James A. Farley Post Office Building


Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers
from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

The Postal Service has no official motto. The popular belief that it does is a tribute to America’s postal workers. The words above, thought by many to be the motto, are chiseled in gray granite over the entrance to the New York City Post Office on 8th Avenue. In 1982, the building was renamed the James A. Farley Post Office Building in honor of the 53rd Postmaster General.

The motto comes from Book 8, Paragraph 98, of The Persian Wars by Herodotus. During the wars between the Greeks and Persians (500-449 B.C.), the Persians used a system of mounted couriers.

The firm of McKim, Mead and White designed the New York General Post Office, which opened to the public on Labor Day, 1914. One of the firm’s architects, William Mitchell Kendall, was the son of a classics scholar and read Greek literature for pleasure. He selected the “Neither snow nor rain …” inscription, which he modified from a translation by Professor George Herbert Palmer of Harvard University, and the Post Office Department approved it.


  1. We painted it on our box, thanks to wonderful carriers through the years (and including military). They have also been one more friend who is regularly in the neighborhood. Our hope is that, as other organizations the current PMG will not be successful in turning this neighborhood person into a slave of the system, as focus on money vs. service demands.

    Thanks Dave – I mostly agree with you. USPS letter carriers are way more than just a person who shows up on your street. I spent 35 years as a city letter carrier before retiring in 2007. There were numerous instances where I helped patrons and their children – some medicaly problems and some as a warning of what was happening in their area related to crime.

    I saw several PMG’s come and go during my career and can personally state that DeJoy is the only one I have ever seen that is trying to save this sinking ship. Change is not easy and very hard on some, but in order to change the business model of USPS and keep us afloat drastic changes will have to be made. DeJoy seems to be making these hard to deal with changes.

    COVID, and COVID rumors, changed the game for USPS. Carrier who had 20-30 parcels to deliver on their routes BEFORE COVID now have 100 or more parcels to deliver. Why? Because the public stopped going to the mall, etc – they started ordering online. USPS was not really meant to be a parcel delivery agency – they mostly handled letters, magazines, etc. COVID changed that.

    So, DeJoy is trying to make the changes needed to sustain our service. These changes will make many people angry but in the long run it is my personal belief that these changes will save USPS.

  2. How much more energy is wasted making rural people all drive to your p.o. box buildings instead of a handful of drivers delivering the mail…

  3. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

    Give me a break … the sand and gravel country road that seven homes are on recently began receiving USPS non-delivery notices for pot holes. They come, they go. We fill-in and heavy rain takes out. However, if the families who live and travel on the road can manage … we should not be receiving notices of ROAD IN DISREPAIR just because someone is too lazy to travel 0.25 – 1.25 miles on a pot-holed dirt and gravel country road! I’ve lived on and with this SAME road for 20-years and so has the USPS!!!

  4. I think it should be, “Neither rain,nor snow, nor sleet nor hail will prevent delivery of the U. S. Mail”

  5. ya theok here you there! the snow is all melted now here in se pdx and my mail hasnt been delivered for 2 days!!!!! post office doesnt answer the phone! parkrose post office is a pos!!!!!!!!! been fighting with this po for 3 years complaint after complaint nothing gets done.our mailman delivered a piece of mail to my neighbor that was to go to pittsburge pa and wasnt sent from here! addy wasnt remotleyclose, now does that happen?this kind of crap happens every week! going on 3 years now.

  6. Apparently it is only a “guideline.” Yesterday we had a foot of snow in PDX, and no mail was delivered to our neighborhood. Hmmmm….

  7. During my military (career) service had the good
    fortune to be assigned (or near) military postal
    units. Whether in Thule, Greenland, Keflavik,
    Iceland or Viet Nam (the service postal clerks)
    the mail items were “delivered” in a timely manner.
    One of the most important contribution to the
    military members morale was “Mail from Home”! You
    can put that in your pipe and smoke it! Best
    wishes to all! L. J. “Lucky” Cuoco, U. S. A. F.

  8. Farley was Postmaster General under FDR….he was from NY and used the motto to promote the postal service. If the Postmaster General uses the quote to be promote the postal service….it becomes its official motto.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.