In the development of the American West, no two decades were so full of romance and change as the years from the California gold rush of 1849 to the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869. In two decades, the West was conquered and the secession movement rose and fell. From slow ox-team and prairie schooner to the dashing Pony Express, the overland mail service mirrored these monumental strides.
Originally published in 1926, The Overland Mail was the first scholarly work to examine the impact of the postal service on the expansion of the West as the service evolved from a private endeavor to a government-contracted business. LeRoy R. Hafen details how the mail service tied West to East, influenced politics and economics, promoted use of the overland trails, aided in settlement, and helped usher in the railroads.
This classic work is here available in paperback for the first time. In a new foreword, David Dary assesses Hafen’s contributions as a writer and historian.