Friday, October 09, 2009

Sending Children by Parcel Post

According to the National Postal Museum, "After parcel post service was introduced in 1913, at least two children were sent by the service. With stamps attached to their clothing, the children rode with railway and city carriers to their destination."

Jennifer Rosenberg, Guide to 20th Century History writes on the website, "Sending packages via the U.S. Parcel Post Service began on January 1, 1913. Regulations stated that packages could not weigh more than 50 pounds but did not necessarily preclude the sending of children. 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."

The practice was eventually stopped by Frank Harris Hitchcock, who was Postmaster General under President William Howard Taft. Hitchcock is credited with establishing the parcel post as well as creating the postal savings bank system and urged the initiation of an airmail system. He also made prosecution of mail fraud a top priority, and led a major crackdown on people using the mails to sell shares in worthless companies.

Shown above, city letter carrier posed for a light-hearted photo with a young boy in his mailbag.

Click here to read a 1918 newspaper article on children being sent by parcel post.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM