United States Postal Service creed

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The words "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" have long been associated with the American postal worker. Though not an official creed or motto of the United States Postal Service,[1] the Postal Service acknowledges it as an informal motto[2] along with Charles W. Eliot's poem "The Letter".[3]

The phrase's association with the U.S. Mail originated with its inscription on New York City's General Post Office Building, which opened in 1914.[4] The inscription was added to the building by William M. Kendall of the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White, the building's architects. The phrase derives from a passage in George Herbert Palmer's translation of Herodotus' Histories, referring to the courier service of the ancient Persian Empire:

It is said that as many days as there are in the whole journey, so many are the men and horses that stand along the road, each horse and man at the interval of a day’s journey; and these are stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed.
(Greek: τοὺς οὔτε νιφετός, οὐκ ὄμβρος, οὐ καῦμα, οὐ νὺξ ἔργει μὴ οὐ κατανύσαι τὸν προκείμενον αὐτῷ δρόμον τὴν ταχίστην, romanizedTous oute niphetos, ouk ombros, ou kauma, ou nyx ergei mē ou katanysai ton prokeimenon autō dromou tēn tachistēn)[5]

— Herodotus, Histories (8.98) (trans. A. D. Godley, 1924)

This slogan is not a formal commitment, and in fact the USPS routinely delays mail during bad weather.[6]


  1. ^ "About that motto". U.S. Postal Facts. United States Postal Service. 2021-03-08. Retrieved 2022-07-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "History of the United States Postal Service". Mailbox Near Me. Retrieved 2019-11-07.
  3. ^ "Postal Service Mission and "Motto"" (PDF). United States Postal Service. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-04-26.
  4. ^ "National Postal Museum: FAQs". National Postal Museum. 2011. Retrieved 2015-04-18.
  5. ^ Herodotus. "The Histories". Perseus Project. Retrieved 2019-01-30.
  6. ^ "USPS says winter weather to blame for recent mail delays in Indy, local union says it's more than that". February 25, 2021.

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