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United States Postal Service creed

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

The beginning of the inscription on James Farley Post Office

The phrase's association with the U.S. Mail originated with its inscription on New York City's James A. Farley 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's Histories, referring to the courier service of the ancient Persian Empire:

This slogan is not a formal commitment, and in fact the USPS may delay mail during bad weather.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

The creed was famously recited by artist Laurie Anderson on her 1981 hit single "O Superman (For Massenet)", which was featured on her debut album Big Science (1982).[13][14]


  1. ^
    • "Postal Service Mission and 'Motto'" (PDF). About. United States Postal Service.
    • "About that motto". U.S. Postal Facts. United States Postal Service. March 8, 2021. Archived from the original on January 2, 2023. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  2. ^ "History of the United States Postal Service". Mailbox Near Me. Archived from the original on March 6, 2022. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  3. ^ "Postal Service Mission and "Motto"" (PDF). United States Postal Service. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 26, 2022.
  4. ^ "FAQs". National Postal Museum, Smithsonian Institution. 2011. Archived from the original on June 11, 2021. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  5. ^ Herodotus. "The Histories". Perseus Project. Archived from the original on December 25, 2020. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  6. ^ "Service alerts". Newsroom. about.usps.com. Retrieved April 9, 2023.
  7. ^ "Delayed mail and packages?". FAQs. usps.com. December 2, 2022. Retrieved April 9, 2023. A chart with delivery standards based on the class of mail, when your carrier or mail will arrive, and what to do if mail or periodicals are considered late.
  8. ^ "California - Resident Weather Alerts". Newsroom - About. usps.com. March 31, 2023. Retrieved April 9, 2023.
  9. ^ "Q&A: Mail Delivery During and After Major Snowstorms". about. usps.com. February 8, 2013. Retrieved April 9, 2023.
  10. ^ "Good Question: What Are The Weather Rules When It Comes To Delivering Mail?". WCCO-TV. cbsnews.com. February 26, 2014. Retrieved April 9, 2023.
  11. ^ "USPS says winter weather to blame for recent mail delays in Indy, local union says it's more than that". WXIN. February 25, 2021. Archived from the original on September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  12. ^ US Postal Service. "This is our definition of a snow day. ❄️". Facebook. facebook.com. Retrieved April 9, 2023.
  13. ^ Simpson, Dave (April 19, 2016). "How we made Laurie Anderson's O Superman". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved December 9, 2023.
  14. ^ "Laurie Anderson, "O Superman (For Massenet)"". web.ics.purdue.edu. Purdue University. Retrieved December 9, 2023.

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