Search the Collection
Advanced Search

Post Office, San Francisco California

Date: c 1850
Overall: 630 x 863 mm, 0.85 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Lithograph
Object No: 00006900
Place Manufactured:United States

User Terms

    This hand coloured lithograph depicts the Post Office in San Francisco with its large queues of people applying for letters and newspapers. The outbreak of a fight can be seen possibly the result of queue-jumping. The discovery of gold caused a massive increase in the population and maritime activity in San Francisco. On arrival in the city many miners sought lodgings in the shanties, tents and houses of 'Sydney Town' on Telegraph Hill. The post office linked them with home before they would trek to the diggings.
    SignificanceThis lithograph is an insight into the bustle of the San Francisco post office during the American gold rush. It highlights the importance of mail correspondence to miners in the 19th century in America and Australia.
    HistoryThe early San Francisco Post Office was located on the corner of Pike and Clay Streets. It had four entrances for the public, consisting of two general delivery areas, an entrance for Spanish speakers and a newspaper delivery admission on the side. The post office was a busy area in the centre of town which often had long queues of people. Located next door was the Old Garret House which burnt down in February 1856 and was occupied by prostitutes.

    During the gold rush Australian post offices began to emerge in mining camps as they grew into more permanent settlements. The decade of the 1850s was a period of high activity for the Australian postal system which was under heavy strain due to the influx of people and the growth in the Australian economy.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Post Office, San Francisco California

    Primary title: Post Office, San Francisco, California

    Related People
    Artist: H F Cox

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.