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Kalamazoo County Rural Free Delivery Booklet

 Item — Folder: 1
Identifier: RH-A-4346

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of one booklet from Kalamazoo County that was printed in 1904 titled “A Complete Directory of Twelve Rural Free Delivery Routes.” The booklet in this collection details 12 routes that operated in Kalamazoo County in 1904. The pages contain information regarding Rural Free Delivery routes in Kalamazoo County, including the names of carriers and individuals who received mail on each route. The cover notes the booklet also contains “Rates of Domestic Postage”, an “Interurban Time Table” and “Reliable Business Houses and Institutions.” Advertisements for local businesses are featured throughout the booklet.


  • Creation: 1904

Biographical / Historical

In December 1896, Michigan’s first Rural Free Delivery service began operating in Climax, Michigan. The Rural Free Delivery program was established by the United States Postal Service to provide mail directly to the homes of citizens living in rural areas. The first RFD routes operated in West Virginia in 1896. Lewis Clark and Willis Lawrence were hired as the first Rural Free mail carriers in Michigan. The mail carriers utilized a traditional horse and buggy, which they bought and maintained with their $540 salary, and a bicycle to deliver mail. By 1905, less than ten years after the first RFD routes were established, more than 30,000 routes were served by the Post Office across the United States. The price of the booklet, as detailed on the cover, was 25 cents.


.05 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This item was purchased with the Starring Endowment.

Physical Description

The collection amounts to .05 cubic feet and is composed of one booklet, dated 1904, titled “A Complete Directory of Twelve Rural Free Delivery Routes.” The pamphlet measures 6 1/8” x 3”.

The booklet is composed of 53 pages. The final page in the booklet can be unfolded to reveal a map of Kalamazoo County. The booklet is held together with two staples and a brown, frayed piece of yarn.

The booklet is in poor condition. Every page shows age and discoloration. Black and brown stains are visible on the cover, as are multiple creases and folds. There is illegible writing in pencil on the cover and first page, and the text is printed in black ink. There are stains sprinkled throughout the booklet, and every page has fallen victim to tears and creases. Despite its shortcomings, the text in this booklet is still legible. The binding is still intact and the booklet is complete.

Kalamazoo County Rural Free Delivery Booklet finding aid
Bailey Miller; Stephanie Chapman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490