Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Frank H. Hitchcock (1909–1913): Postmaster General

Frank Harris Hitchcock was born on October 5, 1867, in Amherst, Ohio. A former chairman of the Republican National Committee (1908-1909), Hitchcock served as postmaster general for the entire of the Taft administration (1909-1913). Hitchcock sought to reform of the Post Office Department, hoping to recoup losses incurred in the delivery newspapers and magazines and in serving those who lived along free rural delivery routes. The Department had claimed it was performing a public good by educating the populace via the delivery of periodicals; President Taft retorted publicly that, "if we wish to contribute a subsidy of $50,000,000 to the education of the country, I can find a great deal better method of doing it than by the circulation of Collier's Weekly."

Hitchcock introduced a parcel post system to end the four large express companies monopolizing the field, inaugurating the service on January 1, 1913. He also authorized postmasters, along with local charities, to distribute letters to Santa Claus, implemented the controversial postal savings system, and, in 1911, introduced the transport of mail via airplane between Garden City and Mineola, New York. Hitchcock died on August 25, 1935.