Railway Mail Service Library

What could be more fitting than a former railroad station serving as the home of the Railway Mail Service Library (RMSL). The RMSL is located in the historic Boyce, Virginia railroad station. According to the mission statement on its website the 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).” The RMSL has every major book published about RMS/PTS. The library includes six types of original-source documentation in its collection: 1) photographs of HPO and RPO vehicles; 2) The Railway Post Office and Postal Transport Journal issues between 1905 and 1959; 3) oral recollections of former clerks on audio and video tapes, as well as movies about the RMS/PTS; 4) general orders describing weekly changes within several divisions; 5) general and standpoint schemes of mail distribution; and 6) schedules of mail trains/routes. These schemes and schedules are helpful in understanding how the network of mail transportation and distribution activities operated, as well as when routes began, ended, or underwent significant changes. The RMSL and its predecessors date back to the early 1950s, but it was incorporated in its current format in 2003. Frank R. Scheer is the Curator and driving force behind the RMSL. Scheer routinely makes presentations at meetings and events related to railway mail service around the country. Scheer can be contacted at  f_scheer@yahoo.com . The railway station housing the RMSL appeared on a special postmark (shown above) for the centennial of the Town of Boyce in October 2010.

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  1. The Railway Mail Service Library also needs the support of volunteers to digitize the collection that will facilitate Internet access to its resources. These assignments can be done at one’s home during available moments. Two example projects are: 1) creating indexes for the RAILWAY POST OFFICE, journal of the Railway Mail Association; and 2) transcribing oral recollections of Railway Mail Clerks. Further information about these or other projects are available from Frank Scheer, Curator, at f_scheer at railwaymailservicelibrary.org

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