Joyce ’74 Releases “The West Point Post Office, 1815–1981: Keeping It All in the Family”

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West Point historian and Class of 1974 graduate Martin H. (Jay) Joyce just published “The West Point Post Office, 1815–1981: Keeping It All in the Family— Nepotism, Paternalism, Political Patronage… and Dedication to the Corps!”

“The West Point Post Office, 1815–1981” traces 165 years of the history of postal service at West Point, from the time its first post office was established shortly after the Academy was created, through the tenure of the first merit-based postmaster assigned to West Point less than a year after the creation of the U.S. Postal Service in 1971. This is believed to be the most comprehensive and detailed history ever written about a relatively small post office. As such, it is a story about West Point, as well as the U.S. Post Office Department, and the changes these institutions have experienced over the past two centuries.

The book is illustrated, including many photographs, maps, and items of postal history interest which have never, or rarely, been published previously. It is annotated in detail to provide references for future research. Aimed at both those interested in postal history as well as military and West Point history buffs, this story looks at the history of West Point and the U.S. Post Office Department from a unique perspective. The postmasters who served at West Point included a variety of interesting personalities, including academic professors, USMA graduates, and local community members. Their stories, and how they were appointed, reflect characteristics of nepotism and political patronage, and also dedication to the ideals of West Point.

This history builds upon the foundation of Joyce’s first effort, “Postmarked West Point,” which focused on U.S. Military Academy graduates on U.S. postage stamps. In 2023, he published “Duty, Honor, Faith, & Country,” which tells the story of West Point’s Catholic Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity. 

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