Morality and the Mail in Nineteenth-Century America



by Wayne E. Fuller


University of Illinois Press, Urbana, Illinois. 2003. Hardcover in dust jacket. Blue boards with gold lettering on the spine. 264 pages. A few B&W illustrations. An extremely detailed look at the history of the United States Postal Service, and how it grew while remaining within the confines of religious conservatism. The book discusses how the Post Office came to be closed on Sundays, its relationship to various churches and religious leaders, and finally Anthony Comstock and the fight to halt the distribution of obscene books and other materials through the mail. One full chapter discusses the rise of paperback books (dime novels, etc.) and specific legislation aimed at regulating this new industry. Factual and concise. Many chapters contain half a dozen pages of footnotes.