The engraving firm of Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson was chosen to engrave and print the first United States postage stamps because of their prior experience in the production of stamps, particularly the 1845 New York Postmaster Provisional. As of the date of this letter, the firm had only been informed that the Post Office Department preferred they do the work and had tentatively approved designs for the stamps. No contract had yet been signed despite the fact that the Department intended to issue the stamps in just three months, on July 1.
The letter says that a partner of the firm, Mr. [Tracy R.] Edson, will arrive the following Thursday with their proposals respecting a contract. In the meantime, "without the least obligation on you," they have begun engraving the "Heads" [vignettes] and dies for the stamps. They have begun this work before getting the contract so that no delay will be caused by the Department's intention to "suspend" the matter for a few days.