Auxiliary Markings

Auxiliary Markings


When mail goes astray or has delivery problems, it is usually the policy of the Post Office to apply additional markings to describe the problem or otherwise advise the sender or recipient of that fact. This is done through the application of Auxiliary Markings. These are usually imprinted in colored ink to set them off from normal markings. Others may be manuscript markings applied in pencil, ink or crayon. Below are a selection of Auxiliary Markings applied to various pieces of mail as they passed through Worcester, Massachusetts.

In the written description below each image I have spelled-out the text of the marking. Even though some markings are in both upper-case and lower-case letters, for the purpose of these pages and for clarity, the written description of the text of the Auxiliary Markings will shown in all upper-case letters without punctuation. Sorry, I am an engineer and things have to be neat and tidy!


The first image shows two interesting Auxiliary Markings that were applied in the Post Office in Worcester. The cover was sent from Brattleboro, Vermont to Worcester, Massachusetts. No street address was given and, as was the custom, the cover was "ADVERTISED JAN 13" as noted by the dated circular marking. During the time when this cover was posted, the Post Office was a major hub of news and gossip. People expecting letters would either check the local papers to see if the advertisement for their correspondence had been printed or came by the Post Office to check in person. As noted by the small Straight-Line "NOT CALLED FOR" marking, the letter was not claimed and was returned to Brattleboro. This cover dates from the mid-1860's.


Auxiliary Markings Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Two Auxiliary Markings
ADVERTISED JAN 15
NOT CALLED FOR
Circa 1860


The next image shows an example of a marking used during The Stampless Era to demonstrate that the letter had been displayed in the Worcester Post Office awaiting its recipient. The marking is "Adv. 1Ct" indicating that the addressee would have to pay an additional penny to get his letter when he claimed it.


Auxiliary Marking Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Auxiliary Marking
ADV 1CT
Circa 1850


The next image shows a number of Auxiliary Markings. The imprinted markings "FORWARDED" and "DUE 3" were applied in Concord, New Hampshire. The red crayon manuscript marking "3 Due" and imprinted marking "Adv. 1 Cent." were applied in Worcester.


Auxiliary Markings Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Two Auxiliary Markings
3 DUE
ADV 1 CENT
Circa 1850


The next image shows a dated circular marking "ADVERTISED DEC 10" and a small imprint of the number "29". This letter was received in Worcester on 29 November, thus the "29" marking which indicates the first day that the letter was advertised in the Worcester Post Office. The date of December 10 indicates the last day that the letter would be advertised before being returned to the originating office. The advertising period was usually two weeks.


Auxiliary Markings Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Two Auxiliary Markings
ADVERTISED DEC 10
29
Circa 1860


The next image shows a straight line imprinted marking "UNCLAIMED" and a small imprint of the number "12". There is no marking on this cover which indicates when it was sent, as the CDS of the originating office was not struck fully on the cover. I postulate that the number "12" indicates the day of the month on which it was received in Worcester. When nobody claimed the letter, it was duly imprinted and then, if possible, returned to the sender. However, there are no other markings on the cover which can confirm this.


Auxiliary Markings Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Two Auxiliary Markings
UNCLAIMED
12
Circa 1880


The next image shows a red crayon manuscript "3 Due" marking and an imprinted "DUE 3" marking. Both were applied by a postal clerk in the Worcester Post Office.


Auxiliary Markings Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Two Auxiliary Markings
3 DUE
DUE 3
Circa 1870


The next image is a simple imprinted marking "Due 3" which was applied in Worcester.


Auxiliary Marking Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Auxiliary Marking
DUE 3
Circa 1860


The next image shows a red crayon manuscript marking "3 Due" as well as an imprinted marking which reads "Due 3 cents.". These markings were both applied in Worcester.


Auxiliary Markings Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Two Auxiliary Markings
3 DUE
DUE 3 CENTS
Circa 1870


The next image shows a wonderful array of Worcester Auxiliary Markings. This letter was mailed in New Orleans, Louisiana on July 6, 1887 and was received in Worcester, based on markings on its reverse (not shown), on July 9, 1887. When it arrived in Worcester, an imprint was made on the front to the addressee to ensure that he advise people writing to him to use a street name and number in the address. It appears that the Post Office was unable to deliver the letter as addressed so it was advertised. An imprint "ADV. JUL 15" was applied. When the letter was not claimed, an imprint "UNCLAIMED" was added. Even though the letter was mailed from New Orleans, there was no definitive return address. The letter was then sent to the Worcester Dead Letter Office as indicated by the fancy chained box imprint.


Auxiliary Markings Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Four Auxiliary Markings
HAVE YOUR MAIL ADDRESSED TO STREET AND NUMBER
ADV JUL 15
UNCLAIMED
DEAD LETTER OFFICE SUB-MINOR
Circa 1887


The next image shows a couple of interesting Worcester Auxiliary Markings. Unlike the letter in the image above, this letter has a complete return address. Note that when it arrived in Worcester on April 24, 1888, it received the same advisory marking to use a better address as was applied to the letter in the image above. It also received a date stamp "APR 24 88" indicating that because of its address problems it was brought to the attention of the Worcester clerks on that day. When the letter could not be delivered, the fancy "RETURNED TO WRITER" imprint was applied and it was returned to the semder.


