United States Postal Service creed

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Inscription on James Farley Post Office (click to see detail)

The words "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" - while by no means an official creed or motto of the United States Postal Service - have long been associated with the American postman. The motto is inscribed on New York's James Farley Post Office, but it has no official status.[1]

The phrase can be found in block letters on the James Farley Post Office in New York City, facing Penn Station, it was a translation by Prof. George Herbert Palmer, Harvard University, from an ancient Greek work of Herodotus describing the angarium, the ancient Persian system of mounted postal carriers c. 500 B.C. The inscription was added to the building by William M. Kendall of the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White, the building's architects. It derives from a quote from Herodotus' Histories, referring to the courier service of the ancient Persian Empire:

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, Histories (8.98) (trans. A.D. Godley, 1924)

Nonetheless the USPS does occasionally cancel deliveries in unsafe weather conditions.[2]

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