Letter: No Such Thing as a ‘Postmistress’

To the Editor:

I’ll bet that the silly headline in Saturday’s paper about the “Post Office Mistress in Hartford” caused a few chuckles among your readers (“For Post Office Mistress in Hartford, Violence Hits Twice,” Nov. 17).

That was a poor choice of words. Neither the old Post Office Department nor today’s U.S. Postal Service has ever had a position titled “postmistress” within the ranks. The official title of the person duly appointed by the postmaster general to oversee the operations of a post office is “postmaster,” whether male or female. The origin of the term comes from the requirement of having mastered certain skills, and gender never entered into it. The title of postmaster, by the way, originated with our first postmaster general, Benjamin Franklin.

I am a retired postmaster. My certificate of appointment reads in part, “... by virtue of her appointment as Postmaster of Hartford, in the County of Windsor, State of Vermont ... .” Calling a female postmaster a “postmistress” displays ignorance. Please don’t let this error appear again in the Valley News.

Mary E. Nadeau

Retired Postmaster



For Post Office Mistress in Hartford, Violence Hits Twice

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hartford — There may be customers who visit the Hartford Post Office and don’t receive a warm welcome from Postmistress Rosi O’Connell, but judging from a recent afternoon, it seems unlikely. “I met your grandson the other day, he’s a very good looking guy,” O’Connell told a woman who dropped in. “I saw your son yesterday — oh, he is …