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Today in History: June 13th, 1920

Photo Credit: Vintage Images / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Vintage Images / Getty Images

The US Post Office Says Children Cannot Be Sent by Parcel Post

On this day, June 13, 1920, the United States Post Office Department made an important decision: children could no longer be sent through the mail. This ruling came at a time when the postal system was still adapting to new and sometimes surprising ways people were using its services.

The U.S. Parcel Post service, which began in 1913, was a game-changer for many Americans. It allowed people to send packages more easily and affordably than ever before. Suddenly, it was possible to mail all sorts of goods, including live animals like chicks. However, some families took it a step further and mailed their children to relatives.

A mailman with a child in his bag.
A US postman with a small boy in his postbag, USA, circa 1910. (Photo Credit: Vintage Images / Getty Images)

One of the first known cases happened in 1913 when Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beauge from Ohio mailed their 8-month-old son to his grandmother’s house, which was only about a mile away. They paid just 15 cents for postage. Another famous case in 1914 involved a 5-year-old girl named May Pierstorff, who was sent 73 miles by train from Grangeville, Idaho, to her grandparents. May had 53 cents worth of stamps attached to her coat and traveled in the mail car, safely delivered by postal workers.

These incidents, while amusing to read about today, highlighted a lack of regulation and potential dangers. The Post Office Department realized they needed clearer rules to protect children and ensure the postal system was used appropriately. So, on June 13, 1920, they officially banned the practice of sending children through the mail.

More from us: The Bank Built With Bricks Sent Through the Mail

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This decision was crucial for the safety of children and helped to establish more structured and safe postal regulations. It showed how the postal service had to adapt to unexpected uses of its system and set the stage for future policies to ensure the safety and reliability of mail services.

The ruling of June 13, 1920, is a quirky yet significant part of postal history. It reminds us of the evolving nature of regulations and how services must continually adapt to new challenges. Today, it stands as an interesting story from a time when the rules of the postal road were still being written.

TVN News Poster

TVN News Poster is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News