Auxiliary Markings Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Two Auxiliary Markings
HAVE YOUR MAIL ADDRESSED TO STREET AND NUMBER
RETURNED TO WRITER
Circa 1888


The next image shows the same "RETURNED TO WRITER" imprint which was applied in Worcester as to the letter above as well as a small date imprint of "JUN 30" which indicates when the letter was received in Worcester. The CDS dated July 6 indicates when it left Worcester on its return trip.


Auxiliary Markings Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Three Auxiliary Markings
RETURNED TO WRITER
JUN 30
WORCESTER MASS CDS JUL 6
Circa 1875


The next image shows a red crayon manuscript "Missent" and a Worcester CDS dated August 20 which were applied in Worcester when a letter meant for Nonson, Massachusetts ended up in Worcester.


Auxiliary Markings Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Two Auxiliary Markings
MISSENT
WORCESTER MASS CDS AUG 20
Circa 1860


The next image is a simple two-line imprint "Missent to Worcester, Mass."


Auxiliary Marking Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Auxiliary Marking
MISSENT TO
WORCESTER MASS
Circa 1884


The next image shows another advisory marking for an insufficient address, an imprint advising that the Postmaster in Worcester searched and corrected the address and a small date stamp applied in Worcester when the item was sent on its way to its proper destination.


Auxiliary Markings Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Three Auxiliary Markings
HAVE YOUR MAIL ADDRESSED TO STREET AND NUMBER
DEFICIENCY IN ADDRESS SUPPLIED BY POST MASTER AT WORCESTER MASS
JUN 8 1888
Circa 1888


The next image shows a double strike of an imprint "Missent to Worcester, Mass." as well as an imprint of an "UNCLAIMED" marking which were both applied in Worcester. The "Pointing Hand" marking, which is partially visible in the image, was applied in Brooklyn, New York.


Auxiliary Markings Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Two Auxiliary Markings
MISSENT TO WORCESTER MASS
UNCLAIMED
Circa 1893


The next image shows a letter which left Fitchburg, Massachusetts at 3:15 PM on November 6, 1894. It arrived in Worcester, as indicated by a machine cancel on the reverse (not shown), at 8:00 PM the same day. Because of an insufficient street address, the letter was sent to the General Delivery Section of the Worcester Post Office, as noted by the Auxiliary Marking "GD-1" in a circle and the imprint "NOV 7". When it was not claimed, as noted by the "UNCLAIMED" Auxiliary Marking, it was returned to the sender. This is indicated by two strikes of the Auxiliary Marking "Returned to writer from Worcester, Mass." and the NOV 12 94 Duplex Handstamp.


Auxiliary Markings Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Five Auxiliary Markings
NOV 7
GD-1
UNCLAIMED
RETURNED TO WRITER FROM WORCESTER MASS
WORCESTER DUPLEX HANDSTAMP NOV 12 94
Circa 1894


The next image below shows three more Worcester Auxiliary Markings. This letter was Forwarded to Worcester from Leicester, Massachusetts. Because there was a deficiency in the address, it appears that a clerk in the Worcester Post Office tried to find the addressee in a book called the City Directory but had no luck as noted by the circular imprint "NAME NOT IN CITY DIRECTORY B". Additional Auxiliary Markings, "Unknown" and "Returned to writer from Worcester, Mass." were also applied and the letter was returned to the sender.


Auxiliary Markings Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Three Auxiliary Markings
NAME NOT IN CITY DIRECTORY B
UNKNOWN
RETURNED TO WRITER FROM WORCESTER MASS
Circa 1902


The next image below shows a simple imprint Auxiliary Marking "Forwarded from Worcester, Mass C", that was applied at Worcester's Station C when this letter was Forwarded from Worcester to Schenectady, New York.


Auxiliary Marking Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Auxiliary Marking
FORWARDED FROM
WORCESTER MASS C
Circa 1907


The next image below shows another simple imprint Auxiliary Marking "Returned to Writer Unclaimed from Worcester, Mass." and the CDS portion of a Worcester Duplex Handstamp. Other non-postal markings indicate that this letter traveled through the American Steel and Wire Company internal mail system, between the North Works and the South Works, before it was given back to the Worcester Post Office for handling.


Auxiliary Markings Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Two Auxiliary Markings
RETURNED TO WRITER UNCLAIMED
FROM WORCESTER MASS
WORCESTER CDS SEP 17
Circa 1909


The next image below shows a small, simple imprint Auxiliary Marking "Forwarded from Station B Worcester, Mass."


Auxiliary Marking Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Auxiliary Marking
FORWARDED FROM STATION B WORCESTER MASS
Circa 1911


The next image below shows another Auxiliary Marking from Worcester's Station B. It reads "Missent to Station B, Worcester, Mass.".


Auxiliary Marking Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Auxiliary Marking
MISSENT TO STATION B
WORCESTER MASS
Circa 1911


The last (yeah!) image below show a very interesting and detailed Worcester Auxiliary Marking and a simple imprint "5". It is apparent that the cancel of the originating Post Office is not legible. The Superintendent of Clerks in Worcester wanted to make a point and advise that Post Office that its cancels were not up to regulation so he applied the marking shown. Basically it tells the delivering Letter Carrier to ask the addressee for the envelope so it could be returned to office of mailing. Note that the addressee is forerunner of some famous gunmakers.


Auxiliary Markings Applied At Worcester

Worcester
Two Auxiliary Marking
5
ON DELIVERY OF THIS LETTER CARRIER
WILL PLEASE OBTAIN THE ENVELOPE AND NAME
OF MAILING POST OFFICE AND RETURN TO
SUPERINTENDENT OF CLERKS
....................
Circa 1894


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