The Parcel Post Service in the U.S. was launched in 1913 with very few guidelines as to what could or could not be mailed. As a result, some parents turned to the Service to mail their children, within a city or hundreds of miles away.
Charges were based on how far the child was to be mailed, with costs starting as low as 15 cents, the equivalent of $4 today.
The first known “child mailing” happened when Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beauge of Ohio mailed their son, just a few weeks old, to his grandmother. He was delivered – to grandma – on January 27, 1913.
Shortly after that, Mr. and Mrs. Savis of Pennsylvania mailed their daughter to out-of-state relatives for 45 cents.
Another child mailing occurred when five-year-old May Pierstorff of Idaho was mailed to her grandparents about 73 miles away on February 18, 1914.
As to how the children were mailed, they were not put in a box for shipment. No.
Instead, the appropriate number of stamps were placed on the child’s clothing. From there, a postal worker would accompany the child by foot, vehicle, or on a train, escorting the child to their designated destination.
The practice of mailing children continued for a couple more years. However, the U.S. Postmaster of the day reconsidered the practice. Finally, Postmaster General Albert Burleson declared the Postal Service would no longer mail children around 1915.