|Abstract:||David Bigelow Parker was born in 1842 in Ashville, New York, and died in 1910 in
Ellicottville, New York. At eighteen, Parker entered the army[...] as a member of the 72nd New York
Volunteers. Quickly achieving the rank of lieutenant, he served throughout the Civil War.
General Hooker placed Parker in charge of the postal service in the Army of the Potomac.
Commended by Grant for his ability, Parker personally carried dispatches between Grant and
Lincoln after the Battle of the Wilderness. In 1863, he introduced the money order system in
the Army. In 1876, Parker accepted the position of Chief Post Office Inspector in the
Department of Mail Depredations, a unit of postal detectives. While in this position, Parker
was one of a group of men who worked to initiate and perfect the railway mail service, rural
free delivery, the use of registered letters, and the money order service. The letterbook of
David Bigelow Parker consists of 494 pages of correspondence with two letters laid. These
letters were written by Parker in his capacity as Chief Special Agent, Division of Mail
Depredations at the Post Office Department in Washington, D.C. The letterpress book contains
little information about Parker's private life. Many of the letters concern assigning agents
to deal with cases of fraud and theft. The cases themselves, however, are discussed only in
the most general of terms; very few details are included.|