Donald M. Dickinson

Donald M. Dickinson
34th United States Postmaster General
In office
January 6, 1888  March 4, 1889
President Grover Cleveland
Preceded by William Freeman Vilas
Succeeded by John Wanamaker
Personal details
Born January 17, 1846
Oswego County, New York, USA
Died October 15, 1917(1917-10-15) (aged 71)
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Michigan Law School
Profession Politician, Lawyer

Donald McDonald Dickinson (January 17, 1846 October 15, 1917) was a lawyer and politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.

Dickinson was born in Oswego County, New York, and moved with his family to Michigan when he was two years old. He graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1867 and built a very successful practice in Detroit, frequently arguing cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.

In 1872, Dickinson established himself in state politics by working to effectively organize the Democratic Party in what at the time was a heavily Republican state. He was a member of Democratic National Committee from Michigan, 1880-1885 and was an early supporter of the candidacy of Grover Cleveland for President in 1884. After election, Cleveland offered Dickinson a position on the recently created Civil Service Commission, but he declined. However, in 1887, Dickinson accepted the appointment as United States Postmaster General, serving from January 6, 1888 until the end of Cleveland's first term in 1889. A railroad strike soon after Dickinson took office interrupted postal service in the nation. Dickinson refused to use federal forces to break the strike and instead modified the distribution routes so that postal deliveries could continue. At Cleveland's request, Dickinson applied civil service reforms to hiring practices to minimize the effect of patronage on the postal service.

Following Cleveland's defeat, Dickinson returned to the practice of law in Detroit. He subsequently headed Michigan's delegation to the 1892 Democratic National Convention which renominated Cleveland. Dickinson split with the Democratic Party over William Jennings Bryan ascendancy and his monetary proposals. Dickinson support the Republican ticket of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt in 1900 and also supported Roosevelt's unsuccessful run as a third party candidate in 1912.

He is interred at Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan. Dickinson County, Michigan is named for him.[1]


  1. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 106.


Political offices
Preceded by
William Freeman Vilas
United States Postmaster General
Served under: Grover Cleveland

January 6, 1888 March 4, 1889
Succeeded by
John Wanamaker
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