When a mystery letter was delivered to a Michigan post office in 2015, its postmark suggested it was recent. In fact, what postmaster Lori Boes held in her hands was an exciting piece of history. But who had sent the correspondence? And why had it appeared 150 years after it was composed?
In April 2015, Lori Boes worked as the postmaster at the Newaygo, Michigan post office. It was to her that the mysterious letter had been addressed. The handwriting gave her a mental image of who the author might have been. Otherwise, nothing about the delivery struck her as particularly notable or outstanding.
As Boes recalled to the Smithsonian magazine in November 2016, “Except for the ‘Received Unsealed’ sticker on the back, there was no sign that the packet contained anything other than, say, an authorization to hold mail.” She did, however, recognize that the ZIP code was in different handwriting.