Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Jesse M. Donaldson (1947–1953): Postmaster General

Jesse Monroe Donaldson was born on August 17, 1885, in Shelbyville, Illinois. Donaldson first joined the post office in 1908 as a letter carrier. He worked his way up the ranks and became the assistant postmaster general in 1945. During 1946, Postmaster General Robert Hannegan became unsatisfied with his job, and Donaldson often sat in for him during cabinet meetings.

In 1947, President Truman appointed Donaldson postmaster general upon Hannegan's resignation. The appointment was unprecedented because the post was traditionally given to political leaders in the President's party, and Donaldson was the first career civil servant to hold the office. During his tenure as postmaster general (1947-1953), Donaldson modernized the post office and streamlined its service. He died on March 25, 1970.