Believe It or Not, It Used to Be Legal to Ship Babies Through the U.S. Postal Service

Some parents trusted the postal service a little too much.

babylipik/Shutterstock

In the early 20th century, the Post Office expanded allowing you to send large parcels through the mail. Anything under 11 pounds could be sent via Parcel Post. This was very convenient when mailing larger documents or small birthday presents, but some parents took it a little too far and decided to mail their kids. (Also read these other surprising facts about the U.S. Post Office.)

The first to be shipped was 8-month-old James Beagle. His parents, clearly too lazy to walk the few miles to his grandparent’s house, shipped him for only 15 cents. But not to worry, they also insured him for $50. The “package” was just shy of 11 pounds and met the requirements for shipping.

A little bit of a #parentingfail, but also super cute if you think about it.

This story made the front pages of many newspapers and similar stories started to occur because of it. Another famous case (this one a little farther than a few miles) was 4-year-old Charlotte May Pierstorff. She was mailed by train, 73 miles, to her grandparent’s house. Postage was cheaper than a train ticket and her parents felt safe sending her because a family member worked as a clerk for the railway mail service. That’s probably the only reason they got away with it. (These are 13 things your mail carrier won’t tell you.)

This might seem a little crazy. But it’s definitely not the weirdest thing a postal carrier has seen. And, also like a lot of couples had issues with their parents because they would rather send their child by mail then make the journey over to their house. But it really speaks to how much people trusted their mail carriers back in the day. Today, you’re lucky if your package gets from point A to point B without getting crumpled or left out in the rain, but back then you could trust the postal service to deliver your baby without a scratch.

Source: smithsonianmag.com

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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Assistant Digital Managing Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. When she’s not writing for rd.com or keeping the 650+ pieces of content our team produces every month organized, she likes watching HGTV, going on Target runs, and searching through Instagram to find new corgi accounts to follow.