Long ago, there was a time when it was a legal act to mail baby through the post office in the United States. This occurred more than once and the mailed babies arrived at their destination. Yes, “baby mail” was indeed a real thing.
In the 20th century, the post office decided to commence the shipping of large parcels as well as package throughout the mail and this is one of the most significant innovation, yet overlooked. Because of the increase in the number of private delivery companies during the 19th century, the parcel post expanded the horizon of the mail order companies to most of the rural communities in America, and the demand for their products. On January 1 1913, when the Post Office’s Parcel Post started officially, millions of Americans have access to various kinds of goods and services due to the availability of the new service. However, there are some unintended consequences because some parents tend to send their children through the mail.
A staged photograph of a letter carrier with a baby.
An article released by the New York Times that year describes how a baby boy was sent by mail to his grandmother:
“The mail carrier on rural route No. 5, (Vernon O. Lytle) was the first man to accept and also deliver a baby boy through parcel post. The boy weight 10.75 pounds which is within the weight limit of 11 pounds and the child belongs to Mrs. Jesse Beagle of Glen Este.”
“At the time when the carrier received him, he was well wrapped and ready for mailing. Mr. Lytle delivered the boy to the address on the card which is the residence of the grandmother, Mrs. Louis Beagle, living at about a mile distant. The service charge is fifteen cents and it was insured for only $50.”
This “baby in the mail” fun photograph takes the idea a step farther by having the baby be the letter carrier.
An article written in the year 1915 describe Maude Smith who is a 3-year-old girl weighing around 30 pounds and was sent through mail in Kentucky for only 33 cents.
“The child sat on a pack of mail sack which was placed between the knees of the mail carrier and was busy eating some candy carried in the bag,” as reported by the Courier-Journal. “A big apple is carried on the other hand and it smiled whenever folks who are curious called her and waved their hands.”
After few years, various stories about children being mailed through rural routes come up from time to time because people go beyond their limits on what are supposed to be sent by Parcel Post. For instance, a famous case occurred on the 19th of February 1914 when Charlotte May Pierstorff (a four year old girl) was mailed from her home through train to her grandparent’s house which was around 73 miles away, this was written by Nancy Pope for the National Postal Museum. Her story has gone viral and also made it to the children’s book called Mailing May.
Young May Pierstorff, the most famous of the parcel post children packages.
The reason why some parents willingly send their little one through the Parcel Post seems to be three times as great because postage was cheaper compared to a train ticket and the mailmen were trusted very well at that time.
In the year 1915, the post office officially stops “baby mail” after the postal regulations which barred the mailing of human beings was enforced, although it has been enacted a year before.
Although the postal regulation allows the mailing of live animals nowadays and the animals include poultry, bees as well as reptiles under some conditions however, no babies were allowed.