The Railway Mail Service Library

How to Contact the RMSL
Please let me hear from you if you share a common interest in mail transportation and distribution, or if you collect obsolete post office artifacts. You can reach me at (703) 549-4095 -TEL,(703) 836-1955 -FAX, 12 EAST ROSEMONT AV, ALEXANDRIA, VA 22301-2325. You may also send an email to If you include your postal mailing address, I will send my hard-copy illustrated want lists of obsolete postal artifacts.

Want to buy a Movie from the RMSL? Click Here to see what we have to offer.

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Frank R. Scheer - Curator, RMSL
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RPO clerk depicted on a 1913 stamp

A "Catcher" Pouch on a Mail Crane

Its Mission
The Railway Mail Service Library (RMSL) is an archival collection of primary and secondary sources pertaining to en route distribution history. It also features many obsolete postal artifacts associated with this activity. These items are used to assist researchers interested in route agent, seapost, railway, and highway post office (RPO and HPO) operations, known as the Railway Mail Service/Postal Transportation Service (RMS/PTS). RMS Library coverage focuses on the period between 1862 and 1978 for the USA, as well as the late 19th and early 20th centuries for other postal administrations. Literature and artifacts related to the RMS/PTS are always sought, to improve the scope and depth of the collection. Auctions of duplicate items, such as things listed below, raise funds for these new acquisitions. A VHS cassette with two movies about RPOs is also available for $17 postpaid. Your patronage of these sales is appreciated!

Also If you want to learn more about RPOs, please join a free discussion group by sending an email to

RMSL Info and News
RMSL 2005 Year End Update
Boyce Train Night 2005 Photos
Our Train Station at Boyce (History)
Railway Post Office Locations

You may want to Check This out:
An Uncut Pane Six sheets featuring Scott 571, 572, 573, reprinted for Washington 2006, $1, $2, and $5 stamps!
Click here to View

Want to Buy Dr. Scheer's,
Compendium of Norfolk & Western Railway Post Office Routes?
Click here to Learn how

A RPO Clerk's "Eagle" Badge

Favorite Links
The Toy Train Emporium Online
Norfolk & Western Historical Socity
US Postal Service History - Railway Post Offices
US Postal Service Fan Page
Railway Post Office Postmark Page

More Links
Bill Fry
AF Tower
Our Articles Page

The Station at Shepherdstown

Postmarking Handstamps

Two styles of steel postmarking handstamps and boxed sets of date type. The one to the left was used at a Transfer Office (TO) and was the style made before 1931. On the right is an example from aboard a Railway Post Office (RPO), typical of those made from 1932 to 1970. Close up normal and mirror-image views of the postmarker head are below. I seek these devices from any country, any period, from both mobile units [RPOs and Highway Post Offices (HPOs)] and stationary units [post offices, TOs, Air Mail Fields (AMFs), and Terminals (TERMs)]. Please contact me if you have one or more of these in your collection and want more information about the route it was used on, or if you want to sell postmarkers or type sets.

A Few Other Postal Items Wanted
Locks marked "U.S. MAIL" or "UNITED STATES MAIL" were used on Railway Post Offices to secure pouches dispatched two and from the train. ONLY LOCKS USED BEFORE 1900 WHICH ARE OBSOLETE ARE COLLECTIBLE; LATER NON-OBSOLETE LOCKS AND KEYS ARE SUBJECT TO CONFISCATION BY THE U.S. POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE. Here are two locks from the early days of RPOs that are needed for the collection.

Paying $300 for this 1871 mail lock

Reward: $500 for this brass 6-lever lock

$600 spot cash an occupational shaving mug with railway mail car

This example occupational shaving mug stands about 4 inches tall. The owners name (in this case, M. J. Evans) and a Railway Post Office car appear on the side of the mug. Around the sides of the picture there is usually a floral design. In this case, the mug had no chips, cracks, or heavy wear, and does not have a manufacture's hallmark on the bottom.

The Railway Mail Service Library (RMSL) had a display of Railway Post Office artifacts at Washington 2006, a world philatelic exhibition. A general scheme was one of the items shown, since it was the foundation of en route mail distribution activities.