The Overland Mail, 1849-1869: Promoter of Settlement Precursor of Railroads

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University of Oklahoma Press, Apr 1, 2004 - History - 361 pages
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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 Hafenís contributions as a writer and historian.

  

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Contents

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
5
ESTABLISHMENT AND EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF
19
THE OCEAN MAIL TO THE PACIFIC COAST 18481858
37
PIONEER MONTHLY MAILS TO THE INTERMOUNTAIN
53
THE BUTTERFIELD OVERLAND MAIL THE SOUTH IN
79
EXTENSIVE INCREASES IN MAIL LINES TO THE PACIFIC
103
SHOULD THE POSTAL SERVICE BE A PIONEERING AGENCY
129
MAIL SERVICE TO THE PIKES PEAK REGION 18581860
145
THE PONY EXPRESS DEMONSTRATOR OF THE CENTRAL
165
THE MILLION DOLLAR MAIL IN OPERATION 18611862
217
THE INDIAN PERIL
241
THE MAIL IN THE MIDDLE SIXTIES
273
IN THE DAYS OF THE STAGECOACH
295
FINAL YEARS AND PASSING OF THE OVERLAND STAGE
317
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF REFERENCES CITED
335
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

LeRoy R. Hafen (1893-1985) was Professor of History at the University of Denver and Brigham Young University, Executive Director of the State Historical Society of Colorado, and author/editor of numerous books on the American West, including Ruxton of the Rockies, Fur Trappers and Traders of the Far Southwest: Twenty Biographical Sketches, and Handcarts to Zion: The Story of a Unique Western Migration, 1856-1860.

David Dary is a writer, journalist, and social historian. Dary worked for newspapers in Kansas and Texas early on in his career and eventually moved on to work for both CBS and NBC news. He then took the position of professor at the William Allan White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. The themes of Dary's books center on many aspects of life in the western United States. Dary has written Red Blood and Black Ink: Journalism in the Old West, Entrepreneurs of the Old West, and Seeking Pleasure in the Old West, which received a Western Writers of America Spur Award. He has also received a Cowboy Hall of Fame Wrangler Award and the Westerner's International Award for his book Cowboy Culture.

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