Did you know that the 57th United States Postmaster General was from Pinconning, Michigan? Arthur Summerfield was born right here in Michigan’s cheese capital on March 17th, 1889. Innovative and industrious from a young age, Summerfield left home at age 13 to work in a factory. By 1918, he was a Chief Inspector for the Chevrolet Ammunitions Department during WWI. After the war, Arthur invested in real estate and held distinguished positions for several companies, including Weston-Mott, Buick, Pure Oil, and Bryant Properties Corp. In 1929, Summerfield opened his own Chevrolet dealership, which became one of the largest in the Midwest.
During World War II, Summerfield began his career in politics; he was elected to the Republican National Committee in 1944 and served through 1952. Following President Eisenhower’s nomination in 1952, Arthur was named Chairman of the Republican National Committee. His position as Postmaster General was also served under President Eisenhower, from 1952-1961.
Summerfield conquered great challenges as Postmaster General. After World War II, the United States experienced massive growth in the mailing system, as long distance relationships between families were on the rise. Steered by this exponential increase in mail, Summerfield completely reorganized the Department. Under his leadership, the Post Office began integrating business techniques to improve service and speed; modernizing equipment, operations, and transportation. He also faced the challenge of persuading Congress to support the department financially while reconstructing the accounting system.
Summerfield was successful in these endeavors; his work built the foundation for every Postmaster General following him. After 1961, Summerfield returned to work for his automobile dealership. Like many Michigan snowbirds, he enjoyed his later life in West Palm Beach, Florida where he passed in 1972. Arthur Summerfield ~ One of the Pinconning natives who make us proud!