Mail delivery occurred twice a day for Edith in New York City and the Ross family in Rutland,Vermont in 1903. Often times Edith would recount an audition outcome or a concert for her parents in the late afternoon or early evening and then set off for the post office. Freight and passenger train service between New York and cities in New England ran a busy schedule and many trains carried a mail sorting car staffed with post office workers sorting the letters and parcels between scheduled stops. Edith knew her parents would receive her letter the following morning at breakfast or at least by the time of the afternoon newspaper.
In New York City Edith often used the City Hall Post Office location. Commissioned in the late 1860’s it was finally completed in 1880. The French style resulted in a showy grey “wedding cake” look for the corner building that looked out onto a busy intersection of pedestrians, trolleys, horse drawn wagons and carriages. There is a great write up on the history of the building here http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/07/lost-1880-city-hall-post-office.html The public did not have a great love for the building’s ornate and distinctive style that contained so much shape and detail compared with the neighboring, more somber buildings. The entire structure was bulldozed in 1938.
From 1903 here is a short movie clip of a wagon lining up for a transfer of mail bags and toward the end of the clip, really shows the skill of driver and horse.
And here is a clip of a middle-of-the-street exchange of mail bags between a wagon and a trolley in 1903
In Rutland, Vermont, where Edith’s letters arrived, the the post office on Court Street had a decidedly more calm atmosphere than New York City.