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Arthur Ellsworth Summerfield

In office
1953 – 1961
Preceded by Jesse M. Donaldson
Succeeded by J. Edward Day

Born March 17, 1899
Pinconning, Michigan, USA
Died April 26, 1972
West Palm Beach, Florida, USA
Political party Republican
Profession Politician

Arthur Ellsworth Summerfield (Pinconning, Michigan, 17 March 1899 – 26 April 1972 in West Palm Beach, Florida) was a U.S. political figure. He ran (unsuccessfully) for the governorship of his home state of Michigan in 1946 and served as the chairman of the Republican National Committee between 1952 and 1953. At the 1952 Republican National Convention he played a key role in winning the GOP presidential nomination for General Dwight Eisenhower. As Michigan's delegate chairman Summerfield convinced the large, uncommitted Michigan delegation to support Eisenhower, thus providing "Ike" with a major boost before the voting. As a reward for his support, in December 1952 President-Elect Eisenhower chose Summerfield as the federal Postmaster General; he served in that post from 1953 to 1961.

As postmaster general, he oversaw the United States Postal Service's brief experiment with rocket-delivered mail, a flirtation that crystallized into reality for the only time as "missile mail" with the 8 June 1959 launch of a letter-stuffed Regulus cruise missile from the USS Barbero, a submarine of the United States Navy.

Before embarking on his political career, Summerfield had become well-known in Michigan as the owner of one of the largest General Motors automobile dealerships in the state; and one of the largest in the Midwest.

Missile Mail


Before man reaches the moon your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to England, to India or to Australia by guided missiles.... We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Jesse M. Donaldson
United States Postmaster General
1953 – 1961
Succeeded by
J. Edward Day
Party political offices
Preceded by
Guy G. Gabrielson
Chairman of the Republican National Committee
1952 - 1953
Succeeded by
Wesley Roberts


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