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Post Offices of Europe 18th – 21st Century

A Comparative History


Edited By Muriel Le Roux and Sébastien Richez

The cursus publicus, established by the Roman Empire to connect all its conquered territories, may be considered to be the ancestor of all modern post offices. Therefore, mail service networks are part of an organization, dating from Antiquity, which is common to the entire European community.
From the 18 th century onwards, the French mail service network may be divided into three successive phases. First, the consolidation of the transportation system that was being set up. Second, the development of the system’s ability to deal with increasing traffic (through broader human resources). Thirdly, the diversification of its operations and the development of its technical modernisation.
What was the situation in other European countries? Are there similarities and differences in how their networks were set up and organized? Finally, how did European Post Offices cooperate with each other in spite of their differences?
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The New Research Guide to Postal History directed by the Comité pour l’histoire de La Poste.The Post and its Correspondence: Sophie Morlot



The publication of the Guide de recherche en histoire de la Poste en France des origines au Premier Empire arose from the desire to provide an orientation for the work of the researcher or amateur of postal history, from its origin in 1464 to the end of the First Empire in 1815. It follows an earlier volume devoted to the contemporary period.1 The guide is a newest addition to a broad bibliographical trend greatly enhanced by the work of Eugène Vaillé and his Histoire des Postes françaises and Histoire générale des Postes françaises published in six volumes between 1945 and 1955; its critical importance comes in the wake of Pierre Nougaret’s pioneering work in his Bibliographie critique de l’histoire postale française. Poste aux lettres, Poste aux chevaux, messageries et diligences, Télégraphe Chappe, published in 1970, followed by Sources de l’histoire postale (Poste aux chevaux, Poste aux lettres, messageries et diligences: guide des recherches in 1992. Rather than systematically reviewing these works here, this article focuses on the current state of postal research since 1970 and identifies relatively unexplored areas of study.

The guide has been divided into chapters designed to assist the academic researcher or amateur in his or her work. After a brief introduction to the history of the organization of the postal system from the Ancien Régime to the Empire, the first chapter is devoted to bibliographical references after the 1970s (the previous...

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