During his long tenure as First Assistant Postmaster General, Bradley produced three remarkable maps of the United States. Appearing in 1796, 1804, and ca. 1825, each documented the expansion of the country and the fast-growing network of post roads that bound it together.
Displayed here is Bradley’s first map, depicting every American post route and post office, with the mileage between post offices indicated. The map is a complex compilation, and his sources included commercial maps; Federal surveys of the public lands; military and civilian surveys; and post road information obtained from legislators, postmasters, and postal contractors.
Bradley’s map is a fitting close to this exhibition. It shows how in just a few years since the Treaty of Paris the country had adopted a Constitution; welcomed Vermont, Kentucky and Tennessee to the Union; created a model for settling the West; and built a bureaucracy and thousands of miles of roads to connect and serve its growing population. The national aspirations of 1783 had become a reality.