Q1, 1c Parcel Post Stamp, 1913, Shanghai Postal Agency Cancel
During 1848-1849 at the time of the California gold rush, regular New York-to-San Francisco service was established by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company. The transcontinental telegraph was completed, and the Central Pacific Railroad incorporated in 1861. With communications to the west obviously greatly improved, President Lincoln authorized a mail steamship service to China on 17 February 1865. The Pacific Mail Steamship Company received a contract to provide this service.
The following year, in 1867, the first mail delivery to Shanghai was effected, and the operation of the Shanghai Postal Agency began. It remained under the direction of the consul general in Shanghai until 1907. On 25 September 1907, the Postmaster General ordered that John M. Darrah “is hereby appointed United States Postal Agent at Shanghai, in China, and his compensation is fixed at twenty-three hundred dollars ($2,300) per annum, United States gold.” Now, for the first time, a full-time agent devoted his efforts to managing and improving the service at Shanghai. John Darrah served as Shanghai office Postal Agent until the agency was closed in 1922.