Books by author

Tom Riley



This history of the postal service, from its inception over 6,000 years ago to the modern and efficient service we enjoy today, chronicles the deeds performed on and off the job by the men and women of the U.S. Postal Service. This tribute to the 790,000 men and women employed by the U.S. Postal Service includes stories about courage and kindness, heroism and humor.

Discussions include: how war in the Persian Gulf highlights the importance of mail, the need for communication felt by all societies, and the importance of postal services since their inception 6,000 years ago; man’s ingenuity in transporting messages, how Rowland Hill’s reforms and contributions to postal operations bring speedier delivery and education to the masses, and The International Postal Congress Treaty; history and development of the U.S. Postal Service, including Ben Franklin’s contribution to postal service development in the U.S., the Civil War and postal service, the pony express, and the history of air mail; the U.S. Post Office undergoes an era of change: major accomplishments under reorganization, post offices and public art in the New Deal; the postal strike: workers risk it all in the historic 1971 strike, Nixon signs the Postal Reorganization Act, the strike brings changes to the National Association of Letter Carriers; stamp collecting, soliloquy of a postage stamp, stories behind the stamps, stuck on stamps, getting started, Baltic nations give significance to older issues; one man’s answer to a modern prayer — “to feed the hungry,” seeing invisible people, affordable housing and homelessness; carrier exploits on and off the job: a watchful carrier saves patron’s life, bringing relief to quake victims, Postal Walk benefits abused children, open house a grand success, human chain pulls boy from ice; the postal inspection service: protecting the work environment, forfeiture ($78 million returned to Postal Service from insider trading on Wall Street), internal audits, bombs in the mail, crime lab celebrates 50th anniversary; EARTH: Handle with Care: carriers make a difference on environmental issues, clearing the air, troubled waters, acid rain, leaky landfills, our disappearing rainforest; meet our former Postmaster General Anthony M. Frank: he cares about people and admires innovation, and he can handle the heat, too; privatization exposed: Canada’s privatized post office puts profit before service, franchise follies, the price of privatization, union busting; postal lore and trivia; automation, contracting out, barcoding (how private companies can save millions on their mailing cost), as deliverers of forty percent of the world’s mail, the U.S. leads in mail processing technology; understanding your post office and how your post office operates to serve you; postal kids news: stories for young children and the young at heart, things to do and build; and, how to apply for postal service employment. A glossary of U.S. postal terms, a list of postmaster generals of the United States, photographs and a bibliography enhance the text.


Andrew Horace Burke—A Man for All Seasons: The Incredible Story of an Orphan Train Rider and Civil War Drummer Boy Who Grew Up to Become the Governor of North Dakota.

A historical novel about the life of Andrew Horace Burke, who was orphaned at the age of four in New York City when his mother died during childbirth and his father was killed in an industrial fire. He was sent to the Children’s Aid Society and, at the age of nine, rode an Orphan Train to Indiana along with John Green Brady, who later became governor of the Alaska Territory.

Burke joined the Civil War at the age of twelve as a drummer boy for the 75th Indiana Regiment. Because little is known about the battles he fought in, the author has fictionalized his life as a drummer boy and medic during the war. From his discharge to his return to Indiana, everything is historically accurate. A wealth of photographs and illustrations augment the narrative.

This book is a companion volume to The Orphan Train to Destiny: The Life of John Green Brady. The fact that two boys who became fast friends should rise to governorship: Burke to become the governor of North Dakota and Green to become the governor of Alaska is an incredible coincidence. What a tribute to the opportunity and greatness of America! 



Happy Valley School: A History and Remembrance

Happy Valley School was an outgrowth of the work of The Five Point House, a private charitable foundation organized in 1850 to relieve the distressed conditions of an area in New York City known as the “Five Point District.” It was a country home school for boys and girls in the first through the eighth grades, from six to eighteen years of age. It was dedicated to the service of children whose homes had been broken or who would benefit from school experience in homelike surroundings.


Happy Valley was truly integrated. Black, White, Hispanic, Jew and Arab slept side by side, ate, played and worked together. The common denominator was family dysfunction; neglect, abuse and poverty had brought them all together. Although they had house-parents around, the warmth, camaraderie and interaction was with one’s peers. Children fought, made friends and felt the first pangs of adolescent love with their peers. Discussions include: The New Mission House of the Five Points, Claude Boorum and the Happy Valley Colony, Edwin Gould: A Friend of Happy Valley and a Titan of Philanthropy to Children, History and Purpose, Sports and Recreation, Health, The American Female Guardian Society and the Home for the Friendless, Institution Chronology, Alumni of Pomona’s Happy Valley School Reunite as School is Torn Down, transcript of an article about Happy Valley School: “Happy are the Memories,” George Cosmos (a Former Happy Valley Alumni) Fills Us in on the 1930’s and the 1940’s, Board of Trustees and Other Members, School Life, Religious Life, The Minisceongo Golf Club: Friends Golf on the Site of a Former Children’s Home, Data Retrieval Investigations of a Multi-Component Site at the Minisceongo Golf Course (Ramapo, New York) with a history of investigations and detailed site description, Stage III Investigations, and Research Potential. A wealth of facsimile reprints of photos enhance the text.




This novel has it all: adventure, edge-of-your-seat action scenes, martial arts, a little history, and a touch of romance.Marvel at John Brady’s survival of childhood hardships, join him as he ventures into the rugged Alaska Territory in the late 1800s.




Entrance Records from the American Female Guardian Society’s Home for the Friendless in New York, Volume 2




A Brief History of the Orphan Trail Era (1854-1929) with Entrance Records from the American Female Guardian Society’s Home for the Friendless in New York, Volume 1