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Mail Order Kid

March 11, 2018

Trevor Donovan Blog

It's never easy traveling with children and often it can be expensive. In the early 1900s, some people decided cut costs by mailing their children via parcel post. 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.

After hearing of examples such as May, the Postmaster General issued a regulation against sending children by mail. This picture was meant as a humorous image to the end of such practice. (Picture courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute).

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