In 1913 it was legal to mail children. With stamps attached to their clothing, children rode trains to their destinations, accompanied by letter carriers. One newspaper reported it cost fifty-three cents for parents to mail their daughter to her grandparents for a family visit. As news stories and photos popped up around the country, it didn’t take long to get a law on the books making it illegal to send children through the mail.
[not actuall photos]
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. The picture on the right in this post was meant as a humorous image to the end of such practice.