More than 150 years after the first mail was delivered via the Pony Express, Vox published an article examining the service that lasted for only 18 months. Christopher Corbett, professor of the practice in the English department, was quoted in the article. He is author of Orphans Preferred: The Twisted Truth and Lasting Legend of the Pony Express.
“In the American memory, that man is still riding across the country,” said Corbett when reflecting on the Pony Express. He also discussed how the mail service’s business model played a major role in its undoing.
The business was always doomed. “It hemorrhaged money from the first day,” Corbett said. “It was a bit of a madcap idea from the get-go … the structure of the business was deeply flawed.”
In the article, he also described the legacy of the Pony Express in American memory: Corbett says the appeal of the Pony Express is obvious: it’s an American myth without American tragedy. The bloodshed, suffering, and seediness of the Wild West aren’t part of the myth of the short-lived delivery service. “It’s a benign memory of the Old West,” he says. “It’s a powerfully romantic figure on the back of a fast horse.”
To read the full article in Vox, click here.