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James W. Marshall (1874) - Postmaster General

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James William Marshall was born in 1822 in Clarke County, Virginia. He graduated from Dickinson College in 1848 and remained there as an adjutant professor until 1850, when he became full professor of ancient languages; he served as chair of the department until 1861.

Marshall was then appointed U.S. consul to Leeds, England, where he served until 1865. Four years later, President Ulysses S. Grant tapped Marshall to become first assistant postmaster general under Postmaster General James A. J. Creswell. Following Creswell’s resignation in 1874, Grant nominated Marshall Jewell, who was U.S. minister to Russia, to the vacancy; James Marshall served as postmaster general ad interim for two months until Jewell’s return to the United States.

At the end of the Grant administration in 1877, Marshall worked as general superintendent of the railway mail service until he retired. James William Marshall died in 1910.

Citation Information

Consulting Editor

Joan Waugh

Professor Waugh is a professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her writings include:

U.S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth (University of North Carolina Press, 2009)

Wars within a War: Controversy and Conflict over the American Civil War (editor with Gary W. Gallagher, University of North Carolina Press, 2009)

The Memory of the Civil War in American Culture (editor with Alice Fahs, University of North Carolina Press, 2004)

Unsentimental Reformer: The Life of Josephine Shaw Lowell (Harvard University Press, 1998)