In 1913, was it legal to send children by U.S. Parcel Post?

A. True

B. False

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A. True

Sending packages via the U.S. Parcel Post Service began on January 1, 1913. The requirements of this new system included that packages could not weigh more than 50 pounds but did not specifically prevent the sending of children. A few “ingenious’ Americans took advantage of this loophole.

On February 19, 1914, the parents of four-year-old May Pierstorff mailed her from Grangeville, Idaho to her grandparents in Lewiston, Idaho. Mailing May apparently was cheaper than buying her a train ticket. The little girl wore her 53 cents worth of postal stamps on her jacket as she traveled in the train’s mail compartment.

Shortly thereafter, after hearing of examples such as May’s, the Postmaster General issued a regulation against sending children by mail.

This picture was meant as a humorous image to the end of such practice.

Mailing Infants

(Picture courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute.)


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