The Postal Service’s iconic blue and white eagle isn’t the only insignia that has represented the organization throughout its history.
In 1782, Postmaster General Ebenezer Hazard chose Mercury, the Greek messenger of the gods, to represent the organization.
Hazard placed the divine deity on top of a globe, with his right hand raised, and gave wings to his feet, helmet and staff. He was encircled with the Latin inscription, “Seal of the Office of the General Messenger.”
Fifty-five years later, the seal changed to portray a “Post Horse in speed.” The image depicted a mail carrier riding a horse with mailbags, surrounded by the words “Post Office Department, United States of America.” Postmaster General Amos Kendall wanted the seal to be a modern representation of human effort.
The “Post Horse” seal served as the official logo until 1970, when President Nixon signed the Postal Reorganization Act and the familiar bald eagle claimed the spotlight. The eagle is pictured in flight above the inscription “U.S. Mail” with nine five-pointed stars at the base and “United States Postal Service” around three sides.
In 1993, Postmaster General Marvin Runyon introduced a new corporate logo — a white eagle’s head on a blue background. However, the traditional 1970 eagle remains the Postal Service’s official seal.
Contrary to popular belief, USPS doesn’t have an official motto.
The familiar saying, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” was written by Herodotus, describing postal couriers during the expedition of the Greeks against the Persians around 500 B.C.
It’s inscribed on the front of the James A. Farley Building in New York City, formerly home of the city’s main Post Office.
Of course, just because the motto isn’t official doesn’t mean it isn’t true.