On This Day in History: February 20th

Lots of great things have happened on February 20th.

On February 20, 1792, the Postal Service Act was signed by George Washington, giving us the United States Postal Service.  From the Pony Express to the USPS app, the United States Postal Service has been around since the very birth of America.  Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first Postmaster General by the Continental Congress in 1775, showing just how important this service has always been.  While many acts helped build the U.S. Postal Service we know today, this particular act allowed Congress to establish postal routes and prohibited postal officials from opening letters.  Two centuries later, "neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."  


On February 20, 1962, John Glenn becomes the third American in space, as well as the first American to orbit the Earth.  In the Mercury capsule Friendship 7, John Glenn circled the globe three times in 4 hours and 56 minutes.  


On February 20, 1986, the Mir Space Station was launched into orbit.  Named for the Russian word for peace, Mir orbited Earth for 15 years, three times its planned lifetime.


If you'd like to read more about space exploration, here are some books you might enjoy.  If you would like to know more about the history of the postal service, consider contacting one of our reference librarians to help you!

Space Exploration List created by STPLReferenceSlidell

Books about humankind's travels into space.

View Full List