handstamp from the Church Street post office. That post office was responsible for the neighborhood 10007 ZIP code area in addition to the World Trade Center buildings. The handstamp bears the date of the attack, Sep. 11, 2001.”

The Postal 9/11 Story 09/07/2011

“Among the most somber objects in the museum’s collection are a collection of artifacts retrieved from New York City’s Church Street Station post office following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. This is the first in a series of four blogs that will reflect on the postal history of that terrible day 10 years ago. Today, the series begins with a simple chronology of that story. It will continue with a look at the days and weeks following 9/11, and discussions over collecting objects from the tragedy. The Church Street postal station,…”

When A Neighborhood Disappears  09/08/2011

“The World Trade Center (WTC) was large enough to contain its own ZIP code, 10047. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, that code and another, also covering WTC buildings, 10048, were withdrawn from use out of respect. Among the items retrieved from the Church Street post office following the attacks was this “Unknown, Return to Sender” handstamp with the ZIP code 10048. Across the street from the WTC, the Church Street post office was one of four New York post offices closed after the attack. Unlike the others, which were able to reopen within the…”

September 11, 2001: A Letter Carrier’s Story 09/09/2011

“Mail destined for the World Trade Center (WTC) was processed by the Church Street post office located across the street. The WTC complex was so large that it encompassed two zip codes, 16,000 addresses and required ten letter carriers whose daily rounds were made within its corridors. I’d like to relate the story of one carrier, Emma Thornton, whose daily rounds took her through the upper floors of one of the twin towers. A long-time New Yorker, Emma worked out of the Church Street post office for over 20 years. She remembered watching the towers be…”

Collecting Tragedy 09/10/2011

“In the weeks after the September 11th attacks, curators in a number of museums began asking themselves the same question: “Should my organization attempt to collect anything related to this tragedy – and if so, what?” The National Postal Museum’s curatorial staff asked the same question. There was a postal history aspect to the events, and we debated collecting materials from the Church Street post office. That post office, located across the street from the World Trade Center, was the office that processed the Trade Center’s mail. As a museum representing America’s postal history, we had…”

In conclusion, thank you for joining me today, for my blog post on the National Postal Museum September 11 Story. Although I write a daily blog post every day, I still find writing one each year for September 11 to be a poignant experience.   My Thank you to the National Postal Museum for preserving with such sensitivity the items in their four part series writing about it back in 2011.  In case you are looking for it, they have an online form to Support the National Postal Museum.

Just as I have done for the previous two September 11 blog posts,
I am not closing my blog post with my usual sign-off today but instead, am closing with revered silence.



National Postal Museum September 11 Story Attribution & Thank you to the following I’m referencing today –

Smithsonian National Postal Museum Blog, Excerpts from The Postal 9/11 Story  09/07/2011 by Nancy Pope; When A Neighborhood Disappears  09/08/2011 by Nancy Pope; September 11, 2001: A Letter Carrier’s Story 09/09/2011 by Nancy Pope; Collecting Tragedy 09/10/2011 by Nancy Pope, and image included above upper left. daily blog posts: 9 – 11 Commemoration, September 11, 2015; Thunder Dog book by Michael Hingson, September 11, 2016; by Helen Rittersporn.



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