When a mystery letter was delivered to a Michigan post office in 2015, its postmark suggested that it was recent. Yet what postmaster Lori Boes held in her hands was actually an exciting piece of 150-year-old history. But who had sent the correspondence? And why had it appeared a century and a half after it had been composed?
In April 2015 Lori Boes, who works as a postmaster in Michigan, was handed a mysterious letter. The handwriting offered her a mental image of who the author might have been, but 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.