GOVERNMENT: Money by Mail

Common complaint of Civil War soldiers was the difficulty of getting funds to & from home. Bank checks were practically unknown; letters containing currency had a way of arriving with envelope slit and money gone. In 1864 the Government went to its soldiers' rescue with a newfangled idea known as the money order. At first sold almost exclusively in Army camps, money orders soon spread across the land, became big business.

This week the Post Office Department announced that the business was bigger than ever. Sales for fiscal 1940 were reported at an all-time high: $2,094,543,479 (up $36,379,479 from fiscal '39)....

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