By Marjory J. Sente 


Miss Helen A. McNutt was Prescott’s first woman postmaster (sometimes informally referred to as a postmistress), serving from 1931 to 1936. On April 28, 1931, President Herbert Hoover approved Miss McNutt’s commission as postmaster. Earning $200 a month, an excellent salary at the time, she succeeded Warren F. Day, who remained in the office until May 1 while she wrapped up her secretarial duties at the law firm of Favour and Baker. McNutt was active in the local Business and Professional Women’s Club, holding the position of president at the time of her appointment as postmaster.


In the April 28, 1931 Prescott Evening Courier, McNutt indicated she was not prepared to announce any changes in personnel at the local post office, nor would she be for some time. Her first months were busy, as the post office prepared to move its operations into the newly constructed federal building at the Plaza’s south side.


The new post office officially opened for business on November 16. The previous day, 544 boxholders exchanged their old post office box keys for new keys and familiarized themselves with the locations of their new boxes.


The November 16, 1931 Prescott Evening Courier opined, “Prescott’s new post office, in a way, has turned the town around. That is to say, the southeast corner of the plaza, comparatively deserted heretofore, has been converted all at once into as busy a corner as there is in the city . .  .  Prescott’s new post office, it is generally agreed, is one of which to be immensely proud. It’s like entering the post office of a big city.”


Even during the Depression, post office employees put in long hours during the holiday rush. Postmaster McNutt, however, rewarded employees and their families with a party, complete with contests and prizes. Writing to former Prescott Post office employee Bill Bork about the 1933 affair, she noted, “Last Saturday night I had my annual holiday party for the postal force, and we had a lot of fun. Most of them (about 40) came in silly costumes, and it was the wee small hours of the morning before we broke up.”    


 She also told Bork she had been so busy she had not added to her stamp collection. During 1933, in addition to her post office duties, McNutt, along with other local collectors, organized the Mile High Stamp Club. The next year, she drove with a friend to Toledo, Ohio, her old hometown, and then visited Chicago’s Century of Progress International Exposition.


Highly respected by her peers, she was elected president of the Arizona Association of Postmasters in 1935. McNutt’s tenure as Prescott’s postmaster ended June 15, 1936. Gail I. Gardner succeeded her, holding the job for more than 20 years.


From 1936 through 1951, McNutt worked for Guarantee Title and Trust. She and her mother then moved to San Diego, after living in Prescott more than a quarter of a century. McNutt passed away in Tempe in 1961 at the age of 70 and is interred in San Diego.


Approximately 50 years after McNutt’s tenure as postmaster, Prescott’s second postmaster, Joyce F. Fuller, held the position from February 7, 1981, to March 29, 1985. “Officer in Charge” is a temporary position where the employee carries out the same duties as a postmaster. Brenda Frooninckx was named officer-in-charge from May 3, 2011, to July 12, 2011. Heather A. Dvorak-Lain was appointed officer-in-charge from February 12, 2013, to July 26, 2013. On July 27, 2013, Lynn A. Kent was named Prescott’s third postmaster. She served in the position until September 28, 2015.


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