Write to vote

If USPS is the original social network, then postcards might be considered the first tweets.

And just as today’s activists use Twitter to promote their favorite causes, advocates for women voting — called suffragists — used postcards to make their case more than a century ago.

“Suffrage was the first movement that was able to capitalize on postcards,” said Carol Crossed, author of Vintage Tweets: Suffrage Era Postcards,” a new book that uses historical mailpieces to chronicle the history of women’s voting rights.

“The heyday of the postcard was between 1890 and 1930,” Crossed said. “Right smack in the middle of that was suffrage. No other movement was as centered in the period as suffrage was.”

Among other topics, the book examines how postcards with pro-suffrage messages helped fund the movement.

“They were sold on street corners by the National American Woman Suffrage Association. They had little booths. Women liked to collect them,” said Crossed, who has more than 650 such postcards in her collection.

“Vintage Tweets” also explains how pro-suffrage postcards relied on images of children and animals because they were innocent and non-threatening. Opponents of women voting soon followed the suffragists’ lead and came up with their own postcards that were often colorful and entertaining, although the imagery was hostile.

“They showed women muzzled, or a vice on a woman’s mouth,” Crossed said. “They showed unattractive, heavy women. There were some that really go over the edge.”

The women’s suffrage movement ended Aug. 26, 1920, with the adoption of the 19th Amendment, which prohibits states and the federal government from denying U.S. citizens the right to vote on the basis of sex.

The Postal Service plans to commemorate the amendment with a stamp this year.

In the meantime, Crossed’s book has received praise for showcasing the enduring power of mail as a communications platform.

“‘Vintage Tweets’ honestly highlights how a cause or fight can be achieved without violence,” wrote Chris Podzuweit, executive director of the Seneca Falls Historical Society, in a statement on Crossed’s website. “It is as relevant today as then.”

Proud to protect

The latest #PostalProud video shines a spotlight on a postal inspector.

Carroll’s Story features co-workers and family members praising Carroll Harris, a husband and father of three sons who is based at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC.

“Carroll brings an impressive level of energy to everything he does and just sheer passion, not only for the agency but for our mission overall,” Chief Postal Inspector Gary R. Barksdale says in the video.

Harris’s wife, Debra, praises her husband’s dedication to his work and notes that he’s also embarking on the final year of his military career with the U.S. Marines.

“That’s been quite an adventure,” she says.

The video is part of a new #PostalProud campaign that features employees and customers expressing appreciation for USPS and for each other.

In addition to being available on the Link site, you can watch the video on the #PostalProud Blue and LiteBlue pages, which also have previous videos about USPS employees and their contributions.

Free for all

Did you know the Postal Service offers free self-development training to all employees?

This program allows employees to learn something new, grow personally, improve their skills and, in some cases, prepare for professional certifications.

More than 3,200 courses are available, including offerings at the beginner, intermediate and advanced proficiency levels. All courses are voluntary and must be completed off-the-clock.

The courses are available through the HERO learning portal from the Blue page or from LiteBlue on personal devices.

There is no time limit to complete the courses, allowing employees to learn at their own pace.

USPS has improved the HERO course catalog to allow employees to build or freshen their skills around their individual interests for personal growth and development.

To learn more or to begin taking courses on Blue, select the HERO link under the “Essential links” list on the left-hand side of the page.

To take courses on LiteBlue, choose the HERO icon and select “Browse for Training” or “Search for Training” under the “My Learning” menu.

Additional navigation guidance and an FAQ document are available on Blue and LiteBlue.

Exceeding expectations

“News Quiz” is a weekly feature that lets you test your knowledge of recent Link stories. The correct answers appear at the end.

1. By how much did USPS employees surpass the organization’s goal for Combined Federal Campaign donations last year?

a) 2 percent
b) 3.8 percent
c) 8.3 percent
d) 20 percent

2. How much estimated annualized revenue does the Postal Service hope to generate through employee sales leads during the current fiscal year?

a) $1 million
b) $10 million
c) $100 million
d) $1 billion

3. Which is the only authorized method for disposing of old collection boxes?

a) Donation
b) Destruction
c) All of the above
d) None of the above

4. True or false: When driving in winter weather, you should leave extra space between your vehicle and others.

a) True
b) False

5. Where will this year’s National Postal Forum, the mailing industry’s largest annual meeting, be held?

a) Anaheim, CA
b) Nashville, TN
c) National Harbor, MD
d) Orlando, FL

Answers: 1) d. 2) d. 3) b. 4) a. 5) d.