In 1913, the US Postal Service introduced parcel post service. Customers took advantage of the new expanded regulations to mail things like eggs, live bees, harmless live animals, produce, and even an entire building, one brick at a time. The most unusual deliveries occurred between 1910 and 1920, as numerous customers mailed children via parcel post. In 1920, this practice was officially banned (though we found a few instances where it occurred after this date). We’ve combed our archives to find special deliveries that made the news.
Shortly after parcel post was introduced, parents in rural Ohio sent their baby boy with the mail carrier to visit nearby relatives.
Initially, sending children through the mail only occurred with rural carriers well-known by the families sending their precious packages. But as the practice extended, some children traveled greater distances.
In 1914, the San Francisco Examiner published tongue-in-cheek instructions about how mail clerks should care for their special deliveries.
Immigration officials sometimes used parcel post services to reunite immigrant children with their families.
The first attempts to stop the practice of mailing children came in 1914 when mail officials in Montana said they would no longer accept “parcels of humanity.”
Cincinnati postal officials also protested the practice in 1915.
Postal officials across the country began refusing to accept children in parcel post. Some incurred the wrath of angry parents who demanded the right to mail their children. Finally, in 1920, the Postmaster General ruled that children could no longer be sent through the mail.
To explore more news from the early days of the parcel post system and read more about children who were shipped via parcel post, search Newspapers.com™ today!