This is going to sound crazy, but at one time, it was completely legal to MAIL a baby or small child in the United States!

According to Thought Co, back in 1913 the United States Postal Service, called the Cabinet-level U.S. Post Office Department at that time, first started delivering packages.  For the first time, people were able to send all kinds of things through the United States mail.  Sewing machines, typewriters, books, tools, iPads (okay, those were a few years off) and BABIES!

According to the staff at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, between 1914 and 1915, several babies and small children were stamped, shipped, and delivered by the United States Postal Service.  Although there were no accidents, some people even took the extra step of putting insurance on their special deliveries.

Even though the whole thing sounds horrifying, it was not as bad as it sounds.  The children weren't just sealed up in a wooden crate marked FRAGILE ("Must be Italian!") or taped-up in a cardboard box.  Typically, the children were put under the guardianship of the mail carrier.

Shortly after their package service began, the United States Post Office Department realized the error of their ways: the had not specified what could and could not be shipped.  They quickly added a "no humans" clause to the rules, but it was too late.

The first child to be mailed was a baby boy from Batavia, Ohio.  His parents sent him to his grandmother's place - about a mile down the road.  It cost his parents 15 cents.  Before the postal service finally shut down the mailing of humans, at least five more children had been shipped.

But, why?  Why would parents send their kids through the mail?  It saved them a lot of money.  If you wanted to send your kids to see relatives it was a lot cheaper than buying a train ticket.  Actually, since someone would need to be on the train to keep an eye on them, it would take two train tickets.  Both ways...

 

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