Once-upon-a-time, it was legal to mail a baby in the United States. It happen more than once and by all accounts, the mailed tots arrived no worse for wear. Yes, “baby mail” was a real thing.
On January 1, 1913, the then Cabinet-level U.S. Post Office Department—now the U.S. Postal Service—first started delivering packages. Americans instantly fell in love with the new service and were soon mailing each other all sorts of items, like parasols, pitchforks and, yes, babies.
Yes, there were some parents who attempted — and succeeded — in sending their real, live children across the country by way of the Parcel Post. Most surprisinly? All of the children made it, unharmed.
Just a few weeks after Parcel Post began, an Ohio couple named Jesse and Mathilda Beagle “mailed” their 8-month-old son James to his grandmother, who lived just a few miles away in Batavia. According to Lynch, Baby James was just shy of the 11-pound weight limit for packages sent via Parcel Post, and his “delivery” cost his parents only 15 cents in postage (although they did insure him for $50). The quirky story soon made newspapers, and for the next several years, similar stories would occasionally surface as other parents followed suit.
The longest trip taken by a “mailed” child took place in 1915 when a six-year-old girl traveled from her mother’s home in Pensacola, Florida, to her father’s home in Christiansburg, Virginia. According to Pope, the nearly 50-pound little girl made the 721-mile trip on a mail train for just 15 cents in parcel post stamps.
the Postal Service in general, and especially its letter carriers had become “a touchstone with family and friends far away from each other, a bearer of important news and goods. In some ways, Americans trusted their postmen with their lives.” Certainly, mailing your baby took a lot of plain old trust.
The Postal Service in general, and especially its letter carriers had become “a touchstone with family and friends far away from each other, a bearer of important news and goods. In some ways, Americans trusted their postmen with their lives.” Certainly, mailing your baby took a lot of plain old trust.
The Post Office Department officially put a stop to “baby mail” in 1915, after postal regulations barring the mailing of human beings enacted the year before were finally enforced.
It is just too tempting for me not to end with this song, so many people must have thought it once they received their parcels.
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