Neither Snow Nor Rain Day

“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” ~Inscription, James Farley Post Office, NYC

On September 7, 1914, the James A. Farley Post Office building – the main post office in New York City – was opened to the public. On the front of this building is an inscription supplied by William M. Kendall of the architectural firm that planned the building. The Farley Post Office is home to “Operation Santa,” made famous in the classic 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street.

Contrary to popular legend, the U.S. Postal Service has no official creed or motto. (I’m surprised that Ben Franklin, the first Postmaster General, didn’t make something up!) But the USPS did use the above motto as part of a longer message in TV commercials aired after the 2001 anthrax mailings and events of September 11, 2001.

The “neither snow nor rain” quote is actually derived from Herodotus’ Histories, and it refers to the courier service of the ancient Persian Empire. Herodotus was a Greek historian and traveler who lived circa 484 BC – 425 BC. The original quote reads as follows:

“It is said that as many days as there are in the whole journey, so many are the men and horses that stand along the road, each horse and man at the interval of a day’s journey; and these are stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed.” ~Herodotus

The Histories of Herodotus is considered the most important work of history in Western literature. Written from the 450s to the 420s BC in classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that were known around the Mediterranean and Western Asia at that time. It is one of the only surviving accounts of the rise of the Persian Empire, and the Greco-Persian Wars. Although historical records and chronicles existed beforehand, it was Herodotus’ Histories that established the genre and study of history in the Western world.

Download a free PDF of The Histories.

Listen to a free unabridged audiobook of The Histories.

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2 thoughts on “Neither Snow Nor Rain Day

  1. The Motto was and is the official motto of the USPS. It became the official motto when it was used by Postmaster General Farley in a “official capacity” at state dinners for then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He did so not only as Postmaster General…but as the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee since he was the Presidents campaign manager as well. People are severely misinformed about the history of our great nation!

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