Teaching Constant Motion: The Job of Railway Post Office Clerks with Primary Sources

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Teaching Constant Motion: The Job of Railway Post Office Clerks with Primary Sources NEW
Teaching Resource Sections: History of the RPO Love this Job
      Prep, Schemes & Exams  Tools of the Trade Lingo
      Camaraderie & Good Times Final Run Timeline
      LOC Resources Printable PDF booklet.  

Love this Job

teach rpoRPO clerks took great pride in their jobs and to this day will speak fondly of the men they worked with and the sense of pride that they felt for delivering the U.S. Mail. Although email and text messages offer easy access to family and friends - there is still nothing that makes us feel special like receiving a card or letter from someone in the mailbox.

There were many reasons RPO clerks loved their job. The work schedule was attractive. A clerk would work a set number of days on with days off to rest and study. A typical work schedule would be six days on and eight days off. This along with earning sick days and vacation days lured many into the Railway Post Office. Another  benefit was job security.

Love this Job: Teaching with Primary Sources

The Primary Source:

Teaching RPO







The Ideas and Tools:

This poster entices job seekers to become Railway Postal clerks by boasting a salary of $1900.00 for the first year. Was this a generous salary compared to other jobs? At that time, most families lived on one income. Is this amount enough to provide for a family?

  • Do you think this poster works? Use a poster analysis sheet to study the use of symbolism, contemplate the  message and rate the effectiveness. Are any of these techniques similar to practices used for recruiting and advertising today? Show similarities and differences using a modern advertisement or poster.

  • Imagine that you are the breadwinner for your family. Choose a home city and then use research and math skills to study the cost of providing for a family. Create an annual budget and explain how you managed to live within the budget and how you feel about this lifestyle. Look at other professions or communities and compare lifestyles.

  • Compare the cost of items in 1960 to the same items today. Then compare salaries of similar jobs. Which item costs have changed the most? Did anything surprise you?